Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Cows Making More Milk

Keeping cows healthy and happy pays off for Pennsylvania farmers
Monday, September 29, 2008

University Park, Pa. — For more than six years, Bradford County dairy producer Glen Gorrell has relied on Penn State Extension to help him run a profitable business. Through Extension's Dairy Alliance program, Gorell has long benefited from useful tips on labor management and financial stewardship at his Smithfield dairy. Over the past year, though, Penn State has helped increase Gorell's bottom line in a new way — by helping him keep his 570 dairy cows healthier and more productive.

"Our cows weren't producing as much as we wanted them to," said Gorrell, looking back to last year's numbers. "Our production had peaked."

Looking for a remedy, in July and August of 2007, Gorell worked with Penn State's nutrient management specialist Ginny Ishler, and Gabriella Varga, distinguished professor of animal science, to evaluate how he was feeding his animals.

By carefully considering size and placement of areas for rest, feeding, watering, ventilation and heat stress reduction, Barley was able to realize exceptional stall acceptance and use at Star Rock Dairy, making him (and his cows) happier.

"I would like to tell you they laugh and smile," McFarland joked, "but they 'show' us how happy they are by being healthy, reproducing and producing milk efficiently, and staying in the herd a long time." Read More

Often times when anti-ag groups are talking about livestock they like to say that producers treat them like units rather than animals. Regardless of how many animals an operation has, you can still treat them well and this article is a great example of why producers treat their animals well. Well cared for animals will produce better. Producers have every incentive in the world to make sure their livestock are as comfortable and content as possible. These activists just can’t seem to wrap themselves around the idea that the success of the producer and the success of the animal are one in the same.

Public Lands Grazing Debate

Civil rights case over Idaho grazing can advance
By JOHN MILLER 09.29.08, 11:37 AM ET

BOISE, Idaho -
A Washington state businessman and environmentalist, the high bidder on six Idaho grazing leases in 2006, can proceed with his federal civil rights lawsuit against state officials after they awarded the leases instead to ranchers, who had offered less money in a competitive auction.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Gordon Younger, a Seattle packaging business owner and head of Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. against Lt. Gov. Jim Risch and four other members of the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners. Their Aug. 8, 2006 decision gave the 10-year leases to the second-highest bidders.

Younger is a contributor to the Western Watersheds Project, a group seeking to end grazing on public land in the Rocky Mountains on grounds it damages the environment. Read More

There are several groups that have been trying to eliminate grazing on public lands for some time now. The Sierra Club, for example, has been lobbying to force the federal government to accept lower bids if the land will instead be “restored”. Groups like these see absolutely no benefit to grazing. This land belongs to the American public and what better way to utilize it than to grow food for them.

Utilizing Our Own Trees

Tree farming cuts down greenhouse gases
Monday, September 29 4:47 p.m.

In many circles these days, it's fashionable to criticize forestry. Critics say tree farming, cutting trees and salvaging logs for lumber, paper and thousands of other products we need every day are bad practices and clearly harmful to the environment. They are wrong.

Washington has a long tradition of tree farming. In fact, the nation's first tree farm was designated near Montesano in 1941, and since then, the American Tree Farm System has grown to 65,000 family woodland owners managing 26 million acres of forests. These families make their living by growing, managing, harvesting and replanting trees, which in turn provide wildlife habitats, protect water quality and freshen the air we breathe. If these owners are not good environmental stewards, they fail as farmers.

In a day when we are all concerned about climate change, well-managed working forests improve the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and producing oxygen. That CO2 is locked in the trees and surrounding soil, a so-called carbon sink. And researchers have found that younger, faster growing trees and trees in thinned forests metabolize CO2 rapidly. Read More

With doomsday reports being thrown at us daily about the shortages of everything from oil to food, one thing we don’t have a shortage of in this country is trees. Trees are growing faster than we are cutting them down. This makes trees one of our greatest renewable resources. However, there are people trying to tell us all of the horrors of cutting down a tree. In fact their message was told enough that we now import much of the lumber we use in the United States. This abundant natural resource should be utilized instead of heading down the path of energy where we depend on someone else for our needs.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pigs Helping Kids

Researchers Develop Pig Model for Cystic Fibrosis
Now they can track disease progression as it happens, something not possible in humans
Posted September 26, 2008

FRIDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they have developed a model for cystic fibrosis (CF) in piglets that may help improve understanding of the disease in human infants and help in the discovery of new treatments.

The finding, by researchers at the University of Iowa and the University of Missouri, was published in the Sept. 26 issue of Science.

Cystic fibrosis, a common hereditary disease, affects multiple organ systems, including the intestines, pancreas and lungs. A primary cause of death and disability in these patients is lung disease. Researchers have previously studied mice with CF-causing mutations to study the disease, but the mice do not develop many of the typical symptoms that affect humans.

Read More

My wife and I have been blessed with three healthy children, but not every parent has received those same blessings. Using pigs to better understand a disease like cystic fibrosis will hopefully lead to a cure. There will, no doubt, be people upset about using pigs for this type of research, but I would dare them to look into the eyes of a parent with a sick child and try to do their complaining there.

A False Report

Farmers Take Issue With CAFO Report
Submitted by Editor on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 11:39am.
Chris Torres Staff Writer

A report on concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permits by one of Pennsylvania’s leading environmental advocacy groups has stirred anger and frustration among farmers who feel slighted by “inaccuracies” and “false accusations” they claim are in the report.

On Sept. 18, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal published an article on a PennFuture report, “Sick Susquehanna.” The article cited 48 CAFO farms in Lancaster County out of a total of 81 that the report claimed had missing or incomplete files at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) office as of July 21, bringing into question the department’s ability to enforce CAFO permitting in the state.

PennFuture President Jan Jarrett claims the report was compiled after one of their attorneys spent six days inspecting public records at DEP earlier this summer.

She said the attorney was attempting to verify CAFO permits were up to date as well as making sure crucial parts of the permits, including copies of phosphorus-based nutrient management plans, were on file.

Upon reading the highlights of the report in the newspaper, however, the farmers whose names were highlighted in the article claimed the report was inaccurate and unfair.

“The article in the Intelligencer Journal was completely false,” said Martin. “The fact is I have a CAFO permit that was issued by DEP and a phosphorus-based nutrient management plan that was issued by the Lancaster County Conservation District.” Read More

Information is at our fingertips in this modern age, but not all of it is good information. A report comes out about farmers not complying with the conditions of their permits and people automatically assume it must be true. Agriculture seems to end up on the wrong side of these reports more often than not. While the information isn’t accurate, the end justifies the means with these anti-ag groups. Telling our story accurately and, almost importantly, first is something we must do.

Producing ENOUGH Food Should be Priority

Doubling our current food production may not be enough
By Doug Rich

The food versus fuel debate continues to grab headlines. Ed Schafer, Secretary of Agriculture, and Hugh Grant, Chief Executive Officer, Monsanto Co., gave their views on this topic at a recent meeting of national business editors and writers in Kansas City, Mo.

The demand curve for agricultural production continues to expand. Grant estimates that in the next 40 years we will need to produce as much food as we did on this planet in the last 10,000 years.

