Friday, October 31, 2008

Humane Society or Lawsuit Society?

Prop. 2 backers wield lawsuits as weapon
Humane Society says egg board illegally used check-off dollars
Hank Shaw Capital Press

The campaign in favor of Proposition 2 is turning heads among veterans of California's ballot initiative process because it has been unusually litigious.

The "yes" campaign has filed at least five separate lawsuits against its opponents this year.

"I've seen lawsuits before, but not this many," said Barbara O'Connor, a professor of political communications at Sacramento State University. "It's unusual for a proposition."

The Humane Society began the slew of lawsuits by charging that the United Egg Board was illegally using check-off money - normally used for advertising and promotion - to fight Prop. 2. They have won at least the first round in that suit.

It then followed with a series of other suits:

HSUS sued the University of California over a study it did that suggested that passage of Prop. 2 would end conventional egg production and cost jobs. The group said the university did not give them documents concerning the funding of that study in a timely manner.

• The group sued a French Camp egg rancher for allegedly discharging ammonia into the air, creating a nuisance and violating clean-air laws.

• The group sued a San Diego County egg producer for similar pollution-related charges shortly after he became active in the "no" campaign. Humane Society staffer Jennifer Fearing, who is running the "yes" campaign, told the New York Times, "He put a bull's-eye on himself."

• HSUS sued the United Egg Board again, this time for allegedly making false claims about the welfare of conventionally raised chickens. Read More

HSUS has 13 full time lawyers in their organization along with over 1,000 pro bono attorneys across the United States, this organization has been built to file lawsuits and draft legislation to abolish animal agriculture in this country. However, as producers we have something that their $130 million dollar budget can’t touch, and that is our amazing story of food production in this country. Be proud of what you do and share that with our consumers.

Governator Says No on Prop 2

Agriculture briefs: Governor opposes Proposition 2

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced his opposition to Proposition 2 on the November ballot, which would change standards for confining farm animals.

If approved, opponents say it would significantly limit the ability of California consumers to buy safe, affordable eggs that are fresh and locally grown.

A UC Davis study says most of the egg-producing business would move out of the state. Link

Besides failing to gather the support of many newspapers in California, now Prop 2 has failed to get the support of Gov. Schwarzenegger. He has realized the impact it would have on the state’s producers and consumers. No one wins except the Washington DC based Humane Society of the United States with passage of Prop 2.

Telling The Story of Grazing

Grazing good for more than cattle
Article Last Updated: 10/30/2008

Grazing controls vegetation, keeps watersheds clean and provides food for humans, but not everyone knows how beneficial it can really be.

Tehama County Resource Conservation District hopes to change that this weekend when it hosts Working Landscapes The Environmental Benefits of Grazing. The Saturday seminar is part of Farm-City Week and is intended to promote support of the ranching community as well as highlight the importance of grazing and valley agriculture. A reception with local food and wine will follow.

This is a great opportunity for the public to celebrate our community, support our agriculture and to taste firsthand the incredible products grown and produced right here in Tehama County, said Laurie Kehrer, TCRCD watershed specialist.

Dan Daggett, an environmentalist-turned-grazing proponent, is the keynote speaker. An environmental activist for 32 years, he learned grazing s positive effects through personal experience and science. He was involved in several studies in which livestock were removed for preservation only to cause a species to decline or disappear. Read More

Anytime producers have the opportunity to share what they do and why they do it with members of their community they need to take it. Most of the time it is the use of modern management techniques that are in the line of fire, but there is also a definite movement against grazing as well. The very thing that the animal rights crowds are demanding is what the environmentalists consider evil. For example, the Sierra Club has been trying for years to eliminate grazing on all public lands. So congratulations to the Tehama County Resource Conservation District for telling their story.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Is A Factory Farm?

Factory farms under fire
By KAREN DILLONThe Kansas City Star

DREXEL, Mo. Hundreds of pregnant sows stand, almost immobile, facing the same direction — they can lie down on their chests, but they can’t turn around.

The narrow stalls hold 800 hogs in just one building on Scott Phillips’ farm, which houses 10,000 hogs in all. It’s modern farming, and Phillips and others say it’s good for the pigs, keeping them safe and healthy.

“It’s our God-given responsibility to take care of these animals,” Phillips said.

But increasingly, animal welfare advocates say the treatment of livestock on factory farms, where thousands of pigs, chickens or dairy cows live in warehouse-type buildings, is harsh and inhumane.

“If most people knew the reality of how abused farm animals are, they would be outraged,” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of a Humane Society of the United States campaign to protect livestock on factory farms. Read More

This particular newspaper in Missouri has become rather infamous for being anti-agriculture. They seem to love throwing around all the buzz words of the day that paint agriculture in a negative light. Apparently they were so excited about getting anyone to talk negatively about ag that they actually quoted an ag economist about if these sows are happy or not. Judging by his title, I wouldn’t think he would have much experience in determining how a sow feels about her situation. But, there are many people that do have that experience and that is the American farmer and rancher. We dedicate our lives as caretakers of animals. Share your experience with consumers whenever the opportunity presents itself. You are the expert.


'Locally grown' food sounds great, but what does it mean?
By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

Virginia farmer Rod Parker can walk into a grocery store 10 miles from his farm, 40 miles from it and even 100 miles from it and see his fresh produce marketed as "locally grown."

Some retailers even consider "locally grown" to be something produced a day's drive from the store, he says. Meanwhile, "I'm sure consumers think it's grown right down the road," says the owner of Parker Farms.

Nationwide, retailers from Wal-Mart to Whole Foods are increasingly devoting more shelf space to "locally grown" products including such things as fresh produce and Thanksgiving turkeys. Whole Foods, for one, now spends almost 22% of its produce budget on locally grown products, up from 15% four years ago, it says.

The "locally grown" label is part of retailers' push to tap into consumer desires for fresh and safe products that support small, local farmers and help the environment because they're not trucked so far. At least one consumer survey has showed that whether something is locally grown is now more important than whether it is organic (which many local products are not).

Read More

When producers can direct market their products to consumers it not only allows them to make that personal contact with them, but it normally let’s them get a better return on their hard work. However, this model of food production isn’t practical in all areas of this country. If everyone were forced to eat locally, several of the foods that my family enjoys would be nearly impossible to get. This in turn would make it difficult for us to eat a balanced diet year round. It is imperative for consumers to realize that not everything can be grown everywhere.

Don't Blame Livestock

Cows, sheep not gassier
David McKenzie
October 30, 2008

LIVESTOCK producers can rest easy. A recent surge in methane gases in the atmosphere has nothing to do with cows and sheep belching more.

CSIRO researcher Dr Paul Fraser says increased ice-melting in high latitudes in the Arctic and ozone recovery in the atmosphere are the most likely causes.

"The livestock industry is not implicated," he said.

A new study by Dr Fraser and US and UK researchers has found that after eight years of near-zero growth in atmospheric methane concentrations, levels have started rising again.

Dr Fraser said the rapid growth in methane in the atmosphere over the past year was geographically concentrated, ruling out livestock as a source. Read More

Fresh off the heels of the UN study, in which they are urging people to give up meat in order to prevent global warming, US and UK researchers from MIT and Bristol University have shown that livestock are not to blame for the rise in methane in the atmosphere. The importance of the ruminant animal in our food production system is underappreciated by people that don’t understand it’s function. In order to double our agricultural output by the middle of this century, it will be vital for us to use these animals to convert plant material into protein suitable for human consumption.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Point of View

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that most of my posts are news articles that I think are important for those of us in animal agriculture to be aware of. These articles are then followed by my own commentary. However that commentary is usually brief and I want to start sharing more of my own thoughts and ideas with you. So with that in mind, I am going to start occasionally posting some original content from My Point of View.
This month has been a fun one around our house. The fall is always my favorite time of year for a variety of reasons. Seeing the crops come out of the fields and calves being weaned is always exciting. And if you enjoy hunting, the autumn months are like Christmas with pheasant, grouse, deer, elk and antelope seasons. But one October event in our area that has been going on for 71 years is the Western Junior Livestock Show.
The WJLS is a 4-H show that draws young livestock enthusiasts from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. My wife's family has been involved in the show since it's inception and it has been exciting to carry on that tradition.
Our kids are too young to be in 4-H yet, but we have been volunteering at the show since we were married 10 years ago. As are many of these types of shows, it is run completely by volunteers and it takes a lot of them. But the rewards of volunteering at the WJLS are many.
Whether it is seeing the smile of a young exhibitor going into the ring for the first time or feeling for one that has a calf that isn't cooperating that day, the lessons learned showing livestock will last for a lifetime.
These lessons won't happen though if the volunteers don't provide these opportunities to the next generation. If you aren't involved with the 4-H program in your area, you need to be. There are many different ways to advocate for agriculture and this is a great one. While you will be volunteering, you will be repaid in smiles and that is something you can't put a price on.

