Friday, February 26, 2010

OK Farm Report Interview About Yellow Tail

Over the last week I have done several interviews about my efforts to encourage Yellow Tail wines to redirect their donations away from the wealthiest vegan, animal rights group in the world, the Humane Society of the United States. Not only has this story and my YouTube video been noticed in this country, but in Australia as well. All of our efforts have led to Yellow Tail saying they will never donate money to the HSUS again.

Rancher Troy Hadrick Tells Us His Yellowtail Story
Fri, 19 Feb 2010 6:30:34 CST
Oklahoma Farm Report

About 750 Young Farmers and Ranchers from around the United States are gathering this weekend in Tulsa for the American Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference. One of the members of the national committee that guides this program this year is Troy Hadrick of South Dakota, and you might remember that Hadrick is one of those leading the outrage against Yellowtail Wine for their decision to make a corporate gift of $100,000 to HSUS. To refresh your memory about the YouTube Video that Troy produced to show his displeasure with Yellowtail, click here.

We talked with Hadrick about his efforts in the Yellowfail campaign via Youtube, Twitter and Facebook- and also talked about why he is convinced that HSUS means him economic harm, as he contends they want to put him and other ranchers across the United States out of business with their vegan based agenda. One earlier story on the Yellowtail controversy that we did here on our website sums up the issue pretty well- click here to jump back to that earlier report.

Hadrick is our guest for a special long form version of the Beef Buzz here on the OklahomaFarmReport.Com. We talked with Troy on Thursday evening at the Flying G ranch, owned by Mike and Lotsee Spradling of Tulsa county as they hosted the Oklahoma YF&R Committee as well as the National YF&R Committee in a prelude to the national conference this weekend.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the state on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the listen bar below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Troy Hadrick of South Dakota on Yellowtail and HSUS.
right-click to download mp3

Link To Article

Sioux Falls Argus Leader Interview About Yellow Tail

South Dakota rancher's wine-dumping online video faults Humane Society
Effort protests donation from Yellow Tail
Thom Gabrukiewicz • • February 19, 2010

In a tan, worn Carhartt jacket and black cowboy hat, South Dakota rancher Troy Hadrick is an unlikely digital folk hero, a viral warrior.

But there he is on YouTube, pouring out a bottle of Yellow Tail wine - by the looks of it, a nice sparkling white - onto the snowy, hoof-trampled ground with his winter-coated cattle looking on. The act is in protest of the company's $100,000 donation to the Humane Society of the United States.

"My concern is with the Humane Society of the United States, which isn't connected at all with the dog and cat shelters in our local communities," the fifth-generation Vale rancher said Thursday. "This is an organization that's pushing a vegan agenda in this country, and that concerns me. That donation is going to go to efforts to try and put me out of business, and I'm just not going to support a company that does that."

And viral efforts such as this one can be disastrous for companies, especially in the age of instant information, said Maggie Holben, a public relations expert from Lakewood, Colo.

"That's what we fondly call a crisis," she said of YouTube protests such as Hadrick's. "You have to circle the wagons, you have to respond and you have to tell people who you are. Is there a trick remedy? No. It's honesty." Read More

My Interview With The Australian Broadcasting Corp. about Yellow Tail

Facebook campaign forces policy change by wine company
Friday, 26/02/2010

An online campaign by American farmers has forced Australian wine company Yellow Tail to stop supporting animal welfare groups.

The farmers called for a boycott on a Facebook page called Yellow Fail, after the company donated $100,000 to the Humane Society.

Yellow Tail has now agreed it will not donate to animal welfare campaigners in the future, after more than 3000 people joined the online site.

Cattle rancher and internet campaigner Troy Hadrick says it's the first time farmers have used social media to win an animal welfare debate.

"Sometimes there's been questions about is it worth our time to be involved in social media and are we wasting our time?" he says.

"But this is the first time we finally all got on the same page.

"We were selling the same message, and we basically, in just a few weeks' time, forced a multi-national company to change the future course of its donations."

This is the video that took Troy Hadrick less than five minutes to make but made him the face of the campaign against Yellow Tail.

Related Audio:
An online win for farmersListen to this report by Cameron Wilson on the social media pressure that forced Yellow Tail to rethink its animal welfare donations. MP3

The online opportunitiesListen to this extended interview with South Dakota rancher and internet campaigner Troy Hadrick on the effectiveness of social media. MP3

Link To Article

Young Farmers Get Advice

Wabash Farmer Passes Tips to Younger Growers
Kip Tom includes more in message than sows and plows.
Compiled by staff
Indiana Prairie Farmer
Published: Feb 26, 2010

Kip Tom is one of those people who can speak from experience. He's put together a large farming operation, and even farmed in South America. Part of his success lies in paying attention to detail. He would tell you another part of it derives form paying attention to which direction the winds are blowing in agriculture, and doing what he can to help agriculture move in the right direction.

Tom was one of the speakers who motivated 50 young couples at an informational and leadership conference hosted by Co-Alliance, Danville, recently. The meeting was held in Indianapolis, and covered an entire weekend. This is the third year that the large co-operative partnership has sponsored this type of event.

Tom, Wabash, has amassed a 15,000 acre farming operation today. But it wasn't just how to grow corps that the young farmers and their wives wanted to ask him about. He fielded question son issues such as balancing the farm with family, and how to succeed in business in an increasingly competitive, regulated environment.

"Run your operation like a business," he encouraged. "Be a vocal advocate for agriculture." That theme was repeated by other speakers and through discussion amongst the participants themselves throughout the conference.

"Be a student," Tom continued. "Invest in yourself and an on-going education. And of course, plan ahead." Read More

There’s always plenty we can learn from the older and wiser generation ahead of us in agriculture. But what impressed me most in this article was the emphasis on off-farm activities such as advocacy work and family time. Both of those things are essential for a successful business. We haven’t always viewed it that way in agriculture but that attitude is now changing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Locavores Know Not What They Ask For

Study evaluates local agricultural production
Don Curlee • Agriculture • February 22, 2010

Producing food near population centers is the dream of locavores, but now it's also the subject of a serious study by a Ph.D. agricultural resources student at the University of California, Berkeley.

The study concludes that the benefits of such a massive shift in such production and distribution methods are not likely to be as substantial as has been asserted. Furthermore, it suggests that the benefits are dwarfed by the costs of less-efficient production and reduced access to nutritious food.

The perspective taken by study author Steve Sexton is global. He cites projections of a world population of 9 billion by 2050, and says feeding a hungry world is a paramount objective. He summarized his findings in the November/December issue of Update, published by the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics at the University of California, Davis.

"A doubling of food production in the second half of the 20th century saved the world from mass starvation," he writes, "as population doubled to six billion." He credits the rise of modern farming propelled by the Green Revolution for that accomplishment.

While current food production and distribution systems are criticized by locavores for their consumption of energy, Sexton says such criticism ignores the economies of scale and the gains of moving from a mule-dominated farm economy to the efficiency of tractors and other motorized equipment. He believes those advantages likely will be lost in smaller diversified farm units nestled against the city limits.

The fantasy land Sexton identifies as pseudo-locavorism will require more than 214 million additional acres in farm production, an area twice the size of California. The transition means 40 million additional acres will be required in California, 34 million in Texas and 26 million in Florida.

"If mass starvation is to be avoided in the current century," Sexton reasons, "then we must either forsake natural land including tropical forests, or renew our commitment to crop science."

Read More

For some unknown reason, we have people in this country that are upset that we have the most affordable, abundant, and safest food supply in the history of the world. Instead they would rather have their food supply grown in places that would make it inefficient and more damaging to our environment. Not only that, but there are several billion people that will have to volunteer to go hungry as well. This article talks about the consequences of moving to a completely local food system.

OH Politicians Agree That HSUS Ballot Plan Is A Bust

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ohio’s political rivals — Strickland and Kasich — denounce HSUS ballot plan
by Other News

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and his GOP rival candidate John Kasich both declared their opposition to a ballot measure being planned by the out-of-state activist organization the Humane Society of the United States.

The Washington, D.C.-based animal rights organization has prepared to use paid petition gatherers to place on the November ballot a measure to overturn Issue 2, which was approved by Ohio voters by a nearly 2-1 margin just under four months ago.

The candidates spoke Feb. 23 to approximately 400 farmers, lawmakers, and guests during Ohio Farm Bureau’s Ag Day at the Capitol event in Columbus.

