Friday, October 30, 2009

Pollan Caught In A Lie

Michael Pollan's Prius-Hummer Blunder
By Maura Judkis
Posted: October 29, 2009

What a soundbite it was, for all of two days: Michael Pollan, sustainable food guru and author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," told the crowd at the 2009 Poptech conference, "Our meat eating is one of the most important contributors we make to climate change. A vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a beef eater in a Prius.”

That line was blogged and tweeted countless times over the next few days. The only problem? It isn't true.

Reuters' Adam Pacisk refuted the claim shortly after, and here's his math:

Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin of the University of Chicago published a 2005 paper in the journal Earth Interactions that looked at the relative carbon footprints of plant-based and red-meat diets. They found that the difference between an heavy meat-eating diet and a vegan diet was about 2 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per person per year. The difference between a Prius and an SUV (they used a Suburban, which gets about the same mileage as a Hummer) was 4.76 tons per year. Pollan’s claim, said Eshel, “is emphatically wrong. If you’re looking at the mean American driving habits and eating habits, it’s not even close.” Read More

It seems that Michael Pollan was once again sensationalizing his story about agriculture and food production. But this time he got caught by the several in the media with his fabricated story. Pollan has regularly and admittedly sensationalized his version of agriculture in order scare people about their food and promote his own books. It’s another reason why we shouldn’t be relying on a reporter for our information about agriculture.

Sen. Landrieu's Inconsistent Animal Management Policies

Landrieu pushes to control wild pigs in coastal La
Associated Press - October 29, 2009 5:34 AM ET

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is pushing a bill to keep in check the wild pig population in coastal Louisiana.

The senator says wild pig populations are "eating away" the coast.

The Democrat sponsored the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program Act on Wednesday. Landrieu says the rising population of non-native feral swine poses a threat to Louisiana because they are competing with native wildlife for resources, preying on domestic animals, eating the wetlands and spreading harmful bacteria. Link

The hypocrite of the day award needs to go to Sen. Mary Landrieu from Louisiana. As you might recall, the Senator is one of the main sponsors of a bill that will make it illegal to transport horses to be processed for human consumption, including government owned feral horses. Yet when the non-native feral swine in her state become overpopulated she is very quick to introduce legislation to eradicate them. Both the swine and the horses in question are over-populated, non-native and feral. One species she wants to protect and one she wants to eradicate. It’s proof positive that she is using the “cute and cuddly factor” to make her animal management decisions in Congress rather than using any type of sound scientific data.

Answering Questions About OH's Issue 2

October 29, 2009
For Issue 2, the livestock board
Animal panel belongs in Constitution
By Rep. William G. Batchelder

Recently some individuals and groups have come out in opposition to Issue 2 on the grounds that the state constitution is not the proper place for the Livestock Care Standards Board. However, as a student of the Ohio Constitution for more than four decades, both as a legislator and as a Court of Appeals judge, I believe that Issue 2 should be part of the Ohio Constitution rather than treated as a statute, or regular law.

First, inclusion of such a provision in the constitution is not at all unique. The Ohio Constitution has at least 12 similar provisions, several of which establish councils as part of state government. Such important state functions as the State Board of Education and the Workers' Compensation Board are found in the same part of the Constitution as the Livestock Care Standards Board will be when voters approve it.

The content of the proposed amendment governs cost, quality, safety, and supply of food for Ohioans. That is, this provision provides for one of the most fundamental aspects of human life.

Second, some have objected to Issue 2 on the grounds that the constitution is difficult to alter should the board ever need revision. But Issue 2, like the State Board of Education, sets forth the form of the board, not the details. Those details would later be established via the administrative procedure and safeguarded by legislative requirements as found in Article II of the Ohio Constitution. Another safeguard to keep the process responsive to the people is found in the appointment process: The members of the board are appointed by the governor, which requires the advice and consent of the Senate. Read More

Opponents of Issue 2 in Ohio claim that this issue isn’t worthy of being place in the constitution. Part of that claim suggests that this affects only a small portion of the state’s residents. But this lawyer, legislator and judge, with significant knowledge of the Ohio constitution suggests otherwise. And the last time I checked, everyone in Ohio was eating on a daily basis. Issue 2 absolutely affects everyone because it deals with food production. The campaign that the HSUS has run in different states is drastically affecting our ability to grow food. Ohio residents will be very wise to protect their ability to grow food by passing Issue 2 next week.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reporter Eating Meat Makes You Sick

Eating animals is making us sick
By Jonathan Safran Foer, Special to CNN

New York (CNN) -- Like most people, I'd given some thought to what meat actually is, but until I became a father and faced the prospect of having to make food choices on someone else's behalf, there was no urgency to get to the bottom of things.

I'm a novelist and never had it in mind to write nonfiction. Frankly, I doubt I'll ever do it again. But the subject of animal agriculture, at this moment, is something no one should ignore. As a writer, putting words on the page is how I pay attention.

If the way we raise animals for food isn't the most important problem in the world right now, it's arguably the No. 1 cause of global warming: The United Nations reports the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.

It's the No. 1 cause of animal suffering, a decisive factor in the creation of zoonotic diseases like bird and swine flu, and the list goes on. It is the problem with the most deafening silence surrounding it.

Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science, that something terribly wrong is happening. We know that it cannot possibly be healthy to raise such grotesque animals in such grossly unnatural conditions. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. Read More

Foer is desperately trying to jump on the anti-agriculture bandwagon that was hitched by Michael Pollan. If it wasn’t so serious, it would almost be comical how people like Foer repetitiously use indefinable buzz words like factory farming (more than 20 times in this piece) throughout their articles. He never does tell us what a factory farm is. All of this is in an effort to scare people about the safest food supply in the world. Our livestock aren’t sick or tortured. True torture will come if people like Foer get their way and we have to watch our fellow human beings starving to death because we aren’t growing enough food. People like Foer and Pollan are the true picture of greed. They are the ones advocating reckless policies that will cause a decrease in the food supply at the very time when we should be doubling it.

Cow Tax Ban

Cow Burps OK: House, Senate Block EPA From Regulating Livestock Emissions
By Kirsten Korosec Oct 28, 2009

Farmers can breath a little easier now — cows can burp and fart without fear of the Environmental Protection Agency regulating their methane emissions.

You may remember the “cow tax” rumors that floated around late last year and caused an uproar among farmers and ranchers worried the EPA planned to regulate methane gas emitted from livestock.

The EPA has said — repeatedly — it has no plans to impose a cow tax. But the idea was still worrisome for ranchers and farmers.

House and Senate conferees made it official Tuesday and approved an amendment to block agency efforts to require Clean Air Act permits for greenhouse gases emitted by livestock, according to reports from Greenwire and Scientific American.

Under the amendment, the EPA can not use funds to implement rules requiring livestock producers to obtain Clean Air Act operating permits for the biological emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases, according to the Scientific American report.

Read More

Even though the EPA claimed it was never going to implement a cow tax, it was an idea that was so dangerous that Congress needed to step and prevent this over-zealous agency from changing it’s mind. The cow tax would have easily eliminated livestock production in this country with the enormous per-head assessments being proposed. It’s an unfortunate situation when Congress has to step in to protects American citizens from an agency they created, but that’s exactly what happened her. Even though this was a small victory for us, it was a very important one.

Animal Ag Day

Animal Ag Day
by Jacqueline Hough
The Daily Herald Staff Writer
North Carolina

SEABOARD — About 240 Northampton County fourth graders had a chance Tuesday to see where their food originates.

It happened during the Northampton County Cooperative Extension Animal Agriculture Day where students made their way around 10 stations on the grounds of the Seaboard Lions Club. Stations included bees, goats, pigs, beef, 4-H, forestry, soybeans, agriculture and others.

Jean Sigmon said, “It is to educate youth of Northampton County where products come from and to learn they don’t just come from Wal-Mart and Food Lion.”

Before the event, students are given a pre-test at their schools to test their knowledge and after the event, given a post-test. “Last year, we had a 22 percent increase from the pre-test to the post-test,” she said. Read More

Here’s a great example of the things we can and need to be doing to educate kids about farming and ranching. Too many times they are exposed to misconceptions about animal agriculture. The easiest way to disprove these is to show the kids exactly what we do. What are you doing in your area to educate about animal agriculture? If you don’t have a good answer, maybe this is something that you could do. Congratulations to the Northhampton County Extension Office and everyone else who made this day a success.

Bob Barker Sponsors Animal Rights Studies

October 28, 2009
Barker bestows another donation on alma mater
Iconic TV host endows $1 million for animal rights professorship at Drury.
Didi Tang News-Leader

Former "The Price is Right" host Bob Barker on Tuesday donated $1 million to Drury University to establish a professorship of animal rights at his alma mater.

