Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anti's Attack Advocates for Ag

I'm trying not to chuckle as I type this. If you read yesterday's blog posts, you saw that I shared a story about the American Indian Tribes voting to support domestic horse processing. It has become an issue for them and they have gotten involved to make their voice heard. Apparently the mere fact that I shared this with you has made me the target of an emotionally driven, over-zealous crowd of people that disagree.
Thomas Lee Trevino from Illinois, along with a few others, took it upon themselves to lead an attack on me yesterday for posting my opinion on the subject. Apparently it's ok for him to do so, but not for people that disagree with him.

Rather than talk about the issue, the folks on this forum have decided to attack me personally. For starters, they began by linking my integrity to the quality of my website. Then they started to attack the sponsor of an event that we talke at three years ago. This was the first time that Stacy and I had ever presented in this fashion. It was a 25 minute talk that focused on teaching farmers and ranchers how and why it's important that people know where their food comes from. Never once did we talk about the issue of horse processing at that meeting.

They also don't appreciate it when I expose HSUS and PETA for what they are doing. Along with that they claim that I am anti-organic, that I have launched a negative PR campaign against the movie Food Inc, and care more about money than the health of the American public. I'm not anti-organic, but I have tried to educate people that this method of production isn't a viable way to feed and clothe 9 billion people. If people want to raise and buy organic products, I don't have a problem with that.

The fun doesn't end there though. As with most people that lack a good argument, they resort to name calling in order to make themselves feel better. Mr. Trevino says that I am a circus act and that anyone that would listen to me is also probably a member of the Jeffrey Dahmer fan club. He continues by claiming that I once told him I was from Montana and had that listed on our website, but have since changed our story and now claim to be from South Dakota. This "lie", he claims also shows my integrity. Mr. Trevino, I have never claimed to be from Montana. I am proud to say that I was born in South Dakota, went to school here and have lived my entire life in this great state. I don't recall ever having a conversation with this man, and besides that, what would I have to gain by claiming I was from Montana?

To wrap it up (so far) he goes on to suggest that I am probably cheating on my taxes and hopes that someday he can hit me in the gut without me seeing it coming. In order to do this, he suggests that everyone study me, learn my patterns and then expose my tactics.

Here's the good news. We are all lucky to live in a country that we can talk like this. There are many people in this world that don't have that luxury. I think it's also a telling insight into the mentality of these folks that would like to outlaw horse processing, at least some of them. If they would like to discuss the issue more, I am happy to do that. But it appears they would rather claim to know what I say when I present to groups and call me an evil liar. It's unfortunate that Mr. Trevino and the others would rather make up stuff about me than discuss this important matter. If you'd like to know more about me, you could just ask.

I'm a rancher with an opinion. I'm sorry that offends you.
UPDATE: Sometime this afternoon, Mr. Trevino decided to delete his original post where he stated that he wanted to punch me when I wouldn't see it coming. I doubt he had a sudden change of heart, but it's been deleted nonetheless. So in case you haven't seen it, here is the orginal post.
Tommy Lee (Trevino17)
With BIG mouths and anyone ignorant enough to listen and believe them.

Speakers like Troy and his Wife.. Hit the road flapping there lips to people who think these people really care. Please review and get familiar with there website and the actions we must counteract. You will see just how much they charge for there mouths to flap..

The have also increase there blogs to welcome horse plants.

While spreading the same lies that the Dover article that was recently printed.


Theres no need to contact them because there minds are made up.. They are all on a mission to support horse slaughter what ever the cost..

The best thing for us to do is monitor and learn there patterns to counteract and expose there tactics.

Im cutting my own foot here, but also to expose the subs and tax breaks they get in Ag.

livestock property breaks, Tractor licenses, Taxes, Titles, Insurance for road usage, CRP spendings etc. I have a ton load of uncollected taxes we can hurt the Ag and Farm Bureau..

I know there are spies on here but only release this to people you trust.

I would love to hit them in the Gut.. and them not see it coming..

Reckless Promotion of Veganism

Animal Rights Prof Says No Way to Consume Meat in Humane Way
By Gary L. Francione , Rutgers University School of Law - June 28, 2009

I never fail to be amazed when I hear people—including well-known promoters of animal welfare—claim quite remarkably that animals do not have an interest in continued life; they just have an interest in not suffering. They do not care that we use them; they care only about how we use them.

As long as they have a reasonably painless life and a relatively painless death, they do not care if we consume them or products made from them. I have discussed this issue in a number of essays on this site (see, e.g., 1; 2; 3) and in my books and articles. It will be a central topic in my forthcoming book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?, which I have co-authored with Professor Robert Garner and that will be published by Columbia University Press this fall.

On our video page, we have two videos from slaughterhouses. A significant number of visitors have viewed these videos and have written to us about them, particularly the video that does not show any slaughter. That video has obviously made an impact on many people and so I wanted to highlight it in a blog post. Read More

Recklessly promoting veganism as the only way to eat is foolish and dangerous. We could not sustain human life at it’s current levels, let alone with projected growth, if everyone switched to a vegan diet. Not only that, but it’s irresponsible to promote a diet that doesn’t include meat and dairy products. A balanced diet which contains food from all food groups is important for good health.

Florez Proposal Bad for Ag and Consumers

Fresh produce industry opposes California senator’s threat to cut California agriculture department
Published on 06/29/2009 11:59am By Don Schrack

In the wake of a June 16 Senate Food and Agriculture hearing — chaired by California state senator Dean Florez — the list of grower-shippers displeased with the senator appears to be growing. The hearing focused on the senator’s proposal to consolidate or eliminate the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

“It would make absolutely no sense to destroy the agency that oversees diseases — everything from cow pox to anthrax, from the West Nile virus to some of the most dangerous pests that can destroy agriculture and our landscape,” said Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League. “Who does he represent? What constituency?”

The proposal is designed to provide a more streamlined, more efficient government entity, Florez said, and to reduce the cost of the department for taxpayers. His proposal includes — among other things — moving oversight of fertilizer, chemical and pest control to the Department of Pesticide Regulation, giving the tasks of health and animal inspection to other agencies and eliminating the department’s marketing efforts by converting to private, non-profit corporations the state’s roughly four dozen marketing commissions.

“By breaking up CDFA, it certainly doesn’t look as if it would increase efficiencies,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Grape & Tree Fruit League, Fresno. “You’d probably be going the other direction, and I doubt it would save money.”

California taxpayers foot the bill for less than 30% of the agency’s budget, said Mike Jarvis, the department’s deputy secretary of public affairs. State tax dollars in the agency’s budget amount to $3.67 for each California resident, he said, but combined grower fees and federal funds in the budget make up more than $15 per resident.