Issue 2 created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to allow broad public input into farm animal care issues. The HSUS plan would force the board to adopt HSUS-backed minimum care policies.

Both gubernatorial candidates endorsed Issue 2 and now agree that it’s wrong for HSUS to attempt to overturn the will of Ohio voters.

No deal. “If we want to eat, and if we want access to affordable and inexpensive food, it is important for the agricultural community within our state not to be hamstrung and to have their hands tied behind their back by those who do not fully appreciate the value of what happens on our farms,” said Strickland.

Referencing HSUS’ “extremism,” candidate Kasich said, “No outsiders ought to come in here and try to destroy our farms.”

Others agree. They join Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern and Ohio Republic Party Chairman Kevin DeWine, who also condemned the HSUS plan during a broadcast of OFBF’s radio program Town Hall Ohio.

“It’s pretty remarkable. We haven’t even had a chance to write the rules and somebody else is going to tell us what the rules should be,” said Redfern.

HSUS, which is not the parent of locally operated humane organizations, advocates for reducing and eliminating consumption of animal products.

In a statement following the Redfern and DeWine broadcast, HSUS alleged politicians “are stumbling over themselves to curry favor.” Link

As everyone knows, our political parties can barely agree that the sky is blue. However, both of the Ohio Governor’s candidates do agree that the Humane Society of the United States is bad for Ohio and bad for the country. They realize that their own residents are much more qualified to determine livestock care standards as opposed to animal rights lobbying group lead by a man with a history major.

Growers Add SM To their Chore List

Here's great article that talks about social media use by farmers and rancher. In the last couple of months we have seen an incredibly growing presence of farmers and ranchers participating in online advocacy. I truly believe that radical groups working to put American agriculture out of business never thought it would grow like it has. We can be an incredible force when we work together. Never has that been on public display like it was during the Yellow Tail incident. Our unified voice caused a multi-national company to publicly state they will never donate to the HSUS or any other animal rights groups like them ever again.

Follow the link and read the article on page 4.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yellow Tail Says No To Future HSUS Donations

Yellow Tail shows support for farmers and ranchers
By Drovers news source Friday, February 19, 2010

The Animal Agriculture Alliance commends Casella Wines, the Australian producers of [yellow tail] on their commitment to support farmers and ranchers around the world.

"The people at [yellow tail] have worked with us over the past few days in what we believe is a genuine effort to repair ill feeling caused by the sponsorship of the Humane Society of the United States. We are satisfied the controversy and anxiety it caused was unintentional," said Kay Johnson Smith, Executive Vice President. "They have committed to in the future only supporting welfare organizations with a sole commitment to animal care. As farmers themselves, theyre committed to supporting agriculture, as evidenced by their annual upcoming barbeque promotion. "

The Alliance received the following letter from [yellow tail] on February 19:

Dear Kay Johnson Smith, Animal Agriculture Alliance:

I am writing to thank you for your feedback regarding our [tails] for tails program.The spirit and intention of our donation to the Humane Society of the United States was for the celebration of animals. Being farmers ourselves we support those who care for their land and their environment, just as we do. We are proud of our rural heritage and value a solid relationship with agricultural communities around the world.

[yellow tail] is committed to the plight of animals in need, and we know that animal welfare groups work in different ways to advance their cause. We are interested in the welfare of animals, and in financially supporting animal welfare causes that provide direct care services to help animals, not on taking positions on any animal lobbying issues. We pledge to you that any future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance.

Like the wines we produce, we are friendly Australians who enjoy bringing people together, and look forward to doing so through our annual spring and summer promotional campaign "[tails] around the barbecue" and our "holiday enter[tail]ing" campaign. We very much value your opinion and wish to thank-you for your honesty.


[yellow tail] customer Service Team

"We have invited the people at [yellow tail] to work closely with the Alliance, an offer that is open to wine makers around the world. As we all know, meat, cheeses and wine are natural partners." Johnson Smith said. "We are happy to put this unfortunate incident behind us."

The Alliance is impressed with the agriculture community's use of social media and encourages farmers and ranchers to use the momentum to continue to educate the public about the importance of American agriculture on Facebook and Twitter. Producers who are interested in learning more about using social media tools to advocate for agriculture should contact the Alliance's Communications Coordinator, Sarah Hubbart, at

Article Link

After being bombarded with negative comments from thousands of people for their donation to the HSUS, the Casella family and owners of the Yellow Tail brand, have said they will not support HSUS in the future. Not only that, but they will not be supporting any other animal rights organization that doesn’t do hands-on work with animals. This is certainly good news for our local shelters that suffer from the work of the HSUS. Even more important in this issue though is that every other company in the world has been put on notice that a donation to the world’s wealthiest vegan animal rights organization will come with consequences. I want to thank Yellow Tail for making this statement. I look forward to seeing their future donations actually going to helping animals. Who knows, maybe I will even celebrate their upcoming donations with a glass of Yellow Tail wine.

HSUS Sued Over Racketeering Charges

Federal Racketeering Lawsuit Stuns HSUS
Center for Consumer Freedom

You may have missed our New Year’s Eve exposé covering the dismissal of a federal lawsuit pushed by a consortium of animal rights groups that included the deceptive Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The groups alleged that Feld Entertainment (the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus) mistreated elephants in violation of the Endangered Species Act, but in December a judge tossed out the lawsuit. Now the plot thickens: The circus is suing HSUS, two HSUS lawyers, and a number of other animal rights organizations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. (The lawsuit is exclusively available at

The original animal rights lawsuit, filed more than nine years ago, was based on information provided by a former Ringling elephant “barn helper” named Tom Rider. After Rider left his circus job, he was paid by animal rights groups to testify about the supposedly “bad” treatment of elephants there. In all, the original lawsuit’s plaintiffs paid Rider more than $190,000—his sole source of income for years—while the litigation made its way through the court system.
Feld is leveling bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and money laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys, three other animal rights groups, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, and all three of that firm’s named partners. It’s an earth-shattering lawsuit. Today we’re telling the media:

America’s farmers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, research scientists, fashion designers, and restaurateurs have seen for decades how the animal rights movement can behave like a mobbed-up racket. But it’s still shocking to see the evidence laid out on paper. In a treble-damage lawsuit like this, a jury could actually do the humane thing and finally put HSUS out of business completely. Link

To read the entire lawsuit, click here.

With the HSUS reeling from all of the negative publicity surrounding the Yellow Tail donation, they are now being sued over charges of racketeering and corruption. The heavy handed tactics of HSUS are beginning to be exposed which is helping paint a more accurate picture of this vegan animal rights organization. They have been attacking animal agriculture, pet owners, outdoorsmen, and every other group that utilizes animals for some time now. Those people have had enough and are now fighting back.

WI Lawmakers See Empty Plates

Ag Groups to Educate Lawmakers on Humane Society's Impact
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/24/2010

Several Wisconsin farm organizations are going on the offense against animal rights groups by meeting personally with state legislators to talk about the negative impact the Humane Society of the United States has on production agriculture.

On Wednesday, members of the Wisconsin Pork Association, Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association will be delivering a letter to members of the State Assembly and Senate that calls into question the activities and actions of the HSUS.

One of the objectives of the campaign is to educate the public that the HSUS is not an animal shelter, but rather a lobbying organization. The letter points out that many people donate to the group thinking the funds are going to help animals in a shelter, when in fact most of the money goes to funding the efforts of HSUS--many of which are anti-animal agriculture.

The farm groups will also be handing out empty plates to signify the damage production agriculture faces when HSUS-supported policies become law. Link

The image of an empty plate is a great way to symbolize what would happen if many of the anti-ag groups got their way. It will take all forms of agriculture and continued advancements in technology to ensure we can produce enough food for everyone to eat. Until I see people volunteering to stop eating and wearing clothes, then agriculture must be allowed meet that demand. Advocating for policies that will require half of the world’s population to starve seems reckless to me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New watchdog: On the HSUS
By Dale Bowman
on February 16, 2010 8:45 AM
Chicago Sun Times

The Humane Society of the United States will receive hardcore monitoring with the launch today of I would add we have needed this a long time.

This seems truly legit.

HSUS is flat out a bad organization, and shining light on its doings should only help with both humans and animals.

I think many people give to HSUS, just thinking they are helping with pets.

If I understand the background right, the Center for Consumer Freedom is basically a push-back to allow us to eat what we want without interference from authorities. I am overstating slightly, but that is the gist of the group.

