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Merial, Intervet To Merge:

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Grain-based deicer in works: Ontario-based biofuel maker GreenField Ethanol has signed on for a joint venture to make road and runway deicer from grain-based glucose. The company has a partnership agreement with New Jerseybased DNP Green Technology for a $50-million refinery to make bio-based succinic acid, which makes a “less corrosive” deicer for use on roads, airport runways and aircraft carbon brakes. GreenField’s “preferred location” is at its planned corn ethanol facility site at Hensall, north of London, Ont. A “construction schedule is forthcoming” for that plant. Roundup-resistant ragweed confirmed: Glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed is officially in Ontario, University of Guelph weed scientist Peter Sikkema confirmed last week. Researchers grew plants from seeds of giant ragweed found in farmers’ fields in the province’s southwest in 2008 and the resulting weeds were resistant to glyphosate, he said at a farmers’ meeting at Uxbridge, Ont. The resistant plants were seen in several other locations in the province in 2009. “Now it’s even more important to implement practices to limit glyphosate resistance,” he said. Gophers an official Sask. pest: With the presumed exception of Gainer, the Roughriders’ mascot, Saskatchewan has officially declared the Richardson ground squirrel, a. k. a. the gopher, to be a pest under its Pest Control Act. The declaration grants rural municipalities the option, through bylaws, to enforce prevention and control measures. The province said it will again roll out a rebate program in 2010 to help farmers and R. M. s pay for gopher controls. R. M. s in Saskatchewan have already been granted an extension on the emergency-use registration of strychnine on gophers, to July 31. Sanofi-Aventis plans to combine its veterinary arm Merial with Intervet/ Schering-Plough, owned by Merck. Subject to regulatory approvals in the U. S., Europe and elsewhere, the deal is expected to be completed in about the next 12 months. Merial ran from 1997 until last year as a joint venture between the two parent pharma firms, when Sanofi-Aventis bought out Merck’s stake for US$4 billion. Sanofi-Aventis CEO Christopher Viehbacher said the merged firm will create “strong value” in bringing more and broader offerings to the livestock and pet health sectors. Hometown Manitoba grants return: The provincial government is accepting applications from now until April 15 from rural and northern communities for grants through the Hometown Manitoba program. Grants can be used to “revitalize main streets, enhance community gathering places and buildings, and expand neighbourhood green space with trees.” Last year, 369 applications were approved from over 120 communities, granting funding of over $500,000 for various projects. Community representatives can visit provincial GO offices for more information.

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