AG Notes

Mink producers get cash advance extension

Cash strapped mink producers now have until June 1 to repay their 2013 cash advance in full. The original deadline was Sept. 30.

A major decline in prices has prompted the federal government to announce a national Stay of Default for producers who have a 2013 cash advance on mink pelts given through the Agri-Commodity Management Association, the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture, the Canada Mink Breeders Association, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture and the Fur Farmers of Canada Marketing Association.

Producers also have the option to repay their advances without penalty and at a lower rate than the original advance rate.

Under the program, mink producers can receive cash advances of up to $400,000 on the value of their product. The first $100,000 is interest free in each production year.

Surveillance system tracks honeybee health

The Beekeepers Commission of Alberta is receiving $1 million from the federal government to document the health of honeybee colonies throughout Canada over four years.

The project will record the nature, magnitude and extent of potential diseases, pests, parasites and chemical residues in beehives.

The information will help identify exotic organisms before they establish themselves further.

The commission represents more than 1,300 beekeepers and the production of 60 percent of the honey crop in Canada.

The total value of honey produced in Canada was $176 million last year.

Funding focuses on bioproducts

The Composites Innovation Centre will receive more than $1.9 million from the Manitoba and federal governments to support FibreCITY, North America’s first agriculture fibre grading centre of excellence program.

The centre will receive $715,000 to install equipment particular to the evaluation of fibre crops. It will also develop the world’s first informatics system for agricultural fibre grading.

An additional $1.27 million will help establish a quality testing site for natural fibres used in biomaterial applications and product development projects.

New markets for blueberries

The British Columbia Blueberry Council will receive $117,000 in federal funding to help high-bush blueberry growers market their fruit internationally and increase export sales, particularly in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

B.C. is the top producer and exporter of high-bush blueberries in Canada and the third-largest in the world with exports worth $163 million last year.

Canola growers announce scholarship winners

Five high school students who will be attending the University of Manitoba have been awarded the 2014 Manitoba Canola Grower Scholarship:

Jenilee Dyck from Winkler will study agriculture and food sciences.

Elliott Kiel of Teulon will study agriculture and food sciences.

Sheena Meggison from Goodlands will study agriculture and food sciences.

Bradley Wright of MacGregor will study agriculture and food sciences

Richard Watson from Rossendale will study engineering.

The $1,000 scholarships are available to students who are from a farm that is a member of Manitoba Canola Growers and are planning to attend post secondary education in any field within two years of graduating.

The student applications were judged by an independent panel based on academic standing, canola connection, references, essay submission and school and community involvement.

Boost for chicken

Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan has received $275,000 in federal funding to research disease control in the province’s broiler chicken industry.

The goal is to identify new variants of the avian reovirus and find out how they are transmitted.

The funding will also help determine the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) in field trials. Avian reovirus and IBH are common problems for many broiler producers.

Possible vaccines could potentially lower economic losses in the industry by preventing the disease instead of treating it.

Canada produced chicken products worth $2.4 billion in 2012.

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