The professorship, which goes to Patricia McEachern, is intended to allow McEachern -- who has been a French professor at Drury -- to work full-time to develop the nation's first undergraduate program in animal rights.

"It's the most extraordinary opportunity I've ever been given," McEachern said.

The endowed professorship came 20 months after the iconic TV host gave Drury another $1 million to establish the Drury University Forum on Animal Rights, which has led to an undergraduate course on animal ethics.

Barker, an animal rights activist, also has established endowment funds at eight law schools on animal rights law, including Harvard Law School.

But his latest effort aims to eventually establish an undergraduate degree program that he hopes would not only teach students to respect animals but also train future animal rights activists. Read More

Bob Barker has been spending his retirement years giving money to universities to establish curriculum dealing with animal rights. It appears that rather than teaching students about proper animal care and welfare, they will teaching students that animals should have rights. Many that advocate for animal rights are trying to bestow human type rights on animals. It will be important for those of us in animal agriculture to follow these type of programs very carefully to insure they are accurately representing animal agriculture and our need to feed the world.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Food Bank Donation

October 27, 2009
Half-ton of pork donated

BUCYRUS - Pat and Duane Hord of Hord Livestock recently delivered 1,070 pounds of ground pork to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

The effort, "Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Ohio," is a partnership between the Ohio Pork Producers Council, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, the Ohio Association of Meat Processors and the Ohio Corn Marketing Program. These groups hope to provide 100,000 pounds, or 500,000 servings, of pork through April 30. Food will be distributed through 12 Ohio food banks.

The program began Sept. 22 and has donated more than 5,000 pounds of pork.

"The Hord family has been a part of Crawford, Marion and surrounding communities, dating back to the 1800s," Pat Hord said. "We have always made it our practice to help our community members in any way possible. We are proud to have the opportunity to be partnering with the Ohio Pork Producers Council in this effort to fight hunger in Ohio. Read More

More and more families in our communities are relying on food banks for their next meal due to the tough economic times across the country. Demand at food banks has risen dramatically in the past two years unfortunately. If there is anything that rural America does well though, they know the importance of taking care of their neighbors. So many times you will see farmers and ranchers donating part of their harvest to help out their friends and neighbors that need it. It’s just one of the great things you can expect from rural America.

Anti-Ag Media

Speakers: Anti-ag media threatens modern farming
Sunday, October 25, 2009

By Nat Williams

ST. LOUIS — The anti-agricultural bias in the general news media is not just upsetting, it literally threatens the future of the industry.

That alarming theme was sounded by radio host Mike Adams and media consultant Loren Wassell, who recently spoke to the St. Louis AgriBusiness Club.

Adams doesn’t mince words when discussing the poor job his colleagues in the media are doing on the subject of agriculture.

“As a member of the media, I’m embarrassed and ashamed to see some of the stuff I’ve seen in my own profession,” he said. “It’s sad that we’ve been a big part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”

The host of the nationally syndicated AgriTalk radio program stressed the impact of reckless reporting that puts agriculture in a bad light.

“This is a topic that I think is one of the most serious ones we can possibly deal with in agriculture because it threatens our very existence,” he said. “We’re talking about literally a battle for the hearts and minds and support of the customers that we’re in business to serve.”

Read More

Lately the mainstream media has done a horrific job in trying to share information about agriculture. It’s been embarrassing at best and at worst it’s been a deliberate attack against the very people that provide this country with food and fiber. Many times they refuse to even talk to farmers and ranchers about the subject at hand, preferring to use Google as their resource. The profession of journalism has certainly gone backwards in the opinion of many agriculturalists but we still have to do what we can to work with them. We need to continue trying to educate journalists about the importance of a domestically grown food supply.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What a Week!

It's been a wild, but very fun week. Last week we were in Indianapolis, IN for the national FFA convention. This was the second year that I had the opportunity to attend and I was even more impressed with the quality of the students that were there. The next generation that will become involved in agriculture will definitely be prepared for the challenges ahead of them.

Today we are in Charleston, WV to speak to the West Virginia Conservation Partnership Conference. It will be fun and exciting to visit with these folks today and let them know about the important role they play in promoting modern production agriculture. All of us realize that the soil is one of our greatest natural resources and that we have a common goal protecting it so that we can raise our food.

There is one last thing I want to mention. Please pray for good harvesting weather for everyone. So many of us are struggling to get the crops out of the fields and is adding to the already stressful job of harvest. When times like these come along, we all need to rely on our faith. So please remember our farmers in your daily prayers.

Have a great week!


Activists Threaten National Health

Hard-boiled animal activists could threaten vaccine supply
By: David Martosko
Newspaper: Cleveland Plain Dealer

In the post-9/11 world, the phrase "national security" conjures up images of dirty bombs, jihadists, white powder and biohazard labels. It should also bring to mind another picture: an egg.

As we enter flu season, scientists and public health officials are ramping up efforts to combat the expected rise in cases of H1N1 flu. Hospitals, doctors' offices and clinics started receiving the vaccine earlier this month, but so far it's only available in limited quantities and will have to be allocated piecemeal across the country. And some experts predict that the H1N1 epidemic will peak before the majority of vaccine doses can be produced.

The most common method of making flu vaccines requires chicken eggs to incubate viral strains. It takes three eggs to produce a single dose of H1N1 flu vaccine. Vaccination of every American would require more than 920 million eggs.

If that sounds like a big number to you, try asking a chicken farmer. Thankfully, America's modern agriculture system makes production on that scale possible. For now.

If the latest fad of animal-rights activism continues, however, our capacity to produce eggs -- and vaccines -- may be threatened.

What do animal rights activists have to do with the flu? Lobbying by these groups has the potential to diminish our domestic "egg security" by driving egg farmers out of business -- or at least out of the United States. Read More

It’s amazing to that so many people don’t realize how agriculture affects their lives. Once again, with the threat of H1N1 sweeping across the country, agriculture has supplied the materials needed to protect ourselves. As a society, if we were to abolish animal agriculture as some groups like the Humane Society of the United States are trying to accomplish, we would suffer greatly on a variety of fronts. The resources that animal agriculture provides are irreplaceable.

Ag Isn't Easy For Young Producers

Young ag producers struggle with lower prices, high costs
By TOM LUTEY Of The Gazette Staff Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2009 12:10 am

JOLIET - The first young heifer ambled across the frozen mud, with icy snot clinging to her nose, and eyed the stock trailer's dark entrance with dread.

"Go on," hollered Wallace Blain. With the business end of his rubber-tipped stick, he assured the black Angus that whatever lurked in the trailer was better than five more minutes with a weathered cowhand in a rusty-gated pen.

Blain was helping his grandson, Scott, make it in a world that's become increasingly unforgiving to farmers and ranchers, particularly those just starting out. Behind his grandfather, Scott Blain stood with a cold cell phone pressed to his ear, trapped in a seemingly endless stream of conversations, from his embryo cow buyers, from the school where he teaches farm economics, from the Future Farmers of America that he bused to town at daybreak before returning to load livestock.

A special section in today's Billings Gazette features reports on the key economic sectors of Montana's economy. Real estate, retail, banking and construction are just some of the areas reviewed.

But the stories start here, with a young farmer, one of the few relative newcomers to the state's largest industry. His cattle are down in price for the second consecutive year. His wheat is again at $4 a bushel after cracking $8 a year ago. The seemingly simple life of his farming grandparents, which as a child Blain re-created on the carpet on his bedroom floor, has turned out to be incredibly complex.

Farming in the foothills and coulees above Farewell Creek is a global business. Here, the economy doesn't get better because in-town retail sales are up or first-time homebuyers are cashing in on federal tax credits. Here, it gets better because South Korea stops fearing mad-cow disease and starts buying American beef. It gets better when drought has clobbered the Australian wheat crop. It gets better when Third World countries are flush with newfound wealth and hungry for American protein. Read More

There is no doubt that agriculture is a tough business. It’s especially tough for our youngest members of the profession because of the volatility. But the love of this life and business doesn’t allow us to quit. I truly believe that food production is a higher calling. Why else, other than the fact that we are providing food, fiber and pharmaceuticals for our fellow human beings, would someone work so hard for such little pay. We aren’t money hungry, animal abusers. We are people trying to care for our neighbors.

Farm Day Teaches Modern Ag

It’s not your grandfather’s farm anymore
Joyce Hollis
October 25, 2009
Maricopa County, AZ

Saturday’s 2nd Annual Farm Day event proved once and for all that farming has changed drastically. American ingenuity and technology is bringing farming to a new level of efficiency in order to compete in the global economy.

