Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There's No Such Thing As Hormone Free

Hormone meat pulled off shelves

• Wendy Hargreaves
• From: Sunday Herald Sun, Austrailia
• December 26, 2010 12:00AM

It is an Australian first that has sent shock waves through the meat industry.

Industry experts predict higher beef prices as more customers demand hormone-free meat, which makes up about half of all beef sold in Australia.

Farmers have used hormone growth promotants (HGPs) to speed up muscle growth in cattle for more than 30 years, backed by rigorous safety approval from health authorities.

But in a survey of 1000 people by Meat and Livestock Australia, leaked to the Sunday Herald Sun, almost half said they would consume less meat if it had added hormones, while 16 per cent would "never touch it again" and 15 per cent would "actively warn others".

Without the HGPs, industry experts said another two million head of cattle would be needed to make up a shortfall in meat, creating environmental problems.    Read More

The most common question we get as we talk to consumers is about hormones. Most media stories, like this one, fail to give readers all of the information they need in order to make a sound decision. All food has hormones in it. Both animal and plant-based foods contain hormones. Hormones are the chemical messengers that life depends on. Many plants actually contain higher levels of hormones than meat does. There is no such thing as hormone free food.

The difference in hormone levels from a 3 ounce piece of beef treated with a growth hormone versus one that wasn’t is one-half of a nanogram. That’s one-half of one-billionth of a gram. Compare that to the amount of estrogen in a birth control pill, which is in the neighborhood of 34,000 nanograms. You would have to eat nearly 5 million pounds of beef to equal the amount of hormones in a year’s supply of birth control pill.

It’s essential that we put things in context when we are having discussions like these.

Fallout From Pacelle's Comments Continue

Michael Vick wants a dog? Try Cujo

Tamara Dietrich
December 26, 2010

I love dogs. They improve our lives, and lengthen them. They make us happier people.

Who doesn't deserve that?

As one animal lover/activist told me recently, "Nobody should be denied the companionship of a loyal pet."

But that same animal lover/activist also has this bumper sticker on his vehicle: "Help stop dog fighting. Neuter Michael Vick."

Harsh? Only if you forget the deeper, sordid picture of Vick's Bad Newz dog fighting ring in Surry County, which wasn't just some gentleman's sporting club where wagering was committed as well-muscled, athletic pit bulls tussled in a ring together, and may the better dog win.

This was a blood sport — emphasis on "blood" — in which dogs were maimed, crippled and ripped apart.

A judge ordered him not to own a dog while he's on probation, but apparently Vick has begun to reflect on how wonderful a family pet can be.

"I think just to have a pet in my household," said Vick in an interview with NBC News and The Grio.com, "and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals, I think it would be outstanding."

His advocate, Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, thinks so, too.

"I have been around him a lot," Pacelle told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner."

Unless Pacelle is willing to give Vick his own personal family pet with no conditions, oversight or reservations — then forget it.    Read More

Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS continue to show how out of touch they really are with their endorsement of pet ownership for convicted felon Michael Vick.  This isn’t sitting well with anyone and Pacelle is hearing about it.  This probably one of the biggest blunders Pacelle has ever made for his factory fundraising machine.  It shows where their priorities are when they still don’t want livestock used for food but they think Vick should own a dog again. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Local Humane Society Talks About Damage Caused by HSUS

Hear the words straight from the director of a pet shelter in South Dakota that the intentional confusion caused by the HSUS is hurting local shelters.  You will also hear her say that they give 97% of their budget towards the animals they care for.  Why can't the HSUS do that?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Estate Planner in a Box

Randy McKee: Estate planning in a box

By Amanda Radke, TSLN

“It used to be what separated people was between have and have nots; but today, it's more split between who is informed and who is ignorant,” said Randy McKee, of McKee Companies, at the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association (SDCA) 62nd Annual Trade Show and Convention in Aberdeen, SD on Dec. 1, 2010.

McKee is a nationally-recognized estate planner, who developed “Estate Planner In A Box,” an easy-to-understand course designed to teach families how to put together an estate plan for an agriculture business. At the convention, he offered his advice on what farm and ranch families should think about as they prepare for the uncertainties of tomorrow.

“Estate planning can't wait,” said McKee. “There are three solid ways to eliminate federal estate taxes; if you pay even one penny for your estate, it's voluntary now. We can help you eliminate or reduce the costs for your heirs.”

McKee noted that while there are so many factors in the agriculture sector that can't be controlled, such as prices and the weather, there is one thing producers can have control on – the future of their family business.

“Our product teaches you how to gain control,” said McKee. “You don't want a judge determining the outcome of your operation. We can help you get on track to making those big decisions in your estate plan.”

Read More

Most of the time you hear me focusing on issues like animal rights and food production.  There's no doubt that retaining the social license to produce food in this country is one of our biggest challenges.  But the other one that I see as a threat is the complicated process of passing a farm or ranch to the next generation.  Too many times this process doesn't seem to work out like everyone had hoped or else the task seemed so daunting that no estate plan was ever put in place.  Estate Planner in a Box is by the far the best program I have ever found for dealing with this difficult subject.  Many times the hardest part of estate planning is just getting started.  That's exactly what this helps you do.  Randy is a nationally respected expert on estate planning, but maybe even more importantly, he's a ranch kid from South Dakota.  Agriculture is something that is near and dear to him and he has helped many families plan for their future. 

Pacelle, HSUS Says Vick Should Have Dogs Again

Humane Society president open to Michael Vick owning dogs again

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- The head of one of America's biggest animal protection organizations said Thursday that Michael Vick, who served prison time for his role in a deadly dogfighting operation, should have the opportunity to bring a dog home -- in due time.

Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle told HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell that the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback shouldn't get a pet immediately and should have to meet certain milestones whenever he does. But Pacelle, whose group has worked with Vick in public outreach efforts, said that it would be wrong to close the door to his ever having a dog again.

"He's been going through counseling, he's been speaking to kids twice a month, and he needs to interact with animals," said Pacelle. "If he continues to hit these markers, then if his daughter wants a dog two or three years down the line,... I'm saying that we should be open to that possibility."    Read More

So Pacelle and the HSUS continue to try driving animal agriculture out of this country yet he has no problem letting Vick own dogs again?  Vick forced dogs to kill each other and farmers and ranchers are using livestock to help feed the world and Pacelle thinks the farmers and ranchers are a bigger threat?  The reality bus left HSUS long ago but things like this continue to remind us how out of touch they really are. 

Biotech Helping Feed Africa

Farmers benefit from biotech crops production


NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Continued progress on commercialization of biotech crops was witnessed in all three countries in Africa during the 2009 period.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application (ISAAA), South Africa has increased its hectarage by 17 percent while Burkina Faso increased by 14 percent.

The three countries broader coverage is of strategic importance because it allows more African countries to become practitioners of biotech crops and be able to benefit directly from learning by doing, a practice which has been proved to be very important.

This is a remarkable achievement given that Africa is the continent with the greatest challenge on food production compared to other continents.

As South Africa continue to export their biotech agricultural products such as maize, researchers now say that Kenya too could be on the beneficiary list once it adopts the technology.

