Farm stories for Thursday.
Canadian Cattlemens Association president Brad Wildeman says resumption of beef exports to Saudi Arabia is a good in-road into the Middle East for Canada.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz made the announcement today following a meeting with Saudi officials in Riyadh.
The agreement re-opens the market for Canadian boneless beef exports from cattle under-thirty-months.
Canada and Saudi Arabia are continuing extensive talks with the goal of full market access.
The Canada Beef Export Federation estimates that full market access to Saudi Arabia would allow Canadian beef exporters to re-establish previous export levels worth nearly six million dollars.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says he's not overly concerned about new figures on livestock inventory in Canada.
The agency says there's a six per cent decline in the Canadian beef herd and a 10 per cent decline in hog numbers.
Ritz notes even with the decline, beef numbers are still higher than historic figures.
The federal government is investing 5.3 million dollars in a BioPotato Network that will work to develop and harness new markets for potato farmers.
The network will focus on five areas -- value-added uses for the potato, health and pharmaceutical products, dietary properties, potato-based plastics and insect control.
The research will help generate new jobs for Canadians, create new health benefits for Canadians, and produce a new generation of more environmentally-friendly plastics.
Across Canada, the potato industry is worth nearly six billion dollars to the national economy and creates more than 30-thousand jobs, mostly in rural areas.
Despite a 45 per cent drop in its quarterly profits, Deere and Company says agricultural equipment sales jumped 18 per cent.
C-E-O Robert Lane says demand for large farming machinery has held up, largely due to the sound financial health of the U-S agriculture industry.
The company, known for its green-and-yellow tractors and combines, says it expects net income of about 1.5 billion dollars for 2009.
But that is below its November forecast of 1.9 billion dollars.
A new farm safety study from Farm Credit Canada says farmers' biggest precaution is for children on the farm.
Child safety is the number-one measure most practised, followed by safe equipment and livestock handling.
However, only half those surveyed say they order additional safety options like ladders and monitors.
Two-thirds of the farmers say they regularly work when tired and only one third manage stress, both of which increase the chance of injury.
Respondents also say they take shortcuts to get the job done.
The U-N's Food and Agriculture Organization is worried about a smaller grain crop this year around the world.
It says smaller plantings and adverse weather look likely to bring grain production down in most of the worlds major producing countries.
Conditions are generally favourable for winter wheat throughout Europe and the U-S.
However, seeded area in these countries has declined, reflecting the prospect of sharply reduced returns and high input costs.
In low-income food-deficit countries, early prospects this year point to lower crop output.
Prolonged dry weather is hurting wheat prospects in Asia, with almost half of China's winter wheat area suffering from severe drought.
Precipitation is also inadequate in India and the corn crop is projected to be smaller in Africa.
Much will depend on the rice crop yet to be planted in Asia.
In South America, drought cut wheat production in half in Argentina last year and persistent dry weather is hurting prospects for this year.