Friday, January 31, 2014

Senate balks on TPP trade talks

The Senate is balking at President Barrack Obama’s request for fast-track status for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

"I'm against fast track," Senate Speaker Harry Reid, who controls the floor schedule in the chamber, said this week.
"Everyone knows how I feel about this... And I think everyone would be well advised just to not push this right now."

Reid and Obama are normally allies because both are Democrats.

This glitch will, no doubt, be welcomed by Canada’s quota-holding dairy and poultry farmers, but be worrisome for Canada’s grain and meat exporters.

Fast-track status means the Senate would either have to approve or defeat whatever deal is negotiated as a complete package. Without fast-track status, Senators could cherry-pick the deal to vote for or against specific details.


Most trading partners will refuse to negotiate with the U.S. if it’s not being done under fast-track status.

Auto jobs trump farming in Ontario

The Ontario government is lobbying the federal government to protect auto-industry jobs in the revived trade negotiations with South Korea.

That, however, is precisely what has stalled a deal that is keenly sought by Canada’s beef and hog farmers who believe there is a ready market in South Korea for their meat.

The South Koreans have insisted all along that they need improved access to the Canadian market for their cars, else there will be no deal.

Premier and Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne has been silent on the trade talks, but Eric Hoskins, her Minister of Economic Development, has warned that a deal with South Korea “may actually be quite challenging and problematic and negatively impact the sector in Ontario and Canada.”


But federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is urging negotiators to press hard for a deal. 

Hoskins says the federal government ought to seek the same auto-industry protections as the U.S. gained in its 2011 trade agreement with South Korea. He said the U.S. gained concessions for Michigan-based auto manufacturers.

Cold weather increases PED outbreaks

As predicted, cold winter weather has increased the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, especially in Iowa.

Ontario got its first four cases, but the U.S. added outbreaks at 215 farms last week, the most since the virus first showed up in Illinois in April.

It’s believed to have come from China.

The recent jump puts the total number of confirmed cases at 2,692 in 23 states as of the week ended Jan. 25, according to USDA data (available for download here). Of those, 1,006, or some 40 percent, were confirmed in Iowa.

Ontario industry officials are optimistic that tight biosecurity will keep the virus from spreading as it has in Iowa and North Carolina.

The focus now is on trucks and truckers to ensure they have been cleansed of manure which carries the virus.

Hog farmers have been cautioned to insist that any livestock-hauling truck that comes on their farm has been thoroughly cleaned, washed, disinfected and dried.

They are also advised to have drivers stay in the cab of their truck while pigs are loaded to go to market to prevent any virus that may be clinging to their boots or clothing from coming into their barns.

Those precautions become all the more important now that PED virus has been confirmed at a hog assembly yard and a packing plant.

Another key precaution is ensuring that trucks that pick up deadstock are kept away from the hog barn and that there is no cross-contamination from where these trucks have traveled on the farm during deadstock pickup.


Complete biosecurity details are posted on the websites of the Ontario Pork marketing board and the Ontario Pork Industry Council.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Harper woos the Jewish vote

I find it curious that Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to think he can woo the vote of Jews in Canada by going to Israel where he declared strong support for the government.

What's curious to me is that this same Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to either not know, or not care, that Jews in Toronto and most of Southwestern Ontario can no longer buy Ontario-grown, Ontario-processed kosher chicken.

Harper certainly has the clout to address this grievance.

His government appoints the members of the Farm Products Council of Canada which directly supervises the national chicken marketing agency.

It's the agency that is refusing to grant the production rights requested by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board so its quota-holding members can grow enough chickens to satisfy the processors who want to meet the demand for kosher chicken.

It is, Prime Minister Harper, simply not kosher to allow this injustice to continue.

And if and when Harper does finally decide that this issue deserves his attention, I hope he also notices that the same thing is being done to the people of Asian descent who are unable to buy Ontario-grown, Ontario-processed Hong Kong dressed (i.e. head and feet left on) chickens. The same thing by the same people!

I hope he gets around to redressing that injustice before he jets off to Asia in hopes of wooing Canadian voters of Asian descent.