With the food insecurity already ravaging most parts of sub Saharan Africa hence forcing countries to import food mainly maize and beans, the application of biotechnology could be of a solution to pest and diseases that wipe out millions of crops yearly.     Read More

You certainly get a different perspective about biotechnology in countries where so many people are starving.  There are no Michael Pollan’s in Africa and the reason is that many people over there wonder where their next meal is coming from.  Having the luxury to choose food that was raised in a certain way is a very foreign concept to people in Africa.  Our country has the ability to help feed these people yet we have full-stomached protesters and activists that are trying to stop that from happening.  This is why Pollan’s line of thinking is so out of touch with reality, a reality that too many people live with every day. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

NE Gov Tells HSUS To Stay Out

Nebraska governor on HSUS: ‘We’re going to beat them’

December 9, 2010 by Ken Anderson

The governor of Nebraska is sending a strong message to the Humane Society of the United States—if the animal rights group goes after the state’s livestock industry, it’s in for a fight.

“The Humane Society of the United States is anti-agriculture and they’re out to destroy animal agriculture—and if they want to come to Nebraska, we’re going to fight them and we’re going to beat them,” Heineman says. “Agriculture is the number one industry in this state. It’s what makes our economy so strong. I’m going to stand tall and this is a fight we won’t shy away from.”

In an interview with Brownfield after his speech to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s group in Kearney, Heineman made it clear that compromise is not an option.

“In Nebraska, no deal, no compromise—we’re going to stand up, we’re going to beat them,” he says. “They’d be better off going somewhere else because they’re going to lose if they stay in Nebraska.”

HSUS has recently become more active in Nebraska, hiring a state director and holding a town hall meeting in Lincoln.     Link

It’s great to see our elected leaders stand up for their constituents against the lying bully that is the HSUS.  Their efforts to eliminate animal agriculture are more apparent than ever and it’s being noticed.  I would think it must be getting tougher for Pacelle to continue trying to sell his group as just an animal welfare group.  You don’t see politicians coming out against worthy charities, just the fraudulent ones. 

Beat Stress, Eat a Steak!

Feeling stressed? Grill a steak, study suggests

Des Moines Register

Red meat's image has tended to emphasize stereotypically aggressive male behavior, ranging from ancient barbarians to modern tailgaters.

But McGill University in Canada says its studies suggest otherwise: Meat has a calming effect on men.

Maybe men know what is best for them when they gravitate to the backyard grill.

"It wouldn't be advantageous to be aggressive anymore, because you would've already used your aggression to acquire the meat, and furthermore, you'd be surrounded by people who share ... your DNA," lead researcher Frank Kachanoff told the Montreal Gazette. "One of the basic principles in evolution is to want to preserve not only your DNA but also that of your next of kin."

How well the beef-is-calming notion takes hold remains to be seen. U.S. per capita consumption has dropped by about 25 percent in the last half-century.    Link

It’s hard to be stressed when you are about to enjoy a great steak!  Meat is an essential part of the balanced diet that we should all have.  Eliminating food groups from your diet is never a good idea and the science continues to suggest it.   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ag is the Foundation of our Society

Ag aiding economy

By: Jerry Hagstrom, Special to Agweek

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a Dec. 1 news conference, highlighted recently released trade and income statistics showing agriculture leading the country out of the recession.

Vilsack said USDA forecasts that U.S. farm exports in fiscal year 2011 will set a record high $126.5 billion, exceeding the fiscal year 2008, formerly the highest level on record at $114.9 billion.

Agriculture continues to be one of the only major sectors of the American economy with a trade surplus — which is expected to be $41 billion in this fiscal year, Vilsack noted. He said the forecast “demonstrates that the demand for U.S. food and agriculture around the world is stronger than ever,” with sales surging in China, Southeast Asia, North America and the Middle East.    Read More

Agriculture truly is the foundation for our society, and that includes our economy.  All wealth comes from the ground which is why a domestically raised food supply is so critical.  The instant we start relying on someone else to grow our food our country will be in grave danger. 

Truth About HSUS Revealed Again

The Humane Society of the United States is not what you think

By: Ron Arnold 12/02/10 8:05 PM
Wahington Examiner
OpEd Contributor

If you donate to the Humane Society of the United States for supporting the homeless doggies and kitties in your local animal shelter, you've likely been suckered by one of Big Green's most notorious propaganda mills.

HSUS is a radical no-meat, anti-hunting, anti-gun octopus that spends millions swallowing other animal groups whole, but habitually gives less than 1 percent of its annual revenue to a few selected local shelters. It's not that they can't afford it -- they raked in $101.6 million last year alone.

HSUS got so big because of CEO Wayne Pacelle's takeovers of the extremist Fund for Animals and the respectable Doris Day Animal League, in what he calls "corporate combinations."

That, and his ability to create high-profile projects like disaster relief crews that swoop stranded cats and dogs from flooded housetops while the TV cameras watch -- then quietly dump them on nearby shelters without so much as a dime's worth of support.

Pacelle gets the credit, the grunts get the critters.    Read More

There are more people every day that are learning the truth about the HSUS.  While they continue to claim that they aren’t anti-meat or anti-ag, one only has to look at their suggested recipes to see what their true goals are.  That’s where the rubber meats the road.  But while we have made great strides in exposing this group we must continue to do more.  There are still too many people that think this group actually cares for pets.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Farm American Coverage

I have really appreciated all of the media coverage of the Farm American project.  A big thank you to Vicki Myers from Progressive Farmer/DTN for this article. 

Ag Warrior

Cowboys, Farmers, Furniture and NASCAR

Victoria G. Myers Progressive Farmer Senior Editor

Mon Nov 29, 2010 08:31 AM CST

Troy Hadrick is looking for $22 million. That's what it will cost to build a campaign to promote America's farmers and ranchers on NASCAR's pit row. And when you hear Hadrick talk about the program, $22 million begins to sound like a deal.

The no-nonsense rancher from Faulkton, S.D., has a face you might remember. He countered a contribution Yellow Tail wine made to The Humane Society with a YouTube video that went viral. It was a simple, straightforward image of the young rancher pouring a bottle of the wine out on the ground, with cattle in the background. The reaction had Yellow Tail backpedaling on its donation soon after the video was posted.

Since then, Hadrick and his wife, Stacy, have become well-known advocates of the American farmer and rancher. They travel and speak across the country with one goal: letting average consumers get to know a real rancher. It's a rewarding pursuit.

"It's amazing to watch it happen, when consumers meet a farmer or rancher. It's like the lightbulb goes on and they see we are human and that we do care," says Hadrick.

The rancher says for too long media and organizations he considers anti-agriculture have worked to fear monger and dehumanize people who produce America's food. He points to terms like "factory farm" or "big ag," which he says have a goal of "making us faceless and cold."    Read More

A Film About Beef

Here's another great video by a student filmmaker talking about the beef industry and sharing what she learned.

A Film by Katie Griffith from ExploreBeef on Vimeo.

SD Cattlemen's Association

Today we are at the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association annual meeting in Aberdeen.  There are lots of great speakers here including Gregg Doud, chief economist from NCBA, Randy McKee, one of the best estate planners in the country, and Amanda Nolz who will be talking about social media. 

Being involved in your industry organizations is extremely important and it's why we are involved in several. 

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Care Package: Cattle Welfare in the West

Three student filmmakers were recently given full access to makes short documentaries about the beef industry. As we travel across the country speaking about agriculture I continue to tell people they shouldn't ask Google about where their food comes from. They should ask the farmers and ranchers that grow it. These films offer an opportunity for everyone to learn about beef industry directly from the people involved.

Here's the first of three films I will be posting.

The Care Package: Cattle Welfare in the West from ExploreBeef on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will HSUS/Ohio Deal Continue?

New Ohio ag director will review animal care deal


Ohio's next agriculture director plans to take a closer a look at a deal arranged by the outgoing governor and animal rights activists that would bring tougher laws governing farm animals.

The agreement calls for a ban of certain crates and cages and prohibiting strangulation as a form of euthanasia for sick or injured animals.