It isn’t your grandfather’s farm anymore. Grandfather probably drove his tractor up and down the rows of his carefully planted crops, straining to navigate the vehicle in a straight line. In the heat of the summer perspiration would stream down his face, which he wiped with the traditional red bandana. Since the tractor was open, he wore a straw hat and squinted his eyes against the bright sunlight.

Not today.

The new, air-conditioned Case tractors on display at Farm Day have wide windows front, sides and back to provide full visibility. Each tractor has double tires to increase traction. They are also automated, connected by a radio to a central station and guided by a GPS device that shows a virtual field on the computerized screen, indicating a tree or fence in the tractor’s path.

Farm Day also offered information and displays on conserving and using water efficiently, the environment, all types of bugs and germs. One of the most popular booths allowed children to spray their hands with a substance called Glo Germ. Each child placed their hands in a box lit with ultraviolet light to see the “glowing” germs. Then it was off to the hand washing station to get rid of them; if anyone wanted to check, they could try the spray and light box again. Read More

Just like your wardrobe doesn’t look like it did twenty years ago, neither does the farm. But just because we aren’t farming like our grandparents did doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or harmful. It’s essential that agriculture continues to improve it’s efficiency so we can be more productive. The best way to communicate this to our consumers is for farmers and ranchers to tell them and show them ourselves.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

82nd National FFA Convention

I flew into Indianapolis yesterday to get ready for the career show kickoff today at the 82nd National FFA Convention. My dance card will be pretty full over the next few days, so the blog may not get updated much. I hope to share pictures and stories with you as time permits though. You can follow me on twitter for short updates this week. My twitter handle is @troyhadrick. Have a great week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More On Issue 2

How should we treat the animals we eat?
Voters will decide on state Livestock Care Standards Board this year before Humane Society issue next year.
By Josh Sweigart, Staff Writer
Updated 12:24 AM Sunday, October 18, 2009

Issue 2 is about how we treat our food.

It’s also a high-stakes political maneuver to save Ohio’s livestock industry from a radical animal rights agenda, proponents say. Opponents say it’s an effort to flout humane reform.

The constitutional amendment on the ballot in November would create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to regulate the treatment of animals raised for food.

The issue has been endorsed by most farm groups, those representing grocers and restaurants, state leaders and recently by Butler County commissioners.

If there needs to be rules about how farm animals are treated, they say those rules should be written by Ohio farmers, industry experts and veterinarians.

“The experts that live in Ohio, that know Ohio and are knowledgeable about Ohio should be the people to determine what those regulations are to establish,” said Butler County Farm Bureau Director Christy Montoya, who also is the Warren County Farm Bureau director.

They fear failure of Issue 2 would pave the way for animal rights groups to come to voters next year with a measure that would endanger the livelihood of family farmers by creating extensive new rules. Read More

Issue 2 in Ohio has certainly garnered a lot of attention from across the country. Opponents of the bill continue their tired arguments that this will only protect large factory farms even though countless family farmers continue to speak out on the importance of passing this bill. The facts are this, the Humane Society of the United States has a stated goal of eliminating animal agriculture in this country. If Issue 2 doesn’t pass, HSUS will move in with their own legislation to continue working on their goal.

2010 Beef Ambassadors

2010 National Beef Ambassadors announced
High Plains Journal, Oct 19, 2009

Ellen Hoffschneider, Arlington, Neb., Malorie Bankhead, Livermore, Calif., Rebecca Vraspir, Laramie, Wy., Jackson Alexander, Anadarko, Okla., and Mandy-Jo Laurent, Winnsboro, Texas were chosen as the 2010 National Beef Ambassador Team winners at the annual competition, funded in part by the beef checkoff, held Oct. 9 to 11 in Fort Smith, Ark. Contestants were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, classroom presentation, media interview technique and issues response.

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a place on this elite team of agriculture advocates and $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Groseta Ranches, LLC. Additionally five educational scholarships totaling $3,750 were given by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. For the past three years, one Beef Ambassador has been chosen for a prestigious USDA internship in Washington D.C.

While preparing for this national beef promotion and education competition, youth across the nation learn about beef and the beef industry within their family and with support from state CattleWomen, Cattlemen's associations and state beef councils. The preparation highlights industry issues of current consumer interest. Winners of the state competitions compete at the national level receiving additional media training. After the event, as youth ambassadors, they speak to industry issues and misconceptions, while educating peers and others about food safety, nutrition and the Beef Checkoff Program at consumer events, in the classroom and online.

Read more about the new Beef Ambassadors!

The Beef Ambassador program is a shining example of of not only the outstanding caliber of young people involved in beef production, but it also highlights the importance of actively promoting agriculture. These young adults will have a busy and exciting year ahead of them. As has been the case with previous ambassadors, we should expect to see great things from this group.

AR Terrorists Illegal Activities Confirmed By Courts

Virtual Sit-Ins Doom Online Animal Rights Activists
By David Kravets
October 16, 2009

Setting aside claims of vagueness, a divided federal appeals court is upholding the constitutionality of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, a statute that makes it a crime to encourage “physical disruption” or “economic damage” against animal-research centers.

Thursday’s decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (.pdf) was the first time an appellate court has grappled with the free speech issues raised by the law, reviewing the case of radical animal-rights activists who were convicted in 2006 of using e-mail and websites to encourage violence — including bombings — against a New Jersey animal-research center, its shareholders, office holders, bankers and others affiliated with it.

The six ranking members of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty group, some of whom were sentenced to up to six years in prison, argued that the 2002 statute, amended in 2006, has a chilling effect on speech because of its ambiguity.

The defendants maintained that, among other things, they simply espoused protests and released names and addresses of people who should be subject to protests, in a bid to pressure change at New Jersey’s Huntingdon Life Sciences. The company tests mice, rats, dogs, monkeys and guinea pigs for big pharma, agribusiness, veterinarians and medical-implant companies.

The court noted that “political hyperbole” or advocating violence that is not imminent and unlikely to occur is protected. But speech that constitutes a “true threat” is not. Read More

The vegan animal rights terrorists that continue to believe violence is going to help their cause are finding out that might not be the case. It seems the courts agree that it’s illegal to list names, addresses, and the time of day, along with the suggested physical violence to perform against individuals. And thankfully, law enforcement officials realize the threat these people pose. The message has been sent loud and clear that animal rights terrorism isn’t going to be tolerated in this country.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day for Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day for climate change. With that in mind, I have posted three articles today that all deal with the subject. The pending legislation in this country has the potential to completely reshape our ability to produce food and energy. It could also drastically weaken our ability to grow our own food. That is something that we can’t allow to happen. I will continue to keep you up to date on this issue and please help spread the word that climate change legislation is more of a threat to American agriculture than climate change itself.


Is The Planet Actually Cooling??

The global warming consensus cools
Debra J. Saunders
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"What happened to global warming?" read the headline - on BBC News on Oct. 9, no less. Consider it a cataclysmic event: Mainstream news organizations have begun reporting on scientific research that suggests that global warming may not be caused by man and may not be as dire and imminent as alarmists suggest.

Indeed, as the BBC's climate correspondent Paul Hudson reported, the warmest year recorded globally "was not in 2008 or 2007, but 1998." It's true, he continued, "For the last 11 years, we have not observed any increase in global temperatures."

At a London conference later this month, Hudson reported, solar scientist Piers Corbyn will present evidence that solar-charged particles have a big impact on global temperatures.
Western Washington University geologist Don J. Easterbrook presented research last year that suggests that the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) caused warmer temperatures in the 1980s and 1990s. With Pacific sea surface temperatures cooling, Easterbrook expects 30 years of global cooling.

EPA analyst Alan Carlin - an MIT-trained economist with a degree in physics - referred to "solar variability" and Easterbrook's work in a document that warned that politics had prompted the Environmental Protection Agency and countries to pay "too little attention to the science of global warming" as partisans ignored the lack of global warming over the past 10 years. At first the EPA buried the paper, then it permitted Carlin to post it on his personal Web site.

Over the years, global warming alarmists have sought to stifle debate by arguing that there was no debate. They bullied dissenters and ex-communicated nonbelievers from their panels. In the name of science, disciples made it a virtue to not recognize the existence of scientists such as MIT's Richard Lindzen and Colorado State University's William Gray. Read More

Any conversation about climate change that our elected officials are having should first focus on if the climate is really changing due to human activity and if it is, will this legislation reverse it. Before we spend trillions of dollars we should find out what our return on this investment will be.