Jewel Supports Agriculture

Jewel does some recruiting for future farmers, ranchers

KUSA - Her voice is one of the most distinctive in music today. But when singer/songwriter Jewel isn't out performing on the road, you'll find her down home on the ranch. She's a proud Future Farmers of America alum, and now she's helping to make sure the organization is around for a long time to come.

"A lot of people don't realize where their food comes from, that the stuff that they eat for breakfast lunch and dinner comes from farms all across America. Agriculture is our No. 1 industry in America, and its what makes us uniquely American." Jewel said on 9NEWS 5 a.m.

Agriculture remains one of Colorado's top industries. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2006 alone it provided more than 3 million jobs in our state. The Future Farmers of America helps prepare young people for agribusiness careers, and Jewel wants to make sure the organization will continue to thrive. Read More

It’s great to see a popular musician that is standing up in support of American agriculture. Instead of lining up to be part of some activist cause that is the cool thing of the day, she has chosen to look forward and realize the importance of food producers. Congratulations Jewel and thank you.

Eat Meat, Live Long

'Eat Meat for a Long Life'

Many people aged 100 or more have consistently consumed meat and fish throughout their lives, a study shows, putting paid to the myth that a vegetarian diet is responsible for prolonging life.

Luisa Salaris, a professor of the University of Louvain, presented her study on the dietary habits of 11 men aged 100 or more in Sardinia at an international symposium on longevity in Sunchang-gun, North Jeolla Province, on Saturday. Salaris said her subjects have consistently eaten milk, cheese, eggs and pork.

Similar results were observed in Asian countries known for the longevity of their residents. Kazuhiko Taira, professor of the University of the Ryukyus, said “A study of 600 people aged 100 or more revealed that those who live longer ate more pork or goat meat than in other regions in Japan.” Read More

We seem to hear over and over again that if you want to lead a long healthy life, cut the meat out. But science has never agreed with that statement and here is another study that verifies the importance of meat and dairy products in a well balanced diet.

Pickler Now A Vegetarian

Kellie Pickler Gets Help Eating Her Veggies from Carrie Underwood

By Eileen Finan

Originally posted Tuesday October 28, 2008

About five months ago, she joined pal Carrie Underwood, a long-time vegetarian, in giving up eating meat.

"Most country girls do like their meat!" she laughs. "I used to eat steak rare all the time. I'd just throw it on the grill for two seconds, flip it over and it was done and everyone was like, 'That's so gross – that thing is still moving!' "

So when she made her big decision, she got some moral support quickly. "I texted Carrie and was like, 'You're never going to believe this!' And she was like, 'No way! I'll give you three days!' " Read More

It’s unfortunate that Kellie Pickler has decided to throw away her country roots and go vegetarian because of Pamela Anderson’s PETA ad. She claims she won’t promote the idea, but if that was true, this article wouldn’t have been written. Another name added to my list of entertainers I won’t listen to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OK Appeals Poultry Litter Case

Edmondson preparing appeal for poultry case
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oklahoma lost its bid to stop poultry litter spreading in the Illinois River watershed, but the state indicated Monday it’s interested in appealing that decision to the 10 th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Charlie Price, a spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, said the state has “discovered several issues we believe must be brought to the higher court’s attention.” It filed its notice of appeal Friday with the U. S. District Court in Tulsa.

Oklahoma in 2005 sued Springdale-based Tyson Foods and several other poultry companies with operations in Arkansas, claiming that the spreading of poultry litter on farm fields in the watershed violated federal laws.

Edmondson asked for an injunction in November, trying to put it in place before spring when most poultry litter is spread on hayfields. In his request, Edmondson contended litter was “solid waste” under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976. He also said the practice of spreading litter threatened human health because the litter contains fecal bacteria. Read More

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is going to continue on his crusade to have poultry litter considered a toxic substance. This is the very same poultry litter that people pay money for to fertilize not just fields, but gardens and lawns as well. It is becoming more obvious that this case for the Attorney General is more motivated by politics than anything else. The judge basically told him how to win this case, and that was by going after every possible source of fecal bacteria, which would include all livestock and humans. He knows that would be political suicide to go after every homeowner in the watershed area so he continues down this fruitless path of only targeting poultry farmers.

Farm Sanctuary Wants It Both Ways

Factory farming awareness walk informs community on maltreatment of animals

NIU students, Sycamore residents and others undertook a two-mile walk to inform people of the issues concerning factory farming Sunday at 1 p.m.

Jon Bockman, Sycamore walk coordinator, said he organized the walk as part of the Sycamore Pumpkin Parade, for the Farm Sanctuary organization to raise money for the maltreatment of farm animals.

The organization also focuses on rescues, and provides animal’s survivor stories from the industry such as the rescue of 100 pigs in New York she said.

“The pigs were starving outside, some even frozen to the ground, and over 1,500 hens stuck in battery cages thrown about when the warehouse that they were in was hit by a tornado,” Seeley said. Read More

Isn’t it odd that in California they are going to vote on a law that will make it illegal to raise animals in an environmentally controlled building, but then Farm Sanctuary is complaining about the mistreatment of these pigs that were forced to stay outside in the cold and were hungry. The animal rights crowd can’t have it both ways. One of the problems with raising livestock outdoors is that we have to deal with some horrific weather extremes. HSUS and Farm Sanctuary say that sows raised indoors aren’t happy for a variety of reasons. Maybe they should ask these rescued pigs about where they would have rather been.

UCLA Targeted Again

UCLA Van Drivers Checking For Firebombs

An animal rights group has posted anonymous warnings in an effort to persuade university researchers to stop using animals for research.
Monday, October 27, 2008

Drivers of vans used to bring 2,400 UCLA employees to work have been told to check underneath their vehicles for suspicious devices, and to be alert for vandalism.

Extremists connected with an animal rights group have posted anonymous warnings that they have placed shotgun shells inside van mufflers to trigger fires in an effort to persuade university researchers to stop using live animals for medical studies.

UCLA Police have investigated "and found no evidence to support the claims,'' said spokesman Phil Hampton in an interview with the Daily Bruin.

The renewed warning comes after animal rights protestors claimed responsibility for burning UCLA commuter vans twice in October, claims that the school has rejected as unfounded.

In messages e-mailed to news organizations over the last month, animal rights activists claimed credit for two fire bomb incidents against UCLA vans.

But the school says none of the 150 UCLA vans have been burned since a vanpool vehicle parked in a park-and-ride lot in Irvine was torched on June 3.

No one was injured, although the state-owned van was extensively damaged. Link

Rather than using legal means to voice their opinion, the animal rights extremists in California (most likely from the Animal Liberation Front) have opted to threaten UCLA employees with mass homicide. It’s hard to imagine these types of people having compassion for anything if they promote murder and fear against their fellow human beings.

Monday, October 27, 2008

National FFA Convention

Some of you that check out my blog may have noticed my absence on several days last week. Well, I wasn't on vacation but I was on the road and spent most of last week in Indianapolis, IN for the National FFA Convention.