"There are a lot more unanswered questions," James Zehringer, a former poultry farmer who's been a state lawmaker the past three years, said during an interview with The Associated Press.

His biggest concern is that the proposed regulations could make it too costly for new farm owners who want to get into the business by forcing them to make changes to existing farms.

"We want to grow agriculture," he said. "Ohio is losing 700 farms a year."   Read More

This could get interesting.  Now Ohio may have the political leadership to stand up to the falsehoods and threats coming from HSUS.  The question will be whether or not anyone will follow their efforts.  In order for the OLCSB to operate properly, they can’t be constantly under threat of a ballot issue from the HSUS.  While the HSUS will never b e worried about what’s best for livestock, farmers and ranchers have no choice.  It’s our duty to properly care for them, regardless of politics. 

HSUS Tries Fooling Nebraska Livestock Producers

Humane Society: Not ‘anti-ag'

By Leslie Reed

LINCOLN — The Humane Society of the U.S. has no plans to conduct a petition drive in Nebraska aimed at treatment of farm animals, the group's president and chief executive officer said here Sunday.

But Wayne Pacelle said his group still will continue to work to eliminate tight confinement practices on farms and ranches.

“We are not anti-agriculture,” Pacelle said. “We want animals to be able to stand up, lie down and turn around. That is not a sweeping agenda.”

Some of the agriculture representatives said they remain wary of Pacelle's group, despite his conciliatory tone.

Mark McHargue, a Central City, Neb., pork producer and a director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, said he remains skeptical of the HSUS's motives. McHargue said he uses gestation crates to house pregnant sows on his hog farm. He said he believes the crates are a humane way to handle animals that would fight and harm one another if they weren't restrained. Working without the crates also would increase his cost of production.

“You heard a lot of frustration and anxiety tonight about what's happened in other states,” McHargue said. “There's no reason to think that what happened in other states won't happen in Nebraska.”   Read More

These farmers and ranchers that believe the HSUS is a friend to them really struggle with reality.  One look at the recipe section on their website shows you what their true goals are.  Never once does it say anything about eating meat, milk and eggs grown in certain conditions.  It states that using animals as a source of food is cruel.  I’m not sure how Pacelle can say that he isn’t anti-ag with a straight face.  The only way he can keep his professional fundraising organization afloat is to keep creating one crisis after another directed at agriculture. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blaming Cows For Global Warming Not Accurate

A new beef with role of cows in global warming

November 20, 2010
Alex Horkay
Statistics have been giving us a bum steer when they state how much cattle methane emissions contribute to global warming, a new study shows.

That's because mathematical equations used to predict cows' methane emissions are inaccurate and don't take into account factors such as dietary changes, said Jennifer Ellis, lead author of the study and a PhD student at the University of Guelph.

When cattle burp up their cud, they discharge methane with it, due to microbial fermentation occurring in their complex stomachs.

“Diet can change CH4 (methane) emissions quite a lot. For example, between two and 12 per cent of the energy a cow consumes will be lost as CH4,” she said.

When an equation calculates the quantity of methane emissions on one farm, it can't be used to accurately determine how much greenhouse gas is created worldwide because there is so much difference in cattle diet around the world and from farm to farm.    Read More
While most of the anti-ag groups are quick to try blaming cows for global warming, common sense scientists have shown that it’s not that simple.  There are so many factors that determine the amount of methane produced by a cow so it’s nearly impossible to determine any impact based on current models.  It’s unfortunate that these anti-ag groups have to try tricking people with false information to gain support and turn them against farming and ranching families.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Help Your Neighbor, Not a Turkey

Turkey adoption program keeps flocks off dinner tables

By Alyson Cunningham The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times

DEWEY BEACH, Del. — For the last five years, Marissa Filderman has adopted a turkey for Thanksgiving.

But she's never interested in raising the feathered fellow.

The 24-year-old vegetarian is focused on saving that turkey from its inevitable holiday fate.

So each year, she adopts a foul from Farm Sanctuary, an organization which rescues abused farm animals and works to stop and expose cruel farming practices with shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif.

Around Thanksgiving, the sanctuary has a special turkey fundraiser that allows people to sponsor a turkey for $30 or a flock for $180.

According to the Farm Sanctuary's website, the organization has saved more than 1,000 turkeys in 24 years.

Read More

As we approach Thanksgiving we think about all the things we are thankful for. Our family is thankful for the food we have to eat. But for too many families there isn’t much food to be had for the holidays. It makes it even harder to accept when we have people in our society giving money to animal rights groups to feed turkeys when that money could be used to feed their neighbors. Please support your local food banks so those less fortunate than you can enjoy Thanksgiving rather than a turkey.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Trailblazer Award Winners

When Joe Roybal called me late this summer to say that Stacy and I had been selected at BEEF Magazine's 2010 Trailblazer Award honorees I was pretty much speechless (which doesn't happen very often).  My first thought was that we probably weren't old enough to be a trailblazer in the beef industry!  Never had the thought crossed my mind that we would be considered for an award like this.  We didn't set out to win any awards when we started telling our story but we truly appreciate it. 

So a big thank you to Joe and everyone at BEEF Magazine for thinking of us!

Here's a link to the 2010 BEEF Magazine Trailblazer Award article.

Pickens Plans to Overstock Horse Ranch

Pickens named Horsewoman of the Year

Herald-Leader Staff Report

Anti-horse slaughter activist Madeleine Pickens was named "Horsewoman of the Year" by the Humane Society of the United States at the annual Sound Horse Conference in Louisville on Friday.

Pickens, who also raced Thoroughbreds with her late husband, Allen Paulson, was given the honor for her efforts to establish a sanctuary for wild horses.

Pickens, who is married to oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens, last month bought a 14,000-acre ranch in Nevada to take in thousands of wild horses that have been removed from public lands by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM is reviewing the proposal for the Mustang Monument preserve.

Madeleine Pickens "is one of those rare individuals who puts her passion, time and money where her heart is," Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society president and CEO, said in announcing the honor   Link

If Pickens is truly planning on putting thousands of horses on her newly acquired ranch then she and Wayne Pacelle both have a few things to learn about range management.  Doing that would put a quick end to her ranch and it’s ability to be grazed.  This ranch could probably support a few hundred horses but certainly not “thousands”.  These are generally the types of things that people who are unfamiliar with livestock overlook.  It will be interesting to see how many she does put out there and if she’s really willing to buy never-ending supplies of hay to feed that many.  Hopefully the ignorance of Pickens and the HSUS won't result in the destruction of this rangeland. 

Repeal Prop B?

Lawmakers Support Repeal of Prop B

'Puppy Mill' Prevention Act's narrow 51.5% passage has Missouri lawmakers examining a repeal.

Published: Nov 8, 2010

Missouri lawmakers, in both the House and Senate, said they would support efforts by dog breeders and agricultural groups to repeal or dilute Proposition B, the so-called "Puppy Mill Prevention Act," passed by voters Nov. 2.

"We will start working on that issue immediately," said Senator-elect Mike Parson, whose district includes more than 150 licensed breeding operations. The next legislative session begins Jan. 5.

Proposition B, which will put new restrictions on state dog breeders, passed by substantial margins in urban areas, but failed in 100 of the state's 114 counties. Overall, it got 51.6% of the vote. However, licensed breeders and virtually all of the state's agricultural groups strongly opposed it saying it will force legitimate breeders out of business while doing nothing about unlicensed breeders.

