Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vegetarian Kept Alive By Pig's Heart Valve

Teen Heart Patient's Shock: 'I'm a Vegetarian Being Kept Alive by a Pig'

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A vegetarian teenager from Scotland, who was suffering from a rare cardiac condition, is now being kept alive by a pig’s heart valve.

Robyn Cairney, 18, of Ruckazie, Glasgow was diagnosed with aortic stenosis and regurgitation after she collapsed at the gym.

Over time, the condition caused her aorta to narrow, which allowed blood to dangerously flow back to her heart. The most common symptom is shortness of breath with exertion, resulting in some patients feeling “out of shape,” according to the American Heart Association.

"It came totally out of the blue,” Cairney told The Sun. “I was at the gym and became unwell during a mile run. I couldn't breathe and wouldn't stop coughing. Then my lips started turning blue and I knew that something was seriously wrong.”

When the aortic valve becomes excessively obstructed or leaky, the valve must be repaired or replaced.

"The doctors told me that I would need to have a valve taken out and replaced by one from a pig,” Cairney said. "It was a bit of a shock being a vegetarian, but I realized it was a life or death choice. Obviously everyone is going to pick life, so now I'm a vegetarian being kept alive by a pig."

Cairney was fitted with the pig's valve during open heart surgery at the Golden Jubilee Hospital near Glasgow.

The pig's valve should last for 20 years. Cairney will then have to undergo surgery to have a mechanical valve fitted.

"I'm just glad I can get on with my life now and am determined to make the most of everything I do,” she added. Link

This very situation has been discussed by many people before. What would a vegan or vegetarian do if their life depended on the death of an animal? I guess the answer has been discovered. This young vegetarian now owes her life to a pig and the farmer that raised it. She can also be thankful the research facilities that worked on this technology weren’t destroyed by militant vegan animal rights activists. As I have stated before, the success of life depends on death. That statement has been proven true again in this situation.

PETA Releases Dairy Video

PETA Releases Abuse Video Connected to Minn. Co.
Published : Tuesday, 29 Sep 2009, 4:56 PM CDT

MINNEAPOLIS - The animal rights group, PETA, has released undercover video depicting animal abuse to dairy cows at a Pennsylvania farm that supplies milk to Minnesota based Land O’ Lakes, Inc.

The video shot during the course of several months depicts filthy conditions in both the barn and milking parlor along with cows suffering from severe illness and infections.

Daphna Nachminovich, PETA Vice President of Cruelty Investigations said at a St. Paul news conference, “Just the deplorable conditions that the animals were kept in made for not just cruelty, but also a health concern for the consumer.”

The video and pictures were captured on the Deitz family dairy farm in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. A former employee of the farm provided the video to PETA after repeated attempts to get the farm to take better care of its cows. On September 22nd, the whistle blower filed in Pennsylvania magistrate court fifteen summary charges of animal neglect and abuse against the dairy farm. Read More

As with most of the videos that are released from animal rights groups, we only see an edited version of the entire story. The only thing we know for sure is that there were some crippled cows at this dairy. How they got they way and how they were handled afterwards is unknown. Hopefully the entire story is available in the near future. What we do know for sure is that the vast overwhelming majority of livestock producers care for their animals. Never before in the history of animal agriculture have we had the tools to provide so much care for our livestock. If the dairy cattle in the video were receiving an inadequate level of care then that situation needs to be resolved immediately.

Senate Version of Climate Change Bill

Senate climate-change bill would cut greenhouse emissions 20% by 2020

The measure seeks stricter limits than those approved by the House. But it puts many details off for later -- an indication that top Democrats are willing to negotiate to ensure a bill will pass.

By Jim Tankersley
September 30, 2009
Reporting from Washington

The Senate's environment committee will take up an energy and climate-change bill today that calls for a 20% cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to a draft copy of the bill.

The measure, co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), will serve as the starting point for what promises to be a long and complicated series of negotiations. The Senate may not produce a final bill until next year.

A House measure passed this summer calls for a 17% reduction in greenhouse gases.

Both the Senate proposal and House bill seek to curb global warming by limiting the amount of heat-trapping gases poured into the air by power plants, factories and others, which would be required to obtain permits for their emissions.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma told Boxer in a letter Tuesday that until the details are set, "farmers, families and workers have no way of gauging how acutely they will be affected from job losses, higher electricity, food, and gasoline prices." Read More

We are finally getting to see the Senate version of the climate change legislation that passed the House this summer. It calls for an even more greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. All of the core materials that drive our country and make it so prosperous will be affected by legislation. From the wood it takes to build a house or business, to the steel we use to build machinery, to the food we put in our stomachs, everything will become more expensive. Energy costs will be especially elevated by this bill. For many families, it will make it quite difficult to eat and heat their house at the same time. And all of this to accomplish what? Supposedly it’s meant to solve a problem that we don’t know for sure even exists.

Consumers Enjoying Affordable Food

When it comes to food, consumers say price does matter
By Drovers news source Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As consumers place more emphasis on price and value as they fill their grocery carts, America’s conventional beef producers are helping ease the financial burden of rising food costs.

According to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2009 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends1, nearly 70 percent of shoppers say the recession is affecting their food shopping — up from 48 percent in 2008. Consumers in every income bracket are checking prices before checking out at the grocery store.

“U.S. consumers are facing rising food costs in a very challenging economy. What most consumers don’t know is that conventional production systems and using modern technologies keep beef affordable,” says Jan Lyons, owner of Lyons Ranch near Manhattan, Kansas.

“Conventional beef production significantly increases the volume of beef produced while conserving natural resources and reducing production costs across all segments of the industry. The result is more affordable beef for everyone.”

Conventional beef production keeps meat-case prices down

A 2009 analysis by Iowa State University agricultural economists Dr. John Lawrence and Maro Ibarburu shows if conventional beef production practices were replaced by organic- or natural-only practices, beef production would decrease by 18 percent and retail prices would increase by 11 percent. Read More

Conventional modern agriculture is under attack, mostly for being too productive. Elitists in this country don’t appreciate a safe affordable food supply since it doesn’t really matter to them. But to families that live paycheck to paycheck, it’s a make or break difference. This article does a nice job of highlighting the benefits of modern beef production.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dementia in Vegetarians

Vegetarians face risk of dementia
By V NarayanaMurthi
29 Sep 2009 07:21:17 AM IST

VELLORE: As the world observes the International Day of Older Persons on October 1, here is some food for thought for you. If you are over 50, vegetarian, and experience memory loss, you are more likely to have dementia than others.

Dementia is a disorder of the brain that affects areas of cognition such as memory, attention, language and problem solving. A recent study conducted by the Department of Geriatrics attached to the CMC Hospital here, considered to be a breakthrough, has found a link among vegetarianism, deficiency of Vitamin B12 and dementia.

The study has found that the deficiency of Vitamin B12 was one of the major reasons for dementia. Ten per cent of the persons with dementia had B12 deficiency and most of the sample group was vegetarians where as a similar study in USA had revealed the percentage was around one. “A pure vegetarian diet is very poor in Vitamin B12 and the same should be supplemented in the form of tablets by all vegetarians,” Dr Prasad Mathews, HoD, stressed. Read More

The debate over what is the perfect diet for people will probably never be settled. What we are told today is the food to avoid, will be tomorrow’s health food. So unless you want to constantly try keeping up with diet fads, your best option is going to be to eat a balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products. This study suggests that a vegetarian diet may cause even more harm to your brain health than previously believed. It’s more proof that extreme diets aren’t good for you.

Teaching Kids About Agriculture

Waco students learn about food production at World Hunger Relief

By Erin Quinn Tribune-Herald staff writer
Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tennyson Middle School student Austin Lyon never thought about where his food came from before.

The 13-year-old never realized that vegetables were much cheaper to plant than they are to buy in the grocery store.

And he had no idea that planting and harvesting his own food could actually be fun.

Lyon is one of about 15 Tennyson and Brazos middle school students who go to World Hunger Relief in Elm Mott once a week as part of the Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas after-school program.

The program works with 30 community agencies, including World Hunger Relief, that are designed to support students’ emotional, social, physical and intellectual development.