Black threatens to sue chicken industry and governments

Glenn Black of Providence Bay, Ont., has threatened a lawsuit against the Ontario chicken marketing board, the national chicken marketing agency and federal and provincial governments.

He claims the way they have run marketing boards has gouged the public and hurt small-flock owners. Black runs a blog for Canadian Small Flockers which speaks for thousands of people who keep chickens for meat and egg production.

Black and the members of the organization have been seeking an increase from 300 to 2,500 birds that Ontario people can raise every year without having to buy quota which is the instrument the marketing boards use to restrict production so they can charge prices that are roughly three times as high as in the United States.

Quota for the minimum-scale farm the Ontario marketing board will allow costs about $1 million.

Black has outlined the case he will try to establish in court if the marketing boards and governments refuse to act on a long list of issues he has been raising.

In his claim for damages, he notes that the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission ruled last summer that the Ontario chicken marketing board has inflated prices by claiming it takes more feed than is actually required to raise chickens.

The commission ordered the marketing board to reduce its feed conversion ratio (the amount of feed required to grow a kilogram of chicken) by 16.3 per cent.

Black says he became aware of that inflation of costs and prices in March; the price rollback came in August.

He says the inflated prices lasted 10 years and calculates that increased costs for Canadians by $318.55 per person.

He also notes that even the current feed conversion ratio the Ontario chicken board is using (1.82 kilograms of feed per kilogram of bird weight) is 18 per cent more than the New Zealand chicken industry where the feed conversion ratio averages 1.38.

Black alleges that the federal and provincial government have failed in their duty to adequately supervise the Ontario chicken board and the national marketing agency and that the national agency and Ontario board have abused their powers and have violated the public’s constitutional rights.


Black is awaiting responses from the accused before deciding whether to pursue the lawsuit.

Dutch seize 690 tonnes of horsemeat

Dutch officials have seized 690 tonnes of meat labeled as beef, but either adulterated with horsemeat or is entirely horse meat.

The company is also under investigation for sales between Jan. 1, 2012 and Jan. 23 this year, which is when the meat was seized.

The meat that was seized is in refrigerators and freezers and the authorities say they seized it so they can conduct a thorough investigation.

Reporters have not yet been able to track down the identity of the company.

Last year it became a huge scandal that spread across Europe after horsemeat labeled as beef first turned up in Ireland, then other countries.

Much of that scandal was traced to meat-industry companies in France, Poland and Belgium.

That scandal shook the confidence of consumers in not only the integrity of meat supplies, but also food safety.


Authorities insisted throughout that scandal that food safety was not an issue. How they determined that when they had been unable to detect fraud has not been explained.

Genetic tinkering holds new promise

Genetic researchers are pursuing a new avenue to rid farms of insects and weeds that curtail crop production – RNA interference.

The genetic technique shuts down a gene that the insect or weed needs to survive.

Because researchers select a gene that only shows up in that specific insect or weed, they believe it will pose no threat to anything else.

Monsanto is researching the technology to tackle corn root worms.

Its approach is to develop corn hybrids that contain the gene-silencing RNA; it does its work when the beetle stage of corn rootworms munch on the genetically-modified corn plant.

The science behind this research earned the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2006 and at the time was considered a breakthrough for human medicine.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has convened a meeting of scientists this week to ponder the risks and benefits of applying the technology to farming.

Advocates say it’s the best thing since the discovery of pesticides. Others worry that we don’t know enough so could be unleashing technology that will cause great harm.

“To attempt to use this technology at this current stage of understanding would be more na├»ve than our use of DDT in the 1950s,” the National Honey Bee Advisory Board said in comments submitted to the E.P.A. before the meeting, at the agency’s conference center in Arlington, Va.

While DDT proved effective, it also had a broader impact than intended and harmed beneficial species, such as birds.


“If you use a neuro-poison, it kills everything,” said Subba Reddy Palli, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky who is researching the technology, which is called RNA interference. “But this one is very target-specific.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Now there are four

There are now four farms in Ontario that have outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

Two are in Chatham-Kent, one in Middlesex and one in Norfolk counties.