Ag groups also argued passage of the measure – strongly backed by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups --- was just the first step as these groups move on to try and regulate animal agriculture out of business.      Read More

This was way closer than Wayne and Co. would like to think about.  He regularly goes into states and tells ag groups that they can win any vote by a healthy margin.  It’s more apparent than ever that he’s blowing smoke yet again.  There’s no doubt that the HSUS will come uncorked if there’s any attempt to modify the law.  HSUS is losing their credibility piece by piece every single day and this vote confirms it.   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Time To Do Something Different

I’ve been talking a lot lately about the Farm American Project. One of the reasons that I’m so excited about it is because the goal is to promote the Farmers and Ranchers that grow the food we eat. For years we’ve had commodity specific programs with a very narrow focus of emphasis. These programs certainly have their place and I am a big supporter of them. However, I truly believe that we need to embrace this program because it will promote the individuals in our industry.

We’ve seen the need to humanize farmers and ranchers for quite some time now yet it seems that very few have implemented strategies to accomplish it. Farm American is in a unique position to get it done. This project would allow 160 million consumers to meet the farmers and ranchers that grow all of their food.

No matter what we raise or how we raise it, consumers want to meet us and learn more about us. We all win when consumers get that chance.

Some people and ag companies have looked at this project and thought it’s not worth the effort. Here’s what I know for sure, the past strategy of thinking that there are groups of people that don’t need to hear our story has put us in this troublesome position. That means we have to think in new ways and move in new directions to have our voices heard. We can’t be scared, we have to be confident. The ag companies that step up and help make this a reality will prove themselves to be the true leaders in ag business because they will recognize this as an opportunity. It will be clear that they intend to be partners with Farmers and Ranchers for generations to come.

I want my children to have the same opportunities that I had to be involved in agriculture. In order for that to happen we need to let consumers know who we are and why it’s important that we are here. The opportunity is being given to all of us to get that done. It only remains to be seen who will take advantage of it.

It’s time to work together.

Ag Mag

Published November 02 2010

Ag Mag redesigned, now available to N.D. teachers

Jamestown Sun

North Dakota Ag Mag, a teaching tool that provides information about agriculture to thousands of North Dakota students, has a new look.

“Corn is the subject of the first full-color issue of Ag Mag,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Corn is an increasingly important crop in our state, and this new magazine will help young people better understand the history of corn, how it is produced and the many uses we have for corn.”

Goehring said he hopes more teachers in grades 3, 4 and 5 will take advantage of the free subscriptions to Ag Mag.

“Ag Mag reinforces what teachers are already doing in the classroom,” he said. “It helps teachers integrate information about North Dakota agriculture across curriculum in science, math, language arts, social studies, and other classes.”     Read More

Having some type of “Ag Mag” available for school teachers is vitally important.  I’ve had friends whose kids have brought home material from the HSUS from school.  When these parents have questioned the teachers about why, the answer is usually the same.  It was free for them to use and they didn’t know that the HSUS is the world’s wealthiest animal rights group.  The next thing the teacher asks is if there’s something they can use that correctly teaches about farming and ranching.  That’s when we need to be able to provide them with something like the Ag Mag

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AgriTalk and Farm American

I want to thank the crew at AgriTalk for having Pat Driscoll and myself on the air this morning.  The Farm American Project is an unprecedented opportunity for farmers and ranchers to share their story with the American public. 

In order for it to become a reality next year we need everyone's help.  We need the help of individual producers to spread the message of the project AND we also need them to encourage agri-businesses to support us with their funding. 

You can read the entire story of the project by clicking here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Balanced Diets Best

Vegetarians at risk of brain disorders

IANS, Oct 28, 2010, 02.36pm IST

Vegetarians are at an early risk of mental disorder such as dementia and alzheimer's as they develop a Vitamin B-12 deficiency, doctors said here Wednesday.

Fish, shellfish, meat, eggs, milk and their by-products are some of the biggest sources of Vitamin B-12.

"Deficiency of Vitamin B-12 can reduce working capacity of the brain and result in progressive memory loss that has an impact on day to day activities," Praveen Gupta, consultant neurologist at Artemis Health Institute in Gurgaon, said in an Interview.

"Since majority of the Indian population is vegetarian and milk consumption has reduced considerably, they are more prone to early onset of dementia. Those who suffer from lactose intolerance are also at risk," Gupta explained.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India had nearly 3.5 million alzheimer's and dementia patients in the year 2000.

"We see at least 30 patients under the age of 40 every month -- suffering from memory loss and other manifestations due to deficiency of vitamin B-12. Once diagnosed, these patients respond very well to vitamin B-12 supplements," Gupta added.    Read More

Eating a balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products has been proven time and again to be the best diet for people.  But diet alone doesn’t determine your health.  There’s a little thing called exercise that also plays an important factor.  Many critics of our food supply conveniently seem to forget that. 

Missouri's Prop B Affects Real People

Breeders fearful of tighter rules under Prop B

By Melanie Loth

October 28, 2010
6:42 p.m. CDT
Columbia Missourian

COLUMBIA – Peaches rolls in the grass by the feet of his breeder, Hubert Lavy. The French bulldog casually sniffs Lavy’s shoes and jeans, finding the scent of the other dogs at the kennel.

“If you ever want a pet, this is what you get,” he said. “They are the most loving, comical pets.”

Lavy and his wife, Sharon Lavy, own Tenderheart Kennel in Silex, which is in Lincoln County. They have been breeding dogs to sell as pets for the past 10 years.

“We sell love, we sell friendship, but we also sell a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” Hubert Lavy said.

Tenderheart Kennel is one of many large-scale dog breeding operations in Missouri that would be affected if voters statewide approve Proposition B on Tuesday.

Proposition B would add new regulations to current laws governing dog breeders in Missouri. The regulations are limited to dog breeders with 10 or more breeding females. Tenderheart Kennel has 37 breeding females, but only breeds about 20 of them; the rest are too young or too old.

The Lavys oppose Proposition B because they fear it would be cost-prohibitive to meet all of the proposed standards.

“It’s the only thing I want to do for the rest of my life,” Hubert Lavy said. “It’s my hobby, it’s what I love to do and, dammit, they are going to take it away from me.”

Hubert Lavy estimated renovations to meet the standards in Proposition B would cost $50,000. He put his yearly earnings at $15,000 to $20,000.    Read More

This article is the first one that I’ve seen about Prop B in Missouri that has attempted to put a face on the people this will affect.  HSUS has been able to make a fortune by trying to make criminals out of honest, hard working people that raise animals.  The widely used HSUS talking point is to say that they only want to stop the worst cases of abuse.  Yet spending just a minute on their website will tell a completely different story.  They don’t want people using animals for any purpose whatsoever.  Prop B, like many other pieces of legislation they have forced on states, is just a step in the direction of their ultimate goals.  Please vote NO on Prop B in Missouri. 

Another Local Shelter Has To Set The Record Straight

Michigan Humane Society: not part of political campaign, Peters ads

Published: Thursday, October 28, 2010
By Charles Crumm
For the Daily Tribune

The Michigan Humane Society is distancing itself from a political action committee called the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which is running ads on behalf of U.S. Rep. Gary Peters.

The Bingham Farms-based nonprofit said in a statement Wednesday that it is not connected with the Humane Society Legislative Fund or its parent organization, The Humane Society of the United States.

It is prohibited as a nonprofit from promoting or endorsing political candidates, Humane Society spokeswoman Nancy Gunnigle said.

“Our focus is on caring for dogs and animals each year in metropolitan Detroit,” she said.