"I don't worry about whether or not we will be able to double our production, I worry that it will be enough," Grant said. Read More

Continuing to utilize technology to produce plants with better genetics is a tradition the human race has been practicing for thousands of years. Our ancestors wouldn’t recognize today’s corn plant because it is the product of selective breeding. Moving forward is the only logical path to take. Especially with a world demanding more food, our species can’t afford to stop using technology.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Prop 2's Far Reaching Consequences

Some cage-free egg producers fear effects of Prop. 2
By Suzanne BohanOakland Tribune
Article Launched: 09/24/2008 09:52:40 PM PDT

Steve Mahrt, a third-generation chicken farmer, runs one of the region's largest cage-free, egg-laying hen farms. The tens of thousands of birds on his 40-acre spread at the end of a country road live on a vegetarian diet, and antibiotics never pass through their beaks.

This pioneer of cage-free farming might seem a natural supporter of a November ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which, if passed, would effectively end in the confinement of egg-laying hens inside cages in California.

Instead, the ballot measure has him lying awake at night, worried that what he calls its vague language will spell the end of his business.

"This whole thing could possibly fall apart in front of my eyes," said Mahrt, whose cheerful expression becomes clouded with concern when discussing Proposition 2. Read More

There is no doubt that all livestock producers, regardless of their management style, should be concerned about this ballot measure. HSUS has one main goal when it comes to animal agriculture, and that is to eliminate it. In writing this proposal, they have certainly left many things up to interpretation. It is easy to say now what their intent is, but if it passes, their tune could easily change.

Fighting for Ag

Farmers must stick together

"We must all stand together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

Benjamin Franklin's words couldn't be more apt to describe our reaction to groups such as Family Farm Defenders supporting Proposition 2.

Proposition 2 would effectively ban large-scale egg ranching in California because it would require in-state producers to scrap their existing cage systems and go cage-free or install far larger, more expensive European-style cages.

No other state would face such a restriction, and so these states would fill the economic vacuum for inexpensive eggs. California already imports 50 percent of its total egg products - passage of Prop 2 would push that number toward 90 percent.

Much of the rhetoric surrounding Proposition 2 involves veal calves and sow gestation crates for hogs. This is a distraction, one we could argue is intentional by the initiative's sponsors, the Humane Society of the United States, to put cute piglets and sad-looking calves in their campaign material.

There is no veal industry in California, and no California hog producer will be using gestation crates in a few months; the industry has voluntarily changed its practices. So it's frustrating to see the "yes" on Proposition 2 campaign's release announcing support from Family Farm Defenders focus so heavily on pigs and calves.

But that's not really the most distressing thing. Read More

The independent nature of farmers and ranchers has been one of our greatest assets and one of our most debilitating weaknesses. Supporting legislation that will put your neighbor out of business is not good for agriculture, and that is the business we are all in. Supporting an organization that one day hopes to rid this country of animal agriculture will only come back to bite you eventually.

Educating Youth About Ag

Farm day teaches area students about agriculture
Thursday, Sep 25 2008, 8:07 pm
By Rick Longley/Staff Writer

Fourth graders from across Glenn County descended 500 strong Wednesday on the Glenn County Fairgrounds to learn first hand about agriculture.

They came to the 13th annual Farm Day put on by the Glenn County Farm Bureau in an effort to show young students the impacts agriculture has on their daily lives.

Event coordinator Shannon Douglass, of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program, said this was the biggest day they have had with close to 500 children coming for the tour from almost every school in the county.

The students visited various lecture sites where they heard about farming and ranching conservation techniques, dairies, food groups, and also got to pet some livestock in a petting zoo.

Read More

Educating youth about agriculture is something that is critical for our industry. Many of the groups that would like to see all of us out of business have very aggressive programs that target kids and deliberately try to feed them full of misinformation. Getting involved with programs like these are just one more opportunity that we have to benefit agriculture.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

H.R. 6598 Passes Committee

Horse Slaughter Bill Moves on to House
by: Pat Raia September 24 2008, Article # 12751

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has passed H.R. 6598, a measure known as the "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008."

This bill prohibits transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption. Supporters praise the bill for banning the export of horses to processing plants in Canada and Mexico.

"The bill passed by voice vote on Sept. 23," said Judiciary Committee Communications Director Jonathan Godfrey. "The next step is introduction on the House floor." Read More

Nearly as quickly as I predicted this bill was dead until the next Congress, it passes out of committee and will be sent to the full House of Representatives. With everything else happening in Congress right now it seems doubtful that this could gain any traction. However it is evident that my prediction skills are lacking so continue to monitor the progress of this bill.

HSUS Playing Games

Humane Scty: Egg firms fix prices, mask cruelty
Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:01pm EDT

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The Humane Society of the United States asked for a federal investigation into price fixing and false advertising to hide cruelty on factory farms where most of the nation's eggs are produced, the animal rights group said on Wednesday.

The United Egg Producers, which the Humane Society said represents 95 percent of domestic egg production, worked to push up domestic egg prices and push competitors out of the marketplace, said the group, which asked the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to investigate its allegations.

The Humane Society also accused the egg producers of creating animal husbandry guidelines that work to "maintain the materially false and misleading impression that egg-laying hens are confined under 'humane and ethical' conditions." Read More

The concept that HSUS would be suing for price fixing when they are the main driver behind the proposition that could send egg prices through the roof seems unbelievable to me. HSUS knows full well that their efforts to further regulate the livestock industry will make our products more expensive and out of reach for those on limited budgets. The main reason for the complaints that HSUS has been filing against their opponents in the Prop 2 vote, is that they are trying to bully them around. They will use whatever tactics they can to win this vote, and so far their main tactic has been to make false allegations about the egg producers in California.

Another Conviction

Calif. beef plant worker sentenced in abuse case

CHINO, Calif. (AP) — A former slaughterhouse worker was sentenced Wednesday to jail and probation after being seen abusing sick and injured cattle in a secretly taped video that prompted the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Daniel Ugarte Navarro pleaded no contest in June to two felony counts of animal cruelty and two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to downed animals.

The Humane Society of the United States shot the video at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, leading to a federal investigation and the recall of 143 million pounds of beef in February.

The video shows the workers dragging sick cows with metal chains and forklifts, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water in their noses and faces. Read More

When one person involved in the livestock industry does something like this, the entire industry feels the effects. Finally putting closure on this event is a good thing. It is time to reflect on the lessons learned and now go forward and do what we can to prevent this type of activity.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Educating our Neighbors

Soo-wee! ...... Phooey!
Sick of pig farm stench, Tewksbury group seeks law
By Megan Woolhouse, Globe Staff September 24, 2008

TEWKSBURY - As David Powers drove past the pumpkin patch and corn maze at Krochmal Farm last week, the farmer in the field waved, making a very unfriendly hand gesture. Obscene, in fact.

Tewksbury may be a picturesque New England town, but a fight over a pig farm's stench has the community in an uproar, frustrating public officials and turning neighbors into bitter enemies.
Pig farm owner John Cave Sr. feels under siege, saying he's only trying to earn a living. "Get used to it," Cave said of the smell.

In this town 30 minutes north of Boston, there are no rules overseeing pig farming. That's because historically, pigs have outnumbered people. Not anymore.

Today, one of the largest pig farms in the state sits in the midst of a growing suburban community of 30,000. Pigs live in neighborhoods where sport utility vehicles rule and backyard swimming pools are increasingly the norm. At Krochmal Farm, named for farmers who tilled the land generations ago, more than 900 pigs live in a barn perched atop a 500,000 gallon manure pit, all of which sits a light breeze away from vast tracts of ranch houses and minimansions.