The two in Chatham-Kent are weaner to finisher operations. The other two are farrow to finish operations.

The federal and provincial governments are teaming up to provide funding for biosecurity initiatives, such as developing on-farm composting and additional truck-cleaning, washing and disinfecting centres.

Ontario is also increasing sampling and testing for the virus and is implementing biosecurity measures at packing plants so trucks and truckers don't carry virus in manure back to farms.

The Ontario Pork marketing board and the Ontario Pork Industry Council have posted detailed biosecurity information on their websites and have hosted several telephone conferences which have involved hundreds of participants.

Veterinarians have provided up-to-date information and advice and producers have been able to ask questions.

The events of the past week confirm the warning veterinarians and leading industry officials have been sounding: that the virus is widespread in the United States and more likely to spread during the cold of winter.

Ritz strikes out

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz struck out today as Congress voted approval of a new five-year Farm Bill without any changes to Country-of-Origin Labeling regulations.

Ritz and Trade Minister Ed Fast both called for politicians to include provisions to either amend or drop COOL so it has less impact on prices for Canadian hogs and cattle.

And they threatened trade retaliation, even a trade war, if the U.S. politicians fail to back down on COOL.

It's a lot of bluff, bluster and hot air that surely must do nothing to win friends and influence politicians in Washington.

So that leaves Ritz and Fast and the Canadian hog and beef producers hoping that the World Trade Organization will agree once again that the amended COOL regulations violate the trade treaty the U.S. signed.

It's not a slam dunk for Canada and Mexico because the new COOL regulations apply to labelling of all meat marketed through retail outlets in the U.S. - meat that is from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. as well as ones that are born or raised in Canada or Mexico.

That makes it somewhat challenging to prove that the regulations discriminate against meat from animals born outside the U.S. Sure, we think it does, but when it comes to a "court case," it's always a bit of a crap shoot.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ontario hog industry urged to step up biosecurity

The Ontario hog and pork industry is being urged to step up biosecurity in an effort to contain Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that has now been confirmed at two farms.

It became clear during a teleconference call that PED virus has been showing up on trucks and truckers returning from the United States for some time.

In the words of chief veterinarian Dr. Greg Douglas, environmental testing has revealed that “the pressure on Ontario has been getting stronger and stronger.”

Douglas said that’s why “the farmgate is so important for biosecurity.”

Dr. Marty Misener urged farmers to prepare for tight biosecurity on deadstock removal bins. The pickup truck should stay on one side of the bin and all farm traffic on the other, he said.

There should be no cross-over traffic where the deadstock removal truck has been.

When one of about 350 people on the teleconference call said it’s going to be difficult to find a site for the bin that’s clear of overhead wires, Misener said farmers could consider on-farm composting.

He said that ought to be a high priority for funding from the federal and provincial governments.

Premier and Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne said $2 million is being provided to the Ontario Pork marketing board to step up biosecurity measures, including construction of truck-cleaning and washing facilities.

Misener and Douglas both stressed that farmers ensure that any trucks coming on their farms have been thoroughly cleaned, washed, disinfected and dried.

But that’s clearly going to be impossible right now because there simply aren’t enough facilities in the province.

The Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board, the Ontario Pork Industry Council, Ontario Pork, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ontario Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are all working on protocols to counter PED virus.

One of the high priorities is figuring out a protocol to deal with trucks at packing plants.

With the disease now on Ontario farms, and those hogs being moved to packers, there is a high risk of cross-contamination or that trucks that have carried diseased hogs will move to other hog farms.

Misener said OSHAB hopes to have a protocol for packing plants ready by the end of the week.

There was a report during the conference call that PED virus has shown up at a Quebec packing plant. Douglas said there has been excellent co-operation between Ontario and Quebec.

Misener also said there has been “fabulous” co-operation from the farmer in Middlesex County whose 500-sow herd was the first confirmed with PED virus.

That farmer alerted all of his neighbours, supply and service companies and pork-industry authorities.

Douglas agreed with a farmer who said it would be a good idea to have truckers coming to pick up pigs at the farm stay in their vehicle and for farm staff to deliver the pigs to the truck.