”The problem is there’s an assumption that if you just move things, it’s going to be cheaper, and it doesn’t work that way,” Jarvis said. Read More

It’s interesting that many times politicians feel that departments of agriculture are expendable. They apparently think they will appear to be some sort of fiscal hero by eliminating an entire department. However, to me it is a sign of complete ignorance as to the importance of our food supply. Anyone who is willing to risk the safety and dependability of our country’s food supply should first go hungry and naked for a few days to see how they like it.

Heat Takes Toll on Livestock

6/29/2009 2:09:00 PM
Nearly 2,000 Nebraska Cattle Died In Last Week's Heat

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - State officials say nearly 2,000 cattle died last week as Nebraska's temperatures and humidity soared.

The Farm Service Agency's Tim Reimer said Monday that at least 1,800 cattle deaths had been reported in seven counties. That total could grow as all of Nebraska's 93 counties check in.

Once all reports are in, the FSA will likely issue a disaster declaration that will allow cattle producers in affected counties to obtain low-interest loans. Before the heat struck, many livestock producers were already struggling with high feed costs.

Most of the dead cattle were reported in east-central Nebraska. Reimer says some producers took substantial financial hits because of the deaths. Mature cattle nearing slaughter are worth roughly $1,000 apiece. Link

Miserable hot, humid weather was responsible for the growing number of cattle deaths in Nebraska last week. Producers do everything they can to protect their livestock from the weather, but in the end there is only so much that can be done. Mother Nature can be cruel, as evidenced by the blizzards we fought just a couple months ago in the Dakota’s that caused the deaths of thousands of head of livestock. These are harsh reminders that of who is really in charge.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Reality of Local Food

A bitter reality
Choose local food for the taste? Sure. But if you’re convinced you’re saving the world, think again.
By Tom Keane
June 28, 2009

“Local food’’ is all the rage, touted by adherents as offering better food, an environmentally responsible lifestyle, and self-sufficient communities. The first of those claims is sometimes true. Local tomatoes and corn may well taste better than those from afar. Beyond that, though, the local food movement is an affectation based on bad logic and bad economics, one that, widely adopted, would actually harm the environment and potentially impoverish millions. Particularly here in New England, it would also turn mealtimes into dull, pallid affairs.

Luckily, chances are slim that most of us will become ardent “locavores” (the most extreme of whom will eat only foods sourced within 100 miles of their homes). We like bananas and pineapples, want fresh vegetables year round, and enjoy olive oil and balsamic vinegar on our salads. Principles have their limits, and even as we might pay homage to the wonders of local foods, most of us are not about to give up those or the myriad other things we eat and drink that have to travel a distance.

And that’s not a problem, because local food is not greener food. Locavores’ green claims rest on the seemingly obvious assumption that transporting foods a long distance is environmentally taxing. But, in fact, shipping is a small portion of the total carbon footprint of any foodstuff, averaging just 4 percent, according to a 2008 Carnegie Mellon University analysis. It’s the production of the food itself that is far more damaging, and it’s here that the mega-farms some decry have an edge. They produce more with fewer people, can effectively use machinery, are located in places where conditions are ideal for growing, and have the skills and know-how to maximize food production per acre. That’s the reason local tomatoes are so much more expensive than those shipped from California and Florida: They are more resource-intensive to produce. Read More

The local food movement has benefitted mostly from the romanticized idea rather than reality. This article does a fantastic job of exposing the consequences of the movement. There are so many people that refuse to look at the big picture when it comes to producing food. All food is local to someone and not all food can be raised everywhere. The local food movement, if taken fully to fruition, could very well wipe out rural America. Due to consumer’s misunderstandings, more harm than good can occur. There are benefits and drawbacks to every type of production system.

Chambliss Blocks Animal Rights Extremist Susntein

Chambliss blocks regulatory pick over animal lawsuits
By Alexander Bolton
Posted: 06/28/09

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) has blocked President Obama’s candidate for regulation czar, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, because Sunstein has argued that animals should have the right to sue humans in court.

Obama has picked Sunstein, his adviser and longtime friend, to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an office that has power to review and assess all draft regulations proposed within the administration.

But Chambliss worries that Sunstein’s innovative legal views may someday lead to a farmer having to defend himself in court against a lawsuit filed on behalf of his chickens or pigs.

Chambliss told The Hill that he has blocked Sunstein’s nomination because the law professor “has said that animals ought to have the right to sue folks.”

Indeed, in his 2004 book, Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, Sunstein wrote: “I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law.” Read More

Here is an update on the Cass Sunstein nomination for regulatory czar. As is noted in the article, he has said some pretty incredible stuff which gives us some insight on his views over animal rights. This is a pretty powerful position that he has nominated for and it’s important that we not have someone in there that will be more concerned over how to get the use of animals in our society stopped.

Developers Try Pushing Ag Out in SD

Zoning commission considers livestock ordinance
By Tim Velder, Lawrence County Journal staff

DEADWOOD, SD -- The Lawrence County Planning and Zoning Commission went back to the drawing board after a January proposal to regulate livestock operations in the county was deemed unsuitable.

The new document has some changes from a January version that was pulled by the Planning & Zoning Commission. It includes a new chapter regulating concentrated animal feeding operations.

Planning and Zoning Commission chairman Rick Tysdal of Spearfish said the new version is a conglomeration of other similar ordinances taken from South Dakota counties that have large numbers of feedlots.

Tysdal said there is no language in the draft ordinance allowing for existing operations to be "grandfathered in." However, the county recognizes that the ordinance would create a new class of nonconforming properties. Those existing operations are not in the county's crosshairs, Tysdal said.

Eric Jennings is a member of the citizen committee that met regularly with the zoning officials this spring. He said the proposal will not be popular.

"I can't believe there is going to be a lot of people in favor of it," he said. "It affects a whole lot of people with only one horse." Read More

Many times it’s easy to feel insulated from some of the challenges that animal agriculture faces when you live in a rural area. Unfortunately the insulation is beginning to wear thin as evidenced by this draconian zoning ordinance. This winter a group of local ranchers worked together to develop a zoning ordinance that would mutually protect agriculture and the growth of housing developments in the county. That however wasn’t good enough for the planning and zoning commission which is entirely made up of real estate agents and land developers. They have made it quite clear that they wish to usher the families that farm and ranch in their county out the door. Tonight at St. Onge Livestock, a meeting will be held for all concerned landowners. If you own one head of livestock you will be affected. So come join us to find out how you can help.