Some complaints come from residents at a luxury subdivision next to the farm, even though the people who live there signed a legal document recognizing the farm's existence at the time of purchase and the pig farm was there long before the residents. Read More

These issues of people moving next to farming operations and then not liking the sights and smells that go with a farming operation seem to happen all the time these days. If people are not familiar with agriculture, they don’t understand how they operate or what to expect. Also, the “smell tests” are very subjective. Just as not everybody can agree on what tastes good or bad, what smells bad is really in the nose of the beholder. I have never been on a livestock operation where the smell was unbearable. It really seems odd to me that people want to move out to farm country, run out the farmers, and then build more houses on that land. Aren’t they defeating the purpose of their original move?

Farm Safety

It's National Farm Safety & Health Week!
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/22/2008

The fall harvest is a busy time around the farm, but it's also one of the deadliest. That's why the National Safety Council holds National Farm Safety and Health Week each September. According to state and federal health officials, agriculture is still one of the most dangerous industries in the country. About 28 of every 100,000 farmers and their employees died of work injuries in 2006. Five years ago, the death rate from work injuries was 30 per 100,000 farmers. Out of this same 100,000 farmers, 6,000 were injured on the job that same year.

Cheryl Skjolaas, an agricultural safety specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension, says the forage harvesting starts in June and continues through November when the last of the grains are harvested. But with the hectic schedules that many farmers have, their knowledge of safety precautions are often forgotten while working in the fields.

Meanwhile, one of the themes the Council is focusing on this year is safety on the roadways.

Read More

Farm safety is something all producers need to be aware of. Most of us have probably been in situations that we look back on and wonder how we didn’t get hurt doing what we did. It’s easy to get in a hurry and it only takes a second for something to happen. Hopefully Farm Safety Week will remind all of us to take the time to be safe.

Consequences of a Ban

Manitoba Ban on Swine Expansion Expected to Discourage Environmentally Friendly Farming
Farmscape for September 22, 2008 (Episode 2966)

The Manitoba Chamber of Commerce warns the province's proposed ban on swine industry development in eastern Manitoba will discourage the adoption new technologies designed to make hog farming more environmentally friendly.

Bill 17, which proposes a ban on swine barn construction or expansion in most of eastern Manitoba was introduced in the legislature for third reading last week and debate on the bill will resume this week.

A rally is planned for Wednesday at the legislature to protest Bill 17 and promote an amendment to the bill proposed by Manitoba Pork Council.

Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President Graham Starmer says, in many cases, operations will need the flexibility to restructure if they are to afford the cost of adopting new technology that is extremely environmentally friendly. Link

Livestock producers will always try to be as environmentally friendly as possible because their livelihood depends on it. However, many of these new technologies can be very expensive to implement. If an operation no longer has the ability to grow, just as every small business owner hopes to do, then these costs can be very difficult to justify.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Caged Hens Healthier

Surprise finding on battery hens
By LOIS WATSON - Sunday Star Times Sunday, 21 September 2008

Controversial new government research is tipped to reveal that caged hens are generally healthier than their free-range cousins.

The research by government agency AsureQuality comes at a time of heightened consumer awareness about the poultry industry and growing demand for free- range eggs, which sell for almost double the price of battery eggs.

AsureQuality has compared the condition of layer hens on dozens of egg-producing farms across the country.

The survey results are not due to be released until November, but industry sources told the Sunday Star-Times that early findings show that battery-farmed birds are generally healthier because the controlled conditions prevent the spread of disease. This was despite both groups receiving the same level of care. Read More

It only makes sense that putting animals in an environmentally controlled environment would promote better health. Being outside where they can have contact with other animals that may be carrying diseases or where they are vulnerable to predators is going to have negative health consequences.

Being Pushed in Two Directions

ANALYSIS-U.S. agriculture squeezed by demand, climate

09.21.08, 1:21 PM ET
United States - By Christine Stebbins

ST. LOUIS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - U.S. agriculture faces the daunting task of growing enough crops to meet the demands of both a hungry world and the booming new biofuels industry while reducing its impact on climate change.

That formidable challenge hung over discussions this week at a U.S. soybean industry conference that chewed over topics from biodiesel fuels to agriculture's own greenhouse gases.
Agriculture was seen by some as a boon, producing alternative fuels that can reduce the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide cited by most scientists as the prime mover in global climate change.

But others were concerned about agriculture's own contributions to climate change and agriculture as a potential target in future government policies on climate change.
Agriculture accounts for more than 10 percent of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions through fertilizers, rice and livestock production, deforestation and other land use, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in 2007. Read More

I have talked a lot about how agriculture has had to produce more with less. The demand for food continues to grow and yet there is a push to stop agriculture from utilizing modern production techniques. Agriculture has considerably reduced our carbon footprint over the years yet it seems as though we have become the easy target on this issue. It is essential to remember that if we have nothing to eat, we won’t be around to see if the climate changes.

The Sierra Club Hypocrisy, Part 1

Sierra Club to distribute light bulbs
Sunday News
Published: Sep 21, 200800:03 EST

Members of the Lancaster Group of the Sierra Club will go door to door in the city's southwest section Sunday, Sept. 28, giving away compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The club expects to hand out about 1,000 energy-saving bulbs, said Ellen Milligan, the group leader.

Each household will be offered one free bulb, according to Milligan, who added that the club will cover Prospect, Fairview, Laurel, Dorwart and Filbert streets, among others.

"We wanted to do something in a different part of downtown" from center city, she said.

The purpose of the event is to spread awareness about compact fluorescents, which use less electricity than conventional incadescent bulbs.

Electric lights typically use power from coal-fired plants, Milligan said, and a compact fluorescent bulb "can save up to 450 pounds of carbon dioxide" over its lifetime. Read More

As the article mentions, mercury is used in these light bulbs. This is the same mercury that has the Sierra Club trying to stop coal fired power plants from being built. If you break one of these bulbs in your house, the recommendation is that you evacuate your house for a period of time before you go in to clean it up. Also, these bulbs will end up in a landfill someday. So can the Sierra Club have it both ways when it comes to mercury?

The Sierra Club Hypocrisy, Part 2

Hundreds attend hearing on SWEPCO power plant

HOPE — Public attitudes toward a proposed coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County have changed little since about 100 people attended its first air permit hearing last July. But public interest certainly has.

More than 550 spectators packed an auditorium and three auxiliary rooms at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope for a second hearing held Thursday night by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

As with the first hearing, nearly two-thirds of those who offered verbal comments spoke against the $ 1. 6 billion facility. Yet those who supported the John W. Turk Jr. power plant planned 15 miles northeast of Texarkana generally received louder applause.

SWEPCO estimates filed with the Arkansas Public Service Commission indicate about 5 million tons of carbon dioxide, 1, 300 tons of nitrous oxide and about 350 pounds of mercury — along with 97 tons of volatile organic compounds — will be emitted annually from Turk’s 50-story smokestack after all control technology is applied at the plant.

Such levels are within limits allowed by environmental regulators, SWEPCO said. But mercury is a neurotoxin that causes brain damage and recent medical studies have linked it to autism, Sierra Club officials said in August. Read More

As I have reported before, the Sierra Club has declared war on coal fired power plants. One of the biggest concerns voiced at this public meeting was the concern over mercury. Mercury is a hazardous material and measures do need to be taken to minimize the impact on our environment. However it is interesting that the Sierra Club is promoting the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs for use in our houses and they contain mercury and will eventually end up in a landfill.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Owner Speaks Out

Farm owners vow to fire workers who abused pigs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The operators of a farm where workers were secretly videotaped abusing pigs said Thursday they were launching an investigation and those responsible would be fired.