Don't Cap Our Future

November 2009
Don’t Cap Our Future
By: Bob Stallman

Farm Bureau recently kicked off a climate change grassroots campaign appropriately titled “Don’t Cap Our Future.” Farm Bureau members are getting out the word on Capitol Hill that cap-and-trade legislation would impose higher energy and food costs on consumers, raise fuel, fertilizer and energy costs for farmers and ranchers, and shrink the American agricultural sector, resulting in reduced U.S. food production.

The consequences of climate legislation far outweigh the benefits and aren’t worth capping America’s future.

Paying the Piper

Under the cap-and-trade legislation in the House and Senate, American families will pay higher energy costs. According to the Department of Energy, energy costs could grow by $1,870 per household. Combined with higher costs for food, the additional yearly hit on families would total about $2,300 per household. Said another way, the cap-and-trade law would impose costs of up to $200 billion a year on American taxpayers.

At the farm gate, as much as 17 percent of U.S. agricultural land currently used for food production will be idled and planted in trees under the House bill. That is because the vast majority of incentive payments will go to people who choose to grow and maintain trees for greenhouse gas reduction, rather than farmers who work to put food on American’s tables. This shift in land use will hurt consumers at the grocery store. Food costs could rise by up to an average of $33 billion annually in 2020 and up to $51 billion annually by 2030 as a result of this legislation. Read More

The American Farm Bureau has launched this innovative idea to help drive home the message that any type of cap and trade system will be very detrimental to farmers and ranchers and their ability to grow our food. The real cap from this legislation will be the one put on our ability to continue the amazingly successful American agriculture story. In a land that we have always promoted as having limitless possibilities, we don’t need laws that can cap our success.

Cap & Trade Would Cap Economy

Cap-and-Trade Would Slow Economy, CBO Chief Says
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 15, 2009

A House-passed bill that targets climate change through a cap-and-trade system of pollution credits would slow the nation's economic growth slightly over the next few decades and would create "significant" job losses from fossil fuel industries as the country shifts to renewable energy, the head of the Congressional Budget Office told a Senate energy panel Wednesday.

CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf emphasized that his estimates contained significant uncertainties and "do not include any benefits from averting climate change," but his message nevertheless contrasted sharply with those of President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders, who have suggested that a cap on carbon emissions would help revive the U.S. economy.
Elmendorf testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the cap-and-trade provisions of the House bill -- in which emitters of greenhouse gases would be able to buy and sell pollution credits -- would cut the nation's gross domestic product by 0.25 to 0.75 percent in 2020 compared with "what it would otherwise have been," and by 1 to 3.5 percent in 2050. Read More

Beyond the scope of agriculture, cap and trade will cost our country jobs and money. It will make it more difficult for families to afford the basic necessities of food and shelter with heat and electricity. Is that the type of future we want to leave for our kids? Our forefathers worked too hard to grow this country and make it continually better for the next generation to go backwards in time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Food Elitist

Against meat or against agriculture?
Drovers news source Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is disappointed that yet another anti-agriculture activist voice has been welcomed into the media spotlight.ᅠ New York Times readers were confronted with some of the most negative stereotypes of modern agriculture on Oct. 11, when Jonathan Safran Foer's "Against Meat" ran in the food edition of the Sunday magazine.

It's not a surprise to see Foer writing such a one-sided account of meat production. In 2006, he helped create a video entitled "If This is Kosher..." for PETA to encourage those of the Jewish faith to become vegetarians that included undercover footage from PETA and Animal Liberation Israel. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Farming Forward, a group that he cites within his article that actively promotes the greatest myths of modern farming as fact.

Farming Forward is a vegetarian activist group headed by a business consultant and a professor of religious studies; just as with Michael Pollan, an agricultural background is notably missing. The group's Web site pushes for agricultural practices that were replaced long ago by more productive and sustainable methods, stating that it is "easier to see inside a prison than a CAFO" and that "99 percent of meat is produced in unsustainable and cruel factory farming methods."

Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch is a farm supported by the group, and owner Frank Reese should be congratulated for the effort he has put into developing a niche market. It's important to note, however, that there is a cost associated with raising birds like this - two fresh Cornish chickens from Reese's farm cost $94 and 15 pounds of ground turkey goes for $104.99. Compare this with the $7 rotisserie chicken available at your grocery store and you can see why many people simply can't afford to eat the old-fashioned way. Read More

There seems to be no shortage of food elitists. They continue to receive undeserved praise for their unscrutinized opinions. It’s a plain and simple fact that if people like Pollan and Foer were to get their way, food production would drastically decline and widespread hunger would become the norm. Even where food was more available, the cost of it would be staggering. In today’s society, people have a choice of what type of food they want to buy, but Pollan and Foer want that choice taken away. So if you want to be told what and if you will eat then I would encourage you to support people like this, but if you enjoy the affordability and selection of today’s food supply then please support America’s farmers and ranchers.

Animal Testing Saving Dogs & Hopefully People

Lucky Pet Dogs Receive Experimental Cancer Treatments Before Their Humans
By Clay Dillow Posted 10.13.2009

Animal rights activists, take note: when it comes to experimental cancer treatments, American pet dogs are now in line in front of humans, participating in trials that in several cases have destroyed cancers completely.

Dogs experience cancer in ways similar to humans, making them preferable research subjects to lab rats and mice, whose experimental settings are too regimented to reflect a human reaction to cancers. Those human-like reactions have granted dying dogs access to treatments ahead of dying humans in some cases, allaying some ethical fears while stirring up others.

Like humans, dogs suffer from various cancers that spread to form secondaries and grow resistant to drugs over time. Dogs can also relapse just as humans do, giving researchers a much better picture of how effective a drug can be at destroying a particular cancer or sending it into remission. These similarities make dogs ideal candidates for testing of cancer drugs, and as such a group of 19 veterinary institutions currently has 12 different trials underway on groups ranging from 15 to 60 dogs. Read More

This is exactly the type of animal testing that groups like the Animal Liberation Front violently try to stop. Many vegan activists in our country have also opposed any type of animal testing as well. They think this type of thing is cruel and inhumane. They would rather see your pets and you die a painful death from disease than use animals to discover new treatments. It’s important for pet owners to realize this and think about it when they are donating to supposed animal welfare organizations.

PETA Billboard Suggests H1N1 From Eating Pork

PETA rapped over swine flu fear mongering
Wed, 14 Oct 2009 By Russell Parsons

A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for spreading “undue fear and distress” about swine flu.

The ad states “meat kills” in large letters next to a list of diseases with swine flu more prominently featured than others including e.coli and mad cow. The end line reads: “Go Vegetarian. PETA”.

The watchdog ruled some readers might infer that eating meat caused swine flu because the disease stood out more than the others and sat next to the statement on meat and vegetarianism. Read More

Since PETA’s views and ideas can’t stand on their own in society, they have to blatantly lie to the public to garner support. This billboard suggests that eating pork will give you H1N1 and probably kill you. Along with that, eating any type of meat will kill you according to their message. Thankfully it has been rejected by British officials because it is so blatantly misleading. However, they will continue to produce these outlandish ads which is why those of us in agriculture must continue to be vigilant in telling the true story of ag.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

E. Coli Is Focus of Conversation Lately

E. coli in burger sparks meat industry controversy
The meat producing and processing industries have been taking criticism that they’re not doing enough to prevent E. coli contamination.

Published: 10/11/2009
By Rebecca Ernst

In the wake of a stark exposé on safety practices in the beef industry that appeared last week in The New York Times , consumers are taking a second look at the meat they eat.

The media backlash after the article’s publication has paved the way for another debate over food safety regulation, in particular the limited role inspections and testing play in keeping ground beef contaminated with E. coli off the market.

“Testing of product, either raw materials or finished products, is something that has limited usefulness,” said Craig Hedberg, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota. “We can’t test every square inch of an animal’s carcass to see if there’s bacteria present … it just would be too expensive.”

Contrary to the recent media buzz, most facilities are extremely clean, said Ryan Cox, professor of meat science at the University.

“If you were to go into a modern meat facility,” he said, “it looks very similar to a surgical suite in a hospital.”

Cox explained that meat industry practices are so stringently regulated that “to infer in some way that we have an unsafe system would be certainly an error.” Read More

E.coli has become the hot topic as of late. Starting with the New York Times and going through the Larry King Live show last night, it’s the featured conversation all of a sudden. One of the things from last nights show that was unbelievably absent from most of the conversation was the fact that E. coli is very easy to eradicate. Patrick Boyle only mentioned it briefly at the end of the show when he said that proper cooking of meat will eliminate any contamination. Between the New York Times and Larry King last night, the conversation was all about questioning the safety of beef and talking to people that suggested we should stop eating meat all together. So if the solution to all of these problems is a meat thermometer, why isn’t that talked about? It’s a good example of the sensationalized media we are dealing with today. It’s a shame that both of these institutions didn’t use their resources to help educate people more about this, and instead they only worked to raise more fear and doubt about the world’s safest, most affordable food supply.