More Support for Processing

American Indians support horse slaughter
By Drovers news source Friday, June 26, 2009

Katherine Minthorn Good Luck, representative of the National Tribal Horse Coalition on the United Organizations of the Horse's Founding Leadership Team, reports that the National Congress of American Indians has passed a resolution expressing the tribes' views in regards to federal interference with their ability to sustainably manage horses on tribal lands, and supporting the reopening of US processing facilities.

Tribes in at least four states-Oregon, Montana, North and South Dakota-are working to establish humane processing facilities on tribal lands to provide an economic boost, jobs, and a much-needed valuable use for excess horses on tribal lands, and as a service to all horse owners. This resolution was passed at their Mid Year Conference in Niagara Falls, NY, June 14-17. Link

Many tribes in this country have vast tracts of land and bands of horses that they manage. Their ability, along with everyone else’s, to properly and responsibly manage both of these resources has been threatened by the closure of our domestic horse processing facilities. Horses are only one part of a greater ecosystem. Especially in the case of feral horses, we can’t allow them to run uncontrolled. Let’s utilize this resource rather than waste it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Anti-Ag Article in WaPo

For the Farm Lobby, Too Much Is Never Enough
By Steven Pearlstein
Friday, June 26, 2009

With the possible exception of the ski industry, it's hard to think of any sector of the economy that will be hit harder by global warming than agriculture. A report out last week from scientists at 13 government agencies found that climate change is happening more quickly than we thought and that by the end of the century, many farmers will face scorching summer weather, severe storms, prolonged drought and swarms of new insects.

Given those prospects, you might expect the farm lobby to be in the vanguard of those pushing for enactment of legislation to cap the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. But that wouldn't be Elmer, would it? True to form, he has demanded another boost in his already lavish government subsidies before he'll even consider doing something about global warming.

Because they are the source of most carbon emissions, factories, power plants and oil refineries would all be covered by the caps and be required to buy the permits, or allowances, as they are called. The one major source that is not covered is the American farm. From the start, everyone agreed that it would be an administrative nightmare to try to measure and regulate the amount of carbon produced on each farm. Given the power of the farm lobby, everyone agreed that it was also a political non-starter.

The next time the world's most selfish lobby comes to Washington demanding drought relief, someone ought to have the good sense to tell them to go pound sand. Read More

Pearlstein is upset because some people were concerned how the climate change bill would affect our ability to produce food and fiber in this country. While it seems like a reasonable thing to me that we should protect our domestic food supply, apparently those that believe food comes from the grocery store can’t make that connection. He wants us to blindly support a bill that attempts to fix an unproven problem with an unproven solution. All the while costing consumers untold billions of dollars. Here’s my suggestion to Mr. Pearlstein. If you don’t’ like American agriculture, don’t support us by buying and using our end product, food and fiber. The next time you are hungry, go eat sand.

Ag Needs Activists

Thursday, June 25, 2009
(I hope) there’s an ag activist in all of us
by Susan Crowell

My friend Callie and her husband, Sam, never thought they’d be on first-name basis with folks at the Ohio EPA. But they and their neighbors also never thought they’d be battling a poorly managed construction debris landfill sited on a former strip-mining operation near their farms and homes.

Their multi-year fight counts as a win for the little guy, as nuisance odors and numerous operating violations finally caused the director of the Ohio EPA to deny the landfill an operating permit, effectively closing the facility.

“I never thought I’d become an activist,” Callie told me, “but when something hits close to home …”

I thought of Callie this week as we learned the Ohio legislature will be deciding whether or not to put an initiative on the November ballot, amending the Ohio Constitution to create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.(Update, the Ohio House approved the resolution June 24 by a vote of 84-13.)

As I’ve written before, I want to be very clear: Responsible animal care is essential to the success of any livestock farm. Irresponsible care and abuse should not be tolerated within the ag community. But, as I’ve also written before, the goal of HSUS is not responsible livestock care. “… the reduction of meat consumption is one of the best things we can do for the planet… ” Pacelle wrote in his blog June 19. Read More

My twitter friend Susan Crowell makes a great point here that I have also tried to share with you. Just because a proposal from a Washington DC based animal rights lobbying group sounds good on the surface, that doesn’t mean the welfare of the livestock in question will be improved. While HSUS’s confinement bans may make an uninformed consumer feel better, the truth of the matter is that it might not make the animal more comfortable. These decisions should be made by a group of professionals that represent a variety of interests from their own state so that the best outcome can be achieved. That’s exactly what Ohio has decided to and they deserve our support.

PETA Upsetting Nursing Home Residents

PETA: Remove chicken from nursing home menu
By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian

POLSON, MT - It was a tale of two Thursdays for Debbie Siegfried, executive director at the Polson Health and Rehabilitation Center.

June 18 was a pleasant one. Several residents at the nursing home enjoyed a visit from Alex, a “therapy chicken,” and Carlita, a “therapy Cornish game hen” owned by Jana Clairmont.

June 25, on the other hand, didn't go so well.

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, announced Thursday it was requesting that Siegfried scratch chicken from the facility's menu, citing cramped and filthy living conditions on chicken farms and painful slaughterhouse deaths. It offered to provide the center with a supply of a mock-chicken product in its place.

“My phone has been screaming off the hook all day long,” Siegfried said. “It's been a horrible day. It's like I did something wrong by having therapy birds in to visit our residents.”

But Siegfried said it's not her menu, it belongs to the residents - many of whom grew up on or ran Montana farms and ranches.

“You want me to tell an 80-year-old Montana rancher all he can have now is a fake mock-chicken soy product?” she said. “This is these people's home, and if they want to eat chicken, beef, ravioli or fish, it's their right.” Read More

PETA shows us time and again that they value animals more than they do human life. For them to advocate a diet that would leave out a food group, and eat an unbalanced diet shows their disregard for the people that live at this center. Many animals can serve a dual purpose for people. In this case chickens can be pets and also provide a meal for us. In the real world, that is the way things work, just the way Mother Nature intended.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

OH Senate Approves Care Board

BREAKING NEWS: The Ohio Senate has unanimously approved the livestock care board resolution, 32-0. This is the first time HSUS has been so overwhelmingly rejected in the political arena. Stay tuned for more details.

OH House Approves Care Board

House approves ballot issue on livestock treatment

COLUMBUS - Despite arguments it was moving too quickly, the Ohio House yesterday overwhelmingly approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would beat a Washington animal-rights group to the punch in addressing livestock confinement conditions.

The Senate is expected to act on a separate but identical resolution today, virtually assuring that the question will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Sen. Bob Gibbs (R., Lakeville), sponsor of the Senate resolution, said lawmakers had to "take the bull by the horns" to address the issue before the Humane Society of the United States could put its own issue on the ballot.