My wife and I sit on the American Farm Bureau's Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) Committee and I am part of a sub-committee that hosts a booth at the convention. It was a great opportunity to mingle and visit with the next generation of agriculture that is coming up through the ranks. With nearly 50,000 FFA members in attendance, the air in Indianapolis was electric. These young members of our industry are more than excited about agriculture. One of the speakers at a general session challenged the members with producing twice as much food as their parents currently do. And judging by their reaction, this challenge will be met head on with enthusiasm and conviction.

I seem to hear quite often that kids these days don't want to work hard or have no interest in agriculture. If you hear those statements, challenge that person to attend a 4-H show at the conty fair, or an FFA meeting. My experience has been that you will walk away witha renewed sense of enthusiasm yourself and realize that agriculture will be passed on to very capable and willing hands.

Prop 2 A Stepping Stone

California's Prop 2 widens animal space
By PHILIP BRASHER • • October 26, 2008
Washington, D.C. — A ballot measure in California is raising the dander of farmers around the nation.

The initiative, known as Proposition 2, would set new standards for livestock farms. Starting in 2015, all animals would have to have room to lie down, turn around and extend their legs or wings. The measure is intended to force farms to stop keeping hens in cages or sows in stalls.In California, it would primarily affect egg-laying operations. The state has little pork industry.

But proponents and opponents agree the measure could have ramifications well beyond California if it passes. If nothing else, it would send a message to the next Congress, which is likely to be one of the most liberal in history.

"One of the major effects will be on the retail sector," said Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, which has spent more than $4 million so far on the campaign to pass Proposition 2. "It will be another indicator that the public finds these intensive confinement practices are out of bounds and unacceptable.

"Passing the measure also would provide "additional momentum to our efforts at the federal level," Pacelle said. Read More

I have tried to let everyone know that Prop 2 is just the next step for the HSUS to achieve federal legislation that will dictate all management systems for livestock. Some producers don’t seem to believe me when I talk to them about it, but would you believe Wayne Pacelle when he says it? We have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what HSUS wants to accomplish. Stopping them in California would be a fantastic way to let the HSUS know they are NOT mainstream.

Protecting Hunting & Fishing in OK

Senator promotes Hunters Bill of Rights
By Keith Purtell Phoenix Staff Writer October 26, 2008 12:26 am—

An Oklahoma state senator said he is promoting a change to the state constitution that would protect hunters and fisherman from animal rights activists.Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, said that State Question 742 is also known as the Hunters Bill of Rights.

“We’re trying to put in our constitution the right for Oklahomans to hunt, fish and trap like we always have,” he said. “This will protect our children and grandchildren’s ability to hunt and fish like we always have in Oklahoma. I think it’s a good thing because most hunters and fishers are conservationists first.”

Garrison said one reason to establish constitutional protection is that hunting and fishing are important Oklahoma traditions.

“For most Oklahomans it’s a heritage we can pass on to our children and grandchildren,” he said.

“Hunters are some of the most sensitive people in the world; they understand the value of passing this on to the next generations.” Read More

There are a couple of points to take home from this article. First, it is very important that Americans maintain the right to hunt and fish so we can promote healthy balances in our wildlife populations. And second, never assume someone won’t make an effort to take away your ability to continue a tradition like hunting. Thirty years ago, it would have seemed absurd that today we would be fighting for our ability to manage our own horses, or that we would be talking about a ballot measure that will outlaw your ability to put a chicken in a cage.

Charges Filed In Iowa

Iowa: Firing and Lawsuit in Pig Abuse
Published: October 24, 2008

A company said it fired the manager of a hog farming operation where workers were videotaped abusing pigs, and six were charged this week with crimes. The announcement by MowMar Farms came after a decision by the Greene County sheriff to charge the six employees with animal abuse and neglect. The company no longer employs the six workers, MowMar said. The farm near Bayard, Iowa, supplies Hormel Foods of Austin, Minn. A video released a month ago by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals depicts workers hitting sows with metal rods, slamming piglets on a concrete floor and bragging about jamming rods into the anuses of sows. (AP) Link

You will not find anyone in agriculture that would approve of how these animals were treated. The Greene County Sherriff has determined that it will charge these workers with animal abuse and neglect and now it will be up to our court system to determine their guilt or innocence. Rare instances like these are truly upsetting to those of us that work hard to ensure that our animals are well cared for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trying to Survive a Second Attack

Bear-attack survivor harassed by animal rights crusaders
Katie Mercer, Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, October 20, 2008

A B.C. man who clubbed a bear to death in self-defence is now defending himself from a smear campaign.

Jim West of 70 Mile House says angry animal-rights crusaders have been harassing him at home and impersonating him in e-mails to media outlets.

"I figure this is someone from PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] because I've had some people tracking me down and giving me the gears," said Mr. West, 45.

"I really hate that. I hate confrontations of any kind. I try to be as polite as possible. I'm sorry, but it was simply a life-or-death situation," he said yesterday. Read More

Unbelievably, this man who had to fight a bear to save his life is being attacked for doing so. Apparently people think all wildlife are cute, cuddly and want to be your friend just like their dog. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Wildlife are just that, wild, and unpredictable. The right to defend yourself from a wildlife attack must never be taken away.

Sharing Your Story on Video

Alpharma: Ag Students Invited To Tell Story Of Animal Agriculture

BRIDGEWATER, N.J.(October 2, 2008)—Recent food recalls and quality concerns have driven consumers to become more interested in the on-farm management practices used to produce food. This is especially true in animal agriculture, where perceived consumer preferences threaten the use of modern management technologies. Alpharma Inc., Animal Health is embarking on an exciting program that will begin to educate consumers about how their food is produced, enlisting the help of college agriculture students along the way.

Research conducted by Alpharma in partnership with GfK Roper indicated that consumers came to support the use of antibiotics in food animal production once educated about their use to prevent or treat disease. This indicates that opportunities are available to help consumers understand the importance of antibiotics—and other on-farm technology—to support animal welfare, food safety and agricultural sustainability.

In an innovative step toward consumer education, agriculture students from the East Coast to California are invited to participate in a three-phase contest, the first of which is an open call for farm-related video clips. A variety of clip suggestions are listed on the contest Web site,, ranging from cows being milked to combines harvesting crops in the heartland. Students can submit their choice of any number of video segments, whether recorded on a digital camera or high-power video recorder. Read More

You don’t need to do much research to learn how important it is for producers to tell their story to the consumer. You don’t have to memorize a speech or stand up and give presentations. Just talk to people one on one and tell them who you are, what you do, and why you are passionate about agriculture.

Arsonist Gets Time

Michigan State arsonist sentenced to 9 years
By JAMES PRICHARD – 1 day ago

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A former environmental activist who committed arson at Michigan State University has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

Frank Ambrose told a federal judge on Monday he is sorry.

Ambrose had pleaded guilty to conspiring to set a fire and explosion that caused more than $1 million in damage at the university's Agriculture Hall on New Year's Eve 1999. It was a protest against genetically modified crops in the name of a radical group, the Earth Liberation Front.
Ambrose later became an undercover informant in investigations of eco-terrorism.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney also sentenced Ambrose to a lifetime of supervisory release after he gets out of prison. Link

Several years ago I believe radical groups like Earth Liberation Front and it’s sister organization Animal Liberation Front thought they were invincible. Since they are shadow organizations, they figured they couldn’t be caught and convicted of the crimes they were committing. Stories like this should put them on notice that our society is not going to tolerate their heinous acts of terrorism. The FBI has declared these groups two of our top domestic terrorist threats and they are going to do everything in their power to catch and convict these criminals.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Prop 2 Opinion

Proposition 2: Good for chickens, bad for chicken farmers

In the current economy, it's better to let the market sort out the cage-free issue instead of forcing ranchers to make expensive changes to their practices.
George Skelton Capitol Journal October 20, 2008

SACRAMENTO — The odd duck on the Nov. 4 California ballot is the measure calling for chicken rights.The right for egg-laying hens "to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely" in their little cages, to quote from Proposition 2.