Here's the launch release:

Consumer Group: New Watchdog Website Monitors the Humane Society of the United States Scrutinizes Biggest American Animal Rights Group, Separates Fact from Fiction

Washington, D.C. - Today the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is announcing the launch of, a watchdog project dedicated to analyzing the activities of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HumaneWatch will include a blog written by CCF's Director of Research, a growing document library, and a database capable of tracking the dozens of nonprofit (and for-profit) organizations that make up HSUS's sprawling financial empire.

The Humane Society of the United States has become the animal rights industry's most powerful player, but it has avoided serious public scrutiny for years. HSUS raises nearly $100 million annually from Americans who largely believe their donations filter down to local pet shelters and improve the lives of dogs and cats. But in 2008, less than one-half of one percent of HSUS's budget consisted of grants to actual hands-on "humane societies" that deal with the thankless task of sheltering unwanted pets. Read More

I continually get asked for more information about the Humane Society of the United States. Now there is a one stop shop for all the information you will ever need to know about this vegan animal rights group. I would encourage everyone to check out The HSUS has already rolled out the same old song and dance about how the CCF can’t be trusted. However, the CCF didn’t fill out the HSUS tax information. The proof is in the pudding.

PETA Attacks Congressman For Killing A Rabid Raccoon
February 16, 2010
Iowa Lawmaker Tells PETA Not to Have a Cow Over Raccoon Kill
Rep. Steve King didn't back down from a home-invading raccoon and now he's not backing down from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which blasted the Iowa Republican for tweeting about fatally shooting the animal.

Rep. Steve King didn't back down from a home-invading raccoon and now he's not backing down from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which blasted the Iowa Republican for tweeting about fatally shooting the animal.

On Tuesday, the animal welfare group challenged the Iowa Republican to "pick on someone your own size, not a small animal seeking warmth in a blizzard."

"It doesn't give you comfort in your representatives when a member of Congress finds it amusing to boast of shooting a desperately cold animal who is 100 times smaller than he is and whose only misstep was trying to get into a large, warm house," Jaime Zalac, a PETA spokeswoman, said a written statement provided to

"I hope he's not on any committees that made decisions regarding cruel and unusual punishment," Zalac added. "Decent people would call animal control for help, not get on Twitter to boast about having a really, really big gun."

Last week, King tweeted that a "Crazy Raccoon chewing & clawing his way into my house" didn't make it out alive.

"Desert Eagle 1, Crazy Raccoon 0," King wrote, revealing the pistol he used to kill the raccoon.

Roll Call newspaper reported that King said he felt he needed to kill the critter because he believed it was rabid and could potentially hurt his family. He also told the newspaper that he appreciates wildlife, saying that he often sees deer, rabbits, squirrels and other animals on his property.

King told Fox News on Tuesday that he'd offer PETA more hospitality than the animal.

"That crazy coon ran up against 'a man's home is his castle' and this man's castle won. But if it had been PETA volunteers outside in the middle of a blizzard, I'd like to think they would have rang the doorbell, instead of trying to claw into the house. And I would have given them shelter for the night and served them bacon and eggs the next morning," he said in a statement. Link

Rep. Steve King from Iowa has about as much common sense as you can find in Washington DC. He’s never been afraid to share the real story of agriculture, especially when farmers and ranchers get unfairly attacked by animal rights zealots. In fact just one year ago, Robert Kennedy Jr was testifying before Congress when Rep. King got a chance to ask him some questions. I have to laugh when Kennedy considers it an inflammatory remark to restate some of his own quotes. Apparently when you claim that hog farmers are a bigger threat to American democracy that bin Laden, it just doesn't sound very good when someone reads it back to you. Here’s the video of the exchange.

Who Do We Trust?

Who do you trust to tell you the truth about food safety?
Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010, at 2:00 PM
By Marcia Gorrell

Is our food safe or not?

Are today's farmers feeding and taking care of their animals properly?

It seems to come down to who you trust.

Do you believe the family farmers who have spent their whole lives producing food? The farmers who have built modern farming techniques, step by step, generation by generation -- building on the lessons, failures and successes of those who farmed before them?

Do you believe the scientists or researchers who have spent their entire careers studying animals, nutrition and food safety? Do you believe the USDA or the FDA who are tasked with making our food supply safe?

I have as much suspicion as anyone when it comes to the government, but in the case of food safety, I can't argue with the results.

Of course, if you don't believe those people -- or me -- you can believe the reports like the one recently by Katie Couric of CBS News. It blamed antibiotic use in animals for the rise of antibiotic resistance in humans.

If she would have contacted farmers and veterinarians, as I did, she might have found out there are two sides to every story.

Again, if you don't believe me, you might believe Michael Pollan, the journalism professor from the University of California-Berkeley, who has become a self-appointed "food expert" but has never spent time actually raising food or feeding an animal day after day.

Recently Pollan was on Oprah, spouting his oft-repeated line that corn is not a natural food source for cows (and ruminants) and that we are force-feeding the foodstuff causing them to become sick.

According to Pollan, in order to feed cattle corn, we have to also feed them antibiotics.
For most farmers, that statement is so laughable they can't believe someone would actually believe it. In fact, most don't think it is worth a response. Read More

As we travel the country and share the experience we had with Pollan, I continually remind our audiences that they are the experts in the discussion of food production. Pollan is a journalism teacher. Unfortunately, he has discovered that he can make himself quite wealthy by trying to frighten people about our food supply and demonizing the farmers and ranchers who raise it. For some reason, people would rather be scared about our food rather than hear the truth. Nice job of sharing this story with your readers Marcia.

Virginia AG Takes On The EPA

Feb 16, 2010 8:41 pm US/Eastern
Top Va. Attorney Challenges EPA On Greenhouse Gas

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) ― Virginia's attorney general is challenging the federal government's conclusion that greenhouse gases are dangerous to people.

Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II said Tuesday he has asked the Environmental Protection to delay final consideration of that finding so "newly available information" can be reviewed.

Cuccinelli did not elaborate on that new information and did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Associated Press. He scheduled a news conference for Wednesday.

Cuccinelli also said he would seek a legal challenge of the EPA's finding, which would regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Virginia's actions are aimed at a December EPA "endangerment" finding about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, setting the stage for future rules restricting such emissions.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Bob McDonnell said Cuccinelli "is acting in the best interests of the citizens of Virginia."

"The current federal position could have a negative impact on job creation and economic development in the commonwealth and should be reconsidered," the spokeswoman, Stacey Johnson, wrote in an e-mail to the AP.

The Sierra Club criticized the challenge, calling it a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Cuccinelli is embarrassing the citizens of Virginia at the taxpayers' expense," said Glen Besa, director of the Virginia chapter of the environmental group.

Virginia joined Texas in challenging the EPA, saying the agency's finding was based on flawed science.

The U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2007 that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants that the EPA could regulate if found to endanger public health. The Bush administration never acted on the court order. Link

Some of the recent hearings in Washington DC concerning climate change and cap and trade legislation have had to be rescheduled due to the blizzards that they have been experiencing. It’s been comical watching the people who believe in the global warming religion try to convince others that the record snowfall this year is actually a sign of global warming. The truth of the matter is that snowfall this time of year is a sign of winter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mike Rowe Takes on HSUS, Animal Rights

What is in America’s Future?

I’m really bugged about something and I’ve decided to throw it out there. Here’s my question – Are the American farmers heading towards the same fate as America’s auto industry? I know some of you are already thinking “What the heck is this guy talking about?” but just stay with me for a few minutes.

OK, OK, I’ll get to my original point. Maybe you haven’t read this article in the Wall Street Journal: Poachers Arrive at Egg Farms but I did and it hit me as to what’s bugging me. The article by Lauren Etter says in part: “A year after Californians approved stricter rules on the treatment of farm animals, Idaho and other states are trying to lure away the Golden State’s poultry and egg farmers with promises of friendlier regulations and lower costs.

