[Sust-mar] PEI ADAPT Agri-News

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Wed Aug 6 10:54:37 EDT 2008

Council Agri-Newsletter
Vol. VII; No. 7 August 1, 2008
In This Issue: 
"From Our Atlantic Woods"; Non-timber forest products directory
Championing Public Health Nutrition Policies
Emergency Planning Animal Disease
First Study Finds MRSA in U.S. Pigs
New Research and Technical Bulletins from OACC
Food Is Gold, So Billions Invested in Farming
Rice Scare Gets People Eating Potatoes
Scientists Use Scent to Control Japanese Beetle Populations
Eight Rules of Leadership 
"From Our Atlantic Woods"; Non-timber forest products directory 
The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources is teaming up with 
representatives in all four Atlantic Provinces and the state of Maine to create 
a non-timber forest product (NTFP) directory called, ‘From Our Atlantic Woods,’ 
where you can publish your NTFPs and services for free. What are non-timber 
forest products (NTFPs)? NTFPs are any goods or services derived from the forest 
which do not include conventional wood products such as timber and pulpwood. 
Examples include everything from raw resources like fiddleheads, mushrooms, 
birch bark and fir pitch to value-added products like maple syrup, rose hip 
jelly, berry wine, bent willow furniture and also non-consumptive services such 
as, eco-tourism and guided bird watching tours. 
The goal of the ‘From Our Atlantic Woods’ directory is to facilitate the 
development of a vibrant, diverse and sustainable NTFPs industry in the region. 
The directory, which will include photos, recipes, information on historic and 
modern uses, harvesting information and more will be available online and in a 
printed format. Copies will be distributed at Sobeys outlets, farmers? markets, 
NS-DNR offices, tourism booths, craft fairs and other venues as well as from 
listees? places of business. If you, or someone you know, would like to take 
advantage of this FREE promotional opportunity please contact Sarah d'Apollonia 
at 1-866-226-7577 or email woodlot at gov.ns.ca. Or, if you wish to seek 
additional information on this project, please visit
Championing Public Health Nutrition Policies (Ottawa, October 22-23, 
Health and food-policy experts, policymakers, and journalists from across 
Canada and around the world will explore how to reform public health nutrition 
policies, at the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel; in Ottawa on October 
22-23, 2008.
The conference will look at school foods, nutrition information on labels and 
menus, food taxes, marketing to children, reformulating foods to minimize added 
salt and harmful fats, and much more.
For details and to be notified by e-mail when registration opens later this 
month, visit www.cspinet.org/canada . 
Emergency Planning Animal Disease 
The quicker the response, the quicker the return to normal.
That is the watchword in the agricultural industry when it comes an animal or 
disease outbreak. There are strict protocols that are put in place once the 
presence of a plant or animal disease is officially confirmed. However, valuable 
time can be lost between the initial discovery and diagnosis.
To help bridge that gap, the Chicken Farmers of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Egg 
Producers and the Nova Scotia Turkey Products Marketing Board are developing a 
poultry emergency response operational plan. The effort is being co-ordinated by 
AgraPoint International and Agri-Futures Nova Scotia is contributing $55,578 to 
the project through the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Foods 
A committee chaired by Alex Oderkirk of AgraPoint has been meeting for 
several months developing the plan and the accompanying resource manual. 
Oderkirk, who is co-ordinator for the annual Atlantic poultry conference and a 
director of the Atlantic Poultry Research Institute at Nova Scotia Agricultural 
College, said the key was bring all of the players to the table.
"We have vets, provincial and federal government officials, processors, 
hatcheries, feedmills and producers on our committee," he said. "We want to 
ensure everybody is on the same page."
Oderkirk said the final aim is to have a document that all of the players 
agree will kick into place any time a disease is even suspected. He said the 
group has already developed a draft policy and has conducted several test 
"We are doing some fine-tuning but to some extent this will always be a work 
in progress," Oderkirk said. "What we try to do is increase biosecurity and stop 
the threat from spreading."
In a global marketplace, stopping a threat before it can spread can often 
mean the difference between retaining a market or finding a border sealed shut. 
He said once a finding moves from suspected to confirmed, the the existing 
federal and provincial protocols then kick into place.
Oderkirk said lessening the impact also means the federal and provincial 
governments will have to pay less in compensation and emergency funding 
programs. Oderkirk said the committee members have made a commitment to keep 
meeting on a quarterly basis to address any refinements that might have to be 
made to the document.
He said the plan does not currently cover natural disasters, but added it 
could be easily adapted to cover eventualities like floods, droughts or 
"Obviously, this is something like the insurance on your house or car– you 
hope you will never have to use it." 