  Read More

Here’s one thing you will never hear anyone from the HSUS be able to say with a straight face, “Our focus is on caring for dogs and animals”.  And if they do they are lying.  That’s probably the best way for local shelters to differentiate themselves from the HSUS.  It’s just a shame that local shelters have to spend precious time and resources trying to straighten out the confusion intentionally caused by the HSUS to feed their fundraising machine. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

mikeroweWORKS.com Helping Share Our Story

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to the team over at http://www.mikeroweworks.com/  for volunteering to help us share the story of the American Farmer and Rancher.  Mike Rowe and the entire team are certainly big supporters of the hard working men and women that make this country what it is. 

I really appreciate them posting my blog article on the Farm American project.  If you haven't seen it yet you need to check it out.  http://www.mikeroweworks.com/2010/10/farm-american/

Monday, October 25, 2010

Farm American

We’ve been saying it for a long time in agriculture, we need to be proactive in our efforts to educate the consumer about domestic food production and the farmers and ranchers that grow it rather than being reactive to the latest inaccurate accusations from an anti-ag group. There’s not a better way to do this than to tell our story one person at a time and let consumers get to know us, let them meet a real farmer or rancher. But we’ve also talked about how great it would be to tell our story on a bigger stage to a bigger audience. With limited resources and opportunities it hasn’t happened yet, however, that is about to change.

I truly believe that the opportunity we have been looking for has just landed in our lap. Even more amazing than that is it’s coming from someone with no ties to agriculture at all yet he realizes the important job that farmers and ranchers have and wants to help tell the story of the 21st century agriculturalist. His name is Barney Visser and he owns the Furniture Row chain of furniture stores. Like most farmers and ranchers, Visser is a self-made man and a great example of what you can achieve with hard work. He started with a single store in Denver selling an invention of his called the bean bag chair. That single store turned into the fastest growing furniture chain today which includes brands like Denver Mattress and Oak Express.

Visser recently formed the Furniture Row Racing NASCAR team but unlike most teams he wanted to use his to promote worthwhile causes when possible. When he was presented with the idea of promoting the American farmer and rancher he knew it was the right thing to do. At one time he had 800 employees in Colorado making furniture for him. Unfortunately he had to eventually close it down though because he couldn’t compete with less expensive imports. Reflecting back on that experience Visser stated that it was bad enough he now has to get his furniture from overseas, the last thing he wanted is his food coming from there. So over the past year he has spent millions of his own money developing the Farm American project.

The Farm American project has several facets to it. Visser has generously offered to turn the Furniture Row Racing team into the Farm American team. The Farm American car ran at three Sprint Cup races this year and we were fortunate enough to be at the final running a few weeks ago in Fontana, CA where we got to meet Visser and his family and the entire race crew. The paint scheme is beautiful on the car and really stands out among the rest of the field because it’s not cluttered with advertisements. Along with this, we want to develop a traveling interactive display that would be set up in the Fan Zone at every race. It would include having local farmers and ranchers there to share with consumers what they do, a real farmers market, farm machinery simulators and other great teaching tools. Research has shown that this segment of the project can reach 33% of the American public every week.

The next phase of the plan also highlights the commitment and generosity of Barney Visser. He is going to allow us to use all of his retail locations across the country to promote farmers and ranchers as well. This will include in-store displays featuring local farmers and ranchers as well as promotional material included in their advertisements. Visser has even offered to re-paint all of his delivery trucks to match the paint scheme on the Farm American car. This would reach another 30% of the American public.

Finally, the Farm American car and traveling educational exhibit could be available for various other functions, including fairs and shows.

When you add it all up, this project could reach nearly 200 million people. That’s an astonishing number! Unfortunately, it will take some money to bring this project to it’s full potential. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Visser has already put a couple million dollars of his own money into it to get it off the ground. Now it’s time for agri-business to step up and help the farmers and ranchers they depend on to tell their story.

The Farm American project will need to raise $22 million in order to implement all of the components and operate for a full year. Now I know that seems like a big mountain to climb but in reality it’s not. When you think about the economic impact that agriculture has on this country and the importance of this issue, that’s a small price to pay to educate our consumers. It would be tough for individual farmers and ranchers to raise that kind of money so that’s why we need ag businesses to step up.

We need agri-business to realize that they need to become partners in our efforts to tell the real story of modern agriculture. It’s been great to see some companies realize this and trying to do what they can to help. For those, it’s their opportunity to become part of something even bigger than themselves. If there are companies out there that feel it’s not their responsibility to help tell this story, then they have a shockingly short-sighted view of what needs to be done. I plan on asking all of these companies, both privately and publicly, to help with this project. Their survival depends on our survival.

So what do we need from you? We need your voices. We need your passion. We need you to help share the story of the Farm American project so we can share the story of the American Farmer and Rancher with 200 million consumers. These ag businesses will need to hear from each and every one of you about why this is important. I am going to commit to giving my business to the companies that support this project and will encourage all of you to do the same. It's also important for me to stress that neither Visser or Furniture Row Racing will be profiting from this project.  They are doing it because it's the right thing to do. 

Above all else, we want this effort to stay very positive! The anti-ag groups like to stoop to that level on a regular basis. We don’t have to, our message speaks for itself. So thank you in advance for keeping all of your comments very positive and helping us make this incredible project a reality.

Let me know if you have any ideas, comments or questions and stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Animal Friends Advocate Violent Death For Deer

Group: Use coyotes, not hunters to cut deer population

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

VALLEY FORGE — An animal-rights group that opposes the use of hunters to cut the deer population in Valley Forge National Historical Park wants officials to consider using coyotes instead.

The Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals opposes a plan to use sharpshooters to eliminate more than 80 percent of the park's deer in the next four years. Last year, the group filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the hunts.

Now, the group has started a campaign called the Coyote Coexistence Initiative. The group wants park officials to consider encouraging natural predators rather than shooting the deer.

Park officials say the proposal wouldn't work.

Friends of Animals says it will seek an injunction to stop a hunt planned for next month. According the Friends of Animals' Web site, attempts to control coyote populations through trapping and killing have been futile and "an ethically and scientifically sound strategy that focuses on empowering people to respect coyotes" is preferable.

"Education and outreach designed to inform the public about the role of feeding in coyote attacks is an integral part of coexistence programs already in place and those currently being developed," the group's Web site says. "Coyote education campaigns can demonstrate practical ways to avoid unwanted incidents — by, for example, making coyote deterrents using household items."     Read More

Let’s see if I can get this straight.  The Friends of Animals group would rather have predators chasing and harassing a deer until it finally dies a very slow and painful death than have sharpshooters quickly harvest the deer and use the meat to feed the homeless.  With friends like that who needs enemies??  Not only would this be a tremendous waste of resources, but it would also lead to an eventual problem with coyotes as well.  With their plan, what happens to the coyotes if and when they would lower the deer population?  They either start starving to death or die off from disease.  It’s another great example of people with no knowledge or experience dealing with managing natural resources trying to make recommendations that cause more harm than good. 

Activists Threaten Food Supply

Ruling Imperils Sugar Production


Wall Street Journal

U.S. sugar production will be cut by about 20% if farmers are banned from planting genetically modified beets next year, according to data prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a court case over whether to continue allowing the practice.

Genetically modified beets have come to account for 95% of the U.S. sugar-beet crop in the five years since they were approved by the Agriculture Department. But in August, a judge threw out the USDA's initial approval for the use of genetically modified seeds, saying it hadn't done enough research into the environmental impact. The department says the studies the judge required will take about two years.

That triggered concerns there wouldn't be enough traditional sugar-beet seeds for next spring's planting season, as many seed producers had switched to genetically modified varieties. It takes about two years to produce seeds.