“It gets them outside their boxes,” said Sara Karnes, an AmeriCorps member who works with Communities In Schools. Read More

Teaching our kids about how our food is grown and the need of maintaining a safe, affordable, abundant food supply is vitally important. Last week my wife and I went into our son’s first grade class to do an activity about seeds. We shared with them how farmers plant seeds in the ground to grow our food. Finally we did an activity with them where they get to actually plant seeds inside a clear plastic glove with damp cotton ball so that they can see them sprout. Hopefully you can find an opportunity to work with a classroom in your area to share the story of agriculture with them.

New Crop Protection Ideas

Scientists Discover How To Send Insects Off The Scent Of Crops
ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2009) — Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded research, published recently in Chemical Communication, describes how scientists have discovered molecules that could confuse insects’ ability to detect plants by interfering with their sense of smell. This could reduce damage to crops by insect pests and contribute to food security.

Lead researcher Dr Antony Hooper of Rothamsted Research, an institute of BBSRC said: “One way in which insects find each other and their hosts is by smell, or more accurately: the detection of chemical signals – pheromones, for example. Insects smell chemicals with their antennae; the chemical actually gets into the antennae of the insect and then attaches to a protein called an odorant-binding protein, or OBP. This then leads to the insect changing its behaviour in some way in response to the smell, for example, flying towards a plant or congregating with other insects.”

Dr Hooper continued: “As well as learning about the nature of this interaction we’ve actually found that there are other compounds that bind to the OBP much more strongly than the pheromone. We could potentially apply these compounds, or similar ones, in some way to block the insects’ ability to detect chemical signals – the smell would be overwhelmed by the one we introduce. We’d expect the insects to be less likely to orientate themselves towards the crop plants, or find mates in this case, and therefore could reduce the damage. Read More

Figuring out new ways to protect our crops from pests and disease could significantly increase our yields. New research suggests that there’s a possibility we could make our crops smell different so that insects wouldn’t recognize them. Essentially being able to “hide” our crops from these devastating insects is great example of using modern technology to solve food production problems.

Monday, September 28, 2009

MO Attorney General Weighs CAFO Options

Attorney general weighs CAFO options
September 26, 2009 11:20 pm—

A decision could come at any time on an appeal of the state permit that allowed construction of a 65,600-chicken CAFO within a mile or so of Roaring River State Park.At the same time, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is weighing whether to continue an appeal of a circuit judge’s decision that would prohibit construction of CAFOs, or confined animal feeding operations, within two miles of state parks and historic sites. That appeal is pending before the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals at Kansas City.

The two cases are connected. When Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce ruled last year that a 4,800-head hog CAFO could not be located within two miles of the historic village of Arrow Rock, she cited the permit problems associated with the chicken CAFO near Roaring River as evidence that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources lacked the ability to protect state parks and historic sites from the detrimental effects of CAFOs.

Koster has asked for more time to weigh the options over whether he will continue the appeal of the two-mile buffer that was started under Gov. Matt Blunt’s administration. He was given that time last week when the Court of Appeals granted a 30-day extension. The next hearing date on the appeal of the two-mile buffer is set for Oct. 28. In the meantime, Koster is getting hit from all sides.

Ag interests

State agricultural interests, including the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Agribusiness Association, are encouraging Koster to continue the appeal, arguing that Joyce had only half the facts when she issued her decision. Read More

There always seems to be some confusion on the part of those who are opposed to CAFO’s about what these operations are. Most of the time they are simply a family farm. They are run by people who have lived their entire lives in these areas. Many times, they are built by families that are trying to provide an opportunity for the next generation of their family to become involved in agriculture. They are not the faceless, uncaring business that some try to paint a picture of. The only thing that a CAFO means is that the farm is of a size that it needs to have an approved nutrient management plan. Having situations like the one in Missouri, leaves many family farms in a limbo as to what they will be allowed to do in their future.

HSUS Seeks Prairie Dog Protection

The Humane Society of the United States Announces New Prairie Dog Protection Programs

( - The Prairie Dog Coalition, which was originally established in 2001 as an alliance of nonprofit organizations, concerned citizens and scientists dedicated to the protection of prairie dogs and restoration of prairie dog ecosystems, this month became a new program of The Humane Society of the United States.

"Prairie dogs have declined by almost 95 percent from their historic numbers," said Lindsey Sterling Krank, director of the new HSUS program. "A healthy prairie dog population is essential to the survival of a number of species and the health of the ecosystem."

"The future of the prairie dog is at stake as habitat loss and other threats put their survival in danger," said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to expand our efforts to protect these animals with the addition of Lindsey Sterling Krank and the programs of the Prairie Dog Coalition to our team." Read More

There is a very simple reason why the HSUS would become involved with the issue of prairie dogs. If they can help force regulations on ranchers to provide more habitat for this UN-endangered species, it would help in their goal to force all ranchers off their land and abolish animal agriculture. Prairie dogs devastate the land they occupy. They eat the grass down to ground level which leads to wind and water erosion. On top of that they are a carrier of the plague. As stewards of the land, it’s important that we control these rodents and not allow them to destroy land unchecked.

Farming: Stressful, But Worth It

10 Stressful Jobs That Are Worth It
By Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder writer

I don't know anyone who goes a day without feeling a tinge of stress, but rarely do we all pull our hair out for the same reasons. I'm panicking that my DVR failed to record my favorite TV show; a friend is celebrating her birthday and realizes she hasn't achieved any of her personal goals; another friend is worrying about his sick child.

Not exactly the same kinds of stress, but our blood pressure rises nonetheless.

We've put together a list of jobs that have quite a bit of stress, and in our opinion, these jobs are worth the gray hairs and momentary bouts of anxiety.

Here are 10 jobs that come with equal amounts of stress and satisfaction (in alphabetical order):

3. Farmers Why it's stressful: Physical labor plus anxiety about Mother Nature equals stress. You start work early and stay late, all while being outside. That is if bad weather doesn't ruin your crops. Not to mention the variety of economic pressures for small farms that face competition from large businesses and manufacturers.

Why it's worth it: Farmers are among the few workers that every person in the country relies on for survival. How's that for job satisfaction?

How much you'll earn: Varies Read More

It’s no secret that being involved in production agriculture is stressful. So not surprisingly, farming showed up on a list of high stress jobs. However, it was refreshing to see this article also highlight the rewards that we enjoy in this profession. Without out people growing food, this planet would grind to a halt. Having a safe affordable, abundant food supply is one of the key reasons our country is a superpower.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Michael Pollan Complains

Michael Pollan talks turn controversial

Bill Lueders on Thursday 09/24/2009

As quoted in Isthmus' cover story last week, author Michael Pollan resents accusations that he's blaming farmers for the nation's flawed food policies: "That's just rhetoric. I'm blaming the system. I'm blaming a set of incentives. A system in which many farmers really feel trapped."

Last Thursday the State Journal ran a letter to the editor headlined "Beware of Pollan's Attack on Farmers." In fact, the published letter never accuses Pollan of attacking farmers; it merely defends farmers while casting aspersions on Pollan's unspecified "agenda."

State Journal editorial page editor Scott Milfred says the letter was shortened from the original and given a head that fit the writer's point: "I don't think the headline was a stretch."

Pollan, now in Madison for a series of events (Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center, Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Union Theater, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. on the Capitol Square), disagrees: "The headline on that letter is really unfair, to the writer and to me. Someone's trying to stir the pot, obviously. This is the Farm Bureau line and they're parroting it." Read More

It’s quite interesting that after deliberately attacking farmers and ranchers that now Pollan feels as though he is being picked on. The reason people are concerned about what he is saying is that his policies would lead to a hungry world. Everyone would love to slow their lives down, including how their food is grown, but unfortunately that is tough to do. When Pollan comes up with an idea that doesn’t recklessly endanger our ability to feed ourselves, I will be more than happy to listen. Until then, America’s farming families will continue feeding and clothing a hungry nation.

Gov. Says Be Proactive

NE governor: Be proactive against animal rights groups
September 24, 2009 by Ken Anderson

State by state, the Humane Society of the United States is methodically advancing its animal rights agenda across the U.S.

Michigan is the latest to succumb. That state’s pork and poultry groups have compromised with HSUS on legislation that contains regulations similar to those found in California’s Proposition 2.

How does Nebraska plan to combat the animal rights movement? “We’re looking at a number of things,” says Nebraska governor Dave Heineman, “We want to be proactive on this front and we’re having lots of conversations trying to figure out what the best way is to do that.”