First Study Finds MRSA in U.S. Pigs 
Scientists from the University of Iowa have conducted the first test of U.S. 
swine for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA), the bacterium responsible for more U.S. deaths than AIDS. Of 
the 200 pigs the team tested, 70 percent carried a strain of MRSA, ST398, that 
is known to affect humans. The scientists found that almost half of 20 workers 
on local pig
farms carried the same strain of MRSA, suggesting a route to the wider 
community. So far no one has tested MRSA patients in U.S. hospitals to identify 
whether they carry the strain. The federal government is testing meat (but not 
livestock) for MRSA, but hasn't released its results. In the United Kingdom, at 
least three people are known to have contracted the ST398 strain (see article at 
http://ucsaction.org/ct/w7wXLJ4164by/), and experts are speculating that they 
probably contracted it from handling or eating meat. Read more from the Seattle 
Post Intelligencer at http://ucsaction.org/ct/wdwXLJ4164bU/.
"The recent wave of MRSA-related illnesses and deaths among otherwise healthy 
students and athletes is very troubling," said
Margaret Mellon, director of UCS's Food and Environment Program."We need to 
determine as soon as possible whether some of those illnesses and deaths are 
traceable to the overuse of antibiotics on swine farms.".. 
For more information see: here is the blog story: 
and  http://www.webmd.com/news/20071016/more-us-deaths-from-mrsa-than-aids 
New Research and Technical Bulletins from OACC 
The OACC ‘E-Zine’ recently arrived in my email. With numerous reports packed 
into one issue that may have widespread interest among readers of this news 
letter as well. The reports include:
Weed Management for the Transition to Organic Vegetable Production
Transition from Intensive Tillage to No-Tillage and Annual Cropping 
Benefits of No-Tillage & Organic Systems for Grain Production & Soil 
Comparison of Organic & Conventional Systems on Nutrient-Depleted 
Approaches to wireworm control in organic potato production
Nitrogen supply in stockless organic cereal production 
Organic soybean production in Atlantic Canada (PDF, 348 kb)
Helping wheat compete (PDF, 347 kb)
The connections between wheat cultivar choice, breadmaking quality and soil 
microbial communities (PDF, 348 kb)
To view the complete newsletter with these reports and more go to:
Food Is Gold, So Billions Invested in Farming 
By Diana B. Henriques New York Times; Published: June 5, 2008
Huge investment funds have already poured hundreds of billions of dollars 
into booming financial markets for commodities like wheat, corn and 
But a few big private investors are starting to make bolder and longer-term 
bets that the world’s need for food will greatly increase — by buying farmland, 
fertilizer, grain elevators and shipping equipment.
One has bought, Canadian farmland and enough storage space in the Midwest to 
hold millions of bushels of grain. Another is buying more than five dozen grain 
elevators, nearly that many fertilizer distribution outlets and a fleet of 
barges and ships.
And three institutional investors, including the giant BlackRock fund group 
in New York, are separately planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars 
in agriculture, chiefly farmland, from sub-Saharan Africa to the English 
"It’s going on big time," said Brad Cole, president of Cole Partners Asset 
Management in Chicago, which runs a fund of hedge funds focused on natural 
resources. "There is considerable interest in what we call ‘owning structure’ — 
like United States farmland, Argentine farmland, English farmland — wherever the 
profit picture is improving."
These new bets by big investors could bolster food production at a time when 
the world needs more of it.
The investors plan to consolidate small plots of land into more productive 
large ones, to introduce new technology and to provide capital to modernize and 
maintain grain elevators and fertilizer supply depots.
But the long-term implications are less clear. Some traditional players in 
the farm economy, and others who study and shape agriculture policy, say they 
are concerned these newcomers will focus on profits above all else, and not 
share the industry’s commitment to farming through good times and bad.
"Farmland can be a bubble just like Florida real estate," said Jeffrey 
Hainline, president of Advance Trading, a 28-year-old commodity brokerage firm 
and consulting service in Bloomington, Ill. "The cycle of getting in and out 
would be very volatile and disruptive."
By owning land and other parts of the agricultural business, these new 
investors are freed from rules aimed at curbing the number of speculative bets 
that they and other financial investors can make in commodity markets. "I just 
wonder if they need some sheep’s clothing to put on," Mr. Hainline said.
Mark Lapolla, an adviser to institutional investors, is also a bit wary of 
the potential disruption this new money could cause. "It is important to ask 
whether these financial investors want to actually operate the means of 
production — or simply want to have a direct link into the physical supply of 
commodities and thereby reduce the risk of their speculation," he said.
Grain elevators, especially, could give these investors new ways to make 
money, because they can buy or sell the actual bushels of corn or soybeans, 
rather than buying and selling financial derivatives that are linked to those 
When crop prices are climbing, holding inventory for future sale can yield 
higher profits than selling to meet current demand, for example. Or if prices 
diverge in different parts of the world, inventory can be shipped to the more 
profitable market.
"It’s a huge disadvantage to not be able to trade the physical commodity," 
said Andrew J. Redleaf, founder of Whitebox Advisors, a hedge fund management 
firm in Minneapolis.
Mr. Redleaf bought several large grain elevator complexes from ConAgra and 
Cargill last year for a long-term stake in what he sees as a high-growth 
business. The elevators can store 36 million bushels of grain.
"We discovered that our lease customers, major food company types, are really 
happy to see us, because they are apt to see Cargill and ConAgra as 
competitors," he said.
The executives making such bets say that fears about their new role are 
unfounded, and that their investments will be a plus for farming and, 
ultimately, for consumers.
