Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Care Package: Cattle Welfare in the West

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Will HSUS/Ohio Deal Continue?

New Ohio ag director will review animal care deal


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

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

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

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

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

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

HSUS Tries Fooling Nebraska Livestock Producers

Humane Society: Not ‘anti-ag'

By Leslie Reed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blaming Cows For Global Warming Not Accurate

A new beef with role of cows in global warming

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Help Your Neighbor, Not a Turkey

Turkey adoption program keeps flocks off dinner tables

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Trailblazer Award Winners

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

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

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

Pickens Plans to Overstock Horse Ranch

Pickens named Horsewoman of the Year

Herald-Leader Staff Report

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

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

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

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

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

Repeal Prop B?

Lawmakers Support Repeal of Prop B

'Puppy Mill' Prevention Act's narrow 51.5% passage has Missouri lawmakers examining a repeal.
Published: Nov 8, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Time To Do Something Different

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to work together.

Ag Mag

Published November 02 2010

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

Jamestown Sun

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AgriTalk and Farm American

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

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

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