Climate Bill Threatens Food Supply

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009
Winkles: Climate bill threatens food supply
By DAVID WINKLES - Guest Columnist

The Waxman-Markey climate bill offers a lot of enticing incentives for farmers in South Carolina and elsewhere, but I would encourage farmers to take more than a quick study of the American Clean Energy and Security Act to see the detrimental effects the bill can have on farmers and consumers.

Darlington farmer David White argued in a recent column ("Farmers need climate bill," Sept. 24) that farming and forestry play a positive role in reducing greenhouse gas reduction. I agree. He wrote of the positive impacts of enhancing "the role of our lands in lowering the carbon footprint of our nation's industrial sector." I agree.

But farmers must be careful not to sell out their future farming rights as called for in the Waxman-Markey bill. Under the bill, as much as 17 percent of U.S. agricultural land currently used for food production will be idled and planted in trees. That is because the vast majority of incentive payments will go to people who choose to grow and maintain trees for greenhouse gas reduction, rather than to those farmers who work to put food on American's tables. This shift in land use will hurt consumers at the grocery store by potentially causing food costs to rise by as much as $33 billion annually by 2020 and $51 billion annually by 2030. Read More

We’ve seen a lot of articles that have really focused on the rise in input costs for farming and ranching if the climate legislation were to pass, but this does a nice job of showing the impact on people that like to eat everyday. This bill would encourage landowners to take their property out of food production and plant it long term into timber. With the absolute need to grow more food in this world, this bill would do just the opposite of what’s needed. The increased cost of food will no doubt make agriculture’s job of feeding people much more difficult. I don’t think any bill, regardless of what it may accomplish, is worth causing more hungry people.

More On Baltimore School's Meatless Monday

Baltimore Schools Embrace Anti-Meat Movement with ‘Meatless Mondays’

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

( – The first graders lining up for lunch at Arlington Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., on Monday could pick a cheese sandwich or cheese lasagna and a bowl of mixed vegetables or broccoli. They could not, however, have meat for lunch now that cafeterias throughout the school district have adopted "Meatless Mondays."

Mellissa Mahoney, a chef and dietitian with the school district, said the idea started as part of a themed-approach to planning lunches for the school year. She said the plan changed after representatives from the Meatless Monday movement approached Mahoney and Food Services Director Tony Geraci.

“They met with us over the summer, before we even launched the new menu,” Mahoney told She said at first they didn’t realize that Meatless Monday is a national and international movement with ties to extreme animal rights activists. “We know now what they do, and we have collaborated with them,” Mahoney said.

J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute, sent a letter last week to Andres A. Alonso, CEO of the Baltimore City Schools, urging him to drop “Meatless Mondays” on campuses.

“I was disturbed to read about your school system’s decision to bow to an animal rights organization in holding ‘Meat Free Mondays,’” Boyle wrote. “This initiative is sponsored by the Grace Spira Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The name Spira refers to Henry Spira, who is widely regarded as one of the most extreme animal rights activists of the 20th century.”

When children at the table were asked if they liked the idea of “Meatless Monday,” one first grader was not shy about giving his opinion.

“No, because I love meat,” he said. Read More

Here is an update on the Baltimore School System’s decision to have meatless Mondays. The school’s chef that made the decision is now trying to play dumb by saying she didn’t know anything about the groups that were pushing this agenda. It’s also obvious that their goals are to continue pushing toward vegetarian lifestyles because they are telling the students that they can’t have meat on Monday because meat isn’t healthy for you. If anything, this should reinforce the need for those of us in agriculture to be active in our local schools. Whether it’s reading an accurate ag book to a classroom or running for the school board, we need to be there to make sure our kids are learning the truth about food production and eating healthy balanced diets.

120 Ag Groups Oppose Waxman-Markey

120 Agriculture Groups Oppose Waxman-Markey
Written By: James M. Taylor
Published In: Environment & Climate News > November 2009
Publication date: 11/01/2009

A large coalition of agricultural groups has come forward to oppose the Waxman-Markey bill restricting carbon dioxide emissions.

In a July 14 opening statement at Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearings, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) noted he had received “letters sent by 120 agricultural groups opposing the Waxman-Markey bill.”

Among the groups are the American Farm Bureau, Pork Producers Council, USA Rice Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, Council of Farmer Cooperatives, American Meat Institute, National Association of Wheat Growers, and North American Millers Association.

Long-Term Costs Much Higher

Tracy Taylor Grondine, director of media relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, strongly disagrees with Waxman-Markey supporters who cite a Congressional Budget Office report asserting the bill would cost the average U.S. household merely $175 per year in the year 2020.

“Most media outlets are only focused on the front-end effects of the climate bill,” Grondine explained. “In 2020, carbon reductions will only be starting and the industry will be receiving significant carbon credit giveaways. But by 2050, the 17 percent cut in agriculture emissions from 2005 levels is estimated to rise to 82 percent, and there will be no more credit giveaways. So, by 2050 that 5 percent hit will grow to something more like a 15 percent reduction in farm income.” Read More

Even though there are some that insist that climate change legislation will not affect our ability to grow food, the numbers just aren’t there to support it. Because of that, there are over 120 different agriculture groups that are opposing this bill. It’s hard to get that many groups to agree that the sky is blue, so it should be obvious to everyone that this is a bad bill for agriculture and a bad bill for the United States.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Top 10 Industry Leaders Under 40

I have to brag just a little bit today. Stacy and I were honored by Cattle Business Weekly last week by being named to their annual list of the Top 10 Cattle Industry Leaders Under 40. It's a list that they began putting together just a few years ago, but it has quickly become a great honor to recieve.

To say the least we were excited when we found out. The things that the people on this list are doing have impressed me every year. You can follow the link above to see who the others on the list are.

Thanks again to the Cattle Business Weekly for selecting us.

Farmers Can't Strike

Farming strike not an option
By Benjamin Wileman
Published: Monday, October 12, 2009
Kansas State Collegian

What if America's farmers went on strike?

What would happen?

Strikes are not an uncommon tool used, mostly by union organizations, to force the hand of companies they work for to come to the bargaining table and solve issues important to them. Several industries have used this practice, or threats of it, somewhat routinely - like the auto, airline, and package delivery industries. Recent farmer-based strikes in South America and Europe and conversations with U.S. producers got me thinking about what would happen if America's farmers went on strike.

As with many strikes, timing is important. The goal is to exert as much leverage on the company as possible so the company is inclined to negotiate quicker and with more concessions in order to not disrupt production or service at a key time. Such is often the case in the airline industry just before peak travel times around the holidays.

In the case of farming, the key times for the largest crops (corn and soybeans) would be the spring planting and the fall harvest. Let's say then, for this discussion, that the farmers chose May and June to strike. What would that look like? Read More

I’ve shared a few articles coming from our college newspapers across the country that displayed the sometimes unbelievable lack of understanding about food production. Because of that, it’s also important for me to share with you the good things that are being said. The K-State Collegian was one of the papers that featured a pro-vegetarian piece that featured some incredible half-truths and unresearched misconceptions about agriculture. The only way to combat these misunderstandings is to pull ourselves up by the boot straps and do it ourselves. This column by Dr. Wileman is a good example of that. It’s easy for most people to take for granted that there will always bee food on the shelves and he sheds some light on the amount of dedication and work it takes to make that happen.

Challenging Times For Farming and Ranching Families

October 11, 2009
Decline in grocery food prices stretches to farmers' profits
Des Moines Register

Prices in the grocery store are down by 10 percent from last year, the Iowa Farm Bureau reports.

So are farmers' profits.The Farm Bureau's survey of food prices shows the fourth consecutive quarterly decline from 2008, when corn and soybean prices hit record levels and food processing companies and supermarket chains were warning of spikes in food prices.

Instead, commodity prices have come down. Prices for corn, soybeans and livestock are slightly more than half of what they were 12 months ago.

Not surprisingly, it's the farmers who now feel the squeeze."While the decline in global demand has helped bring prices down for shoppers, a combination of decreased demand and other factors has made things more difficult for farmers, particularly those who raise livestock," said Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

"Despite the tremendous efficiency of the American farmer, the profit margins in farming are narrow, and there is a relentless cost-price squeeze. Narrow margins and high efficiency are reflected in the farmer's small share of the food dollar, 19 cents.