The initiative, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, also applies to pregnant pigs and caged calves being raised for veal. But the largest pork producer in California already has said it will stop using small crates. And there are few veal operations in the state.

So Proposition 2 really is about California's 19 million egg-laying hens. Calves and pigs were added, I suspect, because strategists concluded that voters relate more to mammals than to squawking birds. Read More

Proposition 2 continues to stay in the news in California. With only two weeks until the election, more people are starting to see the folly in the HSUS backed plan to eliminate raising livestock indoors. On Oprah’s show last week, Wayne Pacelle made a reference about how livestock owners didn’t raise them indoors in the 1800’s. I doubt he realizes how ridiculous that statement was. If he wants our industry to regress in that manner, what other industries will they want to do the same? Would they want the same for the communication, transportation, or human health industries?

HSUS Gets Religion

Humane Society asks the church: Where's your humanity?
All God's creatures great and small

By TRACIE SIMER• October 18, 2008
The Humane Society of the United States released a film called "Eating Mercifully" as part of its new "All Creatures Great and Small" campaign.

In the film, Dale and Elaine West of Archer, Fla., share how their Christian faith led them to give up their meat consumption. The couple lives on a farm that has been turned into an animal sanctuary.

The film examines Christian perspectives on factory farming. Some of those featured in the film call for humane treatment of farm animals and some, like the Wests, advocate not eating animals at all.

Joel Allen said there are some passages in the Bible that seem to talk about the treatment of animals and vegetarianism. Allen is an associate professor of religion and Bible at Lambuth University.

Allen is not vegetarian but says an argument could be made for Christians to seriously consider a vegetarian diet, Allen said. Read More

I continue to monitor the HSUS effort to convince different denominations to join their out-of-touch attempts to eliminate animal agriculture. Many producers don’t realize what their own church is doing when it comes to eating meat and dealing with animals. I would encourage everyone to investigate that further. You may be surprised.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pheasant Hunting in South Dakota

If there is an un-official holiday in my home state of South Dakota, it is the opening day of pheasant season.

This Saturday, October 18, at 12:00 pm Central Time, friends and family who have gathered from all over the country, will step into the fields in search of pheasants and fellowship. They will assuredly find both.

As a kid growing up, we always had hunters out for opening day. I can remember how exciting it was to hang out with them for the weekend. We got fed plenty of candy over the weekend from the grateful hunters. We had hunters from near and far. Some of our best family friends have been made through pheasant hunting. In the 1950s, some hunters from Indiana stopped at my grandfather's place and asked if they could hunt pheasants. My grandpa asked if they knew the difference between pheasants and livestock. They said they did and they continued to come back to our family farm for almost 40 years. They even made a special trip back to South Dakota when my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary because of the friendship that ensued from hunting together.

Now that I am older and have kids of my own this tradition means even more to me. While my oldest, who turn six in a week, isn't old enough to hunt, this will be his third trip to pheasant camp. Sharing a tradition with your son that you grew up with fills a father's heart with pride and sears memories into your mind that time can't erase.

With a ratio of 14 pheasants per person residing in the state, this year's hunt should prove to be another great one. While there is a limit on how many pheasants you can shoot, there is no limit on the fun that can be had at pheasant camp for young and old. I hope everyone has the opportunity to share traditions like these with their children.

Eat Your Beef, Drink Your Milk

EDITORIAL: Where's the beef?
Friday, October 17, 2008

(Rodney Lamkey Jr. / The Washington Times)

Wendy's coined the phrase "Where's the beef?" in the 1980s. Today, it seems that meat is out, and more expensive soy products and supplements are in. Helped by activist groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who cry "Meat is murder," they make Americans feel embarrassed to bite into a steak or take a swig of milk.

Health nuts ponder, should I eat meat? It can be fattening and can contain growth hormones that most of us can't pronounce. Americans could be better off without meat and animal products altogether, right? Well, experts say - a resounding no. Our bodies need meat and animal products, such as dairy, to function.

As animal-rights activists continue to protest the consumption of animal products, more evidence comes forward contradicting their obvious lack of knowledge where the human body is concerned. This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled the required dose of vitamin D needed for children to 400 daily units. The health benefits go unreported by activists. Women with higher levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive breast cancer once diagnosed and treated. Vitamin D helps prevent rickets, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and lowers mortality risk. The best source of vitamin D for the body comes from whole milk. In fact, human breast milk does not always contain enough vitamin D for developing babies. Try telling that to PETA. Read More

I am glad to see that the Washington Times editorial board has been reading my blog. The stories about Vitamin D and Travis Barker are articles that I have posted recently. Seriously though, it is very refreshing to see a major newspaper have the courage to stand up for agriculture and the products we produce instead of caving to activists and their agenda. Thank you Washington Times!

Plant Food is Dangerous Pollutant

Obama to Declare Carbon Dioxide Dangerous Pollutant
By Jim Efstathiou Jr.

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama will classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant that can be regulated should he win the presidential election on Nov. 4, opening the way for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Democratic senator from Illinois will tell the Environmental Protection Agency that it may use the 1990 Clean Air Act to set emissions limits on power plants and manufacturers, his energy adviser, Jason Grumet, said in an interview. President George W. Bush declined to curb CO2 emissions under the law even after the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government may do so.

If elected, Obama would be the first president to group emissions blamed for global warming into a category of pollutants that includes lead and carbon monoxide. Obama's rival in the presidential race, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, has not said how he would treat CO2 under the act. Read More

It is truly unknown if capping these gas emissions will have an affect on the environment, mainly because we don’t know if they are causing any problems. The one thing I do know for sure is that if CO2 is capped, it will definitely affect your pocketbook. But you can’t complain if you don’t vote so please head to the polls on Election Day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kids Need More Milk in Diet

Importance of vitamin D
Updated: Oct 14, 2008 04:04 PM MDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The nation's pediatricians are calling for a double dose of Vitamin D. But what exactly does that mean when it comes to feeding your child.

Children need about four cups of vitamin D fortified milk every day in order to get 400 units of vitamin D - that's the new, higher amount now recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. One reason for the new recommendation is that kids are suffering more fractures than they used to.

Dr. Lucy Holmes, Pediatrician, from UB/Kaleida Health said, "Perhaps the reason why kids may be getting more fractures is because their bones aren't that strong, and that is because they're not drinking enough milk or at least being supplemented with enough vitamin D and also eating enough calcium."

And bone health isn't the only benefit of vitamin D.

"Poor vitamin D levels might actually affect your immune system, so you'd be susceptible to more infectious diseases." Read More

I seem to read a lot about people who claim eliminating animal products from your diet will make you healthier. However, many doctors are seeing the results of kids and adults that aren’t getting enough of one animal product and that is milk. Not drinking enough milk has resulted in increasing health and development problems in children. Unfortunately, many parents today seem to be compromising the welfare of their children in favor of their misguided attempts to improve animal welfare.

Ag According to Pollan


Another year, another New York Times Magazine annual food issue. The 2008 cover shows an apocalyptic ear of exploding corn, with pulp-fiction title fonts and an inside about the business and politics of local eating and how anyone who hasn’t made it their business and politics yet, should.

Michael Pollan’s fourteen-page tour de force entreating our future president-elect to make food a central part of his reform, makes a dynamic centerfold. Although food may not have been a big part of campaign conversations thus far, Pollan trumpets, “[it’s] about to demand your attention.” Read More

I know from first hand experience that Pollan likes to exaggerate the truth in order to further his cause of eliminating modern production techniques. While it may seem quite simple to him to have our entire industry switch over to his suggestions, the truth is that his model isn’t capable of producing the amount of product that is required to feed our nation and the world.

Changed Name

Asheville Teen Changes Name to Fight for Animal Rights
Monday, October 13 2008

A 19-year-old Asheville teenager claims she has legally changed her name to to protest animal dissections in schools.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Asheville High School graduate Jennifer Thornburg now wants to be called Cutout.

