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. 

Misguided Woman Walks For Livestock

Woman to protest the treatment of farm animals with march

September 19, 2010 6:41 PM

Kari C. Barlow

Daily News

FORT WALTON BEACH — When Gina Lane drives by a fast-food joint, she doesn’t enjoy the aroma of crispy fried chicken or grilled hamburgers.

She’s too busy thinking about the chickens and cattle that were factory-farmed for the meat.

“I see these pictures of these animals right before they are slaughtered,” said Lane, a bus driver for Okaloosa Academy. “It’s horrible how they are treated.”

Passionate about animal rights and an advocate of the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, Lane keeps a shoebox full of pamphlets, buttons and stickers in her car that sport slogans such as “Pigs are friends, not food,” “Boycott veal!” and “Respect all life.”

She will take her cause to the street to celebrate World Farm Animals Day on Saturday, Oct. 2.  Read More

For many years, livestock producers thought no one would believe all the inaccurate stories and pictures taken out of context.  We’ve found out that ignoring it was a really bad idea and this story proves it.  This woman admits that she is doing this because she has seen pictures.  Not only that but she thinks that cows are put in crates!  These examples of the ignorance of animal rights activists are all too common today.  When we hesitate to tell our story this is what happens. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Genetically Engineered Salmon

FDA advisors to vote on genetically engineered salmon

It grows faster, eats less and has sparked intense debate about modifying animals for our food supply.

By Andrew Zajac, Tribune Washington Bureau
7:28 PM PDT, September 18, 2010

In a step that may move genetically engineered meat and fish closer to the American dinner table, an FDA advisory committee will vote Monday on whether to approve preliminary findings that a modified salmon is as safe as an ordinary salmon.

The vote is not binding on the FDA, but approval would lend powerful support for a final decision by the agency charged with protecting the nation's food and drug supplies. The fish, a North Atlantic salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. would be the country's first genetically engineered food animal.

It grows to market size in half the time of other salmon and consumes 25 percent less feed in the process, according to the company, which is based in Waltham, Mass.

The FDA will hold a separate hearing on what, if any, labeling should be required if the fish is approved. The FDA says it does not have the power to mandate labeling that describes how a food was made, only the content variation that results from a different production process.    Read More

This will be an interesting test to watch.  But rather than a strictly scientific and rational discussion, I’m guessing that plenty of misinformation and irrational fear will be used by some.  There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical of new products and processes for growing our food.  The ultimate goal of everyone involved should be to have more and better food but unfortunately that doesn’t always seem to be the case.  I’ll keep you updated on how this turns out. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PCRM Attack McDonalds

New Ad Targets McDonald's

Physicians' Group Seeks to Link Fast Food Consumption to Heart-Disease Rate


McDonald's Corp. is the target of a new television commercial set to air in Washington, D.C., Thursday that blames the burger giant for heart disease.

In the commercial, produced by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a woman weeps over a dead man lying in a morgue. In his hand is a hamburger. At the end, the golden arches appear over his feet, followed by the words, "I was lovin' it," a play on McDonald's longtime ad slogan, "I'm lovin' it." A voiceover says, "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian."

PCRM's president, Neal Barnard, was once on the board of the Foundation to Support Animal Protection, now known as the PETA Foundation, which provides accounting, legal and other services to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal-protection groups. A PCRM spokeswoman says the organization has no link to PETA.

"McDonald's is committed to providing balanced menu choices and a variety of options to meet our customers' needs and preferences," said Cindy Goody, director of nutrition for McDonald's.

Read More

The only association that PCRM has with physicians is that they use the word in their name.  This is not some national group of doctors, it’s a group of people that want to change the way we grow and consume food in this country.  Those plans don’t include meat.  They have a biased agenda for the beginning and like most radical groups, they rely on name confusion to garner respect. 

Ruby Pipeline Update

Environmental Groups Push For Halt Of Ruby Gas Pipeline Construction

David Nogueras
September 14, 2010
Bend, OR

Three environmental groups have asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to halt construction of a natural gas pipeline that’s being built in Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

The latest challenge to the 680-mile Ruby Pipeline project comes from three environmental groups: the Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter and the Great Basin Resource Watch.

The lawsuit, filed late last week, alleges federal agencies conducted incomplete and inadequate environmental reviews during the permitting phase of the project.