"American farmers are doing their part in keeping food affordable for consumers. But those tight margins also mean that farmers and their families are more susceptible to downturns in demand, like we've seen as a result of the weak economy."

Hog and cattle raisers have been losing money for as long as two years. Iowa State University warned that corn and soybean farmers may face losses at current crop prices. Link

It’s been a tough year for many people in agriculture. Whether you raise livestock or crops, the challenges of making ends meet has been particularly tough. With food shortages becoming a major challenge later in this century it’s hard to believe that prices can be so low right now. But one of the opportunities this brings to agriculture is that it gives us a chance and even more reason to educate consumers that family farm are still the ones growing their food in this country.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Researchers Not Afraid of Animal Rights Terrorists

Researchers to animal-rights activists: We're not afraid
By Thomas G. Watkins CNN

(CNN) -- Three research scientists have taken a rare public stand against animal-rights activists, describing them as terrorists for their threats and acts of violence in commentaries published in the latest issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Since 2003, "we have seen our cars and homes firebombed or flooded, and we have received letters packed with poisoned razors and death threats via e-mail and voice mail," wrote Dario L. Ringach, a professor of neurobiology and psychology, and J. David Jentsch, a professor of psychology. They work at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Adding insult to injury, misguided animal-rights militants openly incite others to violence on the Internet, brag about the resulting crimes, and go as far as to call plots for our assassination 'morally justifiable,' " they wrote.

In telephone interviews with CNN, both men said they had been subject to harassment, threats and violence.

Last March, "they blew up my car while it was parked in front of my home at 4 a.m.," said Jentsch, who uses rodents and nonhuman primates in his research into how brain chemistry influences mental disorders. His 2006 Volvo was destroyed.

The Animal Liberation Brigade, which took responsibility for the attack in a Web site posting, announced "when we come back, it's not going to be the car, hint, hint," Jentsch said.

He said an FBI investigator described the incendiary device as "sophisticated."

"We have to take them on directly"

The practice long followed by many researchers of keeping quiet and hoping the activists will go away does not work, said the 37-year-old scientist. "We have to take them on directly; that's what we plan to do ... I'm not going to be afraid of these people; they're thugs." Read More

This is the second story this week where previous victims of these vegan animal rights terrorists have stood up and publicly announced that they aren’t going to be intimidated by them. The reason they are doing this is because they know the work they are doing with life-saving medical research is that important. This is the type of work that in the past has led to history changing breakthroughs and improved the lives of billions of people. Obviously it’s not easy, but these people are doing the right thing and my hat is off to them.

YPC Cattle Call Blog

Cattle producers take their thoughts to the Web
Young Producers' Council wants to energize the emerging generation
Capital Press

The emerging generation of cattle producers is bringing the beef industry into the digital age.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Young Producers' Council has launched a blog and Facebook page to get people from college to their mid-30s more involved in industry issues.

Cari Rincker, 29 and a Shelbyville, Ill., cattle producer and agriculture attorney who leads the council's public relations committee, said there are already more than 1,000 people linked to the Facebook page and a dozen contributors have signed up to blog.

"NCBA has more than 30,000 members and the average NCBA member is about 60 years old," Rincker said. "The goal of YPC is ultimately to get more young people involved with NCBA so they can help shape NCBA policies.

"Young people are certainly a big part of the beef industry, yet they seem to not have a lot of a voice right now," she said. "We're quickly becoming a social media world. The blogosphere is a great way for young beef producers to get their stories out to the public." Read More

It’s really exciting to see so more farmers and ranchers that realize the importance of taking the time to tell their story. Congratulations to Cari Rincker and the rest of YPC for putting this blog together. Not only is it good for our consumers to learn more about the beef industry, but it’s also good for those folks who are in the beef business to be reminded that there are young, passionate ranchers out there who are ready to take on the challenges of raising cattle and promoting their product in the 21st century.

Well-Fed Ag Critics Continue Attacks

Critics of American Agriculture Intensify Efforts

Written by Stewart Truelsen 
Thursday, 08 October 2009 11:04

This has been a good year for the critics of mainstream farming and ranching. Time magazine ran a cover story at the end of August sharply critical of modern farm production methods and the nation’s food supply. It said "food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous" and blamed obesity on American agriculture.

The president of the American Farm Bureau Federation was once on the cover of Time when that was considered a huge honor. Now, the magazine is a shadow of its former self in readership, editorial content and influence, but the recent story was a slap in the face to farmers and ranchers nevertheless.

The University of Wisconsin chose Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, to be given to all incoming freshmen this fall and incorporated into more than 60 courses from engineering to art. Pollan is a journalism professor from the University of California at Berkeley. His writing is critical of modern agriculture, food science and technology and the Western diet, including meat products.   

Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Bill Bruins, a dairy farmer, called Pollan’s book "a direct attack on the way we farm today." The university claimed it was not endorsing Pollan’s views in choosing the controversial book. 

A woman in the audience told a reporter, "Unfortunately, if we don’t show up and show our side, many of his claims will become truth." She is right about that. Mainstream farming and ranching are under an intensifying attack by critics who believe they can find a gullible audience. Read More

If you don’t think that agriculture is under constant attack in this country, then this article does a nice job of showing the play by play from just the last few weeks. When you reflect back over all of these events, you have to ask yourself what the end goal is. The only logical conclusion that you can come up with is that there is a segment of our society that wants production agriculture eliminated. Of course along with that plan, they also expect food to continue magically appearing in the grocery store. Good luck with that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pollan's Views To Be Balanced By Others at Cal Poly

Controversy erupts over Michael Pollan's Poly lecture
Harris Ranch Beef chairman calls for 'balanced forum'

Nationally known sustainable food expert Michael Pollan will now be part of a panel discussion at Cal Poly on Oct. 15 rather than giving his planned one-hour lecture. The recently announced format change comes on the heels of a letter to Cal Poly President Warren Baker from Harris Ranch Beef Company Chairman David E. Wood, threatening to withdraw a pledged $500,000 donation for a new meat processing facility on the campus.

“I find it unacceptable that the university would provide Michael Pollan an unchallenged forum to promote his stand against conventional agricultural practices,” Wood wrote in a Sept. 23 letter to Baker. The invitation “caused me to rethink my continued financial support of the university,” he wrote.

Pollan is the award-winning author of An Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, and appears in a recent documentary, Food, Inc. He is a Knight Professor of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.

The Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium, which invited Pollan to speak at a free lecture at 11 a.m. on Oct. 15 at the Performing Arts Center on campus, will now present “A Conversation with Michael Pollan,” which will also include Gary Smith, Monfort Endowed Chair in meat science at Colorado State University, and Myra Goodman, cofounder of organic vegetable company Earthbound Farms.

Baker replied to Wood in a Sept. 28 letter, “We are diligently working to create a more balanced forum for October 15. … Our singular goal is to provide our students with a full perspective on how the agriculture industry is working to be efficient in its production techniques, and to make sure that our students are familiar with the full range of ideas that are being advanced today.”
Each speaker will make opening comments before accepting written questions from the audience.

Harris Ranch spokesman Michael Smith, assistant to Wood, said in a phone interview from the beef company’s headquarters in Selma that a decision about funding for Cal Poly’s meat facility “has yet to be made.” Smith, a Cal Poly agriculture alumnus, said many alumni will be coming to the forum “as a show of force about the direction the College of Agriculture is taking.”

Smith said, “People across the nation are upset. They are saying enough is enough. This is bigger than Michael Pollan.” Read More

It’s very exciting for me to see that people are willing to stand up and defend agriculture and the need to grow enough food for everyone to eat against Michael Pollan. Three years ago when I would tell people about this guy and the lies and sensationalism that he used against my family and industry, most had never heard of him. Today, people are starting to realize that what he is promoting is reckless elitism. His plans would result in less food produced in a less efficient manner. He has tried to sell his ideas by blatantly misrepresenting the truth about modern production agriculture. And it’s not because he hasn’t seen it for himself. I spent two day with him back in 2002 as he was learning about the beef industry. But rather than sharing that knowledge with consumers, he chose to scare them instead. If he was the high quality writer that he’s given credit for, he wouldn’t have to sensationalize his stories to sell his books. Congratulations to Cal Poly and the alumni, who were instrumental in making sure Pollan’s one-sided half-truths aren’t the only story being told that day.

ARA's Protest Processing Facility

Animal advocates protest outside slaughterhouse

By Chris Samson
Petaluma, Ca
Published: Monday, October 5, 2009 at 11:21 a.m.

A group of animal-rights advocates conducted a vigil outside a local slaughterhouse Friday to call attention to what they say is the inhumane treatment of animals.