I live in California and I’m one of those people who adopt abandoned dogs. I’ve sent my $25 checks to the Humane Society after watching particularly awful commercials on TV showing little pets horribly mistreated and suffering. I completely support spaying and neutering of animals in most instances and would adopt an abandoned pet before I’d ever get one from a breeder or pet store. I don’t eat veal but I’m not a vegetarian. I’m not the only one who doesn’t get a vegetarian who still wears leather belts, jackets or shoes or carry leather purses but that, too, is another story. Those are my choices and I’m not telling anyone else what to do – it’s a free country. I didn’t vote for the proposition they’re talking about because it didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t buy into the emotion of seeing animals in cages and using the worst examples of some unethical people as the end-all be-all for every farmer in the state – passing that measure would negatively affect our food sources and our farmers. Read More

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame is certainly a friend of agriculture. It’s not often we have a celebrity that stands up for what is right and uses common sense. He isn’t concerned about what other celebrities think of him, instead he cares more about the working people. He knows who is responsible for putting the clothes on his back and the food on his table. The other great thing is that he is willing to go to work for the American farmer and rancher, we just need to put those wheels in motion. I don’t care what size or type of farm you have, we should be able to work together to make this happen. Our petty differences need to be put aside or else our children will be reading about US agriculture in the history books.

Aussie Media Reporting On Yellow Tail Donation

Yellow Tail donation gets website wagging
15 Feb, 2010 10:41 AM
(This is from an Aussie new site,

IT SEEMS Casella Wines' American honeymoon is over, with the Yenda-based company finding itself at the centre of a bizarre backlash after a donation program went horribly wrong.

The saga began with good intentions when the US branch of Yellow Tail announced it would donate $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The problem is, HSUS is widely regarded to be a militant vegan organisation that, rather than actually helping animals with the donation, would spend it on lobbying the government, violent raids and attempts to eradicate agriculture.

The response was explosive.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a statement claiming only $4000 of the donation would go to animal aid, while Dallas web commentator Caleb Schultz took aim on his popular agriculture blog.

"The problem is, HSUS simply don't do much to help animals - they continually push their extreme vegetarian views on the American public and basically want to see animal agriculture cease to exist. The bottom line is, they want you out of business if you're a livestock producer," Mr Schultz wrote. Read More

On a daily basis more and more media outlets are reporting on Yellow Tail wines disastrous decision to donate to the HSUS. Because of the grassroots effort by farmers, ranchers, pet owners, outdoorsmen and many others, the HSUS is being exposed for who they really are. While it may be easier for the Casella family to ignore what is being said in the US, this latest article in an Australian newspaper will harder to look past. We need to keep these efforts moving forward. Please visit with your local businesses that sell wine to let them know what is happening and contact your local media as well. It’s probably too late to stop HSUS from getting this donation but the bigger story here, and the one HSUS is most worried about, is how this will affect future corporate donations. You efforts up to this point have them running scared, let’s make them pick up the pace even more.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Farmers & Ranchers Being Heard Online

Social Media: The New Battleground For American Agriculture
By Gary Truitt

There is a new battleground in the fight against the anti-animal forces that are bent on destroying the American livestock industry. What makes this significant is that is battleground is not controlled by the mass media, special interest groups, PR companies, HSUS, or PETA. This new battleground is controlled by consumers, individuals from a variety of backgrounds taking on the radical fringe and their efforts to control what we eat. This new battleground is the world of social media: Facebook, Twitter, and the myriad of other web-based networks that link people together in cyberspace and transmit information around the world at the speed of light. Unlike the wacko-friendly mass media, this social media has a decidedly anti-nutcase slant, and these social networkers do not suffer fools for more than a few milliseconds. HSUS, PETA, and some large US corporations are learning some painful lessons in this new social world.

Yellow Tail wine is a brand owned by Casella Wines, a family owned and operated winery with winemaking links going back six generations. Until last week, they were the Cinderella story of the wine world having gone from a small family owned winery to international distributor of Yellow Tail wine. Then they made a mistake that has certainly cost them their reputation and could end up costing them their business. The Australian-based winery climbed into bed with the Humane Society of the United States. The effort included an agreement for the winery to contribute $100,000 to HSUS. This was not totally out of character for the company which has had strong ties with the vegan community. But the backlash from US consumers was quick and vehement. Within hours of the announcement, Yellow Tail was hit with a blizzard of e-mails and the Yellow Tail fan page on Facebook quickly filled with strong statements of condemnation. Hundreds of Yellow Tail drinkers said they were pouring the wine down the drain and would never buy the product again.

The social media atmosphere lets individuals express their thoughts without reservation. The dislike and disgust for HSUS was overwhelming. Those few who expressed sympathy for HSUS were quickly shouted down by a chorus of cynical barbs and insults. A special anti-Yellow Tail page quickly appeared on Facebook called “Yellow Fail.” Numerous blogs took up the chant decrying Yellow Tail’s decision to give money to an organization where less than one-half of 1% of the funds raised actually went to helping animals. Several national animal organizations condemned the wine company, and even some farmers and ranchers posted You Tube videos on the topic. Read More

For the last several years, we have traveled across the country sharing with farmers and ranchers on how effective they can be when they work together to make themselves heard. I was astounded when I had a “so-called” friend of agriculture attack my message of working together in front of 500 cattlemen. If all aspects of agriculture, along with pet owners and outdoorsmen, hadn’t worked together to spread the message that Yellow Tail was donating to HSUS, it wouldn’t have worked out like it did. I get a lot of people that thank me for my work in advocating for agriculture and I appreciate it very much. But the biggest thank you I got was when people responded when I encouraged everyone to make their voices heard on this project.

Conflicting Arguments Against Ag

Tofu can harm environment more than meat, finds WWF study
Ben Webster, Environment Editor
Feb 12, 2010
Times Online, UK

Becoming a vegetarian can do more harm to the environment than continuing to eat red meat, according to a study of the impacts of meat substitutes such as tofu.

The findings undermine claims by vegetarians that giving up meat automatically results in lower emissions and that less land is needed to produce food.

The study by Cranfield University, commissioned by the environmental group WWF, found that many meat substitutes were produced from soy, chickpeas and lentils that were grown overseas and imported into Britain.

It found that switching from beef and lamb reared in Britain to meat substitutes would result in more foreign land being cultivated and raise the risk of forests being destroyed to create farmland. Meat substitutes also tended to be highly processed and involved energy-intensive production methods. Read More

If you look at the attacks being launched against farmers and ranchers on any given day, you will notice that they always contradict each other. The Pollan led outcry against processed foods and modern agriculture contradicts with animal rights groups that urge the eating of tofu and other highly processed foods are designed to try replacing meat. I hear people say that my cows are destroying the environment simply because the prairie was meant to have a 1200 pound animal walking on it. Of course their solution to this problem is to re-introduce the American bison on my land. The fact of the matter is that farmers and ranchers have more interest than most in protecting the environment. If you want to see what’s really happening on the farms and ranches around you, just ask them, not a hypocritical fringe group.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Local Shelters Distancing Themselves From HSUS

Shelter drops ‘Humane’ link
By Richard Reeder
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Cody, WY

In an effort to put donors at ease, the Humane Society of Park County has changed the name under which it does business.

The animal shelter on the Greybull Highway is now the Park County Animal Shelter.

Board president Leigh Dvariskish said unhappiness with the Humane Society of the United States led to the change.

The HSUS political agenda has created grief for us locally,” she said. “We’ve tried to get the message out that we don’t receive funding and aren’t connected to them, but it hasn’t worked.”

Dvariskish said the HSUS has a multimillion-dollar budget but operates no shelters. All their funding is directed at lobbying for the issues they support.

“Their intention is to push their political ideas, and some of them aren’t popular here locally,” Dvariskish said. “They lobby against hunting and other ag issues, even sometimes pets, and that makes people paranoid about where their money is going.”

Dvariskish said the board wants people to know their donations only benefit the local shelter.She hopes the name change clarifies the Park County Animal Shelter’s mission, which is to “take care of our county and our pets.”

“We have just a few people angered about the change because they believe if we have some sort of disaster, we’ll want the help of the HSUS,” Dvariskish said. “But if we have a disaster, it will be the people of Park County who will take care of us, not some big group.”

Read More

If the Humane Society of the United States is all of the things they claim to be, then it seems odd that local shelters have to abandon the “humane” name in an attempt to distance themselves. It’s unfortunate that while our the HSUS is out gathering donations in the name of helping pets, our local shelters that actually do the work are losing out. The HSUS has shown that it will do whatever it takes to keep the money coming in, even when it’s at the expense of our hometown shelters. If you really want to help abandoned pets, let everyone know they shouldn’t donate to HSUS.