David Von Segern is with the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter.

David Von Segern: “They’ve chosen a route that should pretty much shoot it though pristine northern Nevada, a high desert steppe that is supporting wildlife especially the sage grouse and we’re very concerned about fragmentation of habitat.”

As spokesman for the El Paso Corporation, the company behind the project defended the permitting process, arguing it adequately protects wildlife along the route.

The 9th Circuit is still reviewing a separate request by the Center For Biological Diversity to halt the project.


Here is an update on the Ruby Pipeline.  You may remember that El Paso Corp. tried to buy off the opposition by giving the Western Watersheds Project and Oregon Natural Desert Association $20 million dollars.  But when the rest of these environmental groups saw what was happening, they came to the trough hoping for a handout as well.  El Paso has found out what happens when you make deals with the devil.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Supporting Right-to-Hunt Laws

Hodge: Right to hunt, fish amendment needed

By Bob Hodge
Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's an interesting tactic anti-hunting groups are taking when it comes to states considering right-to-hunt-and-fish amendments to their constitutions: they are trying to kill them with disinterest.

When Tennesseans go to the polls Nov. 2 the state's right-to-hunt-and-fish amendment will be on the ballot. For the amendment to become part of the state constitution it will need 50 percent of the total number of votes in the gubernatorial race plus one. Three other states - Arkansas, Arizona and South Carolina - have similar referendums this year.

Animal rights groups are out and about saying "What's the point?"

"It's a solution in search of a problem," said Michael Markarian, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. "These measures don't accomplish anything."

The better-known and more rabid People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also had a take on Tennessee's amendment.

"All these amendments are a solution in search of a problem," Ashley Byrne of PETA told the Tennessean. "If people have a right to hunt, why not a right to shop or golf?"

Of course, while Markarian says there's no problem, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, has his group actively fighting Arizona's amendment, called Proposition 109. In Arizona, HSUA has joined up with the Sierra Club and the Animal Defense League to try and defeat the amendment.     Read More

Animal rights groups most certainly have hunting and fishing restrictions or outright elimination as their goals. We’ve learned it’s important to get ahead of them with common sense legislation that will hopefully protect these honored and necessary traditions.

Miracle of Birth Center

Ten years of Miracle of Birth Center celebrated at State Fair

By Heather Thorstensen
Date Modified: 09/09/2010 8:38 AM

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.— The 2010 Minnesota State Fair marked the 10th year of the enormously popular Miracle of Birth Center.

People come to the center to see farm animals giving live birth or to see the young stock. In the process, they learn about animal agriculture from FFA members, veterinarians and University of Minnesota veterinary students who work in the center.

Organizers say this may be the only time of year some people have a chance to learn about animal agriculture.

From 2001 until the start of the 2010 fair, there had been 1,573 births of sheep, pigs and cattle. Anywhere from 150 to 200 animals are born each year. The center has also rabbits, goats, turkeys, chickens and ducks.

Several hundred thousand people visit every year.

State Fair Board of Managers member Jim Foss thinks it's the most popular fair exhibit, saying it's second only to the fairgrounds' front gate.    Read More

We were lucky enough to be presenting our story to several hundred 4-H exhibitors this year at the Minnesota State Fair. While we were there we got to check out the birthing center. People were lined up five or six deep to see all the action taking place. It was a fantastic opportunity for agriculture to share with consumers. These are the types of things that everyone in agriculture should be able to support yet many times get overlooked for their impact.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

HSUS Faces $5 Millon Lawsuit

HSUS Faces $5 Million Lawsuit

09/09/2010 10:19AM
The Humane Society of the United States is among the defendants in a $5 million federal lawsuit filed by Dan Christensen, a South Dakota dog breeder, according to Christensen claims his dogs and puppies were illegally seized during a raid last fall.

The lawsuit filed last week names as defendants Second Chance Rescue Center, Second Chance executive director Rosey Quinn, several national animal groups and Turner County's sheriff, commission members and state's attorney.

HSUS, with former employee Scotlund Haisley, assisted the Second Chance Rescue in raiding Christensen’s property last September, seizing 173 dogs that they alleged were being mistreated.

Christensen had been charged with more than 170 misdemeanor counts of inhumane treatment of animals after the raid. Authorities alleged the farm had filthy water, kennels containing feces and that some of the 172 dogs seized had coats in poor condition.