Sugar beets, from which sugar is processed, will account for about 60% of domestic U.S. production this year.

If farmers can't plant genetically modified seeds next spring, a shortage of traditional seeds would likely cut 1.6 million tons from next year's sugar-beet crop, according to a declaration by the USDA prepared by Daniel Colacicco, director of the department's dairy and sweetener analysis group. The government has forecast next year's crop at 8.1 million tons.    Read More

This falls in line with the typical “shoot first, ask questions later” approach by anti-ag groups in their efforts to force agriculture to change without looking at the consequences.  Many of these groups have a similar philosophy to roll ag back 100 years in it’s technology use.  What they don’t realize is that these types of things reduce our ability to grow food at the exact time we need to be increasing our output.  All of these efforts come from people that live very comfortably and don’t worry about being able to afford food.  Those that live on a budget or don’t know where their next meal is coming from would certainly disagree with these elitist attacks on our food production system. 

Vote No on Missouri's Prop B

Ballot issue breeds contempt between dog breeders, animal-rights activists



The forces for and against Missouri’s Proposition B are making their cases with cute and cuddly puppies.

But make no mistake, the contest to convince voters is a down and dirty dogfight.

Prop B on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot will ask voters whether to enact the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act,” a set of laws that would substantially sharpen regulations on dog breeders.

Proponents, led by national animal-rights groups, contend new laws are critical to ensure humane treatment within Missouri’s vast dog-breeding industry.

“The regulations on the books now … ensure that dogs in these facilities survive, but don’t do much more than that,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs. “We’re trying to insert animal-welfare provisions into the large-scale breeding equation.”

Breeders and animal-agriculture trade groups counter that the laws will devastate reputable family businesses and raise the price of puppies at pet stores, but do nothing to stop bad breeders.

“What this does is make regulation so strict on breeders that it will basically put them out of business,” said Anita Andrews, director of the Alliance for Truth, a campaign opposing the ballot measure.   Read More

The HSUS doesn’t want people using animals for any reason, not as pets or as sources of food.  If this bill passes it helps them on both fronts.  They know this will hurt people who raise dogs in turn making it harder for people to have dogs for pets.  It will also get their foot in the door on the livestock front and further their argument that eating meat is wrong.  HSUS is nothing but a fundraising machine and in order to keep that machine running they must continually push onerous regulations on people who use animals by distorting the truth.  Please let your friends and family in Missouri know they should vote NO on Prop B.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Background on the PETA Rally

Some parents question PETA protest at Pa. school

- The Associated Press
October 13, 2010 9:32am EDT

• PITTSBURGH — Some parents are questioning a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals outside a Pittsburgh public school.

A person in an elephant costume with a bloody forehead bandage handed out coloring books as students left Colfax Elementary School on Tuesday. The protest targets the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to town next month.

Parent Sabrina Weihrauch says she generally supports PETA, but doesn't believe in demonstrating outside a school.

PETA spokeswoman Virginia Fort says the stunt "gently let children know" how circus animals are treated. The circus says its animals aren't mistreated.

Seventy-two-year-old Anne Myrick tried to shoo students away from the protest, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "They're hustling little kids."   Link

This is pretty standard fare for PETA but I thought I’d let all of you know a little more about Virginia Fort. She is PETA’s full time paid protester. She travels across the country setting up these demonstrations. I was able to visit with her when they were in Rapid City last November. At that protest they were trying to convince people that all dairy cows are abused by the farmers that own them. In part of our discussions with Ms. Fort we asked her what should be done with all of the pasture land that cows are grazing on since they want animal agriculture eliminated. Her response was that we should farm it. Another rancher standing nearby asked if she really thought ripping up native prairie in a semi-arid climate was a good idea. She said we might as well since the cows are out there pooping on it anyhow. WHAT?? I asked her if I could video her saying that response again and she refused. Obviously this wouldn’t be the best use of the land but her idea is that if anything is “pooping” on the land it is being destroyed. That’s PETA mentality for you.

The other main point to take home from this is that there aren’t protests from local people taking place. PETA has to hire employees to do this for them. For the most part it’s the same few people at every PETA protest.

Friday, October 8, 2010

NASCAR Team Promotes Ag

This weekend, Stacy and I have the incredible opportunity to attend the NASCAR race in Fontana, CA as guests of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Team.  This past year the team created a car that pays tribute to agriculture and the American farmer and rancher.  This weekend will be the last time this year that the car will be run. 

We are really excited to see the Farm American car run and learn more about the incredible opportunities we have to teach consumers about agriculture through this amazing program.  Over the weekend we will be updating our followers through our blog, our Advocates for Ag facebook page and twitter account

Please take a look at some of the great things this race team is already doing to promote agriculture and stay tuned!! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

OH Livestock Board Drafts First Proposal

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 1:21pm EDT

Ohio's Livestock Care board drafts 1st set of rules

The voter-approved Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is taking its first steps in drafting new rules to govern the treatment of animals in the state.

The board this week voted to create new standards on livestock euthanasia, marking the first time such guidelines have been established in Ohio. Specifics of the new euthanasia rules must be OK’d by a committee before going into effect and are posted here for a two-week public comment period.

The proposed euthanasia rules not only define the term itself but establish acceptable methods for horses, chickens, pigs, cattle and other farm animals based on weight and other conditions. Violators are subject to civil penalties, according to the approved draft.

The issue of more humane methods of euthanasia for animals in the state was a key sticking point in a standoff between state officials and the Humane Society of the U.S., which earlier this year was planning a ballot issue that would have bound the Livestock Care Standards Board to implement specific rules if passed. The activist group and state officials brokered a compromise in June that kept the issue from heading to the ballot and ensured the board, created with voter approval last year, would hand down regulations on dog breeding kennels, cockfighting and exotic animals. The state also has agreed to phase out so-called gestation crates used by the pork industry.

Robert Boggs, director of the state Agriculture Department, said in a release that the proposed euthanasia rules are designed to be “clear and practical for Ohio’s livestock producers.”  Link

These are the first regulations to come out of the newly formed Livestock Care Board.  Regardless of how beneficial they are for farmers and ranchers, what remains to be seen is if the HSUS will approve of them.  From here on out, any regulations the board approves will also have to be approved by the HSUS or they will start reminding everyone how they have enough signatures to go back to the ballot and force whatever they see fit.  There are certainly differing opinions about the compromise that was made in June but we do know one thing for sure, HSUS will hold the state hostage until they get everything they want.  Like a gun to Ohio’s head, those ill-gotten signatures will have more affect on the outcome of Ohio’s livestock industry than this board will. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

EPA Targeting Chesapeake Bay Farmers

Bay cleanup could cost farmers

Act would step up protections for bay, cause stricter regulations


Published: October 04, 2010

Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay could cost local farmers more than just money.

“If you’re a farmer now, and you’re barely making it, and this regulation comes along, you’ll have to get out,” said Bill Nance, a farmer in Bedford. “There’s a good number of (local) farmers who may have to get out of farming because of this legislation.”

U.S Senate Bill 1816, The Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2010, steps up the protections for the bay by applying new, stricter regulations and extending the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill will go to the full Senate in the coming days.

The entire Chesapeake Bay watershed is overburdened

by nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment. The nitrogen and phosphorous kill the grasses below the surface and suck oxygen from the water, creating dead zones. Oysters and other wildlife that used to thrive now struggle to survive.

This pollution comes from agriculture as well as air pollution, storm-water runoff, sewage and other factors.

Last week, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation delivered 18,000 letters from farmers protesting the bill to Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb.