Heineman says he has discussed the matter with a number of industry groups, including Nebraska Farm Bureau and Nebraska Cattlemen. “They care about the safety and humaneness of animal care,” says Heineman. “They’re also working with the local humane society, which is frankly exactly where we’re at—they don’t agree with the national organizations who are going to come in and try to exploit this in an inappropriate way.”

Some states are attempting to undercut HSUS’ efforts by establishing animal care standards boards. Ohio voters will vote in November on whether to establish such a board. Link

Many states are looking at how they are going to deal with the HSUS if they come to their state. Losing local control of livestock practices to a Washington, DC based animal rights group is dangerous for family farms and our nation’s food supply. Governor Heineman is absolutely right about the fact that we need to be pro-active by educating our neighbors and consumers about food production and the important role livestock play.

Pollan's Speech at U of Wisconsin

7,000 attend talk by controversial food author
By Nick Penzenstadler, Special to the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Sept. 24, 2009

Madison — Here's some advice: Don't buy any foods you've seen advertised on television.
That was one of the tips of a controversial author speaking Thursday before more than 7,000 people at the Kohl Center in the heart of America's Dairyland.

Michael Pollan visited the campus as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's "Go Big Read" program, after UW chose his book, "In Defense of Food," as the subject of the program. The book was given free to all incoming freshmen and incorporated into more than 60 courses from engineering to art.

In the book, Pollan provides his perspectives on the growth of manufactured foods and promotes simplifying your diet: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

"We didn't purposely choose a controversial book, but food and food production is important to the people of this state," UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin said. "The interest and the controversy is all positive."

Laura Daniels, a dairy farmer from Cobb, organized a group of more than 100 farmers to attend the lecture with matching T-shirts.

"It's absolutely not a protest, but we just want to enter the dialogue," Daniels said. "Unfortunately, if we don't show up and show our side, many of his claims will become truth."
Pollan addressed critics at the start of his presentation.

"I would have no problem wearing the green T-shirt I've seen. 'Eat food, be healthy, and thank a farmer' - there's nothing there I could disagree with," Pollan said. "America's farmers hold the key to solving the crises in our country, health care, climate change and energy."
Defense of food science

John Lucey, a UW-Madison food scientist, opposed Pollan's view of food technology on the university's Go Big Read Web site.

"Food science has done a lot of good. If you go back 100 years ago, foods were the source of people getting sick and dying, that is a fact. The introduction of technologies like pasteurization of milk, have saved countless lives." Read More

Congratulations to all of those that showed up with green shirts. Your hard work and efforts paid off. Even though he claims not to against family farmers, his irresponsible ideas that he is advocating would hurt both family farmers and our country’s safe, affordable, abundant food supply. It’s vital that everyone understand that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Increased Food Production by 2050 Needed

World will need 70 per cent more food in 2050: FAO

World food production must increase by 70 per cent by 2050, to nourish a human population then likely to be 9.1 billion, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation forecast on Wednesday.

"FAO is cautiously optimistic about the world's potential to feed itself by 2050," said FAO Assistant Director-General Hafez Ghanem. However, he stressed that feeding everyone in the world by then "will not be automatic and several significant challenges have to be met."

The agency is preparing for a high-level expert forum in Rome on October 12-13 on "How to Feed the World in 2050" and plans to gather 300 specialists from academic, non-governmental and private sector institutions.

The world population is expected to grow from 6.8 billion today to 9.1 billion in 2050, according to the latest UN forecast. Read More

We either have or will have the technology and the ability to continue feeding everyone on this planet. The real question that will need to be answered is whether or not our society will allow our farmers and ranchers to do it. The questions will be a simple one, either we utilize modern food production techniques in crop and livestock production, or we will decide that some people will go hungry. That is the choice that will need to be made.

Ohio Animal Welfare Symposium

Ohio State October 16 Animal Welfare Symposium Takes Shape
09/23/2009 03:39PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As animal agriculture comes under scrutiny and animal welfare issues are hotly debated, the time to become educated to proactively address animal welfare issues is now.

"Animal welfare is a prominent issue in Ohio and the U.S. and even the world. It's a topic of interest to producers, consumers, veterinarians, health-care professionals, legislators and anyone who has a stake in sustainable animal agriculture," said Naomi Botheras, animal welfare program specialist for Ohio State University Extension in the Department of Animal Sciences. "Because it is such an important topic that affects a lot of people, it's important to become educated about the issue, participate in the conversation and get involved in the decision-making process."

Informed decisions about animal welfare that will positively address the needs of animals, producers and consumers are based on understanding a wide range of perspectives. To better understand and proactively address farm animal welfare issues, the Department of Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine are holding an Animal Welfare Symposium, "Building Partnerships to Address Animal Agriculture," on Friday, Oct. 16 at the university's Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Well-known animal welfare experts and social scientists from around the world will discuss the scientific, ethical, legal and social contexts embedded in the animal welfare debate.

"The symposium is an opportunity for people to hear a wide range of animal welfare perspectives, hear what other people are doing and discuss what needs to be done. It's also a chance to learn from other countries about how they have handled animal welfare issues, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel or more importantly so we don't make the same mistakes they've made," said Botheras who is co-organizing the event. Read More

One of the biggest problems that animal agriculture has been trying to tackle is educating their consumers about who they are and what they do. Everyone is concerned about livestock being handled properly, especially farmers and ranchers. But for those that have no experience in dealing with livestock, changing practices that they consider to cruel could actually cause the livestock to suffer needlessly. Forums like the one that is being hosted by Ohio State University Extension seek to give everyone an opportunity to listen to the foremost experts in the world so that informed, reasonable decisions can be made.

More Campus Ignorance About Agriculture

Op-Ed: Go vegetarian to save the Earth, feed the hungry
By Michael W. Gibson
September 24, 2009

Although more people go vegetarian every day, the world will be better still if more people take the plunge into a meat-free lifestyle. Support comes from successful arguments from the standpoints of ethics, world hunger, the environment, personal health and animal rights. The reasons for vegetarianism greatly outweigh the reasons against, so why aren’t more people making the switch?

The problem of world hunger is tragic and vast. A vegetarian diet does much to aid in solving this global catastrophe. As John Hill wrote in “The Case for Vegetarianism,” a child dies as a result of malnutrition every 2.3 seconds. A third of the world’s grain harvest and 70 percent of the U.S.’s grain is now being fed to cattle and other livestock while nearly a billion human beings go to bed malnourished. A quarter of the total surface land area of the planet and a third of the U.S. landmass is utilized for livestock grazing. This land could be put to better agricultural use to feed the world’s hungry. Up to 40,000 pounds of potatoes can be grown on an acre of land whereas the same area will yield only 250 pounds of beef. Read More

College newspapers have been busy filling space with pro-vegetarian, anti-agriculture article this fall. In everyone that I have read so far, they have mearly been the regurgitation of inaccurate information. None of them have done any type of research that didn’t involve Google. For instance, this student makes the claim that 40,000 lbs of potatoes could be grown on the same amount of land that can only produce 250 lbs of beef. His glaring ignorance is on display in that one comment alone. Most of the land that livestock graze on isn’t suitable for farming. Trying to farm grazing land would be impossible in many areas and an irresponsible use of the land in others. The other tired argument that people could eat the feed that is used for livestock use is a half truth at best. It’s unfortunate that so many students have been so willing to show their ignorance of the industry which they seek to abolish.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Michigan Caves To HSUS Pressure

Michigan House passes animal care legislation
By Shannon Linderoth Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 87-20 to pass farm animal welfare legislation. This legislation was not the same legislation passed out of the Ag Committee. Due to compromise negotiations, the committee bill was gutted and replaced with a substitute bill that calls for confinement standards as primarily dictated by the Humane Society of the United States, not the “gold standards” many ag groups originally sought.

In a statement sent to Dairy Herd Management, the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) says it did not negotiate the compromise legislation of Substitute H-4 for House Bill 5127; the negotiations were strictly between the Michigan Pork Producers Association (MPPA), Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Michigan Agri-Business Association, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

MPPA and Allied Poultry expressed to Farm Bureau that in light of the unknown fate of an HSUS-driven ballot initiative, they felt the substitute legislation was in the best interest of their members, and they asked for Farm Bureau’s support.