"Ohio consumers can be assured that Ohio agriculture will not tolerate those farms that are not willing to follow commonly accepted best management practices," he said.

"It's not often that the agricultural community requests additional regulation over the way we conduct our businesses," said Mark Watchman, a Napoleon farmer and president of the Ohio Wheat Growers Association.

"So it should be obvious to this [Senate Agriculture] committee, the Ohio Senate, and Ohio consumers that agriculture is confident in the way we raise livestock, and we invite this board of Ohio experts to be the check and balance on behalf of Ohio consumers," he said. Read More

Ohio’s House of Representative thumbed their collective noses at the Washington DC based animal rights group Humane Society of the United States. This was no doubt one of the worst public and embarrassing losses the HSUS has endured with Wayne Pacelle as CEO. Originally scheduled for an interview on Agri-Talk yesterday, Pacelle re-scheduled so that he could personally tend to the situation in Ohio. Pacelle’s bullying tactics backfired in the more ag-friendly state of Ohio, and at least for a day, forced him to put his tale between his legs.

EPA to Visit a Farm

Family Farm Visit for EPA Officials
Grassley's invitation to see a working farm accepted.
Farm Futures Staff

Upon learning the person leading the division writing indirect land use guidelines had never set foot on a farm Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, invited Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, the Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Regina McCarthy and the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Director Margo Oge to visit a family farm in Iowa.

Now Grassley has received word that McCarthy and Oge have accepted the invitation and will travel to Iowa in September.

"I appreciate the administration's willingness to visit and see first hand the impact their agency has on farmers and agriculture," Grassley said. "The idea is to acquaint them for the first time with American agriculture. Because they are making so many decisions affecting agriculture, they ought to see first hand how a family farm operates."

While the agenda is still in the works Grassley says the EPA officials will be in the Des Moines area and will visit a family farm and a biorefinery. Grassley has said he's hopeful the visitors will see the reality of how nature fits into a farming operation. Link

Sen. Grassley’s invitation to three top EPA officials has been accepted. Grassley questioned the effectiveness of the EPA trying to write indirect land use regulations when most of them have never even been on a farm. This is really one of the root causes of many of the issues facing agriculture today. Too many people think they understand it because their grandparents had a farm or they have read a book about it. In order to understand what happens at the farm level, you need to set foot on one and get your hands dirty. Until you have done so, you cannot begin to understand food production.

Ancient Food Storage and GM Crops

Ancient Food Storage Began Well Before Farming
Monday, June 22, 2009

WASHINGTON — People were storing grain long before they learned to domesticate crops, a new study indicates.

A structure used as a food granary discovered in recent excavations in Jordan dates to about 11,300 years ago, according to a report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That's as much as a thousand years before people in the Middle East domesticated grain, the research team led by anthropologist Ian Kuijt of the University of Notre Dame said.

Remains of wild barley were found in the structure, indicating that the grain was collected and saved even though formal cultivation had not yet developed.

The granary was between two other structures used for grain processing and residences, discovered in excavations at Dhra', near the Dead Sea. The granary was round with walls of stone and mud. The researchers said it had a raised floor for air circulation and protection from rodents. Read More

I really think that most people believe the crops that are planted today have always been around. The fact is that humans have been genetically modifying crops and livestock for thousands of years. Most of them share very little resemblance to today’s varieties. Modifying the genetic code of plants and animals didn’t hurt humans, rather it allowed them to enjoy more reliable food sources. That very same thing is happening today. Technology is allowing us to do it faster and more efficiently than 10,000 years ago, but the principle is the same.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michigan's Animal Care Plan

Legislation to set gold standard in animal care
Shannon Linderoth Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A bipartisan package of bills has been introduced into the Michigan legislature regarding the care of meat and dairy animals and egg-laying hens on Michigan farms. The move is designed to set a “gold standard” of farm animal care and respond to consumer interest about food origins and safety.

“With the recent problems with food preparation in other areas of the country, Michigan consumers deserve to know that what's on their plate is of only the best quality,” says Mike Simpson, chair of the House Agriculture Committee.

The plan will:

Establish that the Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Commission is the sole authority in the regulation of livestock health and welfare.

Implement science-based standards for animal care that farmers must implement by 2020.

Create an Animal Care Advisory Council that will make recommendations for changes to existing standards.

Create a third-party auditing system to oversee the program. Read More

Michigan is another state that has been the target of animal rights groups. Rather than caving to the threats of these groups, Michigan has decided to be pro-active by establishing what they call the “gold standard” of animal welfare. Of course the animal rights groups, like HSUS, are quite upset over this because they aren’t getting their way. They want to dictate their agenda to society not work with them.

Miss America Has Milk Mustache

Miss America Promoting Indiana Farmers
by Gary Truitt

The American Dairy Association of Indiana has announced their new spokesperson: Miss America. She will now be able to represent the Hoosier dairy industry to a worldwide audience. Katie Stam is the first Hoosier to be crowned Miss America and now the first Miss America to also be a spokesman for the ADA of IN.

Stam told HAT that representing the dairy industry will come naturally since she grew up in a dairy farm family in Indiana, “As one of 4 children my job was to help take care of the baby dairy cows and help our in the milking parlor.” She will now be able to take her story of to the whole world, “It is my story; I can talk about my family’s lifestyle and how I was raised.” In 4-H, Stam had experience showing dairy cattle at the Jackson County fair, is not afraid to talk about animal care, and is eager to tell consumers about how dairy farmers treat their dairy cows, “For a farmer, his cows or his crops is his livelihood. It is the way we make a living so, of course we are going to take good care of our animals.” Stam said dairy farmers live on or near the land that their families farm and they understand the importance of protecting the natural resources.

This extremely articulate and intelligent young woman will serve as a role model for many young people and has a strong message about dairy products and the role they play in a daily diet, “Not only are dairy products a great source of calcium but 12 other important nutrients.” She also stressed that dairy products taste great. Her day begings with dairy, “I could not start the day without a good breakfast of bacon, eggs, and fruit and, of course, milk.” She said that after her daily exercise routine she enjoys a glass of chocolate milk.

Stam was in Indianapolis this week participating in a photo and video shoot. From this, advertising messages will be produced and used by the American Dairy Association of Indiana, to educate consumers about dairy. Deb Osza, General Manager of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana, said, “Katie is a wonderful role model for girls and people of all ages, and we are confident she will set a good example to remind us to drink milk every single day.” Link

It’s refreshing to say the least when we see someone like Katie Stam achieve so much success and not forget her rural farming roots. Congratulations to her for representing the dairy industry. Not only is she supporting American agriculture, but she also is supporting good nutrition for children.