The teenager’s new legal name is the URL for an anti-dissection website created by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The teen formerly known as Thornburg said she began opposing dissections in middle school, when the she became uncomfortable dissecting a chicken wing. While at Asheville High, she helped create a policy that allows students who object to dissections to complete an alternative assignment.

She is now an intern for PETA and said most of her family members still call her Jennifer. Link

If you have been wondering if PETA’s efforts over the last few years to indoctrinate our children with their animal rights agenda have had an affect, this should answer your question. PETA has a reward system that gives points which can be turned into prizes for children who do things like oppose dissection in their school. This should show why it is so important to expose kids to agriculture in their schools.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

UN Ag Study Investigated

Livestock’s Shrinking (U.S.) Shadow

No question about it: The 2006 United Nations report Livestock’s Long Shadow put a new jolt into animal-rights and other anti-meat campaigns. (Examples? Click here, here, here, and here.) The report’s claim that 18 percent of global greenhouse gases are caused by animal agriculture has become a rallying cry for activists whose fondest wish is to weld the animal rights and environmental movements into one giant behemoth to remake the way we eat. But something has always smelled a little funny about that “18 percent,” and this week a New Zealand meat company helped us put our finger on it.

The Marlborough Express reports that the company’s marketing manager spoke with Pierre Gerber, a livestock policy officer who co-authored the UN report. And Gerber apparently agreed that “18 percent” was a generalization that might not apply to every country.

“Buried in the report,” writes Express reporter Jon Morgan, “is the information that deforestation—mainly in the Amazonian rainforest—is included in that figure. Without it, livestock's contribution falls to less than 12 per cent.”

They don’t clearcut or burn down forests for pasture land in New Zealand, you see. And neither do we in the United States. Read More

Most anti-animal agriculture groups love to quote the UN study about agriculture emissions. They have never agreed with the EPA numbers and seemed unbelievable. It seems when you use their own data, we find out why their numbers don’t work. When you eliminate all of the things US agriculture isn’t actually responsible for, we finally see the truth.

An Invitation to Oprah

IFB Invites Oprah to Visit Livestock Farm
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The president of the state's largest general farm organization says daytime talk show icon Oprah Winfrey has a standing offer to travel downstate, strap on some boots and visit a livestock farm in her backyard.

Oprah is obviously interested in the subject of animal welfare, and we have a great story to tell, said Illinois Farm Bureau president Philip Nelson, a LaSalle County grain and livestock producer.
Winfrey's show Tuesday was devoted entirely to the debate over Proposition 2, an initiative that will appear on next month's California ballot which would severely regulate poultry, veal, and pork production.

"If Oprah is willing to take some time out of her busy schedule to visit a farm, she would discover that modern livestock producers are ethically committed to the well being of their animals. Our livelihoods depend on the production of healthy animals. No one understands better than a livestock producer that well cared for animals mean healthy food for Americans and the rest of the world." Link

If Oprah is really interested in learning the truth about modern livestock production, she should jump at this opportunity. While I highly doubt she would want to actually do such a thing, it is great to see producers that are willing to tell their story. Everyone in the agriculture industry needs to always be looking for opportunities to share their story of food production.

Head East to Nevada

EDITORIAL: Help from California
Hostile voters might send ranchers running for Nevada

When the state's economy needs a shot in the arm, Nevadans can always count on California to ride to the rescue. The Golden State's Marxist lawmakers have put ever-increasing tax and regulatory burdens on industry, chasing scores of employers to the more business-friendly confines of Nevada. But come Nov. 4, it's California's voters who might deliver the coup de grace to their ranching industry -- and help diversify Nevada's economy in the process.

California's Proposition 2 is the signature initiative from that state's animal-rights crazies. It would prohibit ranchers from confining chickens, veal calves and breeding pigs to spaces that prohibit free movement. If voters approve the measure, ranchers would have six years to figure out how to quadruple their cage space while maintaining profitability and productivity.

If that's what California voters want, more power to them. The Nevada Development Authority and other state leaders should watch the Proposition 2 vote closely. They should make contact with California ranchers and farmers as soon as possible to let them know that if they're not wanted in California, they'd be welcome to do business in the Silver State. Read More

California has self-appointed itself as the Land of Food and Wine. However if Prop 2 passes they should really reconsider their title. This law would drive egg production out of that state and the editors of this Las Vegas newspaper realize how crazy that would be. However they are seeing an opportunity for their state by inviting these potentially affected producers to their state. If the bill passes, California should consider the title of Land of Imported Food and Wine.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oprah to Discuss Food Animals

On Tuesday, October 14, The Oprah Winfrey Show will be discussing how animals are raised on farms. The show is called "How We Treat the Animals We Eat." On Oprah's website, it says the show will cover what "cage-free" and "range-free" really means.

If you go to the message board on the Oprah website, you can see first hand some of the comments from viewers about what they hope to see on the show. One viewer commented the following: "I cannot tell you how grateful I am that the Oprah show is covering this! Like the puppy mill show, this will CHANGE THE WAY WE TREAT ANIMALS! There are numerous atrocities happening in factory farms all over the world right this minute and it's time we stand up for the animals that cannot speak for themselves and change the way business is done!!"
American farmers and ranchers care about their animals and work hard to produce a safe and abundant supply of food for our country, and other countries. And we do this on fewer acres than ever before.

Tune in to Oprah on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and see what she has to say about how we care for the animals we raise. Also, contact the Oprah Show and let them know how we do care for our animals. If the message boards are any indication to what her show will be about, it's going to be up to the farmers and ranchers in this country to tell the accurate version of our story!

To view a preview of the show on Youtube, go to:

Thanks to Chris Chinn for putting this info together.

HSUS Shipping Cash to California

Big bucks flow into Prop. 2 campaigns
Humane Society of the U.S. spends $4 million on cage-free egg initiative
Hank Shaw Capital Press

The buck-raking in the campaign over Proposition 2 has topped the $13 million mark, making it one of the most expensive animal-welfare campaigns in U.S. history.

Both the "yes" and "no" campaigns reported their finances to the state this week and a Capital Press analysis of the figures shows that both sides are nearly equally matched, money-wise. Proposition 2 would effectively ban conventional egg production in California. Proponents say cage-free operations would still be allowed, but the industry says the initiative is so vaguely written even that is in question.

The measure would not forbid importing conventionally grown eggs from other states; California already gets about one-third of its shell eggs from other states.According to records filed with the state, Californians for Humane Farms, the "yes" side, has raised - and spent - more than $6.4 million. Californians for SAFE Food, the "no" side, has raised more than $6.75 million.

Read More

With all of the cash strapped dog and cat shelters we have in this country, the HSUS could have done a lot more to help animals than what they have done in California. But HSUS is more interested in pushing their anti-animal agriculture agenda in order to form a meat free society than they are about helping animal shelters. The only thing this group has in common with your local shelter is a similar name.

Attempting to Keep Meat Out of Schools

Anti-Processed Meat Campaign Is As Extreme As the Pro-Vegan, Animal Rights Group Behind It

Last update: 6:29 p.m. EDT Oct. 10, 2008

WASHINGTON, Oct 10, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- "A petition to ban processed meats from the school lunch program is as extreme as the pro-vegan, animal rights group behind it," said American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation President Randy Huffman, Ph.D.

According to Huffman, the petition was submitted to USDA by a group calling itself "The Cancer Project." The group is run by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a radical organization that has only a tiny percentage of doctors in its ranks. Their tactics have been sharply criticized by many in the mainstream medical community.

Ronald Kleinman, M.D., head of the pediatric gastrointestinal unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and former head of the American Academy of Pediatrics Nutrition Committee, has called the group's tactics "outrageous."

"There is no established relationship between the normal consumption of processed foods and the risk of colon cancer," he said. Kleinman has also criticized the TV commercial that is part of this larger campaign. The ad depicts child actors in a school setting saying they have colon cancer. The ads suggest that the disease was caused by processed meats consumed at school. "The video is exploiting children in the worst possible way. It's appalling to see a child used to advance a political agenda," Kleinman told one media outlet. Read More

Less than 5% of PCRM’s membership is made up of physicians and the science they tend to promote is more in-line with their activist agenda than the truth. Claiming that eating processed meat is solely responsible for causing cancer is more than a stretch. There are many groups with legitimate sounding names that are mostly interested in telling you how you should live your life. Anytime you see a report like this, you should research the group that is promoting it and find out what their true goals are.

