Ag Minister announces funding for tracking livestock.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced 20 million dollars to track livestock from grocery stores around the world back to Canadian farms.
Ritz says the move will help to restore global confidence in Canadian meat -- confidence that recently took a hit due to H-1-N-1 flu concerns.
The announcement of the Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative came at the end of last week's meeting between federal, provincial and territorial agriculture leaders.
Ritz says the traceability initiative will increase Canada's competitiveness in the global livestock trade -- especially in emerging Asian markets -- where countries are demanding such measures.
Canadian farmers are skeptical that a 20 million dollar federal investment to track livestock from grocery stores around the world back to Canadian farms will help beleaguered producers.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz unveiled the Livestock Auction Traceability Initiative at the end of a meeting between federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers.
Ritz says the move will help to restore global confidence in Canadian meat -- confidence that recently took a hit due to swine flu concerns.
But the National Farmers Union says the initiative will do nothing to increase farmers' profits because it doesn't include labelling regulations, yet will be more time-consuming and create more paperwork.
The Grain Growers of Canada is praising a new funding program from Ottawa.
The government will put 13 million dollars towards eliminating a devastating strain of wheat rust known as U-G-99.
The disease consists of spores from the fungus that attach themselves to wheat stalks and take over a plant's nutrient and water system.
Farmers have been able to keep the fungus at bay since the 1950's, but a recent outbreak is causing some concern.
A new report paints a bleak picture for the agricultural sector.
A monthly survey by Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses ranks agriculture as one of the most troubled industries in the country.
The federation blames problems in the livestock sector and drought conditions.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is welcoming the government's decision to take South Korea to the world trade body over that country's refusal to accept imports of Canadian beef.
South Korea banned imports of Canadian beef in May 2003 after a case of Mad Cow disease had been discovered.
That ended a 50 million dollar export market that was Canada's fourth largest in the world.
Since, the World Organization for Animal Health has twice categorized Canada as a "controlled risk'' country for the disease clearing it as a safe trade location.
The government says South Korea's ban on Canadian beef is not based on relevant international standards or on science.
The Chair of the Canadian Pork Council is optimistic Ottawa will adopt a comprehensive strategy to rejuvenate the depressed hog sector.
Jurgen Preugschas says the 5 year plan includes a 100 million dollar payment plan for producers to get out of the pork industry.
The program would pay 500 dollars per sow, but would be limited to a maximum of 200 thousand head in Canada.
So far, he says, the federal government appears interested in the strategy.
The strategy also includes several federal loan programs to ensure a viable pork industry recovers from depressed prices.
The National Farmers Union is concerned about changes to the variety registration system.
It's a protocol requiring seed companies to go through vigorous tests to ensure new products are efficient and meet certain standards.
However, new regulations create new options for seed testing to be fast-tracked with fewer restrictions.
The N-F-U says the move caters to the sales agendas of seed companies and the consequences for market loss could be huge.