After long and thoughtful consideration, the MFB Board of Directors decided to honor the pork and poultry industries’ request and support their legislative effort. Meanwhile, Farm Bureau, in the interest of its entire membership, will pursue a substitute bill for House Bill 5128 which would advocate scientific-based animal care standards for all livestock species through the establishment of a Michigan Livestock Animal Care Standards Board with oversight from the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

The decision to support the pork and poultry industries’ compromise legislation was reached, in part, based on the following:

Farm Bureau is a general farm organization and its membership includes pork and poultry farmers.

MFB member-developed policy strongly opposes the use of ballot initiatives as a way to regulate modern livestock production and management practices.

The compromise legislation appears to diffuse this threat, at least in the near future, because in negotiating the legislation, HSUS has said it “will not pursue a Michigan farm animal confinement-related ballot measure prior to the effective date of the law.” Link

After some incredible momentum had been built against the agenda of the Washington, DC based lobbyist group known as the Humane Society of the United States, the pork and poultry growers caved to their blackmailing attempts. What is being reported as a compromise is in reality a surrender flag. Animal agriculture gained nothing in this deal and the livestock abolitionist group got everything they wanted, and the livestock will suffer the most now that they won’t be able to receive the very best care available. Even though the fight has been lost in Michigan, the courage being shown by the farmers and ranchers in Ohio still serves as a model for how to deal with this issue. In no way will HSUS now leave Michigan alone, they will just put them on the back burner until they return to completely and totally eliminate the livestock industry. Their stated goal is not to change livestock handling practices, but rather to abolish animal agriculture.

CA Producers Using Social Media

Blogging on the range: Farmers link to consumers via social media
Issue Date: September 23, 2009
By Ching Lee
Assistant Editor

Whether he's strolling through the corral, doing payroll at his desk or checking on a newborn calf, Stanislaus County dairy farmer Ray Prock likes to stop by what he calls his "virtual watercooler" to chat about his favorite topic: agriculture.

He does this by logging on to his Twitter account, a social networking Web site that allows users to exchange quick, frequent messages known as tweets. By firing up his computer or turning on his smartphone, Prock can get a glimpse of what people in the global community are saying—and talk back to them.

That's important, he said, because with so much misinformation out there about where food comes from and how it's produced, farmers have a responsibility to speak up and set the record straight. And with social media, they now have a tool to help them reach virtually anybody anywhere at any time.

"I started to use it as a way to put a face on the farmer and make the farmer human again," said Prock. "If you're not part of the discussion, then you are the discussion, and if you're being discussed, you might as well be there." Read More

I know many of the people in this article and have witnessed their dedication to telling the story of agriculture. In today’s world, there are more ways than ever to let your voice be heard, and specifically to let the consumer hear your voice. Many farmers and ranchers are quite nervous about talking to consumers because they are constantly seeing and hearing negative things about them and their business. Normally though, that isn’t the case. Today’s consumers are asking for the chance to meet a real farmer or rancher. It’s an incredible opportunity we have to talk with these people and tell them our story. Follow the lead of these great ag advocates.

Suing Hog Farmers

Hog lawsuits raising stink in Missouri
By BILL DRAPER – 6 hours ago

BERLIN, Mo. — A faint rotten-egg smell drifts off a covered lagoon a hundred yards from a well-traveled Missouri gravel road. It's not an overpowering odor, but it's there.

Aside from a few dirt-speckled pickup trucks kicking up dust as they pass by, this battleground — ground zero in what some see as a high-stakes fight for the future of Missouri agriculture — is calm.

But in Kansas City law offices 80 miles away, combatants prepare for another showdown over the smells drifting from this 80,000-head hog operation. Is the aroma an obnoxious affront to neighbors or simply the "odor of agriculture" that comes with life in the country?

It's a fight Charlie Speer has waged for nearly 15 years. The Kansas City attorney has won almost $10 million from Premium Standard Farms and its affiliates in trials since 1999, and this summer praised a $1.2 million settlement with an unrelated southwest Missouri operation as having "set the bar" for future settlements.

Hog odor lawsuits are nothing new. The issue of what constitutes an agricultural nuisance has been argued anywhere hogs are raised.

"In Missouri, there is no limit to the amount a plaintiff can recover for an alleged nuisance, no matter how slight," Smithfield said in a statement to The Associated Press. "The potential for an unlimited recovery for a minor injury makes Missouri extremely attractive to out-of-state plaintiffs' lawyers looking for big paydays." Read More

Nobody will deny that there are smells associated with animal agriculture. However, I think the thing that gets lost in the shuffle here is the fact that these lawsuits are hurting farm families. There aren’t any billionaire executives out feeding and caring for the livestock. They are being cared for by honest hard-working family farmers that enjoy working with livestock and producing food for their country. With the anti-agriculture groups and the lawyers involved, they won’t be happy until they have run all of these families off their land.

HSUS Asks EPA To Regulate Livestock Feeders

Activists petition EPA to regulate CAFO air emissions
Sally Schuff

A coalition of activist organizations filed a formal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 21 seeking to add confined animal feeding operations to the list of operations regulated under the Clean Air Act’s endangerment standard. The coalition, which includes the Humane Society of the United States, the Waterkeepers Alliance, and Friends of the Earth, seeks to add CAFOs to the list of stationary sources which produce air pollution "which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." The EPA Administrator is required to keep such a list under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act.

The petition points out that Section 111 "defines a 'stationary source' as 'any building, structure, facility, or installation which emits or may emit an air pollutant.'" It notes EPA uses the word "facility" in its regulatory definition of CAFOs.

The petition charges that CAFOs emit air pollutants, specifically,

Greenhouse gases that cause or contribute to climate change;

Hydrogen sulfide that cause or contribute to hydrogen sulfide exposure, localized odors, acid rain, and haze;

Ammonia that causes or contributes odors, ecosystem acidification and eutrophication, and haze;
Particulate matter and small particulates that cause or contribute to particle pollution, acid rain, and haze;

And certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause or contribute to localized odors, ground-level ozone, and haze.

The petition is online at:

Article Link

The HSUS continues their assault on family farmers by suing the Environmental Protection Agency in order to force them to place burdensome and unaffordable regulations on them. This country needs to wake up and realize that if groups like the HSUS are allowed to put family farmers out of business in this country, then we will begin to rely on food that is produced in foreign countries. If that would happen, it would be the absolute end of our nation’s sovereignty.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Livestock Help The Climate

Livestock vital in fight against climate change
22 September 2009

A LEADING scientist has issued a robust rebuttal to those who claim livestock are the biggest contributors to climate change.

Dr David Garwes, an independent livestock scientist, said grassland farmers made a considerable contribution to food security while continuing to reduce their environmental impact.

His report, released by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE), added livestock farmers made an important contribution in the fight against climate change.

In his report, Reducing Emissions from Livestock, Dr Garwes also urged consumers not to abandon meat eating.

Dr Garwes said: “More than 60 per cent of British agricultural land is grassland and much of it, particularly the hills and uplands, is unsuitable for other crops.

“Semi-permanent rough grazing and improved grasslands play a vital role in locking up carbon dioxide and regulating the flow of rain into water courses. Read More

Livestock production does more to benefit the world than it ever will to harm it. With a vast majority of the land mass on this planet unsuitable for crop production, we need livestock to be able to harvest the grasses that grow in those areas. There is also no doubt that agriculture is much more efficient and producing less emissions than in the past, a trend that is continuing. The calls to end animal agriculture in the name of the environment are short sighted to say the least.

Farmers Supporting Issue 2 in Ohio

Farmers gather to support Issue 2
By Richard Wilson, Staff Writer
10:40 PM Monday, September 21, 2009

HAMILTON — A campaign is under way to pass an issue that proponents say will circumvent a national effort by the Humane Society of the United States to ban certain farming practices.

About 80 local farmers gathered Monday night, Sept. 21 at the OSU agriculture extension office on Princeton Road to get information and campaign materials on Issue 2 — a ballot initiative that seeks to amend the Ohio constitution and create a state livestock care standards board.

The discussion centered around what has happened in other states, where the humane society has used gory images of mistreated farm animals to sway voters in passing bans on restrictive cages for cows, pigs and poultry.

Issue 2, if passed, will reinsure consumer confidence in the local food supply and is a proactive effort to retain Ohio control over Ohio farming practices, Adam Sharp, of the Ohio Farm Bureau, told the assembly. Read More

Issue 2 in Ohio continues to be a much discussed topic. It’s also quite encouraging to see that many of Ohio’s farmers and ranchers have realized the importance of them being involved in the process to get this passed. If Ohio residents are truly concerned about the welfare of livestock, they will support this Issue so that a care board of experts is able to monitor animal agriculture in that state rather than having a Washington, DC based lobbying group defining it.