“Even without the letters, your Farm Bureau leadership has been crystal clear on how you feel about the bill,” Warner told farmers in a Senate conference room Thursday, according to a news release about the event.

Read More

I’ve recently been highlighting some of the things that the EPA is doing that will severely impact the ability of family farmers and ranchers to grow food.  Their only goal seems to be increased regulations regardless of what it does to the people in this country.  In order for our country to remain great, an abundant, reliable food supply must be grown right here.  Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be a concern of this federal agency. 

Proposed GIPSA Rule Could Reduce Welfare

NCBA Echoes Temple Grandin’s Animal Welfare Concerns
10/04/2010 03:40PM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock marketing poses concerns to animal welfare, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The Obama Administration's proposed rule would ban packer-to-packers sales of livestock causing many to question the impact to the welfare of livestock. Colin Woodall, NCBA vice president of government affairs, said eliminating packer-to-packer sales would have several unintended consequences such as animal welfare.

“Let’s say that there is a beef packer located in the Pacific Northwest that also owns a feedlot in Southwest Kansas. Under this proposal, that company would be required to ship all of its Kansas feedlot cattle to Washington State for processing, which subjects those cattle to an additional 1,600 miles of travel,” said Woodall

Woodall also said the packer-to-packer ban would especially hurt smaller producers, dealers and packers. He said the ban would encourage consolidation and displace producer livestock.

“In addition, those cattle that traveled from Kansas to Washington State would displace the local cattle that typically supply that plant,” said Woodall. “The proposal would add inefficiencies for the feedlot through added transportation costs, which could result in the sale or liquidation of that feedlot, thereby driving consolidation and less competition.”

Colorado State University professor and world renowned animal welfare expert, Temple Grandin, wrote USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack offering her concerns about the well-being of livestock if the proposed rule requires packers to market and sell livestock through dealers is implemented. Beyond stress to livestock that would occur if this rule is implemented, Grandin is also concerned that the proposed rule would complicate and compromise the effectiveness of many established animal welfare-certification programs by requiring another level of paperwork and recordkeeping to track the additional transactions.

“As a scientist who has dedicated her life to improving livestock welfare, I am extremely alarmed that although this rule is concerned with marketing and competition, the department ultimately responsible for it – USDA – is also charged with enforcing the Humane Slaughter Act and apparently has paid so little attention to the animal welfare implications of this proposal,” Grandin stated in the letter.     Link

The GIPSA rule proposal has certainly been cussed and discussed throughout the beef industry.  The unintended consequences of this proposal seem to be mounting though.  Temple Grandin has now added her welfare concerns to the mix.  The last thing we need in animal agriculture is the federal government forcing new regulations on us that actually limit our ability to properly handle cattle. 

HSUS Doesn't Help Us

"Woofstock" a big hit
Middlebury, Vermont - October 2, 2010

The Addison County Humane Society says the number of animals in their care has doubled in recent years, and they are struggling financially to keep up. Officials say the economy is to blame, but a big fundraiser "Woofstock" was a big hit!

Tails were wagging at Woofstock today. About 75 dogs and their owners came out to support the Addison County Humane Society, and have a little fun. Many of the canines on hand were alumni of the ACHS donning bandanas as they roamed the recreation field. But many more critters remain at the shelter.

"When I got here three years ago we had about 85 animals. Right now we have 140 at our shelter and another 50 in foster care," said Vicki VanDenBurg of ACHS.

But while their numbers doubled, their budget did not.

"We do not receive any state or federal dollars. We do not receive any funding from any national organizations like The Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA. We adopt an animal out for $100 and it costs us about $400 to care for that animal," said VanDenBurg.    Read More

I thought this article was interesting because this local shelter made sure to mention that they receive no financial help from the HSUS.  Here’s another shelter that struggles to make ends meet day after day while the HSUS continues to raise hundred’s of millions of dollars from people confused about what they do.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Great Weekend

Being involved with the National Beef Ambassador Contest this past weekend was a great time!  Eighteen of the most talented young leaders in the beef industry were in Rapid City to show off their knowledge and passion for this great segment of agriculture.  While every one of them would have done a fantastic job representing beef producers, the field was whittled down to five. 

Your 2011 National Beef Ambassadors are Kelli Fulkerson from Michigan, Maddy Ruble from Minnesota, Jessica Sweet from Callifornia, Austin Joyce from Texas, and Kristen Stufft from Pennsylvania.  I'm looking forward to following these great young leaders as they travel around the country telling the great story of agriculture and the beef industry. 

It was an honor to help judge this competition and to speak at the awards breakfast.  Hopefully we inspired the contestants as much as they inspired us over the weekend.  The future of our industry is in great hands.

Friday, October 1, 2010

National Beef Ambassadors Contest

This weekend have the distinct honor of being judges for the National Beef Ambassador contest being in Rapid City, SD.  If you are in the beef industry and aren't familiar with the Beef Ambassador program, you should be.  These young adults have always impressed us with their passion for agriculture and especially beef production. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the Beef Checkoff money (or lack thereof) for this program is returned to our industry ten-fold.  You can't buy the enthusiasm and dedication that we have seen year after year from these young leaders. 

Along with judging the competition, we will also get to share our story with everyone coming to the contest at the Sunday morning breakfast.  This generation of young producers will spend their entire ag careers knowing that educating consumers and telling their story are very important.  That's why I know our future is in good hands. 

For more information check out the National Beef Ambassador website. 

EPA's Anti-Ag Agenda

NCBA Blasts EPA for Anti-Agriculture Agenda


by Gary Truitt

The National Cattleman’s Beef Association has launched a series of blistering allegations against the Environmental Protection Agency. Last week EPA administrator Lisa Jackson testified before the Senate Ag Committee that her agency is not out to get American agriculture. But, this week National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies accused the agency of trying to put the cattle industry out of business, “It is ironic that as we strive to become less dependent on imported oil the policies of the Obama administration are likely to make us more dependent on imported beef.” She accused the EPA of waging a war to bring an end to production agriculture, “EPA exhibits reckless indifference to scientific fact, and instead imposes stringent regulations based on nothing more than its biased, anti-animal agriculture agenda that will leave many cattle operations with no recourse but to shut down.”

Speaking on Wednesday at a forum focused on the impact of EPA regulations on job creation and economic growth in the nation’s rural communities, Thies told members of the Rural America Solutions Group that EPA’s regulations will result in a loss of jobs, just the opposite of what the White House says they want to do. She said EPA regulations are causing economic uncertainty in the cattle industry and throughout rural American because they are “vague, overreaching, costly, unnecessarily burdensome, ludicrous, and sometimes illegal.”     Read More

The mentality at the EPA is that everything humans do is inherently damaging to the environment and that their job is to continually come up with more “solutions” to these problems.  It’s beginning to look like the EPA is more of a threat to the people of this country than people are to the environment.  This has never been more apparent that it is now with their goals of regulating dust. 

How Pig Parts Make the World Turn

How Pig Parts Make the World Turn

September 30, 2010 in Agriculture, Business

Christien Meindertsma wondered what happened to the pig parts that don’t make it into the grocer’s freezer as pork. Long ago, people used all the parts of the animals they raised for food. She asked herself, “Do they still use all the parts?” And then she tracked one pig from the farm to the processor and through all the products he ended up in.

She wrote a book about her research, called Pig 05049, and divided the chapters by skin, bones, meat, internal organs, blood, fat, and miscellaneous. She lists the products derived from each body part.