The group began gathering at 5 p.m. in front of Rancho Veal at 1522 Petaluma Boulevard North. It swelled to about 45 people by 5:45 p.m.

“We were there to mourn and memorialize the animals and remind people that this is animal cruelty,” said Lisa Soldavini of Petaluma, a member of Northbay Animal Advocates who helped organize the vigil along with Kate Danaher.

“People who eat meat are disconnected from the suffering that takes place at slaughterhouses. We wanted to make the connection for them and call attention to the slaughterhouses where the actual killing takes place.” Read More

I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that these folks that were protesting could even vaguely describe how the harvesting process takes place. They claim that it’s inhumane but most likely their research has been done on YouTube. And besides that, more than likely they are the type of people that think nothing ever dies. For some reason they aren’t able to grasp the concept that the success of life depends on death. Everything that they are eating was once alive.

Every Child Should Visit A Farm

Every child 'should visit a farm'
BBB News - Scotland
Oct 8, 2009

Every child in Scotland should have the chance to visit a working farm or croft so they can better understand the food they eat, a campaigner has said.

Hugh Raven, director of Soil Association Scotland, made the call in a meeting with Highland councillors.

He argued such visits would also help encourage more young people to pursue a career in agriculture.

The association promotes environmentally-friendly farming and food production.

Ahead of his meeting, Mr Raven said he hoped Highland Council could use its influence to ensure every child has the opportunity to visit a working farm or croft at least once.

"Very few things are more important to a child's welfare than respect for and understanding of food." Read More

If you have ever heard us speak, you know that we emphasize the importance of working with youth to educate them about agriculture. Like is mentioned in the article, we really need to let every child have the chance to visit a farm. They need to be able to meet the folks that grow their food. As I talk to people who are very critical of modern food production they all insist that the farmers and ranchers that they know are doing a good job, but it’s the farms that are further down the road that they have never been to that are causing all of the problems. That right there shows us the impact that a consumer meeting a farmer can have.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All Family Farms Have Evolved

October 5, 2009
Family farm evolves into an egg behemoth

PUGLISI FARMS: Second-largest egg producer in New Jersey


Way back when, at his very bottom, Emanuel Puglisi sold the last prized possession from his egg farm, a half-ton 1950s blue Chevy pickup truck.

The hens had been sold already, so this was the next step toward abandoning his farm. The loss of the pickup is still etched in family lore.

"I can remember the man coming to pick it up on Christmas morning,'' said Puglisi's eldest son John, 53, who was then just 5 years old. "My dad just wasn't making any money, and that helped to make some ends meet.''

But more than 50 years later, no one is abandoning anything at Puglisi Egg Farms, the state's second-largest egg producer. The farm, a complex of steel warehouses and hangar-like hen houses called "clear span'' buildings off Easy Street, is capable of packaging 101,000 eggs per hour. Meanwhile, the family owns other farms in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The metamorphosis of the Puglisi farm, from American Gothic-like outpost that began with 30 hens to family corporation, is a story of survival and change wrought by an industry meltdown.

Read More

Most of what the anti-agriculture crowd likes to characterize as a “factory farm”, have very similar stories to the Puglisi family. They started from very meager beginnings, worked hard and had a desire to grow their farm. Several decades later their family is still working just as hard and at no point have they quit caring about their hens. So many people today think they can determine the level of care by the size of the operation. As you run a successful livestock operation and you are able to grow it, never to you get to the point that you quit caring for the livestock. This article is a good example of that.
Robert Gates: Borlaug a 'warrior against hunger'
Colleagues and friends of Norman Borlaug remembered the Nobel Peace Prize winner on Tuesday as a humanitarian who "built armies of agricultural workers" to combat famine in the world's developing countries.

Associated Press Writer

Colleagues and friends of Norman Borlaug remembered the Nobel Peace Prize winner on Tuesday as a humanitarian who "built armies of agricultural workers" to combat famine in the world's developing countries.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was president of Texas A&M University during the scientist's tenure at the school, told about 1,000 who attended the memorial that Borlaug was a teacher, a scientist and a warrior against hunger.

He "inspired thousands to work to feed the world, and inspired millions to believe it's possible. Our most important observance of Norm's passing," Gates said, is to persist in that work and in that belief.

"This was Norm Borlaug the builder who at every opportunity encouraged learning, and built armies of agricultural workers," Gates said.

"He was in favor of anything that would keep hungry people fed," Ed Runge, the retired head of A&M's soil and crop sciences department and a close friend who persuaded Borlaug teach at the school, said before the memorial. "He used science to advance food production." Read More

The statement by Ed Runge really wrapped up what Dr. Borlaug was all about, “He was in favor of anything that kept hungry people fed.” It’s that type of attitude that more people need to have. There are many elitists on our society that don’t have that same mentality though. Michael Pollan and his followers would rather have a system that grows our food more slowly, and less efficiently. That was the type of agriculture that Dr. Borlaug grew up in and spent his life trying to change.

Buffalo School Children Attacked With PETA Propoganda

PETA delivers eye-opening message
A message delivered to Buffalo school children

Published : Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009, 6:12 PM EDT
George Richert
Posted by Kate McGowan

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The circus is about to roll into town but not everyone's rolling out the welcome mat.

A group that fights for animals' rights delivered an eye-opening message to school children in Buffalo on Tuesday.

Right at dismissal time outside of Buffalo Elementary School of Technology, a representative of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and an elephant character with a bloody bandage handed out coloring books that said "Animals belong in the jungle" and "We don't support elephants in circuses".

"We're just out here letting people know, animals don't like to be locked up or chained. They wanna be with their Mommy, just like you wanna be with your Mommy," said Virginia Fort from PETA.

Some parents didn't mind it, some did. Read More

If PETA claims that the circus elephants want to be in the jungle with their mommy, then doesn’t that same logic hold true about pets? If PETA had any intellectual honesty (which we know they don’t have), they would have also been attacking these children for having pets and saying that dogs and cats want to be with their mommy, and they belong outside in the wild, not living in a house. These people are shameless in their attempts to attack children with their propaganda.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

IA Hog Farmers Dodging Bullets

Bullets add to hog farmers' worries
By Elizabeth Ahlin

A bad year for western Iowa hog farmers just got worse.

After months of consistent economic losses because of dropping hog prices and lower demand for pork, they can now add “shooting target” to their list of woes.

Several liquid propane tanks on hog farms have been hit by bullets from a high-caliber rifle, Calhoun County Sheriff Bill Davis said Monday.

The shooter or shooters appear to target hog farms in Sac and Calhoun Counties. All of the propane tanks that were fired upon were near modern, indoor hog barns, Davis said.

To date, no one has been injured, but the practice is extremely dangerous, said Aaron Putze, executive director of the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers.

Speculation abounds as to what is behind the shootings. Are they some sort of prank? The action of ecoterrorists? Or something different entirely? Authorities have not named a motive or a suspect.

The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for vandalism to an animal laboratory at the University of Iowa in 2004 and for the release of minks from an Iowa farm in 2002 and 2000. A spokeswoman for the group does not believe ALF is involved in the shootings. Read More

While it’s unknown who is doing this, the fact that these attacks have only been against family farmers who use modern production methods would suggest that it could be some animal rights activists. It also fits in with the mentality of those groups who value the life of an animal more than they do people. Either way, these families shouldn’t have to be worried about being shot at while taking care of their livestock. Hopefully those that are responsible are caught very soon before they hurt someone.

Consequences of HSUS Actions

U.S. Consumer Egg Prices Could Rise by 25 Percent if Animal Rights Activists Get Their Way
Gov't Spending on Food Assistance for the Needy Would Increase by $169 million

Cheap Imports Would Increase Food Safety Dangers

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers would be forced to pay 25 percent more for eggs soon if animal rights activists succeed in getting only non-cage eggs sold in the U.S., according to a new study by a respected economic consulting group. That increase would cost consumers $2.6 billion more each year for eggs, a nutritional staple in the American diet. The higher costs would strain Americans' budgets during a difficult economic climate.

Federal spending on food assistance programs for children and the needy also would increase by $169 million annually if the government could only purchase cage-free eggs, according to the study by Promar International, a Washington, D.C. economic consulting firm. Significant amounts of eggs are purchased for the school lunch and breakfast program ($47 million annually); Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC-$100 million); and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly the Food Stamp Program).

The study predicts that such a dramatic consumer cost increase could open the door to a sharp rise in egg imports from other countries that have far lower food safety and animal welfare standards than the United States. Egg imports could rise from virtually zero today to 7 billion eggs annually, seriously straining the ability of the U.S. government's food safety inspection system.

