Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tax deferrals offered to livestock farmers

The federal government is offering tax deferrals for farmers hit by the weather last year.

This extends a program that applied to much of the Northern tier of Ontario last year.

“Extreme weather created difficulties for Canada’s livestock industry across the country last summer,” said Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay to explain why the tax break is being offered.

“This tax deferral will help producers manage the impacts of the drought, and to focus on rebuilding their herds in coming years,” he said.

It also applies to parts of Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

The Ontario municipalities covered this year are:

Belleville,  Kingston, Niagara Falls, Peterborough, Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Welland, Haldimand County, Centre Hastings, Trent Hills, Tweed, Fort Erie, Greater Napanee, Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Frontenac Islands, Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Loyalist, Madoc, South Frontenac, Stone Mills, Tyendinaga,  Wainfleet and West Lincoln.

Robin Hood flour on recall

Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. is recalling Robin Hood brand All Purpose Flour, Original, because one person got food poisoning caused by E. coli O121.

The nation-wide recall is for the flour in 10-kilogram packages with lot codes containing BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548.

Premium Brands buying another company

Premium Brand Holdings is buying Interprovincial Meat Sales Ltd. of Dartmouth, N.S.

It is a meat trader and distributor of beef, poultry and pork in eastern Canada and consolidates Premium Brands’ coast-to-coast presence.

Premium Brands has not disclosed how much it paid Generational Equity for the business.

Since August Premium Brands has bought Fletcher’s Fine Foods of British Columbia and Alberta and  paid $50 million for Belmont Meat Products of Toronto. It also owns Pillers Meats and Delicatessens of Waterloo.

Chicken farmers counter activist claims

Chicken Farmers of Canada is reacting strongly to claims by Mercy For Animals in the wake of that activist organization’s success in lobbying Tim Horton’s and Burger King.

Mercy for Animals persuaded the owners of the two chains to demand that chickens it buys be raised according to the standards of the Global Animal Welfare organization.

It’s not clear whether Canadian standards fall short of the Global standards, but what has drawn an angry response from the Canadian farmers is claims from Mercy For Animals that:

“(Chickens) are bred to grow so unnaturally fast that their legs often can't support the birds' own body weight.

“Many suffer from constant leg pain so severe they cannot stand, and so they spend nearly all their time sitting in their own waste.

“Continual contact with wet litter causes extreme feather loss and painful sores on the chickens' bodies and feet. “Even breathing can be painful, as the air around the birds is acrid with ammonia from the stench of excrement.”

Benoit Fontaine, chairman of Chicken Farmers of Canada, responds that:

“Canadian chicken farms are run by hardworking men and women who take to heart their responsibility to uphold animal health and welfare on their farm and share Canadian values.

“They are proud ambassadors in promoting and defending their good management practices, and believe that there is no defense for the mistreatment of birds.”

The national agency also issued a news release saying:
  •  “Over 90 per cent of Canada’s chicken farms are family owned and operated. The notion of faceless, nameless and heartless ‘factory farms’ is fiction.
  • “Canada’s farmers operate within a system in which they are paid for each bird that is processed. Not only is it common sense for farmers to take care of their birds, its good economic sense as well.
  • “There is a robust, third-party-audited, mandatory Animal Care Program that is administered across all Canadian chicken farms.
  • “In Canada, litter is removed after every single flock and replaced with fresh bedding prior to the placement of new chicks. Chickens are not raised on ‘old’ litter. Barns are cleaned and litter replaced with each flock. Fresh bedding decreases ammonia concerns from previous flocks and barns are monitored for ammonia levels.
  • “The density of Canadian chicken production is lower or consistent with other countries. Canadian broiler chickens are not caged and are raised without the use of steroids or hormones. The number of chicks placed in the barn is pre-determined to ensure that density limits are not surpassed and as they age they continue to have room to roam.
  • “Chicken health is continually improving. Bird mortality, condemnations, lameness, and ascites have decreased significantly over the past decades.”                            

Brazil closes three more plants

Brazil ordered three more food processing plants to suspend production on Monday as federal police continued their investigation of companies bribing meat inspectors to ignore infractions.

Brazil earlier closed three of the 21 food processing plants under investigation.

The other 15 plants are not allowed to export, although they may still produce for the domestic market.

Canada has banned imports from two plants, but other countries have banned all imports from Brazil.

China, Egypt and Chile have, however, lifted bans they imposed a few days ago when news of the scandals first broke.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dow-Dupont merger gets EU okay

Dow Chemical and DuPont have gained conditional EU antitrust approval for their $130-billion merger, but there are a number of conditions they need to meet.

One condition is the sale of some assets; another aims to retain research and development of new herbicides.

“We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“Our decision today ensures that the merger between Dow and DuPont does not reduce price competition for existing pesticides or innovation for safer and better products in the future.”

In return for the EU green light, DuPont will divest large parts of its global pesticides business, including its global research and development organization.

Dow in turn will sell two acid co-polymer manufacturing facilities in Spain and the United States, as well as a contract with a third party through which it buys ionomers. The company has already found a buyer - South Korea’s SK Innovation.

Antitrust experts said regulator’s demand to sell large swatches of R&D facilities could set the benchmark for future deals.

Sources said last week that ChemChina’s $43-billion bid for Syngenta could be approved this week but the timing could slip.

Bayer and Monsanto will also be seeking EU approval for their merger.