Couric Was Short on Facts

Antibiotic Report Short on Facts, Long on Speculation
Marlys Miller Thursday, February 11, 2010
Pork Magazine

"Like many stories on this issue, it was rather short on facts and science and long on speculation," says Richard Carnevale, DVM, and vice president of the Animal Health Institute, about this week's CBS Evening News report on antibiotic use in animal agriculture and potential antibiotic resistance.

"Bacteria do not fly through the air and cause human infection, despite what the PEW spokesperson claimed in the story," he adds. "And, antibiotics are not simply used to produce cheap meat; they are used with at-risk animals to prevent disease, which is far more humane than waiting for them to get sick."

Among the plethora of misleading information was the failure to illustrate that all antibiotics used in animal agriculture are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and that the potential for residues and bacterial resistance are monitored and measured repeatedly throughout the food production and processing chain. "FDA has a very rigorous approval process," Carnevale says, and all of the products "are subject to follow-up surveillance to assure they're being used properly. The agency operates under a strict risk-assessment paradigm." As a matter of fact, FDA is the lead entity of international risk-assessment guidelines.

The CBS story failed to put into perspective the actual risk to consumers from resistant bacteria, he contends. "The CBS story focused on MRSA, which is a problem in humans, but failed to note that MRSA found in animals is not the same strain responsible for human infections," Carnevale notes. In fact last year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention sent a letter to Congress stating that food animals have not been identified as risk factors and that MRSA is not acquired through eating or handling meat. More specifically, CDC’s surveillance division reports that of the 10,000 MRSA investigated cases, none have been associated with animals. Read More

As more professionals have had more time to break down the piece about antibiotics by Katie Couric, more inaccuracies and half truths are being revealed. The information in this article is important for livestock producers to share with friends, neighbors and consumers. This serves as an important reminder for everyone that no one else is going to accurately explain what happens on our family farms and ranches. If we want it done right then we need to be actively doing it ourselves. Obviously Couric wasn’t interested in sharing the whole story with her viewers

Growing Enough Food

Food crisis looms, warn scientists
By Stuart Gary for ABC Science Online
Feb 12, 2010

A new report by Australian researchers claims far more needs to be done if we are to feed the estimated 9 billion people who will be living on the planet by 2050.

The report, by Professor Mark Tester and Professor Peter Langridge of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics at the University of Adelaide, appears today in the journal Science.
"The simple fact is while food production has increased by 32 million tonnes a year, an annual increase of 44 million tonnes a year is what's actually needed to meet the food targets for 2050 set down by the World Summit on Food security," Professor Tester said.

"But this represents a 38 per cent increase over historical improvements in food production and it needs to be sustained for the next 40 years.

"This scale of increase is unprecedented and will require huge changes to current food production methods."

"India, which has more undernourished people than Africa, is a real challenge," he said.
"Especially with their government's hard stand on genetically modified foods."

Professor Tester believes new breeding technologies are needed to increase crop yields by quickly identifying the best genes for any given conditions.

"This is the way forward if we are to feed the world in the future." Read More

We continue to hear food production experts stress the importance of using technology to meet demand. Just like Norman Borlaug used all the resources and technology at his disposal to stave off world wide famine, we will need to do the same. It would be unethical at this point in time to do anything less. We can’t turn our back on the ability to produce more food when we have hungry people in this world. We can’t let the Michael Pollan’s of the world decide who will eat and who won’t.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Katie Couric's Report, Part 2

Pork Industry Strives to Set the Record Straight in Wake of CBS Story

A two-part report aired on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric focused on antimicrobial use in food animal production and it got the attention of the agriculture industry.

Among other things, the report suggests antibiotic use in livestock is leading to more resistance in humans, a trend Dr. Jen Greiner says isn't supported by the science.

"We're just not seeing those trends," Greiner said. "Our producers are working on using antibiotics responsibly on farms each and everyday."

Greiner is Director of Science and Technology for the National Pork Producers Council. She notes Denmark placed a ban on antibiotic growth promoters in the late 1990s, and while CBS called it a great success story, Greiner says that's just not the case.

"When you go to Denmark and talk to producers in that country they will tell you that banning antibiotic growth promoters not only created more pig deaths and caused their pigs to suffer, but also it didn't have a positive public health outcome," Greiner said.

Greiner says that legislation that has been introduced in the House would not only ban antibiotic growth promoters but would also ban antibiotics for preventing disease as well as controlling disease. Meaning producers would only have the ability to treat a clinically sick animal. Greiner says that would be an unmitigated disaster for the industry and ultimately impact consumers.

Read More

In a classic example of one-sided reporting, Katie Couric told her audience last night that there are no reasons good reasons to use antibiotics in livestock. She said the only reason that it was being done in factory farms in this country was to make more money. Increasing the level of sickness and death in our livestock herd doesn’t sound like a great idea to me. All of us are concerned about keeping antibiotics effective, which is why strict usage guidelines are followed. While Couric had the opportunity to tell the whole story of antibiotic use and how that affects livestock health and food safety, she chose not to.

Why We Use Modern Technology

China’s farms pollute as much as its factories, survey finds
The Hindu
By Ananth Krishnan

For every tonne of chemical effluents that factories dump into China’s rivers and lakes, a comparable amount of harmful waste finds its way into this country’s water bodies from green fields and farmhouses.

A first of its kind pollution survey has found that farms have contributed as much to a growing pollution crisis in China as its famously unclean factories and industries.

The study, released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests this week, indicated that widespread agricultural pollution caused by the overuse of fertilizers has led to a level of pollution far higher than what has been previously stated in official reports.

Agricultural sources were found to account for 43.7 per cent of all COD discharge. The pollution stems from widespread overuse of fertilizers, with farmers using 40 per cent more fertilizers than required, according to a recent Greenpeace report.

The use of fertilizers and pesticides has enabled China to increase grain production eight times in the past four decades. But the use of nitrogen fertilizers has increased by 55 times, and has begun to seriously impact water pollution, the Greenpeace study found.

Mr. Zhang said the prevention and control of pollution from agricultural sources had now become China’s “top priority for environmental protection to resolve the problem of water pollution in China at the root”. Read More

If only there was a way to ensure that farm fields don’t get over-fertilized. Oh wait, there is! It’s the modern technology that we have implemented in this country to ensure that doesn’t happen. These systems manage our fertilizer needs on a field down to the square foot or better. In addition to that, we use new varieties of crops that do a better job of utilizing the resources available to it in the soil. All of these great technologies are under attack though. We have people like Michael Pollan who actively promotes US agriculture use technology equal or even lesser to that being used in Chinese agriculture. His reckless ideas would put us right into the position China is experiencing.

Horses, Owners Still Suffering

Horses face uncertain future, some call for slaughterhouses
Hard Times for a Western Icon
Flathead Beacon

ELMO, MT – A perfect storm has risen over horse country.

Prices are plummeting in an oversaturated equine market, people are neglecting or abandoning their horses at a higher rate and more ranchers are trading in four legs for four wheels. Hay prices are through the roof and the economy is hurting. And in Montana, a final frontier of the American West, there is no consensus on what to do.Some horse folks are waiting to see if the economy turns around. Others believe it’s time to bring back horse slaughterhouses – the last one in the United States closed in 2007. Their critics say no way. Many just don’t know what the answer is.

Scott Beckstead, equine protection specialist for the Humane Society of the United States, stresses that horse owners have options if they fall on hard times. Beckstead encourages owners to seek out rescue and animal care organizations before resorting to abandoning or selling their horse at a discount at an auction where it may then be transported out of the U.S. for slaughter. Beckstead’s organization is adamantly against re-opening slaughterhouses in the U.S., as is Bunyea.

Bunyea calls it “cruel and unusual punishment” and says the horses “know they’re being led to death.”“I have an old (horse) – I could never put him on a train and say see you,” Bunyea said. “That’s as heartless as you can get.”

But the idea of re-opening domestic slaughterhouses has plenty of supporters, including Jann Parker, who co-manages the Billings Livestock Commission Horse Sales. Parker said her monthly Billings sale is the biggest horse sale in the nation.

Parker downplays the effect of the economy on the horse industry’s struggles. Instead, she said the main culprit is the lack of slaughterhouses. While top-end horses are still selling, she said not having domestic processing plants “has wiped out the bottom of the horse market.” Parker said cultures across the world eat horse meat – the demand is there and the rest, she said, is “high school economics.”