Hunting Under Attack in Election

Sarah Palin under intense fire from animal rights groups

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has never hidden the fact that she's a proud hunter from her home state of Alaska, first with a famous photo (below) through which many Americans initially came to know of her with a caribou she shot, to Wednesday's photo (above) of the governor carrying a tote bag with the slogan "Real Women Hunt Moose."

But some animal rights advocates and activists have taken issue not only with her hunting practices, but more so her administration's stances on issues in Alaska regarding animal welfare.
Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, slammed the VP nominee in a blog post, saying Republican presidential candidate John McCain's choice "cemented" his organization's decision to endorse the Democratic ticket of Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden instead.

Markarian's stinging criticism of Palin:

Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska’s wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.

Read More

Regardless of your politics, the main message here is one of anti-hunting. Controlling predators by hunting out of aircraft can be a very effective way of protecting livestock. Bounties are another way of encouraging hunters to help control the populations of certain animals. When used correctly, these tools work very well and are necessary to help protect livestock. We can’t afford to lose these options for managing wildlife.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Protecting Private Property

Zabrena's Law to protect livestock and people
Oct 8, 2008 06:03 PM MDT By Tracey Amick, Live 5 News

CHARLESTON SC (WCSC) - Paige Walter says it was an act of malice and revenge in August, when three of her horses were let loose on River Road by a tresspasser.

By the time she got outside, two of them had been hit by cars.

"Darn near killed somebody, the pony cut right through the windshield. She was 850 to 900 pounds, Walter said.

The pony was killed on impact, and Walter's 13 year old mare, Zabrena was injured so badly she had to be put down.

"Her pelvis had been fractured, she was hit from behind where the vet could pull a piece of the hip bone from the point of impact,"alter said.

Walter says there is no way this so-called accident was an accident. Her livestock gate is kept closed by gravity locks and that day when they checked on the paddock, the structure had been removed and put on the ground.

The worst part, Walter says, is she knows who did this. Read More

Laws that protect farm property from being disturbed or destroyed are very necessary, especially when you consider all of the recent attacks on mink farms. There are many groups out there that believe the best way to get their point across is to destroy a producer’s property. When these acts occur, it is normally the livestock that suffer the most at the hands of animal rights activists.

Farming in Russia

Farming Makes a Comeback in Russia
Investors are pouring billions into agribusiness—and trying to reverse decades of Soviet mismanagement
by Jason Bush

USMAN, RUSSIA Under a baking sun, two green combine harvesters trundled across a vast expanse of yellow barley, unloading their grain into waiting trucks. It was a bumper harvest in Usman, a rural district some 300 miles south of Moscow. Yields of barley almost doubled this year. And there was plenty more to come. On the endless plains of southern Russia this summer, wheat, corn, and sunflowers towered high above the rich black soil for mile after mile.

Just four years ago the same fields sprouted nothing but wild grasses. Although this land had been farmed for centuries, the tradition nearly died out in the 1990s. The Soviet kolkhozy, or collective farms—hardly paragons of agricultural efficiency—went bankrupt as communism collapsed, and villagers abandoned the land. "When Gorbachev came to power, everything began to fall apart," says Alexander Gulov, a former boss of a collective farm in Usman. Read More

The natural resources in the former Soviet Union are said to be incredible. And after years of neglect, agriculture is all but starting over in that country. Having all of these productive areas of the world in food production will be pivotal to feeding our growing population.

The Incredible Edible Egg

Crack Wise
Think eggs are unhealthy? The yolk's on you.
By the Editors of Women's Health

Pity the poor egg: It gets cracked, scrambled, and whipped—not to mention unfairly maligned as the villain of the breakfast world. That's because there's a misguided belief that the cholesterol in eggs (found in the yolk) raises the cholesterol levels in your body and puts your ticker at risk.

But good news, frittata fans: Research supporting the health bennies of eggs is piling up. And several studies—including a recent one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found no link in healthy people between eggs and either heart attack or stroke—have debunked the bad-egg myth. Four reasons eggs rock: Read More

Eggs have always been one of nature’s perfect foods because it comes pre-packaged and is very nutrient dense. However it’s image has been on a roller coaster ride, if you depend on the media for your nutrition advice. Once scorned for the negative affects on your health, eggs are again being rightfully recognized for their importance.

Vegetarian Couldn't Heal From Burns

'I am doing the best I can possibly be,' drummer says of recovery.
By Jocelyn Vena

Travis Barker said he's "thankful to be alive" after the plane crash in Columbia, South Carolina, last month that killed four people and seriously injured him and DJ AM. The former Blink-182 drummer opens up about the accident in the new issue of Us Weekly.

"I hate planes," he said. "My biggest fear ever is to be involved in a plane crash, so when that happened ... well, I'm just thankful to be alive! I'm just grateful to be here at all." Barker then choked up a bit, the mag said.

"I am doing the best I can possibly be. I'm so anxious to get out of here," the 32-year-old drummer said. "I was in Georgia at the hospital over there and was scared to death to even get on an airplane again, so I had Shanna and my father come out and meet me and we took a bus back to L.A. I've just been in surgery after surgery. I have third-degree burns basically from my feet up to my waist and both hands. One of my hands has second-degree burns and one has third-degree burns."

One big change that Barker has made since the accident is changing his diet. He's broken with his vegetarian regimen in the interest of helping his recovery. "Because I was a vegetarian, for my first three surgeries, it was hard to get any of my grafts to take to my real skin," he said. "I have such low levels of protein. I need protein from food rather than just protein supplements. I changed my diet. I would do anything I possibly could [to get better]. They said, 'There's a possibility you might heal faster if you do eat meat or just change your eating habits.' So I did. I don't regret it at all, because I feel so much better!"

The change may already be having a positive effect on his recovery. "I just got out of surgery maybe an hour ago," he said. "They took pieces from my back and pieces of skin from my thighs and they grafted them onto my feet, my heels and my right forearm and it actually stuck!"

Read More

Because he was a vegetarian his body wasn’t able to heal itself due to low protein levels. If you are on a diet that doesn’t allow your body to properly heal itself when injured, does that sound healthy to you? A balanced diet that includes meat and dairy products will always be the best.

Pig Wrestling

Farmer Could Be Fined For Pig Mud Wrestling
Richard Sher

It appears a Baltimore County farmer is going to be fined for conducting pig mud wrestling matches.

Richard Sher reports Spring Meadow Farms owner, Stan Dabkowski, received warnings from animal rights groups and the county health department, but went forward with the matches, all of them videotaped by the health department.

Eyewitness News received this message from the Baltimore County Health Department: "There were clear cut examples where the pigs were being mistreated. Citations will be issued accordingly."

"They've got qualified people here, videotaping the pig mud wrestling. All they had to tell me was they felt the pigs were being mistreated and I would have said OK and stopped," said Dabkowski.

He canceled planned pig mud wrestling for the following three Saturdays.

Dabkowski no longer has the pigs. He says he is inviting the entire community to a free pig roast, Saturday, Oct. 18.

"I'm sure people who are opposed to eating animals will be opposed to the roast," said Dabkowski, "but pigs are for eating."

Fines could be levied some time this week. Link

Pig wrestling has probably been going on since pigs and mud first met. At our regional fair for the last couple of years there has been charity pig wrestling where teams compete against each other for their favorite charities. It has been a big hit and has raised a lot of money for various groups in our area.

Having a group claim these pigs were mistreated isn’t surprising, because it’s probably the same people that say raising pigs for food is mistreatment. If pig wrestling is the biggest problem the Baltimore County Health Department has to worry about, they apparently don’t have enough to do.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

EPA Tries Again

EPA To Announce Rules For Penned Animals
Last updated Tuesday, October 7, 2008 12:08 AM CDT in News
By Doug Thompson The Morning News

SILOAM SPRINGS - The federal Environmental Protection agency will propose new rules for "confined animal feeding operations," something it has tried to do and had challenged in court.