It surprised me how many of these are in everyday products. Before the day even starts, she says, we use shampoo, conditioner, soap, face cream, lotion, toothpaste.    Read More

Most of the critics of animal agriculture have no idea as to how important livestock are in our daily lives.  Besides the obvious of providing us with physical nutrition, we use the co-products in everything from crayons to jet fuel.  If we want to continue supporting our growing population on this planet then livestock will a pivotal role.  There are those that think we should all become vegans.  This is at best foolish and at worst dangerous to suggest.  

Lean Beef Good For Diet

Have a Cow: Heart Association Lines Up With Producers to Support Healthy Beef-Eating

By Hanna Raskin, Thu., Sep. 30 2010 @ 1:02PM

Animal rights activists may disagree, but beef is delicious. It's primal and earthy and packed with protein, which is probably why many Americans eat more red meat than they should.

But the Texas Beef Council's aggressively pushing another rationale for red meat consumption: It's good for you.

The organization is again sponsoring a Firehouse Grill-Off at the State Fair, featuring "big burly firefighters grilling heart-healthy recipes."

The council is so intent on demonstrating beef's cardiovascular benefits that it's partnering with the American Heart Association to present the event, which Alex Roberts, a publicist e-mailing on behalf of the Texas Beef Council, characterizes as an important step "to lower the risk of developing heart disease."

"We definitely support the promotion of portion-controlled, lean beef choices as a part of a heart healthy lifestyle," e-mails Claire Kinzy, communications director for the American Heart Association's South Central Affiliate.    Read More

With so many lean, healthy cuts of beef to choose from, it can be part of any diet.  Eating a balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products continues to be the only diet plan that has stood the test of time.  If the diet you are on doesn’t provide your body with all of the nutrients and vitamins it requires then you need to make a change.  Nutrition and dieting is 95% common sense but that seems to be in short supply these days. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Americans Don't Want Farm Jobs

Few Americans take farm jobs

Most in Calif. go to immigrants, data show



VISALIA, Calif. -- It's a question rekindled by the recession: Are immigrants taking jobs from American citizens? In the heart of the nation's biggest farming state, the answer is a resounding no.

Government data analyzed by the Associated Press show most Americans simply don't apply to harvest fruits and vegetables.

And the few Americans who do usually don't stay in the fields.

"It's just not something that most Americans are going to pack up their bags and move here to do," said farmer Steve Fortin, who pays $10.25 an hour to foreign workers to trim strawberry plants at his nursery near the Nevada border.

The AP analysis showed that, from January to June, California farmers posted ads for 1,160 farm worker positions open to U.S. citizens and legal residents.

But only 233 people in those categories applied after learning of the jobs through unemployment offices in California , Texas, Nevada and Arizona.

One grower brought on 36. No one else hired any.    Read More

Regardless of your position on immigration, the bigger story here is that many people don’t want to work even when jobs are available.  Unfortunately, many people don’t develop a work ethic and would rather rely on the government for an unemployment check.  It’s a rather sad commentary on our society. 

Farm Aid No Friend To Farmers

Farm Aid and fresh food

Sept. 26, 2010

Come for the music and for the farmers. Farm Aid 25 takes over Miller Park on Saturday with a daylong lineup of iconic stars from Willie Nelson to Neil Young.

The event's mission is to help the American family farmer, so there will be plenty of information on the plight of those farmers and on farming in the 21st century. Locally grown food will be brought in to let you sample the best Wisconsin farm produce right next door.   Read More

It’s really frustrating to see Farm Aid claim to help the American family farmer.  The truth is that they only support some types of farming and they try to demonize the family farms that don’t like.  Honestly, their website reads more like an anti-agriculture group than anything that supports farmers and ranchers.  For instance, they actively use the term “factory farm” in an attempt to confuse consumers about the truth of modern technology used in agriculture.  They have even been supporting efforts to ban the use of antibiotics in livestock.  In some twisted way they think these kinds of things help farmers and ranchers.  With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Livestock Board to Release Standards

Livestock board to approve standards in October

September 26, 2010
by Marc Kovac
Capital Bureau Chief

Columbus -- A statewide board created by voters last year to establish rules for livestock care hopes to sign off on its first standards in the next month.

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is reviewing rules on animal euthanasia, with plans to sign off on a final draft during one of the two scheduled sessions in October.

"The board is meeting on Oct. 5 and again on Oct. 19, hopefully the board will finalize its deliberations at one of those two meetings," said Michael D. Bailey, the board's executive director.

Bailey joined board members Sept. 21 during a listening session at the Farm Science Review, a large-scale agricultural research and trade show conducted annually about 20 minutes west of Columbus.   Read More

This board is certainly being watched very closely, especially now that their independence to make sound decisions was basically taken from them by the deal made in Ohio with the HSUS. Science was thrown out the window in that deal and now the livestock of the state will pay the ultimate price. All of us should be interested in making the best decisions for our livestock, not political ones.

Dairy Cow Abuser Gets Jail

Dairy farm worker pleads guilty to gut-wrenching abuse of cows, calves

Posted: Sep 24, 2010 9:50 AM CDT Updated: Sep 24, 2010 2:58 PM CDT

MARYSVILLE MUNI COURT, OH (WOIO) - A guilty plea from the man accused of abusing cows at a dairy farm in Plain City.

Undercover video taken by animal rights activists at the Conklin Dairy Farm show Billy Joe Gregg, Jr. hitting, stabbing and even dropping the cows.

Friday morning, Billy Joe Gregg, Jr. pleaded guilty to six counts of animal cruelty and six additional counts of animal cruelty were dismissed.

The judge sentenced him to 8 months in jail and ruled he can't have any contact with any animal and must enroll in counseling on how to treat animals. Gregg has already served about half of his sentence.

19 Action News is told that the Minerva Cheese Factory has stopped using Conklin Dairy.   Link

Why this guy took pleasure in abusing these cows is beyond me.  What we do know is that this isn’t normal behavior.  In order for our food animals to be productive they need to be as healthy and stress-free as possible.  That can’t be achieved with abuse like we saw in that video.  As a fifth generation rancher and someone who takes animal husbandry very seriously, I’m relived to know that this guy is getting some help.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

EPA's Dust Regulation Proposal

Farmers fear dust rules won't reflect rural life

By RICK CALLAHAN (AP) – 19 hours ago
INDIANAPOLIS — As they begin the fall harvest, wary farmers are watching a federal debate over whether to clamp down on one of rural life's constant companions — the dust clouds that farm machinery kick up in fields and along unpaved roads.

Farming groups have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to retain its current standards for dust, soot and other microscopic particles, arguing that tighter restrictions would be unworkable and that dust isn't a real pollutant.

Grain farmer Charles Schmitt, who farms about 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans near the southwestern Indiana town of Haubstadt, called the possibility of tougher rules on dust "ridiculous."

The 59-year-old, who's farmed for more than four decades, said there's little farmers can do to reduce dust, especially after a dry summer like this year's that left his fields parched.

"Mother Nature has more to do with it than we do — there's going to be dust and dirt no matter what," Schmitt said.

The EPA is reviewing its airborne pollutant standards, as required every five years under the Clean Air Act. It's looking both at its standards for tiny particles of industrial pollution, and slightly larger particles called "coarse particulate matter" that include dust.     Read More

This is a really frustrating thing for many of us in agriculture.  We certainly do as much as we can to reduce dust but there is no possible way to completely prevent it.  Dust comes from the dirt just like our crops do.  Some days it seems that it won’t be long until someone will want to ban dirt as a way to eliminate dust.  That’s how out of touch some of these folks are.  They claim that this new regulation could prevent some respiratory problems but it’s not an overall improvement if it causes a food prices to increase.