Nice Guys Finish Last

Stop being nice, animal ag activist says

A leading lobbyist thinks farmers and ranchers are "too nice" to those who oppose them and that more needs to be done to fight their influence.

"Our voice in Washington is shrinking and the unfortunate thing is we can't do a damn thing about it," said Steve Kopperud, senior vice president of Policy Directions, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm specializing in agriculture issues.

Kopperud, who for 18 years served as executive vice president of the American Feed Industry Association and is the founder of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, spoke at the recent Nebraska Governor's Ag Conference at Kearney.

"The problem we face is that of all critical industries we have, agriculture is being told to go backwards," Kopperud said. "Why is agriculture not being praised for embracing safe and modern technology for feeding not only this country but most of the known planet?"

The reality of U.S. and world food production is that two-thirds of North America cannot support crop production, Kopperud said, meaning a switch to a vegetable-based diet, as animal activists insist on, cannot be physically done. Read More

It’s hard to say it any plainer than the way that Steve Kopperud did. Family farmers and ranchers are being attacked on many fronts. Many of these attacks are from people that don’t have a good understanding of what we do and why we do those things on the farm. We no longer have a choice of whether or not we want to engage with our consumers and critics. If it wasn’t already, being active in telling your story is officially on your chore list.

Monday, September 21, 2009

In Defense of Farmers

Farmers unite in response to Pollan appearance
Sarah Muirhead

Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: The Omnivore’s Solution, is scheduled to speak Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s new common book program known as Go Big Read.

Local farmers are reacting to Pollan’s scheduled appearances by organizing a show of solidarity and have invited all farmers, students, agriculture professionals and “people who are thankful for our safe abundant food supply” to attend the event and wear the color green.

“The choice of this book for the Go Big Read, together with the recent movie Food Inc., and the Time magazine cover story, and now a New York Times article attacking Wisconsin Dairy Farms all call into question the decisions we make on our farms about raising crops and animals. It’s important that we show up at this public event to share our stories,” said the agriculture-based group known as In Defense of Farmers.

The group said that while it supports and believes in the University of Wisconsin, the choice of this book and the unintended endorsement of Pollan and his views simply cannot go unanswered.

Since there will be no other speakers to balance the discussion on Thursday night, “We hope to be there and offer ourselves as reasonable and respectful people who are willing to talk about our farms and answer any questions people may have about how their food is produced. We see this as a chance to gather and share,” said In Defense of Farmers. Read More

I have been getting emails from people all over the country about how to deal with the irresponsible agriculture system that Michael Pollan is promoting. Wherever he goes to speak, local farmers and ranchers are working to counter the one-sided message that many universities are arranging for him to deliver. Those of us that do more than just talk about growing food have been getting pushed and shoved for too long. It’s exciting to see that there are more farmers and ranchers willing to stand up and tell the real story of agriculture. If you aren’t actively working to promote modern food production yet, come join our growing team.

Give Up Coal? No, Let's Not

Give up coal? No, let’s not

By Hasso Hering, Commentary
Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2009 3:00 am

The Sierra Club is trying to get students at universities including Oregon State to agitate against the use of coal as an energy source. The campaign is misguided. Let's hope it fails.

The organization has launched what it calls a coal-free campus campaign. There's no coal at Oregon State, so the campaign has won before it started. But if they mean they don't want colleges to buy electricity generated from coal, OSU would have to give up buying from Pacific Power.

Pacific has sources of alternative energy, but by far most of its supply, some 70 percent according to one recent brochure, comes from burning coal, mostly in Wyoming.

Coal has environmental drawbacks, but so do other forms of generating vast amounts of electricity. Writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee notes that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced plans to cover 1,000 square miles in the desert Southwest with solar collectors. Other federal energy goals call for 186,000 50-story windmills, covering an area the size of West Virginia. Alexander calls this a "massive intrusion into the natural landscape." By comparison, coal plants and the mines on which they depend occupy only a few square miles each. Read More

There are many environmentalists that would try to tell you it’s impossible to use coal energy and not destroy the planet. However, there is technology to deal with many of these environmental issues. It’s irresponsible to advocate for the elimination of a energy source that powers half the country without first having an equally affordable system ready to replace it. There is no doubt that our society will evolve into using different forms of energy, but it shouldn’t be done if it is going to bankrupt our nation and leave us with massive amounts of people that can't afford electricity.

AR Activist Says Friends, Not Food

Activist says friends, not food
Animal rights protestor speaks out

By Jennifer Dorval
University of Central Florida

Published: Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gary Yourofsky is very familiar with the inside of a prison cell.

His passion for animal rights has landed him in jail 13 times and banned him from five different countries.

Yourofsky, the founder of Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow, a non-profit animal rights organization, asked students to “remove the blinders” from their eyes while giving a two-hour presentation on what he described as the “worst Holocaust in human history.”

The event, hosted by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Sigma Alpha Pi, gathered more than 100 students in the Student Union’s Garden Key room on Friday afternoon.

Yourofsky asked students to place themselves in the position of animals and start to view the issue from their point of view — as victims.

“If you are not a victim, don’t examine it from your point of view, because when you’re not the victim, it becomes really easy to rationalize and excuse cruelty, injustice, inequality, slavery and even murder,” Yourofsky said. Read More

It’s always interesting to see what the most radical animal rights activists are saying about animal agriculture. I really wish more people could hear just how crazy and irresponsible these people are. The real concern about an event like this is the fact that the University of Central Florida is presenting a speaker, who has been jailed 13 times, as an expert in animal agriculture. If they want to learn about animal agriculture, there are plenty of hard working, honest family farmers and ranchers that would be happy to visit with them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I won't have time to post anything on my blog today or tomorrow. I'm heading out this morning for the annual Western South Dakota Buckaroo Ride and won't be home until Sunday. Take care everyone and have a great weekend.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why The Death Tax Needs To Die

Bill would ax estate tax for agriculture
Business-involvement stipulation for heir raises some concerns
Capital Press

Farmers and ranchers are supporting a bill in Congress that would exempt certain land from the federal estate tax as long as the property is kept in agriculture.

The bill by U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and John Salazar, D-Colo., would deduct from the estate tax the value of farmland in cases where the heir had been involved in the farm operation for five of the past eight years.

The idea pleases ranchers such as California cattle producer Kevin Kester, whose family had to pay $2 million over 10 years to the Internal Revenue Service after his grandfather died in 1993.

"We struggled, and the net result over 10 years was we were not able to invest and reinvest in the ranch or have the employees that we should have," said Kester, who runs cows and grows winegrapes on 22,000 acres near Paso Robles.

Currently, under a tax-relief bill signed by then-President George W. Bush, estates valued at more than $3.5 million, or $7 million for a couple, are taxed at a 45 percent rate. If Congress doesn't act, the rate is set to revert in 2011 to 55 percent on estates worth $1 million or more.

Read More

There is nothing good that comes out of the death tax. It destroys family owned businesses and the jobs they provided. It hits farming and ranching families especially hard. Agriculture is a very capital intensive business which can be valued quite high because of the land involved, yet comes no where close to generating the income required to pay the taxes. In those instances, families are forced to sell part of their farm just to pay the taxes. This type of tax costs our society more than it generates. Do your part and contact your Congressional delegation. Follow the links below to send a message.

If you live in California, use this link:

If you live outside of California use this link:

HSUS Says New Henhouse Not Compliant

J.S. West to build henhouse compliant with Proposition 2
By John Holland -

J.S. West and Cos., an egg producer based in Modesto, announced today that it will build a henhouse aimed at complying with Proposition 2.

This will be the first commercial project that meets the standards for hen enclosures approved by state voters last year, company president Eric Benson said.

The Humane Society of the United States, a leading backer of the proposition, disagreed. It said the new housing, increasing the floor space per hen to 116 square inches, would leave the birds too cramped.

Benson said he was not surprised by the reaction and plans to move forward with the $3.2 million project. It will house about 150,000 hens — 8 percent of the company’s flock — at one of its operations near Livingston.

“No matter what the Humane Society thinks, we believe at J.S. West that this housing is Proposition 2-compliant,” Benson said.

Jennifer Fearing, senior state director for the Humane Society, said both sides in the battle over Proposition 2 agreed last year that it would not allow the enclosures planned by J.S. West.