Cyber Story Telling

Producers, processors losing online food news battle to interest groups
By Rita Jane Gabbett on 6/24/2009

When consumers go online for information about the production practices that put meat on their tables, they are more likely to see the kind of one-sided content featured in the documentary "Food, Inc." than content reflecting the views of conventional producers or major food brands, according to new research from online marketing firm v-Fluence Interactive.

"Our research showed very few conventional producer groups or well-known food brands have a presence in the content that most frequently showed up when consumers search on these food production topics," Randy Krotz, senior vice president and head of v-Fluence's Food and Agriculture practice, said in a news release. "And when they do, it's more likely because organic competitors or animal rights advocates are talking about them in a critical manner.

For example, the research showed 70 percent of the content consumers are likely to see when they search for information about beef production comes from producers of organic or grass-fed beef, rather than from conventional producers. That content is typically biased toward organic or grass-fed methods, suggesting they are safer alternatives to beef from traditionally raised cattle.

Meanwhile, little content accurately representing conventional animal production or the brands under which it is sold appears to balance these critical claims, according to v-Fluence.

The research also showed 60 percent of the information consumers see when searching for poultry and egg production topics is from promoters of free-range and organic chicken. About 30 percent of the visible and influential content found online comes from advocacy groups such as United Poultry Concerns.

The research showed little content from conventional poultry producers or well-known brands in this online environment, aside from some references to Tyson and Perdue Farms crediting their efforts to reduce antibiotics in chicken. Other key findings

Content critical of large-scale producers of beef and poultry appears when consumers specifically search for animal welfare topics. The content includes references to the treatment of animals and workers at slaughtering and packing facilities and comes from advocacy groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The v-Fluence study found little visible content from the companies themselves or groups representing conventional producers effectively addressing such criticisms online.

Consumers associate some large food producers and brands with animal welfare and well-being more than others when they search. The study's analysis of consumers' most frequently used search terms showed they link meat supplier Cargill and Tyson to these topics more than other brands via search terms like "Cargill animal welfare" and "Tyson free-range chickens."

Consumers also appear more likely to search for advocacy groups, such as the Animal Welfare League, Animal Welfare Society and Animal Welfare Institute, more frequently than food production companies, producer groups and individual brands when they are interested in animal welfare and well-being topics.

"In addition to omitting important voices that consumers should hear when they search on these topics, this landscape creates an uphill battle for producers and brands that seek to promote more animal-friendly production techniques as part of their sustainability and corporate reputation initiatives," Krotz warned. Link

You hear me say it all the time, but maybe you are wondering why farmers and ranchers need to be actively engaged in promoting ag. It’s because there are som many other people out there telling your story for you. Chances are that you won’t appreciate what they are saying. The strategy of sitting back and figuring that consumers will just ignore what the other side is saying in favor of not hearing anything from us will not work. We need to be explaining who we are, where we live and why we are passionate about agriculture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OH's Proposed Livestock Care Board

Proposed farm animal care board under fire
By Ben Sutherly Staff Writer
12:49 AM Tuesday, June 23, 2009

COLUMBUS — A proposed state board charged with developing and enforcing guidelines for livestock and poultry care would thwart meaningful reform in the housing of farm animals, the Humane Society of the United States said on Monday, June 22.

But Gov. Ted Strickland, legislators from both parties and representatives of animal agriculture support a state constitutional amendment that would create a 13-member Livestock Care Standards Board. Joint resolutions proposed late last week in the House and Senate, if passed, would put the amendment before voters Nov. 3.

“This is a constitutional power grab on behalf of big agribusiness,” said Paul Shapiro of HSUS. “This is creating an industry-dominated council that will certainly codify standard inhumane practices on factory farms.”

The council would include three “family farmers,” two veterinarians, a food safety expert, a representative of a local humane society, two members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college, and two members representing Ohio consumers. The director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture would serve ex officio as a 13th member.

Read More

After complaining that Ohio’s farmers and ranchers wouldn’t sit down at the table with them to discuss livestock production methods, the Humane Society of the United States is now livid over the idea that Ohio may form a board to discuss that very thing. In fact they are so upset that yesterday they made a point that they would spend $10 million to ensure that this board never meets and they still get their way of forcing farmers to use non-confinement systems. If the HSUS was truly concerned about having a conversation with the citizens of Ohio, they would have been thrilled with this idea. The problem is that this doesn’t fit with their goals of ending animal agriculture and creating a vegan society. The worst tragedy is that if they accomplish their goals, it will be at the expense of livestock. Many of the things they promote for livestock may actually be detrimental to their comfort and well-being.

American Agriculture

US Agriculture Can Feed The World
By J. Scott Angle, UGA Jun 23, 2009

It is crystal clear that rising population and growing nutritional demands will require food production to double by 2050. Yet, land available for food Where the increase in food production will occur depends upon geopolitics, climate or climate changes and environmental considerations.

Europe isn’t likely to adopt new technologies to increase food production. In the United States, agricultural patterns are changing with climate changes. Climate change will likely exacerbate drought conditions in western United States. California’s current drought may become permanent.

The Southeast has a long growing season, abundant sunlight, good soils and reasonable amounts of rainfall and groundwater. Agriculture in the region must grow to meet world food demand.
For years, Malthusian predictions were that mass starvation was inevitable as populations grow. The evidence has been just the opposite. Food production has kept up with population and improved nutrition of less-developed societies. In fact, there is a worldwide food surplus. But there are still starving populations. Most often the situation isn’t lack of food, but an inability to move it to where it’s needed, often due to local political instability.

There is every reason to believe that rising yields and improved nutrition in agriculture will continue for many years. Most yield increases have come from new technologies from the U.S. system of agricultural research and education. Read More

There is no doubt that American agriculture can meet the challenge of increased food production if we are allowed to. The problem is that politics may prevent that from happening. Right now, there are many people in this country that seem to think food production shouldn’t be a priority. These same people continually push to hamstring our ability by supporting increased regulations that force farmers and ranchers to exit the business. Nothing else will matter in this country if we don’t have enough to eat. On this planet, we are literally never further than a few weeks away from running out of food. Agriculture is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

Humane Society University

Humane Society University now offering bachelor degrees
Jun 21, 2009

Washington -- The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has received a license as a higher education degree-granting institution by the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission.

As a result, the Humane Society University (HSU) will offer bachelor degree programs in animal studies and in animal policy and advocacy. The degrees are designed to educate students to qualify them for employment with one of the more than 17,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations that seek to protect, provide services to or advocate for animals and to advance scholarship in the field. Classes start this fall both online and onsite at its Washington, D.C. campus.