All of the charges against Christensen were dropped and a judge ordered dogs illegally seized by HSUS and Second Chance to be returned to Christensen, their rightful owner.   Link

It will certainly be interesting to see how this lawsuit goes. These dogs were illegally seized due to an overzealous HSUS using an overzealous local animal control officer. The motivation for this seizure had little to do with the welfare of the dogs and more to do with publicity and money.

More Fake Water Statistics About Beef

More water lies from a 'nutty vegan chef'

Commentary by Greg Henderson
Thursday, September 09, 2010

For more than a quarter of a century PETA has been campaigning to end animal use in America. They’ve utilized some aggressive and controversial tactics to convince people to become vegetarians. Yet, consumer research suggests only about four percent of Americans are practicing vegetarians, and that number has not changed much over the decades.

But PETA is not about to give up, and they’ve embarked on a relatively new strategy to tie vegetarianism to the growing Green Movement. Their recent campaigns target beef production as an environmental evil, a claim they make based on some outrageous propaganda. (I guess expecting the truth in their campaigns is asking too much.)

Specifically, PETA is working to convince Americans that “meat’s not green.” On street corners in major cities they orchestrate publicity stunts with naked girls showering behind short curtains emblazoned with the claim “1 lb. of meat equals 2,463 gallons of water.” Such stunts make for good photo opportunities for newspapers and local television stations.

The stunts also provide fodder for the journalist wanna-bes known as bloggers. Take the vegetarian chef for an online Houston magazine called culturemap Houston. Joel Luks is a Canadian-born chef who describes himself as an “intellectually curious arts advocate. Design junkie & blogger. Nutty vegan chef loving ethnic foods. Classical flutist.”    Read More

Using fake statistics about the amount of water it takes to raise cattle has become a favorite past time for animal rights groups that are trying to eliminate animal agriculture in this country. Like Mr. Henderson’s comments imply, we have groups with the mentality that if lies further their agenda then that justifies their use. To make matter worse, even institutions that most people respect as unbiased have fallen for these lies. If you remember, last July I was in Chicago when I saw an exhibit about water. A portion of the exhibit stated many things about raising cattle that weren’t true. After working with that museum as well as the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I was able to get it changed. Unfortunately there are many places where we see these claims. Every time one of us does, we need to have the courage to do something about it.

SHAC Supporter Face Jail Time

Animal rights campaigners admit blackmail

Published Date:
08 September 2010
By Clare Semke
Crime reporter
Portsmouth, UK

A GROUP of animal rights campaigners face jail after admitting blackmailing firms and suppliers in a bid to bring down a controversial testing laboratory.

Thomas Harris, 27, from Clarence Road, Gosport, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to blackmail companies and suppliers linked to Huntington Life Sciences between 2001 and 2008.

His partner Nicola Tapping, 29, of the same address, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harm the Cambridge-based firm from 2005 to 2008 under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 by interfering with firms supplying them.

Jason Mullan, 32, from Holloway Road, London, and Alfie Fitzpatrick, 20, from Knowle Road, Solihull, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to the same charge as Tapping at Winchester Crown Court.

The four, who were members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, admitted the charges on the eve of their trial.

The six campaigners for animal rights waged an international campaign of intimidation against a host of companies in an attempt to force the closure of Huntington Life Sciences.

Staff working for the supply firms were targeted with abusive telephone calls and criminal damage to their homes.    Read More

All over the world, there seems to be nothing animal rights activists won’t stoop to in order to further their vegan agenda. We’ve seen it here in the US when they firebomb the houses of medical researchers and other violent crimes. Hopefully these criminals are dealt with appropriately.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Maine Reporter Spread Ag Misinformation

Natural Foodie: The real cost of the food we eat

By Avery Yale Kamila
Staff Writer

The massive recent egg recall reveals how much our food actually costs. As Americans, our food is abundant and the price at the checkout is remarkably cheap. But the costs don't end there.

We pay the full price for our food in doctor visits, environmental clean-ups, antibiotic resistance, loss of farmland to sprawl, dead zones in the ocean and property damaged by global warming-fueled storms.

And some of us pay for it with our lives after consuming tainted food.