“Nothing that you want to think or you want to do is going to change the fact that somewhere out there in this big wide world there is a demand for horse meat – people are going to eat it,” she said. “And we have a supply.” Read More

We hear all kinds of excuses from the anti-ag people as to why we shouldn’t have a processing option for horses. Mostly they try to avoid the fact that their careless policies are negatively affecting horses and the people that are trying to raise them. In order for this segment of the livestock industry to ever work properly again, their will need to be horse processing facilities operating in this country. They can be shipped out of the country now, but the cost of doing so makes it prohibitive for many. In addition to this, these misguided efforts are now forcing extremely long transportation times and we no longer have the ability to regulate how those horses are treated after they leave our country. It’s too bad that these so-called horse advocates are celebrating these “victories” and pushing for even more regulations that will only magnify these problems.

Zac Brown Band Responds to PETA

Zac Brown Responds To PETA Challenge
2/10/2010 1:26 PM ET
RTT News

The Zac Brown Band have responded to an e-mail they received from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. After being challenged by the animal rights group to remove the animal products from its pre-show menu, the "Chicken Fried" hit makers made no apologies for their eating habits.

"Dear PETA -- Plants are living creatures too . . . Bacon had a mother, but so did Pickle. It takes life to support life -- welcome to the planet," the Grammy-winning group wrote on their Twitter page.

The 2010 Best New Artist winners apparently still plan on offering animal products at their pre-show rituals, where they welcome lucky fans backstage to "eat and greet" with the band.

The challenge from PETA came last week when the organization sent an open letter to country music website that was addressed to the band, saying, "If PETA has its way, the 'Chicken Fried' singers will be hosting an all-vegan edition of their celebrated 'eat and greets' for fans." Link

I had heard last week that PETA contacted the Zac Brown Band concerning their “Chicken Fried” song. That didn’t surprise me much, but the band’s response was certainly refreshing. Amazingly, we can’t assume that country singers always support the country lifestyle and the farming and ranching that go with it. A big thanks to the Zac Brown Band, your music will sound even sweeter from now on.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Couric's Antibiotic Piece Part 1

Katie Couric's 3-minute “Factory Farm” Barrage
By Dairy Herd Management staff Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Editors Note: Dairy Herd Management is a sister publication of Pork.

The fact that she used the term “factory farm” or “factory farming” five times in a three-minute period probably showed her bias.

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric left the confines of her New York City TV studio to visit an Iowa hog farm and ask some questions related to antibiotic use in livestock — and whether such use could be contributing to drug-resistant bacteria. The first of a two-part series aired Tuesday night.

Here’s an exchange between Couric and Liz Wagstrom, DVM, vice president, science and technology, National Pork Board:

Couric: “Some people say giving animals antibiotics to prevent illiness or promote growth is like putting antibiotics in a child’s cereal. You know, save them so they’ll work when they’re really needed.”

Wagstrom: “I’d say that we do strategically place them. It’s not an all day, every pig gets antibiotics every day of its life.

Couric: “So you don’t think they’re being overused by farmers anywhere in this country?”

Wagstrom: “The vast majority of producers use them appropriately.”

Couric also interviewed some poultry plant or hatchery workers in Arkansas who reportedly became infected with methicillin-resistant staph or MRSA. In the case of one worker, doctors had to try several drugs that usually work on this type of infection before finding one that saved his life.

“Public-health officials are concerned,” she reported. “If workers who handle animals are getting sick, what about the rest of us? Drug-resistant infections have skyrocketed over the past two decades, killing an estimated 70,000 Americans last year alone. It’s an emerging health crisis that scientists say is caused not only by the overuse of antibiotics in humans, but in livestock as well,” she said.

See the entire broadcast. The broadcast runs 7 minutes, 37 seconds. There is one three-minute stretch where Couric makes five references to "factory farms" or "factory farming."

Tonight (Feb. 10), CBS Evening News will air part two. It will reportedly focus on Denmark and what happened to farmers, livestock and people in that country when the use of antibiotics "in healthy farm animals" was banned. Link

It seemed that Couric made a very conscious effort to paint the picture that only faceless “factory farms” use antibiotics. The reason this was done is because she knows that it’s popular to attack so-called factory farms, but not family farms, even though the two are one in the same most of the time. She also ignored much of the real science that is available on this subject in favor of personal opinion and lay person expertise. After tonight’s portion, we will be get the full picture of what this report is saying, but unfortunately I think I already know.

Feedlot Beef Greener

AUSTRALIA: Feedlot beef could be “greener” than grass-fed
Posted: February 9th, 2010 - 7:05am
Source: Meatingplace

Beef produced in feedlots has a smaller carbon footprint than meat raised exclusively on pastures, according to a University of New South Wales study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The study's life cycle analysis found that feedlot beef production generated slightly less greenhouse gas per kilogram of meat than grass-fed beef. Results from one supply chain studied showed feedlot production had a carbon footprint of 9.9kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kilo of "hot standard carcass weight" (HSCW). Grass-finished beef produced 12kg CO2e per kg/HSCW.

The study, commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia, looked at three operations: a beef producer, a sheepmeat producer and an organic beef producer.

Feedlot beef production, in which cattle are finished by being fed a diet of grain for the few months preceding slaughter, is often criticized for the resources and energy it consumes.

However, study co-author Matthias Schulz said in a news release the feedlot was found to produce meat more efficiently, effectively offsetting the greenhouse impact of the additional transport and feed production needed.

"Grain-finished cattle have a more efficient weight gain which completely offsets their higher individual carbon footprint," he said. "The other main reason for the better greenhouse performance of grain-fed beef is the superior digestibility of the feed and the associated reduction in methane emissions, and these digestion-related methane emissions are the main source of greenhouse gas from the livestock industry."

The study also compared data from Australian beef and sheep meat operations to studies conducted in Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, Africa and Japan, and found Australian operations compared favorably. Read More

The UN Report called Livestock’s Long Shadow basically agreed with these findings. It concluded that American animal agriculture is a model for the rest of the world and helps mitigate climate change. This is the same report that anti-agriculture groups like to try using against us, apparently without reading it. The great news for consumers is this, there are plenty of choices for you to pick from. Whether you want a niche or conventionally produced product, it’s available.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Katie Couric's Report on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Tonight will begin the two part series on CBS News about antibiotic use in livestock. Unfortunately by the looks of the preview, Katie is going to be more interested being an activist rather than a journalist. Just count how many times she uses the undefineable term "factory farm" in this preview.

I am very concerned about "superbugs" and antibiotic resistance, just like everyone else. However, attacking one area of usage, mostly the low hanging fruit, will not help. All of us use products that are designed to kill bacteria every single day. If we want to have a serious discussion about antibiotic resistance, we are going to need to evaluate everything. I will be disappointed if Katie doesn't address that.

This should open up many opportunities for family farmers and ranchers to explain how and why they use antibiotics. Their is a big misconception that all livestock are fed antibiotics all the time. The phrase most commonly used is "they are pumped full of antibiotics". They are just too expensive to do such a thing. I don't know who she refers to everytime she talks about a factory farm, but everyone that I know who raises livestock tries to give them the very best care possible.

That's the story I am looking forward to sharing with people.

Africa Needs Modern Farming

African Farmers Urged to Innovate to Offset Climate Change
February 09, 2010, 02:11 AM EST
By Sarah McGregor

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Africa’s failure to embrace modern farming methods is a greater impediment to food production than global warming, according to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.

Adopting this approach would help the continent offset possible temperature increases of as much as 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit), it said, citing conclusions made by computer modeling.

Africa emits less greenhouse gas than any other continent, though it will likely be the hardest hit by climate change because of its dependence on basic agriculture and a lack of funds to adapt to weather extremes.

“Even with a climate-change scenario, Africa could probably double food production with modern techniques,” Cooper said.

One key way the region can prepare for the future impact of climate change is by distributing government-subsidized fertilizer, said Cooper, a crop agronomist. Read More

In this country, we continue to hear from anti-agriculture groups and food elitists that modern farming practices are a horrible, evil thing. Of course they say this with a full stomach, which can’t be said for many of the residents in Africa. Without American farmers and ranchers investing in and embracing new technology for the last 100 years, we would look like Africa. This also highlights how ridiculous Michael Pollan’s theories are. He would like us to abandon our modern farming techniques in favor of farming how we did four generations ago. If you would like to see how well that would work for us, just look at Africa.