The aim is to ensure one-way traffic to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Misener agreed with another farmer who said he thoroughly washed and disinfected his on-farm delivery chute and sprinkled lime around the area once he learned that the truck that picked up sows at his farm earlier in the day tested positive for PED virus.

Douglas indicated that officials believe they know how the virus arrived at the Middlesex County farm and that it was via “the distribution system” and that environmental sampling has been done at the distribution center.

He said the second outbreak in Chatham-Kent is a weaner-to-finish operation and it is “associated with another farm.”

He said that second outbreak is likely the result of the “general pressure” of PED virus in Ontario.

He confirmed that veterinarians have an obligation under Ontario law to report to his office any suspected outbreak of PED virus.


The province is picking up the tab for PED testing at the laboratory on the University of Guelph campus.

Misener cited two examples of large hog-production companies in the U.S. which have had a high degree of success keeping their barns free of the virus, even in Iowa where there have been more than 800 outbreaks since the virus first showed up in the U.S. in April.

He said those companies are highly focused on biosecurity and are disciplined about following protocols.

Those who want to know how to carry out truck washing, disinfecting and drying in cold weather conditions can find out on the Ontario Pork Industry Council website. It also has a listing of biosecurity measures every hog farmer should be following; that list is also posted on the Ontario Farmer publications website.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New farm bill – finally

A committee of politicians from the House and Senate have agreed on a new five-year Farm Bill for the United States.

They are, however, facing a strong lobbying campaign from ranchers, hog producers and meat packers because the bill does not include a clause to scrap current regulations for Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). Canadians and Mexicans also want COOL scrapped.


Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Trade Minister Ed Fast said "Our government continues to stand with our industry, and we remain steadfast in taking whatever steps may be necessary, including retaliation, to achieve a fair resolution."

The bill features an $8-billion cut in food stamp subsidies and increased crop insurance to replace direct crop subsidies which went mainly to cotton, corn and rice.

The Republicans in the House sought a $39-billion cut in food stamps back in September. This cut is one per cent from the current level of food-stamp funding.

At $500 billion, this Farm Bill is $24 billion lower than it would have cost to continue extending the current Farm Bill which was supposed to end more than a year ago, but was extended when politicians failed to negotiate a compromise.

This committee agreement still needs approval from the full House and the Senate; that should be done by the end of next week. Then it will go to President Obama who is likely to sign it. If he doesn’t, it will need a two-thirds majority of politicians to over-ride Obama.

"We are so close to having a new bill that we need to concentrate on getting it done," said Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who is a member of the farm bill conference committee. "This is basically a sound, balanced, bipartisan bill."

Nonetheless the vehemence of the anger expressed by major beef, pork, and poultry lobbies left the House Republican leadership edgy, reported Politico, an on-line news outlet.

 “There’s a lot of froth,” said one aide, and much of that anger was aimed at Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan.

“We’re opposed to the bill and Debbie Stabenow is to blame. She’s the one who said no,” said Colin Woodall, a vice president for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

When a reporter suggested the cattlemen would be “breaking [Lucas’] heart” if it took down the farm bill, Woodall didn’t back away. “We’re going to work it hard,” he said.

The NCBF, the American Meat Institute and several poultry and pork lobbies sent a letter to politicians warning they will “actively oppose” final passage if their issues are not addressed.

                                  



Potato saver nearing market

A corn protein extract is showing promise as a commercial solution to the browning of peeled potatoes.

Wellington Agribusiness Investments Ltd. of Guelph has already run through tests at the Richardson Institute of Food Technology at Conestoga College in Kitchener and says it is “in the last stage before full commercial testing of Potato Saver.”

They see it as an alternative to shipping peeled potatoes in buckets of water.

Their product keeps peeled potatoes from browning for 12 to 15 days when the potatoes are kept in a vacuum bag and refrigerated.

The company says in a news release that “the microbial levels in the vacuum bags were within acceptable industry standards throughout the storage life of the potatoes.”

The project has received funding support fro the federal agriculture department via its Agricultural Adaptation Program.