"The world is asking for more food, more energy. You see a huge demand," said 
Axel Hinsch, chief executive of Calyx Agro, a division of the giant Louis 
Dreyfus Commodities, which is buying tens of thousands of acres of cropland in 
Brazil with the backing of big institutional investors, including AIG 
Rice Scare Gets People Eating Potatoes
By Haim Bior
The expectation of higher rice prices has generated a jump in potato 
consumption. Several grocery chains confirm that potato purchases are up.
David Levy, CEO of the Kama district industries, there is customarily a 
period of stability with a tendency for potato prices to drop after the Passover 
holiday. This year has been different. Wholesale prices of potatoes sold to 
grocery chains and markets have shot up 10% since the holiday ended this 
"The soaring price of rice has discouraged many consumers from buying this 
product, and encouraged consumption of potatoes, whose price (NIS 5 per kilo) 
has remained stable for many months," Levy said.
Willy Food CEO Yossi Williger said that rice consumption in Israel was down 
3% last week compared to the week before. The rising price of rice, he said, is 
expected to be curbed. "There is no reason not to buy any quantity of rice from 
a rice-producing country, especially Thailand. No substantial shortage is 
expected, and the price of this product is expected to increase only 
moderately," Williger said. "There has also been no hoarding of rice by 
importers or traders, because news of the crisis came suddenly. By the end of 
2009 or early 2009, the price of rice will even drop, because farmers in Asia 
will increase their cultivated acreage with the recent rise."
The director of the Agricultural Research Organization (Volcani Center), 
Professor Yitzhak Spiegel, agrees that the price of rice, which has increased 
because of the involvement of speculators, is expected to drop. "The fear of a 
shortage of rice is artificial. Within a year or two the problem will be solved, 
when governments ensure the flow of water in countries that are suffering from a 
lack of water," says Spiegel. The Agricultural Research Organization is 
currently preparing a strategic plan, he added, that will provide a solution to 
a possible shortage of food in Israel and other countries. 
Scientists Use Scent to Control Japanese Beetle Populations 
Chemical ecologists at UC Davis have been studying an enzyme from the 
Japanese beetle that could aid us in "controlling the invasive pest that has 
threatened U.S. agriculture since 1916." Researchers examined the method by 
which male beetles find female beetles to mate. When the male instead picks up 
the odor of a female of a different species, he is rendered unable to detect 
females of his own species. Scientists hope that this discovery will give humans 
the ability to control the population of the pest. 
For full Story see:http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/news/pnaspaperlealishida.html  
 Eight Rules of Leadership 
Source: Wikipedia1. Be a visionary. 
In today’s information-rich world, people will not follow arbitrary 
directions given by authority. We will instead follow a cause, a dream, a vision 
that is compelling. Don’t just give us direction, give us inspiration, and we 
will be your agents of change. That was how Washington was able to lead his 
troops when Congress did not have money to pay them. His troops weren’t soldiers 
for hire, but rather they were revolutionaries for a better 
2. Do what you say and say what you mean. 
"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I 
consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an Honest Man." 
Washington was held in the highest regards by his fellow politicians and was the 
only President to ever be elected unanimously. He was among many great 
politicians during that time, but Washington stood out from the rest because of 
his integrity.
3. Don’t make decisions based on popularity; base them on principles. 
According to Mark McNeilly, author of George Washington and the Art of 
Business, Washington "always put the country first. People could trust him to 
stand above the politics, stand above the fray, and keep the interests of the 
country in mind." Make sure your decisions stand the test of 
4. Be a keen observer. 
Washington first made his mark in the world by being a geographer. His 
curiosity with the uncharted regions in Virginia led to his first missions in 
the military, and eventually gave him tactical advantage as an officer. Good 
leaders must be aware of the environment in order to to adjust strategies 
5. Be balanced. 
At that time, you had to choose sides. Either you were a Federalist - one who 
agreed with Alexander Hamilton and believed in a strong central government, or 
you were a Jeffersonian - one who agreed with Thomas Jefferson and believed in a 
smaller central government. Although he had his opinions, Washington did not 
choose sides and decided to have both Hamilton and Jefferson as part of his 
government. To be a good leader, you must understand the merits of both 
6. Foster relationships. 
I get by with a little help from my friends. The Beatles may have sung these 
words about 200 years later, but Washington probably said this as well when 
talking about France. Without the help of the French Navy, the British would 
have likely won the war. Great leaders know how their party affects the others, 
and such leaders constantly reach beyond their specific areas of 
7. Learn from your defeats. 
General Washington only won three of his nine battles. He was persistent and 
continued battling and learned from his mistakes, which prepared him for the 
third and most important victory, the Battle of Yorktown. It was the last major 
battle before the end of the war, thus illustrating that defeat is merely a 
set-up for the more important victories in the future.
8. Be humble. 
    You are not greater than the cause that you represent. 
Washington was elected for                         two straight terms and would have easily won his third, but he felt that too much power                     would have been rested on him. He walked away from power for the good of the                             country.  If you want to be a true leader, know the 
difference between benefitting                             yourself versus benefitting the greater good. 

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