MowMar LLP of Fairmont, Minn., said in a statement that it is "surprised and outraged" by the actions captured this summer in undercover video by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. MowMar purchased the Greene County, Iowa, farm last month from an Iowa company.

"As a family-owned farm operation with over 30 years in the swine business, MowMar farms does not and will not tolerate the mistreatment of any animals under our husbandry and we take these PETA allegations very seriously," the company said.

"This isn't about one farm, of course — it's about a culture of cruelty that exists everyplace we go undercover on a factory farm or slaughterhouse," said PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. He added that the group's many investigations show that "eating factory farmed meat supports cruelty to animals." Read More

The allegations that some sort of “culture of cruelty” exists in agriculture is ridiculous. No one in agriculture has ever tried to defend this type of criminal behavior and to suggest that everyone in our industry abuses animals is childish stereotyping. Such blanket statements like that aimed at other segments of our society would not be tolerated. Animal agriculture depends on the animals to be healthy and productive in order to stay in business. Abuse like that seen on the video would not allow for that.

Ranchers Receive Help

Lee goes from slugger to rancher to helping hand

Cattle are herded on the Bolivar Peninsula. The ranchers were trying to get the cows to fresh water this week.

As the ranching industry in Jefferson and Chambers counties deals with the devastation left by Hurricane Ike, Astros left fielder Carlos Lee has stepped up to donate hay and lend his name to shine a light on the struggles being faced by fellow cattlemen.

In Jefferson and Chambers counties, there are at least 20,000 cattle in need of hay, feed and water; they also need to be moved, so the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is working with the Texas Department of Agriculture on farm relief.

Lee, who has ranches in Boling and his native Panama, is donating hay and planning fundraisers for the affected cattlemen in Chambers and Jefferson counties. Read More

Carlos Lee, of the Houston Astros, knows about ranching and when he heard of the feed shortage in Texas due to Hurricane Ike, he stepped in to help. Ranchers in the affected areas are just starting to get a handle on how bad the damage really is. Before they can start worrying about rebuilding though, they have to get all of the cattle found and try to get them to feed and fresh water.

No Vote Yet

Judiciary Committee Adjourns Without Horse Bill Vote
Questionable as to when horse slaughter legislation will be voted on.

The House Judiciary Committee met Wednesday morning to mark-up H.R. 6598, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act. Originally the bill was to be addressed last Wednesday but was pushed back a week. The committee did consider the bill, but no vote on the measure was taken before the committee adjourned.

Much of the horse industry, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American Quarter Horse Association, are opposed to the legislation. These groups say that instead of protecting the welfare of horses, the bill will actually cause greater problems, doing more harm to horses than protecting them.

According to a Judiciary Committee spokesperson, no decision has been made as to when the bill will be voted on. Link

Chances are that this is the last time we will see this bill during this Congress. Even if that is the case though, it is important that everyone continue to talk to their Congressional delegation about this issue because there is o doubt that this will be back for the new Congress.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rural America Pulls Together, Again

Cattlemen pull together to save livestock stranded by Ike

More than 4,000 cattle died in Hurricane Ike and its aftermath, and cowboys on horseback are working to drive 11,000 more to high ground, above the salt-contaminated surge line left by the storm, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service said Tuesday.

"Some ranchers will be devastated," said Monty Dozier, an extension agent from Anahuac, due east of Houston.

A survey of much of Chambers County and parts of Jefferson County identified about 15,000 cattle, of which about 20 percent were dead, said Andy Vestal, the extension service liaison to the state operations center for Ike.

"This is not all the cattle expected to be found stranded or dead, but it is a good start in locating these animals that are in dire need of assistance," Vestal said. Read More

Rural America’s most shining moments usually happen during the darkest days. Neighbors work together to rebuild their operations and communities. But that comes second to making sure everyone is safe and the livestock are taken care of. The producers in the affected areas have a long road ahead of them, but they will come through this stronger than before. Rural America always does.

Young Agriculturalists

Despite Economy, Farming Appeals to the Young
Posted on: Tuesday, 16 September 2008, 21:00 CDT
By Chris Kick

It is difficult to grab a newspaper or magazine today -- and totally impossible to listen to a TV reporter -- without seeing some doom and gloom article concerning the economy. I have had the distinct pleasure to personally witness the complete opposite during the last couple of weeks. In the rural areas of my three counties -- Ashland, Medina and Wayne -- entrepreneurial optimism abounds.

Farm families are expanding their operations in order to accommodate younger family members who are returning from college and wish to begin farming as a career. Some of these young people have dabbled in other career options for a few years only to discover farming is their first love and the life they want for their own young families.

The decision to expand the existing farming operation is far from an easy one. The investment in new buildings, more livestock and equipment is a sizable encumbrance. These young farmers are getting to know their bankers quite well. The bankers have helped the young entrepreneurs analyze the many risks involved -- weather, volatile markets, rising utility costs, consumer trends, etc. Even with these same concerns most business owners face, these young people are willing to take the risks for the rewards of reasonable profit and a wonderful rural lifestyle for themselves and their children. Read More

Young farmers and ranchers are undoubtedly excited about taking the challenge of feeding a growing population head on. With new production techniques and an old fashioned work ethic, our future food supply is in good hands.

Logging Wins in Court

White Mountain loggers win in court
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

A federal appeals court in Boston has denied the Sierra Club's request for a preliminary injunction to halt logging in White Mountain National Forest.

"It's good to see that in Boston they recognize that we do know what is best for our forests," said Sean Sullivan, communications manager for the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association. "It recognizes that the management plan has been well thought out."

The Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and Center for Biological Diversity (formerly Forest Watch) appealed the first two timber sales allowed under the new forest plan. Read More

The legal challenge over logging in the White Mountain National Forest has been settled and loggers and forest managers were rightfully supported by the court. Logging is an important agricultural industry, and lumber is a valuable renewable resource that our country depends on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Undercover Video Alleges Abuse

AP Exclusive: Video shows workers abusing pigs
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER – 5 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — An undercover video shot at an Iowa pig farm shows workers hitting sows with metal rods, slamming piglets on a concrete floor and bragging about jamming rods up into sows' hindquarters.

On the video, obtained by The Associated Press, a supervisor tells an undercover investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that when he gets angry or a sow won't move, "I grab one of these rods and jam it in her (anus)."

The farm, located outside of Bayard, Iowa, about 60 miles west of Des Moines, is a supplier to Hormel Foods of Austin, Minn. PETA wants to use the results of the investigation to pressure Hormel, the maker of Spam and other food products, to demand that its suppliers ensure humane treatment of pigs.

Hormel spokeswoman Julie Henderson Craven on Tuesday called the abuses "completely unacceptable." Read More

The abuse of farm animals is not acceptable behavior. If these allegations are true, these people were acting on their own behalf and are not representative of the hard working, farming and ranching families that care for their animals. The other thing that needs to be called into question here is why the investigator didn’t do anything to stop this abuse. He admits that it took all of his willpower not to do anything when witnessing the abuse. It would seem to me that getting the footage to put on PETA’s website was more important than stopping the abuse.

Denying a Continent

Scientist: Western Aid Agencies Keep Africa Poor
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Western do-gooders are impoverishing Africa by promoting traditional farming at the expense of modern scientific agriculture, according to Britain's former chief scientist.