"I have confidence that we have the legal authority to do this. I'm also confident we'll be sued," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water quality for the EPA. The new rules should be out this month but could arrive as late as November, he said. Grumbles spoke at a water quality conference organized by U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., and U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla. at John Brown University in Siloam Springs. Read More

Any time the EPA has attempted to make blanket rules for confined feeding operations, they have struggled mightily. Several years ago, one of their proposals to identify if you were a CAFO was if you did or did not have vegetation growing in the area year-round. Those of us that live in the more northern regions of the country know that regardless of if you have any animals in that pen, there is not going to be any vegetation growing in it during the winter months. The EPA soon realized that wouldn’t work so they went back to the drawing board. The point is, trying to make rules for these operations that are applicable and workable in every corner of the country is nearly impossible and should be left up to the states.

Another Newspaper Says No to Prop 2

Farmers would bear the brunt of Proposition 2
Monday, October 6, 2008 The Record Searchlight, Redding, CA

Our view: The initiative would drive farms out of state while doing little for animals.

Now here's a bit of scrambled thinking.

In countering industry assertions that Proposition 2 would raise grocery costs, the measure's proponents argue that its limit on the caging of hens will not raise prices - because after the law shuts down California's largest egg farms, the state will simply import most of its eggs.

In other words, the chickens will be no better off. They'll just be mistreated in Iowa or Arizona instead of in California.

Choosing to eat mindfully is one thing. Driving legitimate businesses out of the state is quite another. The Humane Society says egg production is a tiny fraction of the state's ag sector, but that's little consolation for the egg farmers facing banishment. Read More

Add another to the growing list of newspapers in California that are urging their readers to vote against Prop 2.

HSUS Playing Dirty?

UEP files requests alleging HSUS secretly taped calls


The United Egg Producers (UEP) filed requests today with the district attorneys in Montgomery, Md., and Sacramento County, Cal., alleging that an employee of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) "impersonated an egg industry ally" and illegally taped telephone conversations with a UEP staff member by not advising the staff member that the conversations were being recorded and that HSUS then used the illegally recorded information to support a California political campaign.

UEP's filings maintain that the calls were made from a phone in Maryland, where recording phone calls without permission of all involved parties is illegal, and that the information obtained in the calls then was disclosed to a former HSUS operative in California, where it is illegal to disclose information that's the consequence of illegally recorded phone calls.

The information was used to further the HSUS-led ballot initiative on farm animal housing, known as Proposition 2, or "Prop 2," according to the filings. The former HSUS operative is the spokesperson for the group supporting Prop 2.

Prop 2 would make almost all egg production in California illegal.

HSUS, in a statement, said UEP, which represents almost all U.S. egg producers, was "playing fast and loose with the facts," noting that the information was obtained through unrecorded phone calls and in the organization's own newsletter. Link

HSUS is apparently starting to really feel the heat as the election draws near. Several newspapers in California have come out in opposition to Prop 2 as well as many different organizations across the state. I don’t believe they have ever seen opposition like this before to one of their propositions and, if these allegations are true, it seems to have them a bit flustered.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Learning From Ruminants

Cows may hold secret for efficient ethanol
Professor: Enzyme that helps digestion could be the key
The Associated Press
updated 4:24 p.m. MT, Mon., Oct. 6, 2008

NEW YORK - Researchers attempting to make the production of corn-based ethanol more efficient may not have needed to leave the farm.

During photosynthesis, corn stores nearly half of its potential energy in places other than the corn kernel, such as stalks and leaves.

An enzyme found in a cow's stomach may hold the key to using all of the plant, rather than just the kernel.

Michigan State University professor Mariam Sticklen was curious as to how a cow's stomach quickly broke down corn and other foods high in cellulose — a material that makes cell walls thick — and if it could be replicated outside of a cow. Read More

The importance of rumination in our world is under appreciated and mostly understood by most people. The ability for these animals to convert plant material which is indigestible by humans, and turn it into a useable protein source is an important reason we are able to utilize so many of our natural resources. Now it looks as though ruminants will again assist us in energy production. By identifying how exactly they break down cellulose, we may be able to utilize more plant material for the production of ethanol.

SHAC On Trial

Animal activists in international plot, jury told

Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
The Guardian,
Tuesday October 7 2008

Under the banner of the Animal Liberation Front and with military precision, five activists carried out an international campaign of blackmail for six years against companies and individuals linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences, a court heard yesterday.

The five - leading members of an organisation called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac) - menaced men, women and children in England and Europe. They coordinated a blackmail campaign involving hoax bombs, night visits, criminal damage, nuisance phone calls and letters, and threats of physical violence, Michael Bowes QC, prosecuting, told Winchester crown court.
The tactics were terrifying and intended to create a climate of fear to force a string of firms linked to one of the world's largest animal testing laboratories to sever their ties with HLS, Bowes told the court.

One individual, Stephen Lightfoot, his family and his company were "persistently targeted" over nearly four years. Soiled sanitary towels said to be "infected with the Aids virus" were posted through his letterbox, hoax bombs were left at his home, his car was daubed in red paint with the slogan ALF, false allegations that he was a paedophile were spread among his neighbours and the word "murderer" was painted at the entrance of his village railway station, it was alleged.

Read More

SHAC is an incredibly violent gang of criminals that have no regard for human welfare. They will not only attack property but they will go after you and your family. This type of violence is also employed by groups like Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and has forced the state of California to recently pass a law that provides added protection for researchers and their families.

Livestock's Positive Impact

USB report on economic benefits of livestock industry
Friday, October 3, 2008, 3:44 PM
by Julie Harker

The United Soybean Board has released a study on the positive impact of the livestock industry on the economy. Soybean checkoff funds were used to conduct the 50-state analysis. The USB says the livestock industry is its number one customer. The economic analysis, compiled by Promar International, is based on data from 1997 through 2006.

The “Nationwide Economic Impact of Animal Agriculture” report gives a breakdown of each livestock category and state, with estimated soy consumption of each species by state.

The report says nationwide, the animal ag industry employs more than 3.3 million people. USB says it is the first tool to show all in one place the economic benefits of the livestock industry through tax revenues, employment, earnings and output. View the results online at animal ag dot org. Link

Livestock production has an incredible economic impact on this country and this report is a great reminder of that. Agriculture was the foundation on which this country was built. A society can’t grow or become successful if it can’t feed itself. Not only is agriculture an important part of our economy but also our national security.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Demonstrating Absurdity with Absurdity

Jeff Reinartz: Why is PETA deaf to the cries of vegetables?
10/3/2008 9:25:38 AM

Folks, I can't hold my tongue any longer. I get so frustrated with the wacky antics of those loonies who call themselves People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, that I've come up with my own organization to fight back in the name of meat eaters everywhere.

First of all, let me tell you a little about what these knuckleheads have been up to, in case you haven't been paying attention. Two of their latest intrusions into everybody's business, intended obviously for sheer shock value and to kep their name in the news since they can't possibly be serious, targeted Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and our favorite local meat packer.

They've asked Ben and Jerry's, and this is not a joke, to consider using human breast milk in their ice cream rather than cow's milk, because of the many health benefits it would bring to humans and cows alike. My guess is when they were looking for an ice cream target they started with Ben and Jerry, figuring their cool, hip image would require them to comply with PETA's wishes.

Wrong! In a statement, Ben and Jerry's said, "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."

Translation: "Go eat a salad and leave the rest of us alone, you nut jobs!"

The media, naturally, plays right into their hands, choosing sensationalism over substance as if there's some merit to their actions.