The recall of 500 million eggs due to salmonella contamination makes it difficult to ignore the stark realities of our industrial agriculture system, where filthy factory farms, toxic petro-chemicals, adulterated animal feed, massive feces lagoons, chronic soil degradation and fragile monocultures have become the norm.  Read More

The amount of almost pure hatred of agriculture in this article is amazing. The author appears to have swallowed every misconception of ag as the truth and feels compelled to share it. What’s really interesting is that she says that all the food grown in Maine is fine but the rest of the food comes from the faceless world of agribusiness. Apparently she thinks there aren’t any family farmers and ranchers in other parts of this country. This is the perfect example of what we are up against in our efforts to educate people about where their food comes from.

MFA Veal Video

Animal group wants all veal farms banned

September 1, 2010


Dix Capital Bureau

COLUMBUS -- The animal welfare group that released a hidden video of an Apple Creek farm said it would like to see all veal operations banned, not just those using the crate systems currently allowed in Ohio.

"We're calling on consumers to make more compassionate choices, and one of those choices is to adopt a healthy vegan diet," Corey Roscoe, a spokeswoman for Mercy for Animals, said during a press conference near the Statehouse on Tuesday. "The veal industry is inherently cruel."

The comments came in response to questions about Buckeye Veal, the Wayne County farm placed in the spotlight by Mercy for Animals for using so-called crate systems to raise its calves.

But the farm said late Monday, in a released statement, it was in the process of phasing out the crates in favor of group housing -- an alternative that would be allowed under revamped standards Mercy for Animals wants to see implemented.

"Veal production represents one of the cruelest industries on the face of the planet," Roscoe said. "And its abusive treatment of baby calves should not be tolerated."

She added, "Even executed with the highest standards, raising veal is inherently cruel."   Read More

The problem that Mercy for Animals has is their main goal is to force a vegan diet on everyone. So no matter what type of system is used to raise livestock, they are going to claim that it is cruel. Much like the HSUS, they will never be happy and will be continually creating a crisis to drive their fundraising machine. It does no good to make deals with either of these groups because they aren’t on a time schedule and there is no middle ground with these people. All in all, this “shocking” video was a pretty weak attempt on their part and shows their desperation to stay in the news. It’s been widely advertised that veal farmers are changing to group housing systems without any government agencies forcing them to do so.

R-CALF Joins with Meatless Monday, Meatrix Creators

NCBA questions R-CALF's partnership with animal rights group

By Drovers news source
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Representatives of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association questions the affiliation of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) with the animal rights and environmental activist group Food and Water Watch.

According to separate news releases issued by the two groups, R-CALF and Food and Water Watch are joining forces on the campaign to support the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule on livestock marketing. NCBA President Steve Foglesong said well-funded activist groups, like Food and Water Watch, are working to obstruct the success of U.S. agriculture and its efforts to feed a growing global population. He said Food and Water Watch, a lobbyist group full of “career activists,” has a longstanding history of lobbying for stringed agricultural regulations that are devoid of science.

Food and Water Watch on its Web site defines factory farms as an agribusiness-controlled operation where “tens of thousands of animals are raised in crowded facilities.” In an attempt to portray the livestock industry as factories, Food and Water Watch sponsored an animated video called The Meatrix, which Foglesong calls a “strong manipulation of reality preying on consumers removed from production agriculture.” The Monday Campaigns, Inc. (Meatless Monday) is also associated with the film, according to the Web site for the video.     Read More

Normally I don’t dive into inter-industry politics on my blog but this needs to be brought to light. Why on earth would any group in the beef industry team up with the people who created the anti-meat movie “Meatrix”. I don’t care how desperate you are for money or to push your causes, there is no excuse for sleeping with the enemy. Frankly it’s embarrassing for them and damaging to everyone in the beef business. (For the record, I called R-Calf to get their side of the story.  No one was in their office on Thursday morning when I called so I left a message.  I look forward to hearing their side of the story.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Move In Day Is Getting Close

Moving wouldn't make it on my list of fun things to do, but the good news is that our family is getting close to being able to move in to our new home.  All of our things are packed and sitting in stock trailers or a garage just waiting for this long weekend to get here.  It looks like we will be able to unloading finally.  It's been a very busy couple of weeks and as you've probably noticed, the blog and facebook page have suffered from my lack of time recently.  We are certainly looking forward to getting things back to normal very soon, whatever normal is for a farming/ranching family of five.  Someday's I think chaos is the norm, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  Have a great upcoming Labor Day weekend!