Anti-science attitudes among aid agencies, poverty campaigners and green activists are denying the continent access to technology that could improve millions of lives, Professor Sir David King said Sept. 8.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Europe and America are turning African countries against sophisticated farming methods, including genetically modified crops, in favor of indigenous and organic approaches that cannot deliver the continent's much needed "green revolution," he believes. Read More

Denying a population the techniques and technology to adequately feed themselves seems selfish at best. It’s easy for some people to be against modern agriculture when their stomachs are full, but it becomes a different story when you are hungry. Modern production techniques will be necessary for Africa to finally get a handle on feeding themselves.
Klemme resigns from state committee after livestock debate
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
By Beverly Van Buskirk

Ralph Klemme, a member of the state's Environmental Protection Commission since April 2007, resigned his position effective Sept. 2, after serving just 1 1/2 years of an appointed our-year term.

The "final straw" he said was the commission's 6-2 decision to deny two livestock facility requests which had met all the matrix and Department of Natural Resources criteria. Klemme voted to approve the permits.

"I'm very comfortable with my decision (to resign)," Klemme said Monday. Read More

One of the biggest hurdles for families that want to expand their livestock operations hasn’t been meeting the regulations required of them, it has been to win a popularity contest. This contest throws all science and research out the window and sets up a scenario that discourages people, especially the next generation of producers, from getting into agriculture.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slow Food or Enough Food

Can Slow Food Feed the World?
By Bryan Walsh

Over Labor day weekend, thousands of foodies flooded a special farmers' market set up by Slow Food Nation in San Francisco's grand Civic Center. But the gourmands who showed up eager to fill their baskets with dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes and muslin-wrapped Cheddar cheeses might have been surprised to find that the first event of the conference wasn't a seminar on artisan bread but an earnest panel on the global crisis of rising food prices. Slow Food--the anti-fast-food, anti-industrial-agriculture movement launched in 1986 by a left-wing Italian journalist--too often has tilted more toward high-class gastronomy than hard-to-solve public-health issues, a criticism the weekend conference sought to address. "This is a coming-out party for a more inclusive Slow Food movement," says culinary writer Michael Pollan, who moderated the panel.

With worldwide crop prices soaring, the élitist charge often tossed at Slow Food groups--which have some 16,000 members in the U.S.--suddenly stings a bit more. Who cares about the perfect mushroom when more people are going hungry? The movement's leaders are responding, however, by putting politics back at the center of Slow Food's agenda and calling for reform of a global agro-industry they say has failed farmers and eaters alike. "How did we get to a place where it is considered élitist to have food that is healthy for you?" asks Katrina Heron, head of the San Francisco-based Slow Food Nation. Read More

It’s interesting that Slow Food is worried about better tasting food when many people in this world are worried about having enough food. Agriculture has a big job ahead of it to figure out how we are going to feed our ever increasing population. At the same time, many people want to thwart agriculture’s growth by telling us what animals we can eat and forcing the production of some animals elsewhere. So far our industry has been up to the challenge by producing more food on less land, but at some point we will need to stop losing our ability to feed this nation.

A New "Bible"

The Environmentalist's Bible
Contributed by Amanda Greene - Posted: September 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM

The Humane Society of the United States says a new release from HarperOne, The Green Bible, will offer readers a revelation, not just about caring for the Earth, but about caring for animals.

The Green Bible highlights in green, soy-based ink, more than 1,000 references, verses and passages related to the Earth. The Book also contains essays contributed by Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, N.T. Wright, Desmond Tutu and others, and includes a detailed index and personal study guide.

The HSUS, through its All Creatures Great and Small campaign, provides ways for people to practice stewardship on behalf of animals and the environment. Read More

The anti-animal agriculture groups have been trying to work their way into using religious groups to push their agenda. The Green Bible is their latest attempt to pit religion against agriculture. Doesn’t it seem strange that HSUS is interpreting the bible for our religious leaders and they seem to be buying it? The bible tells us to eat all manner of four legged beasts and the fowl in the air because if God made it, it is good. I doubt that will be the message that HSUS will be putting in their “bible”.

ALF's Terrorist Ways

Eco-terrorists don't deserve sympathy

We don't know what, if anything, self-described anarchist Kevin Tucker told a federal grand jury on Tuesday.

Yet it's reassuring to know that the U.S. Attorney's Office continues to investigate a series of eco-terrorism crimes that struck Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania in 2002 and 2003.

Members of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the crimes, which included torching sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks at a Girard dealership; setting fire to a crane at a Wintergreen Gorge construction site; releasing foxes from a Greenfield Township ranch; destroying two northwestern Pennsylvania farm fields; setting fire to a U.S. Forest Service research station in Warren County; setting fire to a fur barn in Harborcreek, and releasing breeding minks at the same farm.

The crimes caused at least $1.29 million in damage, and could have imperiled the volunteer firefighters and others who responded to these emergencies. Read More

The Animal Liberation Front has been at it again releasing mink from several farms in the past month. This is actually pretty tame compared to the firebombings they have unleashed at different times. Acts of domestic terrorism have received a lot more attention from federal investigators in the past several years and hopefully the convictions of these criminals will be somewhat of a deterrent to future violence.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Old Farmer's Almanac

Old Farmers Almanac: Global cooling may be underway
By David Tirrell-Wysocki, Associated Press Writer

DUBLIN, N.H. — The Old Farmer's Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming.

Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.

"We at the Almanac are among those who believe that sunspot cycles and their effects on oceans correlate with climate changes," writes meteorologist and climatologist Joseph D'Aleo. "Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future." Read More

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting an extended cooling period for our climate. Much to the dismay of those that are hoping for global warming, a rapidly growing body of scientists say that there are numerous signs pointing to global cooling.

Ignorance of Food Production

Today Show Organic Segment Misrepresents Facts
By Pork news staff (Monday, September 15, 2008)

Until two years ago, Lisa Lee Freeman had spent her career at Consumer Reports magazine telling readers how to save money shopping online for flowers and how to choose a long-lasting lipstick. But this week Freeman turned up on NBC’s Today show to talk about organic food, and the segment contained a lot of misinformation.

Freeman is now Editor-in-chief of ShopSmart magazine, and she appeared on the Today show to help consumers sort through supermarket labels and know when to pay extra for organic foods. Freeman started the segment by implying that organic foods are the only foods regulated by the government and then went on to claim that "in many cases organic foods are safer, they're more nutritious, and they're always better for the environment."

Although Today show reporter Amy Robach pointed out that organics "always are more expensive," Freeman says when it comes to meats; it's worth the extra cost. Freeman suggested most animals are fed "...slaughterhouse waste, which could cause 'mad cow disease'" and went on to assert that organic meat is "better for the environment, safer for your health. You're not going to get 'mad cow disease' eating organic." Read More

While selling organic food has been a very good business for some producers, they should not be excited about Lisa Lee Freeman’s appearance on the Today Show. She obviously has very little knowledge of any type of food production and blatantly showed her ignorance with some of the statements she made. All producers should strive to have the truth told about their products. It does agriculture no good when one segment’s marketing plan is to run down other segments.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dietary Freedom

Our dietary freedom's at steak
Miranda Devine September 11, 2008

Not content with raising the cost of everything, terrifying small children and ruining the fun of driving, the gloom merchants of global warming now want us to stop eating meat to save the planet.

On Tuesday, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC (the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), who just happens to be a vegetarian, declared meat-eating a grave carbon sin, and one which ought to be taxed. "Please eat less meat - meat is a very carbon-intensive commodity," he told an animal rights conference in London, Compassion in World Farming.