People who are interested in running a trial can contact Warren Libby at 519-841-6357 or Rick Andrews at 519-546-8540.

Another Ontario case of PED virus

Ontario has confirmed a second case of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) and a third is under investigation. Both are in the Chatham-Kent region. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A good children's book

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen,
by Diana Prichard, illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf,
Little Pickle Press,
3701 Scramento St., San Francisco, California, 94118,
30 pages, eight x 11-inch hardcover,

What is a cow doing in Patrick O’Shanahan’s kitchen?
And what are hens doing in his refrigerator?
Providing breakfast, of course.
Diana Prichard is a farmer who wants children to know where their food originates.
“Watching people who have little or no practical knowledge of agriculture dominate our national discourse on food and farming is extremely frustrating,” she says.
“I wanted to contribute a positive and informed message for parents and kids.”
The book shows how milk comes from squeezing a cow’s teat and how eggs are gathered from underneath hens.
Unfortunately, it’s presented in fairy-tale fashion and so I wonder what children actually learn.
I read it to two of my grandchildren, ages three and five. It certainly grabbed their attention.
On subsequent visits to our home, the book passed the litmus test for popularity; when I asked which of dozens of books they wanted me to read, they picked this one. Every time.
Pritchard and Knopf deserve a lot of kudos for creating the book. Rather than simply complaining about urban ignorance about where food comes from, they have done something constructive.
                                 


Friday, January 24, 2014

Bee virus found in California

A rapidly mutating virus has leaped from plants to honeybees, where it is reproducing and contributing to the collapse of colonies vital to the multibillion-dollar agricultural industry, according to a new study.

Reporter Geoffrey Mohan of the Los Angeles Times reports that “tobacco ringspot virus, a pollen-borne pathogen that causes blight in soy crops, was found during routine screening of commercial honeybees at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory, where further study revealed the RNA virus was replicating inside its Apis mellifera hosts and spreading to mites that travel from bee to bee, according to the study published online Tuesday in the journal mBio.”

The discovery is the first report of honeybees becoming infected by a pollen-born RNA virus that spread systematically through the bees and hives. Traces of the virus were detected in every part of the bee examined, except its eyes, according to the study.

The widespread use of neonicotinoid seed treatments has been blamed for the death of a high percentage of honeybees in corn-producing areas of Ontario and across the United States.


The California discovery underlines the point that many farmers have been making that neonicotinoid seed treatments are far from the sole factor in the death of honeybees.

More bungling at CFIA

More bungling has been revealed at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, this time over its handling of organic certifications.

The CFIA tests organic produce for pesticide residues and says it shares the results with the organizations that certify organic growers and distributors. The organizations are responsible for policing their ranks and the CFIA accepts its disciplines.

However, the CFIA now admits that it has failed to share its test results with the certifying bodies.

This all came out only because the CBC applied, under Access to Information, for the test results.

After it broadcast its findings that some organic produce has elevated pesticide residues, even in some cases more than is allowed for conventional production, certifying bodies complained that they didn't know.

Duff Conacher, a board member with the Ottawa-based group Democracy Watch, told CBC News the food inspection agency's response is unacceptable. 

"The CFIA officials clearly misled you and they were essentially trying to make it seem like they had taken followup action," Conacher said in an interview. 

"If they mislead the public or the media and get away with it, they are undermining the very integrity of government and undermining, in a very dangerous and unethical way, Canada's democracy." 


This is, of course, far from the first time Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have misled Canadians about issues that arise in their bailiwick.

The food-safety aspects of the CFIA have been taken away from Ritz and deposited with Health Canada.

But where can Harper move responsibility for organic foods?

Or, more like it, where can he move Ritz and find somebody in his ranks who has the wisdom and courage to provide the necessary leadership?

Another 122 PED cases last week in U.S.

The single case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus found near London pales in comparison to the continuing spread across the United States.

Federal officials say 122 more farms were added last week, bringing the total to 2,394 barns in 23 states since the first case was identified in Illinois in April.

Iowa remains the hotbed with 882 cases.

Although the precise source of the London outbreak has not been revealed, it’s almost certain to be a truck or person returning from the United States.