Livestock Board Deserves A Chance

February 7, 2010
Livestock board deserves fair chance to set up
Zanesville Times Recorder Editorial

Ohio voters turned away the Humane Society of the United States in November, but the organization is back again.

A committee of the society, Ohioans for Humane Farms, filed a petition with the Ohio Attorney General's office last week to put an anti-cruelty measure on this November's ballot.

Farms rose up against the society last year when it wanted to mandate the care and well-being of livestock and poultry, and their organized efforts led to Issue 2. Voters then approved the issue, which created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board that will look at and address the issues raised by the society. The time frame and membership of the board clearly were communicated before the November election: The board would form in the spring and its 13 members would be Ohioans, not people from another state who have no vested interest in our food, our farms or our economy.

Well, it's not spring yet, and the society already is starting to peck at the board. As Wayne Pacelle, the society's president and CEO, put it, it wants to help guide the work of the livestock board. If that truly is the case, the society would allow the board time to become operational.
The board could not be formed at the snap of a finger -- it requires legislative action, and the board members must be selected. Ten of the 13 members will be appointed by the governor, with the other appointments coming from the Ohio House and Senate and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Although the wheels of government often turn slowly, it's in the best interest of every Ohioan to take time to find those individuals who have the required knowledge and dedication for such an undertaking.

The board deserves a fair shot here. It should be allowed an appropriate amount of time to tackle the issues placed before it. Until then, the society should cage itself. Link

The HSUS is so worried about the voter approved Livestock Standards Board that they are trying to control it’s ability to make decisions before it’s even officially formed. They realize that the decisions of mainstream people who are experts in the field of animal husbandry probably won’t match their vegan agenda. As this editorial says, Ohio residents need to reject this out of state effort and let the new board be formed and allow it to function as the voters intended.


Making Beef Even Safer

New methods aim to keep E. coli in beef lower all year
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

The dead of winter may not be the time when most people's thoughts turn toward the allure of a hamburger on the grill. But from a food safety standpoint, it's probably the safest time there is to eat ground beef.

"The theory is that animals are carrying higher levels of E. coli during the summer months, and sometimes they may overwhelm the systems in place to control pathogen contamination in (processing) plants," says James Marsden, a professor of food safety and security at Kansas State University.

Research has been focusing "on how to level out that curve," says Marsden, also senior science adviser to the North American Meat Processors Association.

So industry and researchers are turning their sights to new technologies being deployed on the farm, the feedlot and at the slaughterhouse to knock E. coli O157:H7 down to winter levels all year round.

There's an unconventional mix at the forefront of this fight: bacteria-eating viruses, a paper-bleaching chemical, vaccines and a kind of yogurt for cattle. Read More

I am proud of the fact that I am in involved in the first step of getting high quality beef to the consumer’s plate. Along with that, I am also concerned about keeping our food supply as safe as possible. No matter what type of food you are talking about, all of us need to take precautions to ensure it’s safe to eat. Farmers and ranchers who raise cattle have contributed tens of millions of dollars of their own money over that last several years to find even better ways to ensure beef is safe to eat. We have the safest food supply in the world, but that’s not good enough for us, we want to make it even better. I want to thank this reporter for providing a straight-forward, informational piece highlighting these efforts. It just goes to show that it is possible for reporters to educate people about agriculture and food production without having to scare them out of eating.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Keep the Advocacy Going!

Read my comments below on how to keep sharing your thoughts on the Yellow Tail donation to HSUS.

Jolley: Five Minutes With The Yellow Tail Fiasco
02/05/2010 10:06AM
Chuck Jolley

Question: After their recent poorly considered donation of $100,000 to HSUS, will Yellow Tail have to high tail it out of the American wine market?

Answer: If the merciless beating they took on social media has any impact, yes.

For those of you who haven’t been following this amazing marketing miscue, Yellow Tail, an Australian winery that’s been very successful in bringing nicely priced, mid-level wines to American consumers, made the colossal mistake of donating 100 large to the Human Society of the United States as part of a “tails for tails” P.R. effort. The idea was Yellow Tails would donate money to help rescue puppies and kittens and such. (Yellow) Tails for (puppy) tails – get it? Clever, huh?

Well, the whole thing went viral in a way they never expected. The ag community, long a target of HSUS, was immediately up in arms. Good red wines, after all, are best enjoyed with a good steak, not a marinated and grilled piece of tofu. Hundreds of people in the ag community or closely affiliated with it, went to Yellow Tail’s Facebook page and becoming fans of the company. They became fans, not to pat them on the back but to kick them a little lower down their anatomy. Within 24 hours hundreds of people had used their ‘fan’ status to ask YT what the hell they were thinking.

I spent an hour browsing through the comments. They have two Facebook pages, by the way, with 2,442 people on one and 1,657 on the other. Although not everyone commented, I found 7 people risking “attaboys” for the donation with the rest offering swift kicks to their Aussie posteriors. Comments like “Don’t drink the yellow water” and “Yellow belly” popped up with some consistency. One creative rancher took his last bottle of Yellow Tail wine out to his pasture, sat it on a fence post and used it for target practice. I saw a few pictures of the familiar YT bottle poised over a toilet, an interesting way to decant a liter of wine. Read More

It’s been an exciting couple of days watching the relentless efforts of farmers, ranchers, hunters, restaurant owners, pet owners and others in telling Yellow Tail that they are not happy about their decision to donate to the vegan animal rights group HSUS. This has been an epic failure and text book example of how NOT to handle social media and an upset customer base. Their apparent strategy now is to hunker down and wait for it to blow over. What they fail to see is that this won’t just blow over. Already this morning, liquor stores and restaurants that serve their products are being asked to stop. The negative impression of Yellow Tail has certainly reached hundreds of thousands of people through the viral nature of social media. A quick Google search of all things Yellow Tail tells the story loud and clear.

So where do we go from here? This is where we take our advocacy to the next level. Like I mentioned before, if you have eating establishments or wine stores in your area that carry their product, go talk to the manager and share with them what has happened and how the HSUS agenda will affect you. What affects you, affects them. That needs to be your message. But don’t stop there. Share with everyone else what you are doing in your local area so we can see the progress that’s being made across the country. There’s a couple of ways I want you to do this. Please share anything you do on the Yellow Tail Facebook page, on the newly formed facebook page Yellow Fail, and on the Advocates for Ag fan page.

All of you have made a difference on this issue. Keep up the good work!

Judge Calls Animal Activist A Terrorist

Animal-rights activist gets 2 years in prison

By Nate Carlisle
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 02/04/2010 07:45:06 PM MST

Depending on who you believe, William James Viehl is either Harriet Beecher Stowe or a terrorist.

U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson voted for the latter and on Thursday sentenced Viehl to two years in prison for releasing hundreds of minks from a South Jordan farm.

"I don't know any better word for it than 'terror,'" Benson said during a long explanation of his decision. "It's a form of terrorism."

Viehl last year pleaded guilty to one count of damaging and interfering with animal enterprises. On Aug. 19, 2008, Viehl helped release about 425 female and 225 male minks from the farm.

Vehicles hit and killed seven, seven died of stress and 20 were never recovered, said the farm's owner, Lindsey McMullin. Viehl and his co-defendant also are accused of removing pedigree tags, forcing the McMullins to sell the females for their pelts rather than breeding them.

The bandits also spray painted "ALF," for Animal Liberation Front, on a barn and the words, "We are watching." Read More

The judge in this case made it very clear that this type of behavior is pure and simple terrorism. He also made it clear that his goal is to make sure the punishment is painful enough to discourage this type of terrorism from happening in the future. Unfortunately, there will probably be more of these terrorist acts in the future waged against family farmers and ranchers. Groups like the Animal Liberation Front actively recruit young people and brainwash them into thinking that it’s alright to kill people if you have to do it in order to save an animal. It’s the standard practice of terrorist groups around the world. The only thing that changes is who or what they are trying to “save”. If you have to wear a ski mask to carry out the activities of your group, then you are probably a terrorist. And so are those that support these organizations.

Farm Sanctuary Tries To Undermine Voters in Ohio

Farm animal care at issue
By JOSHUA S. FLESHER Tribune Chronicle
POSTED: February 5, 2010

Unsatisfied with last year's passage of Issue 2, a group of Ohioans hopes to place a new measure on the ballot in November that would create stricter guidelines on livestock care.