“The amount of space proposed here is clearly not enough space for ‘fully extending all limbs without touching the side of an enclosure or another bird’ as defined under Proposition 2,” she said in an e-mail. Read More

As was to be expected, the HSUS is quite upset that anyone is going to continue egg production in California. Their goal was to eliminate the industry in that state, but now there are some that are going to attempt to comply with Prop 2. The HSUS wrote the proposition with vague language so that they could twist the interpretation any way they wanted. In doing so, they figured everyone would be to scared to even try complying. Eventually a judge will have to determine what is and isn’t legal. Until then, expect to hear the HSUS claim any proposal as being in violation of Prop 2.

Large Bison Range Proposed

September 16, 2009
Ranchers criticize plans for bison herds at BLM meeting
Tribune Staff Writer

HAVRE — Ranching interests sharply criticized a private grassland preserve in northeastern Montana as well as a new federal initiative in which new free-roaming bison herds could be established in the West.

The criticism came Tuesday at a meeting of the Bureau of Land Management's Central Montana Resource Advisory Committee.

The 60,000-acre American Prairie Reserve in Phillips County, launched by the not-for-profit American Prairie Foundation in 2006, includes about 100 bison. The reserve consists of private land and property leased from the BLM for grazing.

In a separate bison project, last year the U.S. Department of the Interior, under the Bush administration, called for federal agencies to coordinate management of existing bison herds on federal land, research bison genetics and disease, and study partnerships to increase existing herds or establish new ones.

Both bison efforts were discussed for 90 minutes Tuesday in Havre, with ranchers and some RAC members raising concerns over the spread of disease, loss of public lands for cattle grazing and lack of local input.

"People shouldn't have to drive five hours to testify for three minutes," Malta rancher Dale Veseth said, adding he believed the meeting should have been conducted in Malta, where most of the people affected by bison live.

Ron Poertner, a RAC member from Winifred, said he did not see any difference between the fenced bison in the private reserve and free-roaming animals that can be introduced under the public conservation initiative.

"We are not anti-cattle," Scott Laird, APF's director of field operations, told the crowd.

The reserve is a grassland conservation project, not a bison project, Laird added. He said APF has worked hard to be a good neighbor and has done a good job managing the bison. Read More

There have been plans even bigger than this that have been tossed around in the past. Years ago, the Buffalo Commons project proposed turning entire states into large bison pastures. The purpose of these projects is never very clear and there are some real concerns. It’s not a matter of population because the bison are no longer threatened with extinction by any means. These projects take land out of food production as well. Ranchers can manage grasslands quite well with cattle and it’s quite insulting and uninformed to suggest that just turning bison out into a pasture is better for the grass than the intensive management ranchers utilize.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coalition For Conservation Through Ranching

Unique partnership promotes conservation
By Drovers news source Monday, September 14, 2009

A group of respected ranching and conservation organizations have come together to form a unique broad based coalition to enhance ranching practices that consider important conservation issues throughout the West. The Coalition for Conservation through Ranching is a new multi-stakeholder partnership between national conservation-minded groups that share an interest in promoting open space for ranching and healthy landscapes. The recently signed agreement marks the beginning of the unique relationship. Steering committee members of the coalition include the Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Family Farm Alliance (FFA) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Other organizations that have joined the coalition at this time are the American Farmland Trust, the American Forage and Grassland Council, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Society for Rangeland Management, the Wild Sheep Foundation, and the Wilderness Society. The Bureau of Land Management serves as an advisor to the group.

“Cherished iconic western landscapes depend upon productive partnerships between ranchers and conservationists. The Coalition for Conservation through Ranching will promote solutions that will keep western landscapes healthy and in the process benefit working ranches, wildlife and other natural resources,” says Dan Grossman, Rocky Mountain Regional Director, EDF.

Read More

No matter what the anti-agriculture people say, farmers and ranchers make taking care of their land a top priority. No matter if they are growing crops or livestock they depend on their land as the foundation of everything they do. This new partnership is bringing together many different groups that all realize the importance of healthy land and I look forward to seeing the great work that they can no doubt accomplish.

Pig Tissue Healing Human Wounds

Researchers using pig tissue to help heal human wounds
One in 20 people will need some kind of tissue transplant in their lifetime. Some researchers believe pigs may be the key to faster healing from transplants.

Reporter: Maureen McFadden

One in 20 people will need some kind of tissue transplant in their lifetime. Some researchers believe pigs may be the key to faster healing from transplants.

From hernias to plastic surgery, pig tissue is helping humans get back in the game.

"I was having pain even standing for an extended period of time," says hernia patient Chris Nelson.

Chris had a hernia in his groin; the muscle had torn. Instead of using donor tissue, doctors repaired it with material made from the small intestines of pigs.

"It did seem almost weird science or something like that," Chris says.

"Pigs have been a very popular or common animal to use," says Dr. Samer Mattar, bariatric surgeon at Clarian Bariatrics in Indianapolis. "Believe it or not, their genetic makeup is pretty close to humans."

When placed on the torn tissue, the body uses the pig part as a scaffold or guide to remodel and repair itself. Over time, the pig's tissue is replaced by human tissue, providing a permanent repair. Read More

Our ability to utilize livestock as a resource has undoubtedly led to many improvements in the quality of human life. Many things that we use and take for granted every day are a co-product of livestock production. This is another great example of that. Using tissue from pigs to help heal humans may seem like a fairly insignificant breakthrough. However, it’s just one in a long line of uses for pigs in human medicine. Without livestock production we would have hungry people and more sick people. That isn’t the legacy we want to leave for our future generations.

School Sheep Project Update

School row lamb sent to slaughter
BBC News

A school lamb that was hand-reared for meat by Kent pupils learning about the food chain has been slaughtered despite a national row over his fate.

Lydd Primary decided to send neutered male Marcus to slaughter earlier than planned, Kent County Council said.

TV host Paul O'Grady offered to buy him and a pupil's mother objected to his killing but head teacher Andrea Charman said the move had overwhelming support.

Animal welfare campaigners want the school to end its slaughter programme.

In a statement issued following Marcus's slaughter over the weekend, Ms Charman said: "The decision to send the Wether lamb for meat, which has the support of the school council and staff, the governing body and the majority of parents, has now been carried out.

"When we started the farm in spring 2009, the aim was to educate the children in all aspects of farming life and everything that implies. Read More

Here is an update on the sheep story that I shared with you yesterday. Of course PETA had to get involved and tried shaming the children into not harvesting their sheep. Unfortunately for them they were a little too late. The children of this school got their wish and will be able to continue learning about livestock from the funds generated through this project. We talk a lot about how consumers aren’t educated about farming and livestock production and this shows the PETA would really like to keep it that way. By not allowing these kids to understand that livestock are raised to produce food for us, they can further that disconnect and hopefully convince these uneducated people to support them. I think the disconnect goes further than just food production anymore though, it’s a disconnect from reality and the circle of life. I will continue to shout this out loud, the success of life depends on death. Every single living thing can only stay living by causing death to something else. That is a lesson that has been lost for most people.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Please Support H.R. 3524

In a capital intensive business like farming and ranching, estate taxes can be devastating to a family that is trying to pass their farm to the next generation. Please contact your Congressional representatives and let them know that you support H.R. 3524. The links below will help you do just that. Taking a few minutes today to do this might just keep a family farm in business.


Please take a moment to support family farmers and ranchers by telling your story or showing your support for H.R. 3524 the Family Farm Preservation Estate Tax Act (Mike Thompson, D-CA).

Take action to urge your Congressional Representative to sign on as a cosponsor of H.R. 3524. Please do this by clicking one of the links below. That link will provide you with an opportunity to write your own story or send a form letter to your congressman.

This legislation improves the business climate while ensuring farms and ranches can be passed on to future generations. If passed, H.R. 3524 will:

* Exempt farm and ranch assets from federal estate taxes as long as the operation remains as a family agricultural operation.
* Exclude land enrolled in a qualified conservation easement from federal estate taxes.

Considering the tax-reform legislation that was approved in 2001 will phase out the estate tax entirely in 2010, Congress will likely be taking up this item this fall.

Your personal stories are needed to help lawmakers understand how farming and ranching operations differ from other businesses. Help keep farming operations viable, urge your Representative to sign on as a cosponsor of H.R. 3524.