Well, hopefully they'll play along with PEAV too: People for Ethical Action on Vegetables. I at PEAV believe that, like animals, vegetables are living, breathing organisms too and should be treated as such. The difference is they come from seeds rather than eggs, but they grow up out of the earth just like every animal does. Read More

As one of my favorite radio personalities says, the best way to demonstrate absurdity is by being absurd. The author of this article does just that. The idea that we shouldn’t eat vegetables is ridiculous, but equally so is the notion that we shouldn’t eat meat. Most people would agree that 99% of what PETA does is outrageous. The problem is that they have made the Humane Society of the United States look reasonable in comparison and that has given HSUS quite a bit of traction.

Producers Were in Compliance

File Review Clears Farmers’ Names
Submitted by Editor on Fri, 10/03/2008 - 1:11pm.

Issues Still Found With DEP Records
Chris Torres Staff Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. — David Zimmerman thinks he can rest a bit easier, now that his former dairy farm has been cleared from a recent report on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Lancaster County.

That was after an in-depth inspection of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) files Monday.

An editor and a reporter from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, as well as an attorney from PennFuture and Zimmerman, whose former dairy farm, Meadowview Farms LLC in Reinholds, appeared in PennFuture’s “Sick Susquehanna” report, took part in the inspection of CAFO files at the department’s southcentral regional office.

Lancaster Farming did a follow-up in which the farmers disputed the report, claiming their information was up to date and was submitted to state officials.

The review Monday cleared the names of David Zimmerman and Richard Rutt, whose information was in different files than were given to Snell-Zarcone when she did her review.

Read More

One week ago I shared with you the article that criticized a few specific producers and the Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection because these producer’s CAFO files were allegedly no up to date. After several complaints, the newspaper that published the story agreed to do it’s own research on the issue and found that most of the operations in questions did in fact have their paperwork current. Obviously when groups go digging into producer’s files, they will be looking for anything they can make into a headline. Not giving them the opportunity to trash agriculture in the media is our job.

Former SC Official Favors Coal Plant

Sierra Club blasts ex-official over coal plant ad

The Sierra Club is blasting one of its former officials for using its name in an ad supporting a proposed coal-fired power plant in Wisconsin.

Brett Hulsey appears in the Alliant Energy radio ad as part of the company's push to convince regulators to approve the $1.3 billion plant in Cassville. He notes he's the Sierra Club's former Midwest representative.

The Sierra Club opposes the project, saying it would cause too much pollution. The group says the ad is an attempt to confuse the public into thinking it will be good for the environment.

Hulsey admits he's been a paid consultant for Alliant for two years, but says he supports the plant because it will generate up to 20 percent of its energy from burning biomass.

Hulsey says the Sierra Club is being unreasonable in opposing the project. Link

Even a former Sierra Club official admits that the group is being unreasonable when it comes to generating electricity from coal. Our electrical needs have to come from somewhere, and while the Sierra Club has a laundry list of where it shouldn’t come from, a list of ways we should generate it seems hard to come by.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Missouri Agriculture Families Defending Livelihood

DNR asking circuit judge to reconsider CAFO ruling w/ motions to stay and vacate, and related court documents
September 30, 2008 08:25 pm— By Wally Kennedy

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is asking Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce to reconsider her decision to prohibit construction of concentrated animal feeding operations within 15 miles of Missouri’s state parks and historic sites.

The department, using law firms in Jefferson City and Columbia, has filed several motions in seeking relief from the court.

The department has filed a motion for a stay of the judgment. If that motion is denied, the department filed alternative motions to vacate the judgment or dismiss the case, to vacate the judgment and reopen the case, to grant a new trial, or to correct, amend or modify the judgment.

The Missouri Farm Bureau Federation has filed a motion to intervene, according to the court docket. Read More

This case could have some very significant ramifications on farming and ranching families if it is allowed to stand. There is concern that this ruling could mean that there can be no feeding operations within 15 miles of any state park or historical site in the state. The judges ruling also had other items in it that need to be addressed. Judicial activism is definitely a problem in this country and hopefully farming and ranching families will not be one of it’s latest victims.

Fighting Back

Electric co-op sues Sierra Club for trying to stop coal-fired generators

10/1/2008 10:00 AM
By Michelle Massey, Texarkana Bureau

MARSHALL - The East Texas Electric Cooperative claims the actions of the Sierra Club to stop the co-op from constructing coal-fired generators will only result in higher electric bills for rural customers, according to a recent lawsuit.

The ETEC is a not-for-profit rural electric cooperative that provides the generation and transmission of electric services to rural customers in East Texas and Louisiana. ETEC provides electricity to the Sam Rayburn G&T Electric Cooperative, Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas Inc. and Northeast Texas Electric Cooperatives.

The co-op participates in a government program enacted by the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, which guarantees government loans to bring electricity to rural Americans. ETEC uses the money for construction and expansion of electric generation facilities, distribution lines and other physical structures necessary to generate and carry electricity. Read More

I have shared other stories about the Sierra Clubs’s goal of stopping all new development of coal fired plants. What you get from the Sierra Club in return is higher electricity costs, which make it especially tough on our rural electric co-ops. However, the Sierra Club finds themselves on the other side of a coal related lawsuit this time. Electricity is something that none of us would look forward to not having. But, if we do not build new generation plants, they will not be able to keep up with demand.

Speaking Up for Ag

Animal Agriculture: Are We At The Tipping Point?

Animal agriculture may be at the tipping point that could send it from social license to social control, Charlie Arnot, president of CMA Consulting, LLC, a Kansas City, Mo.-based consulting firm that manages the Center for Food Integrity, told attendees of the 41st Annual Conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners last week.

Producing food for the vast majority not involved in food production is a noble pursuit, he says. But if we do not retain and broaden consumer trust in what we do, we will lose that social license and will be faced with increasing regulation and scrutiny, he cautions. Read More

It may seem like you hear over and over again from me how important it is to talk to consumers and educate them about what we do in agriculture. But I only keep repeating myself because it is essential that everyone do it. Our ag organizations can only do so much, the media is going to do very little if anything to promote us, and the anti-ag groups are obviously not on our side. So, that leaves us as producers to take the bull by the horns and get out there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Judge Finally Rules on Poultry Litter

Judge denies halt on poultry waste
By Jim Stafford Business Writer

The state of Oklahoma's bid for an injunction to halt the spread of poultry manure inside the Illinois River Watershed has been denied by a federal judge in Tulsa.

Judge Gregory K. Frizzell of the Northern District of Oklahoma, issued a ruling Monday that the state had not met its burden of proof that bacteria in the waters of the Northeastern Oklahoma watershed are caused by the application of poultry litter rather than by other sources.

"The evidence produced to this Court reflects that fecal bacteria in the waters of the IRW come from a number of sources, including cattle, manure and human waste from growing number of human septic systems in that area's karst topography,” Frizzell wrote in the conclusion of a 10-page ruling. Read More

This case was originally brought to court in February of this year and the judge has finally issued his ruling to continue allowing farmers in this area to use poultry litter as fertilizer. Oklahoma’s Attorney General seems to have it out for poultry farmers as he is pursuing other lawsuits against poultry producers, but for now he has still been unsuccessful.

No on Prop 2

Why Prop. 2 is a bad idea for agriculture
Sep 29, 2008

For those of us who don't make a living in agriculture, there is something emotionally appealing about Proposition 2's attempt to instill more humane farm practices in California.

The measure, promoted by the national Humane Society, would prohibit the confinement of a farm animal for a majority of the day in a way that prevented it from "lying down, standing up and fully extending his or her limbs" and "turning around freely."

There is no question about the main target of the measure. It is the poultry industry and its practice of stacking egg-laying hens in cramped cages.

Supporters of Proposition 2 would like to cast it as a battle between the good guys battling farm cruelty and the bad guys defending agribusiness profit. The reality, however, is significantly more complicated. Read More

People in California, including several newspapers like this one from Hollister, CA, are starting to realize the consequences that Prop 2 could have on the production of eggs. As I shared with you last week, even cage free producers are worried that it could affect their businesses. The fact of the matter is this is another attempt by HSUS to gradually eliminate animal agriculture in this country.