"Offering bachelor of science degrees and graduate certificates makes sense in today's world of complex human-animal relationships," says Robert Roop, Ph.D., president of Humane Society University. "The programs are designed for students who seek to advance work on behalf of animals by gaining advanced skills and knowledge."

In addition to the bachelor's degree program, HSU offers 33 courses which lead to an undergraduate degree or graduate certificate, along with a catalog of 45 additional non-credit opportunities to earn a professional certificate.

Faculty members hold doctoral-level degrees in animal behavior, policy, psychology, sociology, literature, veterinary medicine, law and other fields. Link

Normally, in order to receive a Bachelor of Science degree, you have to learn and utilize real scientific methodology during your studies. This doesn’t really jive with the normal operating procedures of the HSUS. Their emotion filled arguments contain more feeling than fact. I can only imagine what they will teach their students about livestock and food production.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Europe's Agriculture Situation

'Act now or face food shortages' warns farm expert

A radical overhaul of food production is needed urgently or the UK will face food shortages, a farming expert from Kent has warned.

Dr Howard Lee, who runs the sustainable land management course at Hadlow College near Tonbridge, said that in as little as five years we were heading for “serious food scares”.

“We are going to be face some potential food shortages and we really need to start doing something pretty radical,” he said.

“The degree I’m running produces graduates energised to make some phenomenal changes. We need to overall food production systems.”

He said the UK needed to improve its self-sufficiency in terms of domestic food production.

“We need to be more self-sufficient but actually levels have been dropping over the years,” he said.

Dr Lee said: “Climate change and freaky weather is very bad news for agriculture.”

He said it could impact on the types of crops we produce such as sunflowers and Soya beans being grown in Kent.

“It is the basic food crops I’m more concerned about. We will not have some glorious Mediterranean climate it will be hot but there will be more flash floods,” he said.

To cope with a reduced availability of fertilisers and pesticides, which rely on minerals and fossil fuels, would mean that the huge cereal farms of eastern England would have to reintroduce livestock so that their natural waste would make it easier to build up soil fertility. Read More

Most anti-agriculture groups continually point to the European Union as an example of how the United States should be regulating our food production techniques. What they never tell you is that the EU system can’t feed their population. They are literally on the verge of starvation problems in that area of the world. They are relying on other countries to grow their food rather than doing it themselves. Now that is a great example of being unsustainable. We need to stop regulating our production abilities away or else we will be facing the same issues.

What Does Prop 2 Mean?

Prop. 2 fallout: Must laying hens be cage free?

Published: Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 8:22 p.m.

California egg farmers got trounced at the ballot box last year while opposing a state initiative that in six years will ban their chicken cages.

Now they are urging state legislators to spell out what confinement methods would be allowed for their laying hens.

Already, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, is pushing a bill that would require out-of-state egg producers to comply with the hen confinement rules that California farmers will face under Proposition 2. As part of that legislation, the state’s egg producers are asking for clearer confinement rules.

The egg farmers say they need guidelines now that essentially spell out the minimum amount of space they must provide for each hen. They contend that the law doesn’t specifically outlaw all cage systems, and some farmers are seeking a hybrid arrangement that falls somewhere between the current cage and cage-free systems.

Arnie Riebli, a major egg producer in Petaluma and president of the Association of California Egg Farmers, said the farmers are willing to abide by the initiative. Nonetheless, he said, “there was nowhere in there that it said cage-free is the law of the land.”

However, leaders for the initiative’s main proponent, the Humane Society of the United States, accuse the egg farmers of double talk. During the campaign, the leaders said, the entire debate concerned whether to force the farmers to switch to cage-free operations. Read More

It’s pretty apparent that the HSUS is quite threatened by the fact that the egg laying business may continue in some fashion in California. You see, their goal is the elimination of the industry, not changing the housing systems. And you can tell that by the way their tone has changed since the election. It has become very combative and negative towards farmers being able to continue raising livestock for food. Anything less than killing this industry and forcing farmers off their land just won’t fit in with the HSUS vegan agenda.

Wayne Pacelle's Own Words

Cutting Back Means Cutting Animal Consumption
By: Wayne Pacelle

At The HSUS, we are engaging in a range of cost-cutting management actions to cope with the downturn in the economy, but we are doing our best not to cut any essential animal protection programs. Especially in tough economic times, the determined actions of The HSUS and other animal protection groups are needed more than ever for animals in crisis.
Consumers are having to make tough cost-saving decisions, too. And as they strike some non-essential items from their shopping lists, they are shrinking demand for certain products that cause harm to animals.

Gourmet magazine is reporting that people are reducing to some degree their consumption of meat products. Given the inordinately high per capita consumption of animal products in America, this is good news for animals, the environment, and public health. The HSUS is a big tent organization, and we support people who want to switch to more humanely raised animal products, reduce the amount of meat in their diets, or try a vegetarian lifestyle—but the reduction of meat consumption is one of the best things we can do for the planet given how unsustainable the current levels of factory farming are.

Reductions in meat consumption means less support for factory farms—many of which confine animals in small cages or crates, and subject them to other procedures and handling practices that compromise their welfare. Read More

I continue to be amazed at Pacelle’s brazen attitude. No longer can they claim that they don’t want to force a vegan diet on our society. His entire blog post is dedicated towards ending hunting and livestock farming. Using indefinable terms like “factory farming”, he tries to make the HSUS standard emotional argument. Pacelle has to argue with emotion because that is all they have. There is no scientific basis for the changes in livestock housing they are trying to force on family farmers. Pacelle and his group is a serious threat to the ability of family farmers to feed this country.

Bad Food Inc. Numbers??

June 20, 2009, 10:04 pm
Eating Up “Food, Inc.”
By Nicholas Kristof

My Sunday column was inspired by “Food, Inc.,” the new documentary playing in theaters nationwide. I argue that at the same time we examine our health care system, we should also take a look at our agribusiness system, which — I argue — tends to promote an unhealthy diet.

One window into journalism: A good chunk of Friday afternoon was spent chasing one elusive fact. Food, Inc. reported that the number of FDA food safety inspections had fallen from 50,000 in 1972 to 9,164 in 2006. I thought that was a telling statistic and included it in my draft, but I also asked my assistant, Natasha Yefimov, to double-check the figures with the FDA.