The Ohioans for Humane Farms submitted a petition to the Ohio Attorney General's Office that spells out what would be an anti-cruelty issue for the general election ballot.

''This measure is attempting to provide minimal standards,'' said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. ''It's to provide guidance to the Livestock Care Board.''

Last November, voters passed Issue 2 creating a Livestock Care Standards Board which essentially would prescribe standards for animal care.

''The ballot issue that was approved by the voters of Ohio have very specific points,'' Robert Boggs, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said. ''They wanted livestock care standards that improved the safety of our food supply, that encouraged local food production and that helps keep the cost of food moderate.''

Although the issue was passed, some in the state remain unhappy with the way in which livestock is treated.

''We approached people in Ohio and said we were concerned about these problems,'' Baur said. ''They never responded. They rushed to the ballot with Issue 2, and we were surprised by that.

''We didn't care for it. We didn't think it was horrible. It all depends on what this board now does,'' he said. ''Our concern is that the board will be made up of individuals who are sympathetic to agri-business.'' Read More

The sting is still fresh for the HSUS and other animal rights groups that failed to stop Ohio residents from deciding they were capable of taking care of their own livestock. In a last ditch measure to keep the newly approved board from being able to operate and make the decisions for which they will be appointed, a petition has been filed for another vote. This time the vote will be on the very familiar language that became famous in California with Proposition 2. History would suggest that this will have a tougher time passing than it has in other states. Ohio residents have made their decision about this subject and normally when a state makes a decision like that, they don’t like spending time hashing it over again. However, everyone of us in agriculture needs to do our part to contribute to the defeat of this measure if it makes it on the ballot. The newly approved board is something the state of South Dakota has had in place for a couple of decades now. It has been very successful in it’s mission. The fact that these groups don’t want it to guide Ohio agriculture shows their complete disdain for the American farmer and rancher. It’s just too bad they can’t admit it verbally, their actions have been telling that story for years.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yellow Tail Donates To HSUS

Yellow Tail Wine Gives Money to HSUS
Sportsmen Urged to Voice Protest
From US Sportsmen's Alliance

The Australian maker of Yellow Tail Wine has pledged $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation’s largest anti-hunting organization. This partnership offers further proof of HSUS’ work to spin its animal rights message in a way as to seem mainstream.

As HSUS states on its website:

“… the HSUS has paired with [yellow tail] for the "tails for tails" program. Through the end of March, you'll see special [yellow tail] displays bearing The HSUS name and logo in stores across the country.

Through "tails for tails," [yellow tail] is donating $100,000 to support us and our programs to help animals, including our Spay Day Online Pet Photo Contest.”

Alerted to this relationship, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) immediately contacted the American distributor of the wine, W.J. Deutsch and Sons Ltd., and urged them to ask Yellow Tail to sever its relationship with HSUS.

A copy of the letter the USSA sent to management can be found by clicking here. Thus far, the USSA has not heard from W.J. Deutsch regarding our request.

“This wine maker has fallen into the same trap as other companies who donate money to HSUS,” said Bud Pidgeon, president of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. “They believe they are helping animals in shelters when in fact they are funding an agenda from an animal rights group that is largely divergent from the vast majority of Americans.” Link

Yesterday morning I became aware of Yellow Tail Wines plan to donate $100,000 to HSUS. As an amateur wine enthusiast, I was very familiar with the Yellow Tail name. They are an Australian wine company that sells many different varieties of wine at a very reasonable price. The good value you get with this wine has made it quite popular in the United States and readily available almost anywhere. Unfortunately they were somehow convinced that donating money to the HSUS would be a great way to help needy dogs and cats. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m sure their heart was in the right place, but their money is headed to the wrong one.

According to the HSUS tax returns, chances are that if Yellow Tail does give them the full $100,000, only $500 would end up going to a hands-on pet shelter. Historically, only one-half of one percent of their $200,000,000 budget does.

In order to let Yellow Tail know how I felt about this, I looked up their Facebook fan page and left a comment. In addition to that, I put it out on Twitter and our Advocates for Ag Facebook fan page, and asked everyone else to do the same. And boy did they ever! In the last 24 hours, several hundred comments have been left by people from all over the country voicing their frustrations. This same scene is being played out on their Twitter page. So far, one single response has been offered by Yellow Tail, only stating that they will be announcing something soon. That’s PR speak for “Uh oh, what do we do now?”

By not doing the necessary research and having an entire industry, one of which they are part of, calling them out, Yellow Tail is now in a near no-win situation. The high paid lawyers from HSUS will no doubt put the pressure on them to fulfill their previous commitment, but if they do, it will be at the expense of thousands of upset customers. It’s not impossible for them save face though. My guess is that not many of the executives over at HSUS (where more than 40 of them make greater than $100,000) drink much Yellow Tail. I’m sure it’s beneath their standards. However, Yellow Tail has become wine that hard working Americans, many of whom are involved in agriculture, do enjoy. If they care about their customers, they will stop this from happening.

If you haven’t left your comments on
Yellow Tail’s Facebook page, please do so. You can also contact them through Twitter at @YellowTail_USA . Thanks for everyone’s help. Yesterday was a great example of what can happen when Team Agriculture suits up together to make it’s voice be heard! ~Troy

Vegan Dog Food From HSUS

HSUS Enters Pet Food Market With ‘Humane Choice’
Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2010, 6:04 p.m., EST

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has entered the pet food market with the launch of its Humane Choice dog food. The non-profit organization is marketing the product as a cruelty-free, all-natural dog food that does not contain animal-based proteins or support the factory farming industry.

“Americans are concerned about the food we eat, and it just makes sense that we’d be concerned about the food we provide to our pets,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS.

“Humane Choice is a nutritious, environmentally friendly and ethically responsible food for our best friends. Every bag of Humane Choice helps us celebrate the pets we love, and provides us with additional resources to help animals through our programs.”

HSUS is targeting pet supply and natural grocer channels. The product is currently available at, select Whole Foods grocery stores in New York and New Jersey and independent pet supply stores throughout the U.S. HSUS anticipates more Petco and Whole Foods locations to carry Humane Choice in the spring.

HSUS will receive 6 percent of the wholesale price of each 6.6-pound bag sold. The organization plans to use the funds to support programs that provide spaying and neutering and other veterinary care for animals, to rescue animals from natural disasters and cruelty cases, and to conduct undercover investigations of animal abuse.

Humane Choice is produced by a certified organic grower and manufacturer in Uruguay, according to HSUS. Link

There’s a couple of things that need to be addressed with what HSUS is doing. First, HSUS likes to make a lot of noise about how animal agriculture doesn’t allow it’s livestock to behave “naturally”. So what is natural about feeding dogs and cats a plant based diet. The natural behavior of a dog would have it chewing on dead animals and certainly not living in a house. So it’s a bit odd that HSUS would try forcing a very unnatural diet on pets. Also, you might be interested to learn that the pet food comes from Uraguay. Seriously? They couldn’t find anywhere in America to make this stuff? They aren’t exactly doing their part to help out the economy are they. But then again, they are trying to put family farmers and ranchers out of business, so why would they be concerned about any other American jobs.

Farming Not Fighting

Afghans want to be farmers, not fighters, says U.S.
Wed, Feb 3 2010
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Afghans would rather be farmers than fighters, the U.S. agriculture secretary said on Wednesday, highlighting a U.S. focus on farming jobs to lure people from the battlefield and curtail the opium trade.

Separate from the Afghan-led re-integration plan announced by President Hamid Karzai at a conference in London last week, Washington sees its agriculture program as a way of impeding the Taliban, said the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.

"This is going to really hurt the Taliban, no question about it," said Holbrooke. "Unlike, say, re-integration, which they can attack, it's harder to attack this one because the country is an agricultural country."

U.S. agriculture chief Tom Vilsack visited Afghanistan last month, meeting farmers and looking at ways of reviving a sector that is the main income source for eight in 10 Afghans.

"From my discussions with regular Afghans, they would much rather be farmers than fighters," said Vilsack. "This is an economic issue." Read More

Agriculture is the foundation upon which every society has ever been built. Without a strong agricultural base, failure will soon follow. It is THE industry that provides the essentials for life. Our military leaders recognize this more than most which is why they have worked hard to teach more about agriculture in that country. And, with so many of our soldiers coming from rural America, they are uniquely qualified to help with this process. Agriculture and the military are the two things our country can’t live without.