"If we have to start importing eggs into this country we will increase our food safety risks," said Gene Gregory, president of United Egg Producers, a national cooperative of U.S. family egg farmers. "I don't think American consumers really want to play Russian Roulette with every carton of eggs they buy, which is essentially what would happen if we allow special interest groups to force a ban on the most modern, sanitary egg housing systems in the world. Those systems are used to produce 95 percent of the eggs that American consumers buy every day."

Read More

Regardless of what the Humane Society of the United States tries to tell us, their actions are either going to make our food more expensive, less safe or both. Those are the only possible outcomes of their stated goals. For the voters that continue to support their measures, these are consequences for their actions as well. This part of the story isn’t being told very well and it needs to be. Having a safe, affordable, domestically grown food supply is vital to our nation’s future success.

How Wolves Are Affecting a Family Ranch

October 5, 2009
Dealing with wolves on an Oregon ranch
Curt Jacobs

On Good Friday morning three generations of Jacobs got to experience firsthand the havoc two wolves could wreak.

Just a two-minute jaunt from our sleeping households, four of the five documented wolf attacks occurred on what we call the "Home Ranch," a 640-acre chunk of farm and pastureland, just a part of what we make a living on in this high desert country.

From that day in April until today, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and Animal Damage Control confirmed 29 lambs, a pet goat and one calf killed on two ranches. This act stirred and spread the hotbed of debate in our small ranching community of Keating Valley to the Legislature in Salem and beyond.

We not only suffered the loss of these confirmed cases, but that of five more non-confirmed kills on both the Moore Ranch north of us and our own ranch. Our livestock has been harassed and chased through fences, and now our dogs display behavior that signifies "Beware, 'they' are out there!" We have tracked the wolves coming right down the road by our corrals behind my mom and dad's house. The feeling of being watched for a weak spot in the line is not a pleasant one.

Read More

It’s easy to be hundreds or thousands of miles away and support the current rules that don’t allow ranchers to protect their livestock or themselves from wolf attacks. But until you are in the position of going to bed every night wondering if your livelihood will still be there when you wake up, you probably can’t understand what that’s like. So even though these wolf advocates don’t seem to care about these affected families, they should at least read this account of the fear and agony this is causing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

We Can Grow Enough, But Will We Be Allowed To?

Can We Grow More Food in 50 Years Than in All of History?
Science Leader Says Population and Global Warming Make the Job Hard
Oct. 5, 2009 —

How dire is the world's situation? So bad, says a leading Australian scientist, that the world will have to produce more food in the next 50 years than we have in the thousands of years since civilization began.

There have been dark predictions -- mostly wrong -- of worldwide food shortages before.
But this one comes from Megan Clark, the head of Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO. Clark is hardly a wild-eyed extremist; she is a former mining executive.

In a speech in Canberra last week, Clark said growing population will cause exponentially-rising demand, and a warming climate will make the challenge more difficult.

"It is hard for me to comprehend that in the next 50 years we will need to produce as much food as has been consumed over our entire human history," she said.

In her Canberra speech, Clark said the difficulty will grow as more and more people move to cities and as a warming climate makes it more difficult to grow more crops.

There are others who say such worries are overblown, and that because of genetic engineering and other advances, there will not be vast increases in the numbers of the world's hungry.
Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and "Cool It," has argued that there are really much more pressing priorities, such as disease. Read More

It’s not climate change, it’s not a lack of technology and it’s not too many people that will cause starvation in this world. The determining factor of whether or not we can grow enough food for everyone to eat is if society will give us the public license to utilize and develop the technology necessary to make it happen. If America’s farmers and ranchers are given the tools, we will be able to continue as the breadbasket of the world and keep hunger at bay. On the other hand, if our society chooses to abandon the use of livestock for food and refuse to accept new varieties of crops then starvation is something that we will have to learn to live with. It’s a rather simple choice. You can be for or against starvation.

Nebraska Lawmakers Discuss Horse Facility

Published Saturday October 3, 2009
Horse slaughterhouse debated

LINCOLN — Nebraska could rein in neglect and abandonment of horses and spur on economic development by welcoming a horse slaughterhouse to the state, a panel of lawmakers was told Friday.

Such a facility could give horse owners a way to deal with injured, dying or unaffordable animals, members of the Agriculture Committee heard.

“Slaughter is not pretty, but it is a humane, economical way for an owner to dispose of an unwanted horse,” said Debby Brehm, Nebraska director for the American Quarter Horse Association.

Banning horse slaughter has led to greater suffering for horses and to problems with people abandoning horses, she said.

Brehm told of friends who transported two horses to a local sale barn and took them inside, only to find that two other horses had been left in their trailer, abandoned.

Larry Henning, a Gretna veterinarian, said the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association supports humane slaughter and transport because there are few alternatives for unwanted and unusable horses.

“Death is not inhumane,” he said. “Starvation and neglect are.” Read More

As with many other states, Nebraska is dealing with many unwanted horses. Those against harvesting horses will say that it’s still happening as many horses are crossing our borders to be harvested thus proving that it doesn’t help. However, what they fail to comprehend is that that option has become cost prohibitive for many. People wouldn’t be abandoning their horses if they had some monetary value left. Opening a facility in the United States would help with this situation and it would also allow us to make sure that it’s being done correctly.

Novartis Chief Bites Back

Novartis chief breaks silence and takes on animal activists
By Andrew Jack in London and Francesco Guerrera in New,York
Published: October 5 2009 03:00 Last updated: October 5 2009 03:00

Novartisis taking the un-usual step of openly fighting back against animal rights activists who are waging a campaign of intimidation against the company.

Daniel Vasella, chief executive of the Swiss pharmaceutical group - a target of extremists who desecrated his family grave in July - has warned some 140 people whosent him critical e-mails that they were associating themselves with criminal activity.

His comments mark the most aggressive response yet by a senior pharmaceutical executive. Most have preferred not to engage in public debate with extremists and to retain a low profile to avoid being targeted.

The action comes after extremists escalated in mid-August their demands for Novartis to sever links with Huntingdon Life Sciences, the UK-based animal testing centre. They warned Mr Vasella that otherwise they would not return an urn containing the ashes of his grandmother.
In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Mr Vasella defends the company's commitment to researching medicines, stresses his commitment as a doctor to alleviating patient suffering, and says anyone who tries to stop medical progress should be "ashamed".

He warns: "We strongly condemn the use of violence and terrorist tactics . . . as a substitute for meaningful, productive dialogue. As the author of the e-mail received, you should be aware that willingly or not you are associating yourself with criminal activity, such as extortion and blackmail."

On a website called Backbite that posts extremists' messages, one warns below a photo of Mr Vasella's family grave: "If you wish the urn that was taken from the grave to be returned then you need to publicly finish with Huntingdon Life Sciences immediately."

Mr Vasellabroke with the industry's usual silence over animal testing, sayingNovartis had not worked with Huntingdon "for some time". For security reasons it would not release the names of those companies with which it does work. He said Novartis was committed to "very high standards" for animal testing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

College Aggies Online

Program Prepares Young Ag Advocates
Marlys Miller Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Animal Agriculture Alliance has launched "College Aggies Online", a new program aimed at helping today's college students become confident advocates for the agriculture industry.

"We are looking forward to providing the tools that young agriculturists need to communicate effectively with the public," says Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance executive vice president. "College students who participate in the program will do more than just build their resume-- they will help ensure the future of America's agriculture industry by sharing accurate information about modern farming and ranching."ᅠ ᅠ

College Aggies Online is a joint venture of the Alliance and American National CattleWomen. It will connect college students from across the country who are interested in promoting agriculture by sharing their stories. Participants will receive training and instructions from industry professionals and will enjoy access to a private forum to post information about current and emerging issues facing farmers and ranchers.

The online community will provide resources to students on key issues to help them better utilize tools such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to share agriculture's story with the public. "Social networking Web sites offer an effective platform for reaching large audiences of people who do not have farm backgrounds," Johnson Smith says. Read More

There are some really great new online tools being used by young agriculturalists that I want to highlight in the next few weeks. The first one is College Aggies Online, which will be launched on October 15. This site will allow college students to share more information about themselves and agriculture with our consumers. There are many people even within our own industry that say young people aren’t interested in agriculture anymore. I always disagree. As I have traveled across this country, I continually meet young adults that impress the heck out of me. Even just a decade ago, when I was attending South Dakota State University, we weren’t concerned about going out and actively promoting agriculture. But today’s students are not only willing to do it, they are continually seeking opportunities to do so. Check out this new forum for yourself and you will undoubtedly be impressed by those that will be posting on there.