Country 105

Country 105

Agriculture Report

Take a computer farm tour


New website for virtual farm tours.


The Ontario Farm Animal Council has launched a new website that offers virtual farm tours.

Spokeswoman Crystal McKay says most Canadians live in cities and know relatively little about farming -- but farmers are now using the Internet to bridge the gap.

She says the site -- located at -- provides information about Canadian food and farming.

McKay says the intent is to strengthen Canadians appreciation of farmers and build their confidence in the food that is produced.


The Canada Beef Export Federation has set a goal of reducing dependence on the U-S market by having it account for only 50 to 65 per cent of beef exports by 2015.

President Ted Haney says that can be done by increasing sales to Asia, Mexico, Russia and -- to a lesser degree -- the Middle East and North Africa.

There is still the challenge of reopening the South Korean and Chinese markets.

Both have been closed to Canadian beef since mad cow disease was first discovered in May 2003.


The Canadian Wheat Board says it needs to set the record straight on losses in its contingency fund.

Wheat Board Minister Gerry Ritz wants the auditor general to take a look at losses of 130 million dollars in the last 2 years.

Board C-E-O Ian White says the loss has not come out of farmers' pockets.

He says producers who were involved in various payment programs received exactly the amount they contracted.


Livestock producers likely won't be surprised to hear hog and cattle herds have fallen across the Prairies.

There were only 2.68 million hogs on Manitoba farmers this past January compared to 2.81 million a year earlier.

Stats Canada says the number of cattle fell from 1.35 million to 1.28 million.

The situation is similar in Saskatchewan where the livestock inventory dropped seven per cent.

Alberta and Ontario also saw a decline in the number of beef cattle.


Viterra is hoping a new variety of canola will push the area seeded to the oilseed further into the southern Saskatchewan grain belt.

This is the first growing season for a variety called Xceed.

Spokesperson Doug Knight says he has enough seed supply for 100-thousand acres.


A small squirt of blood may soon be enough to confirm the genetic signs of mad cow disease long before an animal begins to show symptoms.

B-S-E can lurk undetected in a cow for years before the animal suddenly begins to show the disoriented, shaky behaviour that's followed fairly quickly by death.

Right now, the only way to confirm that an animal has been infected is by testing its brain after death.

But University of Calgary researchers say they've figured out how to test the blood of infected animals while they're still alive.

They scrutinized hundreds of thousands of gene sequences in elk -- compared them with the D-N-A in the blood of healthy elk -- and found tiny differences that popped up only in the sick animals.


Many Connecticut dairy farmers say they worry that proposed new state rules on raw milk could put them out of business.

The state Department of Agriculture wants more stringent warnings on containers of unpasteurized milk, more testing and limits on where the product can be sold.

Officials say it's intended to better inform consumers about the risks of drinking raw milk -- and to help consumers avoid accidentally buying it if they think they are buying pasteurized milk.


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