The FDA said the figures were wrong — both of them. The FDA acknowledged that the number of inspections had dropped, but said the 1972 figure was 10,610, while the fiscal year 2006 figure was 7,498 domestically and 125 abroad. The FDA said it had no idea where the other numbers could have come from. Read More

I have to admit that I am somewhat surprised by the fact that Kristof is the first to question any numbers given in the Food Inc. movie. However, maybe he’s disappointed that he wasn’t involved in this latest attack on American agriculture and family farmers. I have never made a movie, and chances are I never will. But if I did, and I was interested in having my film be as accurate as possible, I would double check any numbers being used. Apparently, the makers of this film weren’t interested in doing that. Simple things like this should make people wonder what else isn’t accurate in this movie.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twitter Chat with Food Inc. Director

Live Twitter Chat with Food Inc. Director Today!

Join us for a live twitter chat with Food, Inc. director, Robert Kenner!
It is simple to participate:

1) At 10am PST on Friday 6/19 login to twitter

2) Put #foodinc in the search bar and hit enter. You are now following the conversation.

3) Type your question in your update box and add the #foodinc tag. This way the question will stay on this thread.

We expect a large turnout so please be patient while we try to answer as many questions as possible. We appreciate your support in getting our vital message out to the public. Link

If you want to chat with the director of Food Inc., you can do so today on Twitter. Just follow the directions. It will be interesting to see what type of questions he will respond to and if he will be willing to hear any criticism of this agenda-based attack on American family farmers. it's important for agriculture to have a presence, so jump on and fire off some questions. In short, the only ag that he supports is if it looks like the American Gothic painting. If that's not you, then he assumes you are abusing your livestock and polluting the environment.

Congress Threatening Viability of Agriculture

Congress Moving on Two Threats to Agriculture

Farm Futures Staff

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved Senate Bill 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act. The measure would expand the federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act by removing the word navigable from the definition of waters of the United States. The proposed change would give the federal government control over private lakes and even ditches.
Ranking Member of the Senate Environment Committee Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says farmers could be hurt worst by this legislation.

"I can remember very well a few years ago when a friend of mine had standing water after a storm in one-forth of one acre," Inhofe said. "Because of that, they declared a wetland and took away the use of that farmer's 160 acres; that's how serious this thing is."

Inhofe says this measure will have a harder time on the Senate floor than it did in committee because of several coalitions that have been put together to block it and he thinks they will be successful.

As for the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that is of great concern to agriculture Inhofe noted that several people including House Ag Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Ranking Member Frank Lucas, R-Okla., are working to protect ag interests. Even so Inhofe say he believes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will get the votes she needs to advance the bill out of the House.

"I can assure you that they will not have the votes in the Senate," Inhofe said. "Right now they only have 34 votes and they have to have 60 votes in the Senate to make it happen."

Pelosi earlier this month placed a deadline on committee action on the climate change legislation. That deadline is Friday. Link

Both of these bills could significantly impact how agriculture continues to function in this country. If we are forced to protect every mud puddle in every field and pasture, it will prove very difficult to comply. Along with that, the climate change legislation way make it too costly to operate as well. Our domestic food supply is what keeps this a sovereign nation. It needs protected. Let your elected officials know.

Controllling Wildlife

Animal kills by federal agency more than double

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of animals poisoned, shot or snared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than doubled last year, and environmentalists who are critical of the killings are renewing their effort to cut the program's funding.

The USDA's Wildlife Services division killed more than 4.9 million animals during the 2008 fiscal year, some of them pests that threaten crops. That's more than double the 2.4 million animals killed the previous year, but the agency contends the increase is due to more accurate counting methods.

Wildlife Services, which released the annual death count last week, reported that 90 percent of animals killed in 2008 included crows, blackbirds, magpies and three species of invasive birds: European starlings, sparrows and pigeons.

Other animals included the nonnative Coqui frog in Hawaii, gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains and jackrabbits in New Mexico.

Agency spokeswoman Carol Bannerman said the agency is charged by Congress to respond to individuals and government agencies that are having problems with wildlife, including invasive and nonnative species. For example, she said the agency killed more than three dozen Gambian rats in Florida last year to ensure that the large rodents would not damage fruit and vegetable crops.

In other areas of the country, starlings that were eating the feed at dairies were removed. Bannerman said milk production can drop if dairy cows are not getting enough protein and that bird droppings can harbor bacteria and viruses that can make livestock sick. Read More

Contrary to the picture that some try to paint about wildlife control, they don’t go out and randomly kill them. This funding needs to be in place to protect people and property. The select removal of wildlife allows for just that. If the government isn’t allowed to control this then people will take it upon themselves to do so. People wouldn't tolerate dangerous or damaging wildlife in their house or a shopping center, so why should farmers and ranchers be forced to put up with it. There are countless things that land owners do to improve wildlife habitats but there are times when they need to be dealt with.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

PETA Uspet Over Swatted Fly

Animal rights group wishes Obama hadn't swatted fly, sends him a catch-and-release device
June 18, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.

PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Obama's conversation with correspondent John Harwood.

"Get out of here," the president told the pesky insect. When it didn't, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead.

"Now, where were we?" Obama asked Harwood. Then he added: "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker."

Friedrich said that PETA was pleased with Obama's voting record in the Senate on behalf of animal rights and noted that he has been outspoken against animal abuses.

Still, "swatting a fly on TV indicates he's not perfect," Friedrich said, "and we're happy to say that we wish he hadn't."

Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House has no comment on the matter. Link

There aren’t a lot of people that will accuse PETA of being mainstream or in touch with reality. But even some of their supporters should have a hard time with this one. They are upset with Pres. Obama over him swatting of a fly. The very insect that can be responsible for the spread of pestilence across the planet now deserves to be protected? Where does it stop? What about the next time a mosquito is sucking blood out of you? Should you just assume it doesn’t have West Nile disease and allow it to finish it’s business? There isn’t a rational or sane person on this planet that can defend PETA’s defense of flies.

More Food Inc. Propoganda

Scary ‘Food’ for thought
Documentary looks at industry practices. What goes on in corporate operations may outrage viewers.
By Meridith Ford Goldman
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thursday, June 18, 2009

Did you go to the supermarket Wednesday or today? Did you buy carrots? Corn? What about strawberries? Or meat?

Did you know that the bite of grilled steak you’ll enjoy tonight has the power to change a corn farmer’s life in Iowa? A pork industry employee’s work conditions in North Carolina?

Did you know that it has the power to change everyone’s life?

After seeing “Food, Inc.,” a compelling new documentary scheduled to open Friday at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, you’ll know. The film, from director Robert Kenner, takes a hard and alarming look at what’s for dinner, and serves a plate of reality some Americans will find hard to stomach.

The 90-minute film’s tagline is “You’ll never look at dinner the same way again,” and you won’t.

I’ve been writing about food for close to 15 years and this film scared the heck out of me. It angered me. It made me sad. And it inspired me.