"Give up meat for one day [per week] at least initially, and decrease it from there," said the 68-year-old Indian economist who is beginning his second six-year term as the world's most influential global warming guru.

Green groups long ago decided that eating meat was worse for the environment than driving cars, and last year they began campaigning in earnest. Having formed an unholy alliance with animal rights fanatics, they've been trying to go after meat in every way possible, including a plan to measure the farts of cows and sheep, quite seriously.

Having attacked our wool so unscrupulously and so successfully, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is going for broke, claiming that meat is the "Number one cause of Global Warming".

In other words, action on climate change means turning into a nation of scrawny, lank-haired, dull-eyed vegans with wan babies who cry. Thanks but no thanks. Read More

The efforts to eliminate meat from our diets have never been due to some “greater cause” as the U.N. would like you to believe. It is because there are people there that don’t like the fact that the United States has been so successful, and no industry has been as successful at it’s role in society as agriculture has been. We produce the safest, most affordable, most abundant food supply on the planet. And it is due to the hard work and ingenuity of the American producer.

The Brain Benefits of Meat

Meat prevents memory loss
Published: (11-09-2008)

A vitamin found in meat can help prevent brain shrinkage and protect against memory loss in old age, a new study has found.

In a study conducted by the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division and part-funded by charity Alzheimer’s Research Trust, scientists found that people with higher vitamin B12 levels in their blood were less likely to experience brain shrinkage.

Vitamin B12 – found in foods such as meat, fish and milk – is crucial to the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy nervous system.

Rebecca Wood, Alzheimer’s Research Trust chief executive, said: “This study suggests that consuming more vitamin B12 through eating meat, fish, fortified cereals or milk as part of a balanced diet might help protect the brain. Liver and shellfish are particularly rich sources of B12. Read More

We continue to see science prove the health benefits of a balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products. The idea that one could live a healthy life if they just eat one food group should seem ridiculous to anyone. If eating meat can possibly help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, that would be tremendous. There isn’t much worse than watching someone slowly falling victim to this devastating disease.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Judging Against Homegrown Food

Court ruling sends chills through ag community
By MARCIA GORRELL/Staff writer
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I usually try to make my columns humorous. However, in the last few weeks, recent events involving agriculture are anything but funny.

In fact, I'm worried about the future of family farms in the United States. I'm also worried about the future of anybody that eats in America. (And that's all of us.)

Despite what some people seem to think, those two things are forever linked together. Pork, beef and milk do not come from a grocery store -- they come from a farm.

A recent ruling by Judge Patricia Joyce in Cole County ruled that no concentrated animal feeding operation could be located within 15 miles of the village of Arrow Rock, nearby State historic sites and national-listed Prairie Park, in the state of Missouri.

However, if that ruling is not appealed and becomes case law or is found to be binding it could be the end of livestock farming in Missouri.

I fear it could also mean the "beginning of the end" for family farmers in the United States.

Read More

As I mentioned in my earlier comments on this ruling, if this is allowed to become case law, it could have enormous implications for production agriculture. This decision was a blow to family farmers and ranchers. Exporting agriculture means importing food.

Utilizing the Pig

Pigs to be bred for human organ transplants
// 09 Sep 2008

Lord Winston, the UK fertility expert, is to start breeding pigs in order to produce hearts, livers and kidneys for transplanting for humans. Winston believes genetically modified organs provide the best solution to tackle the shortage of organs needed. A record number of almost 8,000 British patients are waiting for an organ.

Highly controversialThe highly controversial method of transplanting animal organs – xenotransplantation – has been tried before with limited success. Many of the organs were rejected by the patients' immune system. The pigs will be bred with approximately six human genes to prevent patients rejecting their organs. Winston's team will need to prove that the pig organs can be sufficiently modified to survive long-term in the human body.

Winston said: "Pigs' organs are the right size for human transplantation, and they work similarly to human organs. Of course this raises a moral problem, but it is much more ethical to use a pig to save a human life than to use it for relatively unnecessary meat eating." Read More

It’s interesting how this researcher thinks that using pigs for their organs is “much more ethical” than using them as a source of food. Maybe he doesn’t realize that in both cases, this pig is going to cease to exist, and at that point what difference does it make. It would seem to me that using all of the animal for the benefit of human health would be a better use or our resources than just certain organs.

When Ag Suffers, So Do Communities

Loggers: Legal battles cut us out
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

Prices and demand for wood are near record levels, but loggers say legal appeals have virtually shut them out of some of the finest stands of timber in the 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest.

"Pulp mills are screaming for supply ... you have mills and loggers trying to get stumpage to market, and they can't take advantage of it," said Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association.

As soon as this week, the U.S. Forest Service expects to hear whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First District in Boston will issue a temporary restraining order to halt logging in the forest, as requested by The Sierra Club, Wilderness Society and The Center for Biological Diversity (formerly Forest Watch).

The legal action has had a chilling effect on timber sales, forest officials said. Federal budget cuts and redirection of funds to fight wildfires in the West are also sapping the industry.

White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner said his employees must analyze each proposed timber sale to determine impacts on water, wildlife and aesthetics. He said he expects funding to allow for only 15 instead of the projected 24 million measured board feet of lumber to be cut in 2009. Read More

As we suffer through high energy prices due in part to our dependence on foreign sources, our abilities to use our own natural resources for energy continue to be shut down by environmentalists. Food and energy that is produced here at home is vital to our national security.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Peak Agriculture

Is Agriculture Nearing its Peak?
By Troy Hadrick

With the continued rise of energy prices, a new phrase has cropped up this year – “peak oil.” The phrase can be heard almost anytime you turn on a television news channel or read anytime you pick up a newspaper.

Peak oil points up the fact that there is a finite supply of oil in the world, and at some point, the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction will be reached, after which, the rate of oil production enters a period of terminal decline.

The idea of hitting a peak in the availability or production of anything seems hard to fathom in the United States. Anything consumers want is available almost on demand. This is especially true for the food we eat. Fresh vegetables are available year round, the meat counter is always full, bread and cereals line the aisles, and we can always wash it down with a glass of milk.

Recently, the cost of food has risen in this country, and one can’t help but wonder if, or more likely when, the United States will face a “Peak Agriculture” scenario.

On a daily basis somewhere in this country agriculture is under attack. Recently, a judge in Missouri declared no hog farms could be built within a 15-mile radius of state parks. That same judge also decided manure could not be transported to or applied to any field in that same area. In one fell swoop, this judge decided more than 700 square miles of Missouri agricultural land would be declared off-limits for feeding pigs.

This November, California voters will decide whether or not to allow animals to be raised in environmentally-controlled systems. Many researchers believe that if passed, this bill would virtually eliminate egg production in California.

When things like this happen, where does our food production ability go? Land, like oil, is a finite resource. As grandpa used to say, “They ain’t makin’ anymore of it.” So will the United States reach a point where agriculture is forced over the peak agriculture line and we no longer have the ability to feed ourselves? When will U.S. agriculture hit that maximum production level, for whatever reason, and future production struggle to meet demand?

Thanks to the oil industry, we have seen how successful the strategy of relying on foreign countries for basic needs has worked for us. Yet history seems doomed to repeat itself when it comes to food production unless we start doing something about it.

This isn’t about rural versus urban, small farms versus large farms, or animal agriculture versus the animal rights crowd. This is about continuing to have a safe, affordable, home-grown food supply.