If you live in California, use this link:

If you live outside of California use this link:

Thanks for your attention and please pass this on to any farmer or farm supporter you know.

The Passing of Norman Borlaug

The Father Of the Green Revolution
By Joe Holley and J.Y. Smith
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 14, 2009

Norman E. Borlaug, 95, an American plant pathologist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for starting the "Green Revolution" that dramatically increased food production in developing nations and saved countless people from starvation, died Saturday at his home in Dallas.

"More than any other single person of this age, he has helped provide bread for a hungry world," the Nobel committee said in honoring him. "Dr. Borlaug has introduced a dynamic factor into our assessment of the future and its potential."

Edwin Price, director of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University, said his mentor died of cancer. Since 1984, Dr. Borlaug had been a distinguished professor of international agriculture there.

From the 1970s until his death, he increasingly took the politically incorrect view that environmentalists were hampering world food production by indiscriminately attacking the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

"They claim that the consumer is being poisoned out of existence by the current high-yielding systems of agricultural production and recommend we revert back to lower-yielding, so-called sustainable technologies," he said in a speech in New Orleans in 1993.

Unfortunately, he said, it is not possible to turn the clock back to the 1930s, when the population of the world was 2.2 billion. It was estimated at 5.6 billion in 1995 and was projected to rise to 8.3 billion by 2025. Read More

One of the great heroes in the history of agriculture, Norman Borlaug passed away this weekend at the age of 95. During his career, Borlaug always believed in using modern technology to end hunger. He believed in the proper use of fertilizers and chemicals as well. Those beliefs and his determination and hard work led to saving millions, if not billions, of people from starvation. He moved us away from the type of agriculture that many people like Michael Pollan and others want us to go back to. With a growing world population we have to continue moving forward with our ability to grow food, not backwards.

School Sheep Project

Anger over school sheep slaughter

(From the U.K.) Parents at a Kent primary school are angry that a sheep hand-reared by pupils is to be slaughtered for meat.

Meat from neutered male Marcus, one of three sheep cared for at a farm set up in the spring at Lydd Primary School, is to be raffled to buy more animals. Mother Jo Davis said it was a disgrace that the sheep fed by hand by her eight-year-old daughter Megan was to be slaughtered and sold.

Head teacher Andrea Charman said the school council voted for the slaughter.

Ms Charman started the farm, which also has rabbits, guinea pigs, cockerels and ducks, after she joined Lydd Primary in January.

The lambs were bottle-fed by the children and taken into assembly.

Last term the school council, made up of 14 seven to 11-year-olds, voted 13 to one in favour of sending Marcus to slaughter rather than keeping him. Read More

We all know that there is a disconnect between consumers and food producers, but this article is a good example of that. In this situation in the U.K., there are some parents that don’t want their kids to learn about the cycle of life. Trying to block the raffle of the meat that came from the sheep they raised is an effort to only let the kids learn half the story. Let’s remember that the kids weren’t going to have to witness the harvest of the animal, they just want to raffle off the meat to help fund their program. The success of life depends on death and when are kids are shielded from this law of nature, we do them a disservice.

Hog Farmer Entitled to Damages

Rochester hog farmer entitled to damages because of lawsuit, court rules
Posted Sep 11, 2009 @ 11:30 PM

A Rochester hog farmer is entitled to damages stemming from a lawsuit filed by opponents of his large-scale hog operation that delayed its construction, the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court decided this week.

Robert Young had appealed a ruling of Sangamon Circuit Judge Leslie Graves that he was not entitled to damages. Young previously successfully challenged an injunction request by the Rochester-Buckhart Action Group, which wanted to block expansion of his hog farm.

“The court ruled that we were right, and RBAG was wrong. Now, we will be asking RBAG to pay for the harm that was done,” Tom Immel, Young’s attorney, said Friday.

A hearing in Sangamon County court regarding the amount of damages will be scheduled later. Immel said Young will seek more than $300,000, including legal expenses and income Young and his wife, Sandra, lost while fighting the lawsuit.

The appellate court, in a ruling Tuesday, said Young was “engaged in a lawful business, and the planned expansion of his hog farm was put on hold at plaintiff’s (RBAG’s) behest. Read More

It seems that many times, a lawsuit is filed with the intention to stifle a time sensitive project. And in many of those instances there are very few consequences to the suing party. We see it a lot when it comes to logging, especially after forest fires. There is a very limited amount of time to harvest the burnt timber and some will tie up projects in court long enough for the wood to go to waste. In this case, it appears that this farming family will be able to recoup some of the losses they incurred when the building of their new hog barn was delayed in court. It’s important that there are consequences for filing a lawsuit and losing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Innovation & Technology Helping To Feed The World

White Paper Examines Role of Agricultural Innovations in Meeting World Food Crisis

Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:06pm EDT
Agricultural Innovations Can Ensure Affordability, Supply, Safety and Sustainability

GREENFIELD, Ind.--(Business Wire)— Does agriculture need technology to help meet the growing worldwide demand for safe, nutritious and affordable food? The answer is a resounding "yes," according to Jeff Simmons, author of a white paper titled "Technology's Role in the 21st Century: Food Economics and Consumer Choice." In his paper, Simmons provides a comprehensive review of the growing challenge of feeding the world's population, including both historical data and projections that underscore the absolute necessity for new and existing technologies in food production.

"Already, an estimated 963 million people do not have enough to eat, and by 2050, we will need to produce 100 percent more food than we do now," says Simmons. "We can't achieve that by merely adding farmland or increasing crop intensity. But, we can use technology-such as advances in nutrition, disease and pest control, and livestock management-to increase productivity. Having said that, it's imperative that we use only those innovations that have a neutral or positive effect on the environment; to do otherwise is to sacrifice our long-term survival in favor of short-term gains."

Simmons concludes that technology is an important key to meeting the global demand for food and consumer choice for three reasons. First, technology enables food producers to provide more high-quality grains and protein sources using fewer resources. For example, a combination of best-management feeding practices and efficiency-enhancing feed ingredients enables today's cattle growers to use two-thirds less land to produce a pound of beef than it takes to produce a pound of beef from "all-natural," grass-fed cattle.

Second, technological innovation can help keep food affordable while ensuring maximum consumer choice - especially in developing nations. While some countries' well-designed organic systems can provide better yields and profits than traditional systems, on a global scale, organic foods come with a premium that many consumers can't afford.

Finally, technology can help minimize the global environmental impact of increased food production. For instance, modern beef-production techniques actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef by 38 percent compared with "all-natural" production methods, according to a 2007 study by the Hudson Institute. Moreover, technologies such as livestock feed ingredients can help significantly reduce animal waste production that threaten vital water resources, particularly in developing nations where modern pollution-control standards are not in use. Read More

Most of our consumers don’t realize the huge gains in efficiency that agriculture has made over the last 100 years. We are producing incredible amounts of food with a fraction of the inputs. It’s trendy today to blast conventional agriculture and make wild claims about how it’s not sustainable but the reality is much different. Because of the accomplishments we’ve made in increasing our food production capabilities, America enjoys the safest, most affordable food supply.

Talking to Consumers

A checklist: Ways to Reconnect with Consumers
Posted on September 09, 2009 at 9:14 AM

By Mike Wilson

In my column in the September 2009 issue of Farm Futures, I gave you some ideas for connecting with consumers. It's something we must do if agriculture wants to continue its track record of efficiency and hold off a growing tide of burdensome regulations. Here's the full list of ideas:

1) Let’s start with your approach to your customers. We can no longer simply claim that we can’t make changes to how we do business because it will raise our costs. We have used that argument many times; in fact, consumers don’t care about your costs. They want things the way they want them, and if that means a change in practices, then proactive adoptive farmers will capitalize on those trends.

2) Next, let’s talk about our bad apples. When those bumble-headed workers at a California meat packing plant were video-taped dragging defenseless, lame cows around with a skid steer loader a few years ago, it sent a chill down the backs of the livestock industry. Never mind that 99% of livestock farmers would never treat animals that way; it’s that one moment that causes irreparable damage. Groups like HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) prey on bad apples. Those bad apples in your neighborhood must be outed and isolated. Read More

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of seeking out opportunities to tell the story of American agriculture and modern food production. This article ties into that with some tips for getting your message out. Farming and ranching are certainly full time jobs without having to worry about things like this, but in today’s climate it’s essential that we are available to our consumers to introduce ourselves and answer their questions.

