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The Agri Post

March 29, 2013

US Backing Out of WTO Obligations The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) believes that the proposed rule to modify the labelling provisions for muscle cut commodities under the U.S.’s Country of Origin Labelling program, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will not result in COOL complying with the U.S.’s World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. In the CCA’s view, the USDA’s proposed rule, if adopted, will in fact increase the discrimination against imported cattle by adding labelling requirements and eliminating some of the existing mitigating flexibility, thereby significantly increasing the costs of compliance. The net result is a rule that not only does not comply with the WTO Appellate Body’s findings but will also violate WTO provisions. It appears the USDA is pushing this rule through with a shortened comment period in order to implement something, regardless of how ill conceived, before the WTO May 23 deadline for compliance. This tactic not only increases the discrimination against imported livestock, but also creates additional process and delay at the WTO. The proposal described in USDA’s press release sounds very similar to the regulation initially proposed by USDA in 2002 that was never implemented because of the enormous cost to the U.S. packing and livestock production sectors. If implemented, this proposal will degrade the competitiveness of the U.S. meat industry and undoubtedly result in the elimination of thousands of American jobs. “Our Government is extremely disappointed with the proposed regulatory changes put forward by the United States with respect to Country of Origin Labelling,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a statement. “We do not believe that the proposed changes will bring the United States into compliance with its WTO obligations. Our Government will consider all options, including retaliatory measures, should the U.S. not achieve compliance by May 23 as mandated by the WTO.”

Altona Oat Plant Now “Buffalo Creek Mills” By Elmer Heinrichs A defunct bean processing plant at Altona which was purchased by two Plum Coulee men before year end, may soon be dehulling oats for the market, said Frank Reimer, who also operates Global Grains at Plum Coulee. This operation could provide a substantial opportunity for farmers, said Reimer, noting that they are looking at contracting up to 15,000 acres to supply their need for oats. Our plan is to dehull oats for oat groats and stabilize the oats so they won’t spoil for use in a variety of products, both for livestock and for human consumption, said the co-owner. It’ll be a premium market since we need oat groats grown from crop grown on land not cropped to wheat or barley, since our product needs to be gluten free. Since farmers will need to store part of the crop for some time, we will have to account for storage in our contract price. Reimer, who is just back from a trip to Mexico, said he met with two buyers who are ready to take a substantial quantity of oat groats each month. Reimer added that some farmers have already inquired and expressed an interest in growing for the plant but, of course, we will need to contract for thousands of acres here in Manitoba. Testing of equipment has begun and we should be crushing oats for the market very soon. The plant has also been given a new name. The new oat processing business just north of Altona in the failed Sunbelt bean plant building will be known as ‘Buffalo Creek Mills’. Reimer, along with area farmer Edwin Guenther, acquired the plant in December, and they expect to begin marketing processed oats to the human and bird food markets in two months or so. The 25,000 square foot warehouse and office facility was designed to function as a bean and lentil processing and packaging facility. Sunbelt Development Group, which included the Towns of Altona, Gretna and Plum Coulee, as well as the RM of Rhineland, invested in Sunbelt Prairie Products by providing $3.2 million in financing for the plant, which was to be operated by Sweden-based Amanat Nawaz Rice AB. Construction took place in 2008 and 2009, but Sunbelt Prairie Products entered receivership in November 2009, before any processing occurred. Access Credit Union (ACU) took over in March of 2011, after the Sunbelt Development Group failed to meet its mortgage obligations. Reimer and Guenther purchased it from ACU in December.

Check YYour our Sub Sub--Trade’s Insurance Let’s say for a moment that you have a business and you rent out a portion of your business building to another business. Now, you hire a sub-trade to do some work in this building and they start a fire. Tenants may be injured while escaping from the fire, the building may be damaged and your business could be shut down or relocated which leaves you with loss of income and/or added expenses. Your tenants may also have to do business elsewhere, which may leave them with loss of revenue. The contents of your building would be damaged and the building next to yours could suffer damage. If the sub-trade is adequately insured, their insurance policy may respond to all of these claims. If this sub-trade does not carry insurance and has no other resources, you may be held responsible for all of the losses. Your insurance policy may cover these losses but you would still be responsible for your deductibles and there is the risk of your renewal premium increasing at renewal. If you did not buy adequate insurance, you would have to cover the uninsured losses on your own and you could suffer poor PR with your clients. For example, lack of service or a customer is injured. All of this is irrespective of whether or not you are the negligent party. The above scenario could put you into bankruptcy. What can you do? - Only, hire contractors or sub-trades that have insurance. - Request Certificates of Insurance to confirm insurance coverage and limit. - Implement a system to track and verify these certificates. - Set minimum standards for coverage and limits carried by the certificate providers. Hiring capable people and having appropriate processes in place to obtain and verify insurance certificates is your best defence. Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business! Andy Anderson is an Associate Insurance Broker specializing in General, Life and Group Benefits for Farm, Commercial/Agri-business Ph: 204-746-5589 Tf: 866 765 3351 / /

AgriPost March 29 2013  

Manitoba agriculture news and features