No one knows when peak agriculture may occur, but at this rate we are certain it is a question of when, not if. Remember, exporting our agriculture industry means importing food, and that’s something none of us should be comfortable with.

To hear an audio excerpt of this article click here.

The UN's Anti-Meat Agenda

UN says eat less meat to curb global warming

People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change, the world's leading authority on global warming has told The Observer.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.

His comments are the most controversial advice yet provided by the panel on how individuals can help tackle global warning. Read More

The anti-animal agriculture crowd at the United Nations released a study in 2006 claiming that raising livestock was worse for the environment than the emissions released from cars. Never mind that livestock utilize resources on this planet that humans can’t and convert them into a resource that humans can use. Never mind the fact that the UN is concerned about worldwide food supplies yet want to eliminate this important component of feeding the world.

The Precautionary Principle in Practice

Puget Sound geoduck farming may harm marine life

TACOMA, Wash. -- Raising geoducks may endanger inland marine life and tidelands, Pierce County planners say, a finding that could likely complicate the county's permit process for farming the ugly but lucrative giant clams.

Highlights of the decision were provided in an e-mail Wednesday to County Council member Terry Lee, who had inquired about the status of a permit application. The News Tribune found the correspondence Thursday during a review of geoduck (GOO'-ee-duck) permit records.

Kathleen Larrabee, a county Planning and Land Services Department supervisor who drafted the decision, told the newspaper that notices were sent within the past week to two permit applicants. One, Taylor Shellfish Farms, the West Coast's largest geoduck grower, is fighting efforts to close the harvest at its geoduck farm on Case Inlet. Read More

It’s the headline for this article that caught my attention more than anything. It is the Precautionary Principle at work. Agriculture is becoming a recurring victim of this principle. Any group can come along and allege that some practice or another, no matter if they have any evidence, MAY be causing some harm and should be stopped. The activist judges are going along with it and so is the public. The Precautionary Principle suggests that no matter the benefit of the issue at hand, if there is a chance that some harm may occur, the activity in question should be stopped.

Monday, September 8, 2008

HSUS Shows it's True Colors

Humane Society sues University of California over Prop. 2 activities
East Bay Business Times - by David Goll Staff reporter

The Humane Society of the United States said Friday it filed a lawsuit in Yolo County Superior Court in Woodland to force the University of California to make public documents that the society contends would reveal “potentially unlawful campaign activities by (UC) staff regarding Proposition 2...”

That proposition on the Nov. 4 ballot, called the Standards for Confining Farm Animals initiative, would amend the state’s Health and Safety Code to prohibit the confinement of certain farm animals that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, or stand up and fully extend their limbs. It would apply to three types of confinement: veal crates, battery cages, and sow gestation crates.

If approved by state voters, the statute would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

The Humane Society said in its lawsuit that the University of California Agricultural Issues Center recently published a report that predicted myriad economic outcomes for industry and consumers if Prop. 2 passes in November, and that the UC system’s promotion of the report emphasized negative aspects of the study’s claims, while downplaying its conclusion that California consumers would see “little to no impact” on food prices if Prop 2 passes. Read More

Apparently when HSUS doesn’t like the results of a university study they just use their herd of lawyers to sue the school and make accusations against it. Since HSUS barely spends any of it’s $130 million budget on actually helping animals, this leaves a lot of money left over to hire lawyers and reach their ultimate goal of eliminating animal agriculture from this country.

The Accurate Story of Manure

Manure "smells like money" as energy costs rise

With energy prices driving the cost of agricultural inputs up, nutrient-rich manure is getting another look."

Calls to Extension offices from people looking for manure and manure compost have increased in recent months," says Tommy Bass, Montana State University Extension livestock environment associate specialist.Bass said that this shift in perception is good for water quality, too.

"As manure gains value, it is likely to be used more efficiently and effectively. There's a potential for increased revenue for animal feeding operations," he said. Read More

While there are many people in this country that would like to convince you that manure is toxic waste, they obviously haven’t worked with it or studied how beneficial it is to agriculture. This seems to be aggravating me more and more, this attempt to label manure as nothing but a waste product. There is nothing wasteful about it. This is Mother Nature’s miracle-gro. While we need to make sure that we handle it properly, the benefits that manure can provide us are many, and with things like methane digesters becoming more popular, that list continues to grow.

A Reporter's Agenda Against Agriculture

Local hog farms produce offensive fumes

By: Posted: 9/5/08 Sarah Hart Landolt Contributing writer

Manure stinks.

But it shouldn't stink as much as it does on western Kentucky's hog farms.

On Aug. 25 the Sierra Club, a national environmental group, teamed with local residents to conduct the Tour de Stench through Marshall, Fulton and Hickman counties.

The event raised awareness on odors and pollution from the hog farms and gave a voice to people who are affected by the stench.

"You wouldn't smell (the stench) until the wind blew your way, but once it did, it hit you like a brick wall," Eden Davis, graduate student from Benton, Ky., said. "It made me want to vomit."
Read More

It is bad enough when reporters write an article that you can tell is biased to the writers opinion, but it’s down right nauseating to read articles like this. From the onset this reporter presented her opinions as fact and never interviewed those who own or work on these farms. The media is not always concerned about telling the true story of ag, which is why it is so important for those of us in agriculture to do just that.

Milk, The Cancer Fighter

Milk May Help Prevent Cancer

Milk may help fight cancer, according to a group of researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide.

The researchers are currently exploring the role of cow's milk in preventing bowel cancer through a research.

The university has said it is expecting to have clear evidence by the end of the year on the role milk could play in boosting the anti-cancer properties of a natural trace element, selenium.

In a human trial, the cancer expert Graeme Young is testing the benefit of selenium when delivered through cow's milk compared with other forms of the dietary supplement. Read More

The importance of milk in a healthy diet continues to be proven in study after study. The dairy industry is responsible for so many food products and is a key component in agriculture’s efforts to feed the world. As with beef cattle, dairy cattle have the unique ability to convert roughages, that humans can’t utilize, into useable forms of calcium, protein, vitamins, zinc, iron and more.

Telling the Story of Ag

KLA: Exhibits Illustrate Agriculture’s Importance To The General Public

The Kansas State Fair opens tomorrow for a 10-day run in Hutchinson. Several exhibits at the fair are designed to show the state’s largely urban population the importance of agriculture. Agriland, in the Pride of Kansas building, will provide interactive displays focusing on different facets of agriculture. The animal birthing center will include an exhibit featuring ultrasound demonstrations on pregnant animals.

Children, parents and teachers can learn the art of milking a cow as part of the Agriland experience. The six-foot-tall cow has a motion-activated sound card that produces cow noises when someone approaches. It has a self-contained pump to circulate fluid milked from the udder into a stainless steel pail. Other displays include a soil tunnel, every-day items made from ag by-products and an interactive game highlighting careers in agriculture. Volunteers from the cooperating commodity groups, including the Kansas Beef Council and the Kansas CattleWomen, will staff the Agriland exhibit at the fair. Read More

Anytime we have the opportunity to get out and tell the story of agriculture, we need to take advantage. And what better spot to tell it than at a state fair. It is one of the ultimate gatherings of rural and urban people. The best thing about it is people can experience the smells, touch things, and hear the sounds and we can explain what it is they are sensing.