Vilsack Urges Media To Get It Right

Vilsack admonishes media for misrepresenting flu virus
Sep 11, 2009 9:32 AM, By Dale Miller, Editor, National Hog Farmer

"I want folks who are in the business of conveying information to understand that behind that message there is a family sitting at a breakfast table wondering how in the hell they are going to pay the bills, when they continually have to sell pork for less than what it costs to produce as they continue to get hammered for something that they had absolutely nothing to do with."

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack held a press conference Sept. 10 with the intended purpose of explaining the USDA’s preparedness to handle the potential onset H1N1 influenza this fall.

As the 30-minute media briefing drew on, the secretary’s exasperation with the general media’s persistent misrepresentation of the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus as “swine flu” became apparent.

“As you know, since last spring and the onset of the H1N1 outbreak in humans, USDA has consistently asked those in the media who convey information to consumers and to citizens to be careful about what they call this virus. We would ask, respectfully, that the media give serious consideration to transitioning from what they have been doing — which is to call this (virus) the swine flu, incorrectly, to considering using H1N1 as the appropriate name for this virus.”

“It is not swine flu,” he admonished. “It’s just not correct to call it that. It‘s a novel virus and the most appropriate and correct way to refer to it is 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus This may seem difficult or silly to some people — but it’s not if you’re out there trying to make a living and taking care of your family.” Read More

Since many in the media seem to be more concerned about causing a panic among the public, it should be no surprise that they have been reluctant to use the correct name of the virus. It should be more important to them to be accurate with their information, but sadly it isn’t and it is affecting America’s family hog farmers. Getting the media to change the name they use has been a big job but many gains have been made and it’s been due to the efforts of America’s farmers and ranchers. The work isn’t done however, so remind people, whenever you get the chance, to use the accurate name of H1N1 virus.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sunstein Nomination Vote Today

Cass Sunstein latest target for the anti-‘czar’ bunch
By Matthew Shaer 09.09.09

The same critics that successfully lobbied for the resignation of White House adviser Van Jones are now attacking Cass Sunstein, a prominent legal scholar and a professor at Harvard Law School. In January, the White House confirmed that Sunstein was in line to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which oversees privacy, information, and regulatory policy.

At the time, Sunstein was lauded by many conservatives, including the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.

But in recent weeks, the appointment has come under heavy fire. One of the most outspoken Sunstein opponents is Glenn Beck, who spearheaded the drive to oust Van Jones. Using his hit Fox News show as a platform, Beck has excoriated Sunstein for — among other perceived sins — leftist views on animal rights, hunting, gun control, and economic policy. Read More

Cass Sunstein has made it quite clear in the past that he does not like hunting and that he believes that animals should be able to sue people. The position that he has been nominated for is considered the most powerful position in Washington DC that no one has ever heard of before. The Senate is expected to vote on this today so it’s important that you contact your Senators and let them know that we don’t need someone like Sunstein that believes animals should have the same rights as you do in America’s courts.

New Senate Ag Cmte Chair

Likely Agriculture Committee Chair Lincoln Will Be Tougher Sell on Climate Legislation
By Kate Sheppard 9/9/09 9:50 AM

With Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) apparently assuming the chairmanship of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, moderate Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln is set to take over as chair of the Agriculture Committee.

The shift would have the most significant impact on the Senate’s pending climate legislation, as the Ag Committee is expected to shape the offset and agricultural provisions. While Harkin has been supportive of Senate action on climate legislation, Lincoln has been less than enthusiastic.

Lincoln has called for a delay on climate legislation until 2010, arguing that it would be too difficult for the Senate to move both health care and a climate and energy bill this year. “The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift,” Lincoln said last month. Though the Senate could move energy legislation, she said, “I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem.” Read More

With so many issues involving agriculture and the ability to produce food being debated in Congress, it’s vital that farmers and ranchers stay informed. Sen. Lincoln appears to be our new Senate Ag Committee Chair. It’s encouraging to hear that she realizes that there are serious problems with the climate change legislation being proposed. As always, the involvement of all of us will be needed to make sure agriculture and our country isn’t harmed by this bill.

Young Farmer Tells His Story

Young farmer works to tell the other side of the story
August 25, 2009 by Ken Anderson

Agriculture and the U.S. food production system seem to be under constant attack these days, with the movie Food Inc. and the recent Time magazine cover story on food being the latest examples.

So what do young farmers think of the constant criticism of what they do?

“It’s hard to take it sitting down,” says Jason Kvols, a 35-year old farmer from Laurel, Nebraska. “You know, we get automatically defensive of our industry, and I think what needs to be done is more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get into situations where they have a voice-where they can speak out and say ‘this is what I do and this is why I do it’.”

Kvols, who serves on the Nebraska Farm Bureau board of directors, was recently part of a panel discussion following the showing of the Food Inc. movie in Lincoln. He says it was a good experience and an excellent opportunity to present the other side of the story. Kvols says social networking, such as Twitter and Facebook, is also a great tool. Read More

Being at the table for these discussions is so important. Congratulations to Jason for being willing to represent agriculture at a showing of Food Inc. Not only do we need to be willing to do things like this, but we should be actively seeking these opportunities to do so. Many consumers never have the chance to visit with a farmer or rancher. Making those personal connections are a great way to drive home the fact that this country is still being fed by family farms and ranches.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

PETA Displays at Michigan State

PETA vice president to speak on animal rights
By Marilyn King (Last updated: 09/07/09 8:47pm)
Michigan State University, State News

Dan Mathews encourages people to parade around busy cities entirely naked. He also has been in jail more than seven times.

For Mathews, it’s all in a day’s work. And it’s all for the animals.

Mathews, senior vice president of international animal rights group PETA, will speak at 8 p.m. Thursday in room B104 as part of PETA’s Liberation Project. The project includes displaying provocative photos that compare animal abuse to the human abuse that comes with slavery and other suffering.

“Some people have a hard time relating to the suffering of other species,” Mathews said. “When we draw these parallels people think, ‘what’s the difference really?’ We’re forcing them to work and killing them for our own amusement.”

As someone who was raised Jewish, Mathews said it is more effective to compare the killings of animals to injustices such as the Holocaust to get people’s attention about animal abuse. PETA’s Liberation Project was first launched in Poland, where Mathews assumed it would receive negative backlash and complaints but instead were welcomed by media groups who thought the project was innovative. Read More

The Animal Liberation Project is something that I have been telling people about for nearly two years now. They blatantly lie about things in their online display. For example, Alec Baldwin is the narrator of the display and he says things like, millions of cattle go through the harvesting process while still fully conscious and claims that cattle with cancerous lesions can still receive the grade of USDA Pure. There is no cattle grade called USDA Pure. But then again, PETA has never let the facts get in the way of them raising money. It’s all about fundraising for these groups and the best way they know how to do it is by creating one crisis after the next.

Wolf Management is Necessary, Not For Fun

September 8, 2009, 4:12 pm
Killing Wolves for Fun
By Randy Cohen

The Issue

The Interior Department has ruled that wolves have sufficiently increased in numbers in the Western continental United States to allow some wolf hunting there. The Idaho hunt began on September 1; Montana’s starts on the 15th. A case might be made for the right to hunt for food and to manage wildlife populations, but surely some of the more than 14,000 people who bought wolf-hunting licenses are interested in neither wolf sandwiches nor animal husbandry: they simply enjoy hunting. Is it morally acceptable to kill a wolf for the fun of it?

The Argument

Unsurprisingly, I believe it is wrong to inflict pain and death unnecessarily on a creature capable of suffering. (Peter Singer more broadly examines the moral standing of animals here.) While this belief might not compel us to be vegetarians, it does demand significant changes in the way we raise animals for food, and it forbids wolf hunting as a form of entertainment. To be clear, I concede all putatively practical justifications for hunting and repudiate only the idea that hunting is a legitimate recreation. It is the person who claims as much who bears the burden of proof — a wolf need not make a case for its not being shot in Montana. I’m not persuaded that hunters have made their case. Read More

The hunting of these wolves is a necessary thing. I’m sure from an office in New York it’s hard to imagine wolves being anything but warm and cuddly but in the real world they need to be managed. These wolves are an apex predator that can severely threaten a family rancher’s livelihood. The population level of these wolves has increased drastically and if they are not managed properly, disease and starvation will threaten them. If this reporter is worried about unnecessary suffering, he should be favoring this hunt.