The virus survives longer in cold weather.

WTO COOL hearing Feb. 18 and 19

The World Trade Organization has set Feb. 18 and 19 in Geneva for hearings into Canada’s complaints about the new set of Country-of-Origin labeling (COOL) regulations adopted by the United States late last year.

The WTO ruled that an earlier set of U.S. COOL regulations amounted to an illegal trade barrier to cattle and hogs from Canada and Mexico.

Canadians, Mexicans and U.S. meat packers say the new COOL regulations are even worse, meaning that U.S. buyers face more expensive requirements if they buy livestock born outside of the U.S.

That depresses the price of cattle and hogs in Canada and Mexico.

Canadian hog and cattle farmers have hired companies to determine how much COOL is costing them and the estimates under the previous regulations is more than $1.6 billion a year.

If the WTO rules in Canada’s favour, the U.S. will have an opportunity to change its regulations. If not, the WTO will likely give Canada permission to apply tariffs to U.S. goods.

There are political moves underway in the U.S. to scrap or change the COOL regulations. One is a move from Congress to deny the U.S. Department of Agriculture the money it needs to implement and enforce COOL.


Another initiative is to add a clause to the five-year Farm Bill that has been under negotiation for more than a year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

PED in Middlesex County

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea has arrived in Ontario.

An outbreak on a farm in Middlesex County was confirmed by tests at the Animal Health Laboratory at Guelph the evening of Jan. 22.

Although federal and provincial governments and the hog industry have moved into hyper control mode, I don't think there's any hope that this will be the one and only outbreak of this devastating disease in Ontario this winter.

The chances it will spread are high because the same fools who delivered it from the United States are almost certain to have already spread it elsewhere.

Nobody can claim ignorance about what they needed to do to prevent this from happening because the Ontario Pork Council, the Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board, swine veterinarians and the media have been trumpeting precaution for at least nine months.

Hamilton grain exports increase

Grain exports via Hamilton increased by 13 per cent last year over 2012 and fertilizer imports increased by two per cent.

As the steel industry declines and shipments of grains and fertilizers increase, agriculture is becoming more prominent and important to the city and the Hamilton Port Authority.

Grain exports totaled 1.3 million tonnes of soybeans, canola, wheat and corn, most of it grown by southern Ontario farmers for export to global markets.

“We have seen the Port of Hamilton emerge as a critical link in Ontario’s agricultural economy, and our growing tonnages reflect the value we provide to the hardworking agricultural producers throughout the region,” said Bruce Wood, president and chief executive officer of the Hamilton Port Authority.

An additional 540 rail cars moved in and out of the port last year, bringing the total to more than 3,800 rail cars.
 “We are working closely with our tenants to understand their need for increased rail capacity and storage,” said Wood. 

He said the port is putting infrastructure in place “to allow cargo to move seamlessly between marine, rail and truck, depending on what is most efficient for the customer on a given shipment.

“We’re making sure our customers have access to the right mode, at the right time,” he said.

Among those who have expanded capacity at the port are Bunge International, which has an oilseeds crushing plant, Richardson International and Parrish and Heimbecker Ltd.
             


Saputo rival sells Warnambool shares

Saputo’s rival in the bidding battle for control of Warnambool Cheese & Butter Ltd. of Australia has decided to sell its shares to Saputo.

That will bring Saputo’s ownership to about 75 per cent of the company’s shares.

Rival Murray Goulburn had accumulated 17.7 per cent of the shares and said it’s selling to Saputo for about $93 million Australian.

The sale came right on Saputo’s deadline of Wednesday to accept its offer to buy Warnambool shares for $9.20 Australian to gain more than 50 per cent ownership, $9.40 if it gains 75 per cent or more and $9.60 if it gains more than 90 per cent of the shares.


Saputo wants the Australian company as a launching pad into the Chinese market.

This is really dismal news for Canadians. Our supply management system provides Saputo with a steady flow of profits, but those profits are being invested in Australia.

And supply management also means Canadians have no chance of sharing in the rapidly-increasing dairy sales to China.