Hunters Being Harassed

Bow Hunters Harassed By Animal Activists Above Aspen Grove, UT

Bow hunters in an area above Aspen Grove were confronted by animal rights activists, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

The activist were reportedly dressed as hunters and when the bow hunters spotted game, the activists would bang pots and pans to scare the animals off. The hunters returned to their vehicles and found tires slashed.

Deputies do not know how many activist were in the area or if they were connected to an organization. One activist was hostile to the hunters, but no physical altercations took place on the mountainside.

A 1,000 dollar reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects involved the harassment. Link

Hunting is an important tool in our efforts to maintain a healthy balance of wildlife populations. Harassing hunters by making noise and slashing tires is incredibly juvenile and shows how little these people know about wildlife management. Some groups are pushing for using birth control in wildlife, but in the mean time if a population is too high there will still be fierce competition for food and the threat of a devastating disease.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Targeted Youth

Teen forms group to stop animal abuse

Animal abuse happens all around the world. Locally, some teenagers are trying to put an end to it.

“I feel that animals are the most overlooked of society. They are not able to stand up for themselves; they require people to do that for them,” said Ryne Poelker, a PORTA High School senior.

Earlier this year, Ryne started a MySpace page for Springfield Animal Rights to bring awareness on animal abuse and to protest the practice.

Ryne started his animal-rights movement freshman year, when he decided to become a vegetarian. He said he originally become vegetarian because he felt the way animals were treated was unnecessary. He also read a book called “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer that put things into perspective for him. Read More

Most animal rights organizations have been targeting our nation’s youth to become their foot soldiers in the war to eliminate animal agriculture. They give step by step instructions on how to organize protests and start their own school clubs. All of the supplies needed will be provided free of charge to them as well. This is why it is so important that we work to tell the true story of agriculture in our schools. There are many different ways to work with your schools. Anything from farm tours to reading books to the kids that accurately depict agriculture can make a big difference in the lifetime views towards agriculture that these kids will have.

Telling our Great Story

Guest column: Focus on livestock farmers who reach out to neighbors

AARON PUTZE is executive director of the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers. Contact: aputze@support farmers.com

Nearly 50,000 Iowa farm families go about the hard work each day of raising livestock, dairy and poultry in a way that's good for the environment, their neighbors and communities.

Many of these farms are owned and managed by families who have been involved in agriculture for generations. They're deeply rooted in their neighborhoods, sending children to local schools, supporting area businesses, volunteering in church and community activities and enjoying their state's many cultural and recreational amenities.

Stories about these families rarely make headlines. However, that doesn't make them any less real or important. Read More

Telling the positive story of agriculture will only be done by those of us involved in the business of feeding people. Several states have formed organizations that consist of several different commodity groups to do just that. Educating consumers about what we do is a job that was neglected for a long time but producers are starting to realize how important it is. The work we do off our operations telling our story can be just as productive as the work we do each day on them.

The Importance of Logging

Loggers aren't our evil enemy
By Dick Little
Article Launched: 09/02/2008 01:00:00 AM PDT

It's time Californians saw logging as a savior, not a destroyer. Proper logging of our forests cuts fire danger, and enhances tree growth. Poorly managed forests burn quickly and it costs a lot of money to fight fires, which is one of the reasons our state is in serious debt. It cost a lot of money to fight the Humboldt fire.

Helicopters alone cost about $3,000 an hour to fly. They called in a fire fighting DC-10 jet operated by the Department of Forestry, and that machine costs even more to fly, although it's ability to throw retardant on fires is unparalleled.

Forest fires have been a major problem in our State since the 1800s, and it's getting worse. A group of Republican lawmakers want our state to take some action to reduce the risk. These lawmakers, including some members of Congress, met in Sacramento to lay out a plan that is sending the environmental community into frenzy. The politicians want to increase logging operations as a means of reducing forest fires. Read More

When we do nothing to manage the resources we have been blessed with, Mother Nature has to do it for us. She reminded us this summer in California. A healthy forest is not one that has been declared off limits to logging, it is an invitation for a devastating fire. Common sense management that is developed by professional foresters is what this country needs so we don’t have to continually watch our natural resources go up in smoke.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Existing Farms OK....For Now

Ruling in Arrow Rock case does not affect current CAFOs
Thursday, August 28, 2008By MARCIA GORRELL/Staff writer

Saline County confined animal feeding operators can breath a sigh of relief, according to Missouri Department of Agriculture officials.

"This judgment is only going to apply to named defendants," said Deputy Director of Agriculture Matt Boatright on Thursday afternoon. "We are telling producers to carry on with business as usual."

Boatright was referring to the ruling Monday, Aug. 25, by Cole County Associate Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce on a suit by Friends of Arrow Rock against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. In the lawsuit's conclusion, Joyce seemed to rule that any CAFO within a 15-mile radius of the historic village and other nearby historic sites could no longer "spread, transport or dispose" of any manure from their operation.

However, Boatright and Director of Agriculture Don Steen told The Marshall Democrat-News in a conference call that lawyers have informed them this ruling only applies to the defendants actually named in the lawsuit: the Department of Natural Resources, DNR Director Doyle Childers and a proposed CAFO by Saline County farmer Dennis Gessling. Read More

In the court ruling, the judge in this case stated that placing the CAFO near Arrow Rock would “decimate and destroy” the village. When the judge decided to use language like this in her ruling, she demonstrated her bias in the case and an obvious dislike of our industry. This is the precedent that animal agriculture will now have to live with unless this case is overturned.

The First But Hopefully Not The Last

Activist Arrested After Attack On Scientist
POSTED: 4:28 am PDT September 1, 2008

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A 24-year-old man was arrested in Oceanside after the FBI twice raided his Northern California home in connection with a recent attack on a UC Santa Cruz scientist by animal rights activists, it was reported Sunday.

FBI and San Diego County deputies arrested Nathan Christopher Knoerl Friday, at a house reportedly owned by his mother in Oceanside.

He was booked on felony perjury charges filed by police in Santa Cruz and the Department of Motor Vehicles, the San Jose Mercury-News reported Monday.

Animal rights Internet sites said Knoerl is known to them as Nathan Pope, and activists were urged by anonymous Web authors to call the Vista jail to protest his arrest. Read More

The investigation continues into who committed this crime against these medical researchers. One of those that was being investigated apparently had reasons for using false identification, and his arrest has also caused a stir among the radical animal activist crowd. Hopefully investigators will soon find out who was responsible for these terrorist attacks.

Using Religion Against Animal Ag

AFF Sentinel: Waging Political Wars; Now Hijacking Faith

We have a message we have to get out to our fellow Americans. If the "cruelty" and "misery" HSUS alleges were really common in the livestock industry, the industry would have collapsed years ago. If today's professional farmers and the rest of the livestock chain really created conditions in which animals were not contented, did not thrive and grow, they would lose their livelihood and their money. HSUS does not understand economics any better than it knows the real instincts and needs of animals.

But they do understand emotional appeals to voters and the political approaches to getting what they want. They have been successful at banning common livestock production practices in Florida, Arizona, and Oregon. They have forced legislation that is a defensive surrender in Colorado. Restrictive proposals are on the ballot in California's election this fall. Observers feel their strategy is to get legislation or constitutional amendments in 12-15 states and then use those results to pressure Congress into national legislation. Read More

The attempts of animal rights groups to use religion in their quest to eliminate animal agriculture in this country continue to grow. Many of the major religions have established policy that discourages eating meat because they have either deemed it cruel to animals or bad for the environment. While neither of these is the case, it shows how easily influenced people are that aren’t familiar with animal agriculture.