The PG-rated film offers provocative interviews from foodie phenoms, including Michael Pollan (who wrote the new foodie bible, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) and Eric Schlosser (who wrote “Fast Food Nation”). There are also moving retellings from food advocate and mom Barbara Kowalcyk, whose son Kevin died 12 days after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 in 2001. (A strain of the deadly bacteria that, according to Pollan in the film, was accidentally engineered by our industrialized food system and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and the tainted conditions these huge operations employ.) Read More

The title of this article is very appropriate. The makes of this film are out to scare the public about our food supply. This is proven by the fact that Michael Pollan claims e. coli was created as a result of production methods. If that was true, how does he explain the fact that wildlife also carry this bug in their digestive tracts? The fact of the matter is that if you properly handle and cook your meat, you will not have to worry about food poisoning. But I guess that story doesn’t make for an exciting movie does it?

Kellogg is Feeding America

Kellogg donates day's worth of production
Elizabeth Willis • The Enquirer • June 18, 2009

Kellogg Co. is making good on a promise to donate a day's worth of cereal — more than 55 million servings — that could have been sold to consumers for an estimated $10 million.

Food producers often give their surplus products, such as incorrectly packaged or soon-to-expire items, to food banks for redistribution. This is the first time in recent history that Kellogg has specifically produced sellable cereal for donation.

"We felt it would be a good way for us to step up and support folks who are struggling in this economy," said Tim Knowlton, Kellogg's vice president of corporate social responsibility.

Kellogg President and Chief Executive Officer David Mackay first announced on April 24 at the company's annual shareholder meeting that it would give 3.5 million pounds of cereal to the Chicago-based Feeding America, a charity it helped create.

A trailer full of Rice Krispies arrived at the Battle Creek-based Food Bank of South Central Michigan about two weeks ago, and most of the 12,000 boxes already have been distributed to area food pantries, said Executive Director Bob Randels. The 20,000 pounds of food is in addition to the 200,000 pounds of food Kellogg already has donated to the food bank for local distribution this year.

The nationwide donation is in addition to the about 20 million pounds of surplus foods Kellogg already donates to Feeding America each year, Knowlton said. Read More

It seems as though the cool thing to as of late is to constantly complain about the people that grow and process our food. Many times these people lump everything they don’t like into the term ‘big ag’. But if you are going to criticize them for things you don’t like, you better be prepared to praise when the time comes. I’ve never been able to get a good answer of who ‘big ag’ is, but Kellogg is a major food processor and they have just done a really great thing. To give away an entire day’s production is pretty impressive. So congratulations to Kellogg for this tremendous act of kindness. The people that rely on food banks during rough stretches in their life will appreciate it. I highly doubt any of them will be too concerned about the production methods being used to grow their food.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Culling Geese to Save Lives

June 16, 2009, 6:12 pm
Dozens Protest Killing of Geese Near Airports
By Rachel Cernansky

Just a few blocks north of Union Square, a crowd gathered outside the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Tuesday afternoon to protest New York City’s plan to kill at least 2,000 geese during their molting season, a time when the geese cannot fly. The protesters accused the mayor’s office of planning the action in secret, in conjunction with the federal Agriculture Department and the Port Authority.

The Port Authority brushed off the protest, insisting that the culling was necessary to prevent bird strikes — and adding a rhyme for good measure. “Our responsibility is to think about safety for people before peace for geese,” a Port Authority spokesman, Stephen Sigmund, said.

The authorities announced the plan to kill the geese on Thursday, in response to the bird strike that resulted in the nearly disastrous ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January. The first 100 geese were killed on Monday. Read More

Never should the geese hold more importance over the safety of people. Never. The people that were involved in the Hudson River crash would much rather have some geese culled than have to experience that again. Next time we won’t be so lucky, people will die. We have to get our priorities straight in this country. And that includes putting human safety first.

Peterson Fighting Climate Bill

'Tough' Negotiator Peterson Rocks Climate Debate
Published: June 17, 2009

Rep. Collin Peterson, the outspoken House Agriculture Committee chairman who has emerged as a key figure in the climate debate, is used to rocking the house.

He has done so, guitar in hand, at night clubs, the Grand Ole Opry and Farm Aid as the leader of rock-country bands. And with gavel in hand, he has often rocked the boat in Congress, frequently going against his party on key votes and fighting for fiscal restraint as a founding member of the conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats.

Now the 10-term congressman from western Minnesota -- described as "tough," "stubborn," "smart," and "skillful" by his colleagues, a "champion" by farm groups and a "bully" by those on opposing sides -- is shaking up the climate debate.

Peterson is the de facto spokesman for the dozens of farm groups that have come out in opposition to the sweeping proposal for cap-and-trade legislation, one of the key agenda items for Democrats this year. He is working with House leadership and one of the bill's authors to try to find a way to address concerns with the attempt to curb greenhouse gases, which he thinks is not "practical" for farmers or the ethanol industry. Read More

Regardless of your politics, we should all be able to agree that agriculture shouldn’t suffer under the idealistic climate change bill that’s moving through Congress. With common sense at a premium in Congress, it seems as though Rep. Peterson has stepped up to the plate. He has stalled the progress of this bill until it’s workable for agriculture. The best option would be to kill the bill completely, but if that doesn’t happen, our food supply can’t be compromised. Between this and the Clean Water Act that is being reworked, all of agriculture could be regulated out of business. If you have never called your elected officials in Washington, today is the day you need to start. If you don’t make your voice heard, no one is going to care to hear it after the fact.

Proper Food Handling

New Poll Reveals Knowledge Gap Among Public on Meat and Poultry Handling, Cooking and Safety

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll reveals a significant knowledge gap among the public about meat and poultry handling, cooking and safety.

Only a third (34 percent) of Americans correctly answered that a hamburger is ready to eat when the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees F. One in five said that checking the middle of the hamburger to ensure that it is brown is the best approach -- a practice experts say is not an accurate indicator that a burger is thoroughly cooked. Likewise, 18 percent wrongly said that checking to see if juices run clear ensures food safety.

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 Americans in May, found that many misconceptions remain, particularly when it comes to preparing and storing raw meat and poultry products.

AMI's survey found that men are much more likely than women to know how to identify when a hamburger is thoroughly cooked. While four in ten (41 percent) men know that the internal temperature of a hamburger must reach 160 degrees F before it can be consumed, only 26 percent of women knew this fact. Read More

Add this to your list of things that consumers need to learn about food. From the farm to the grocery store, everything can be handled perfectly but if the consumer doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain the system breaks down and a food borne illness can occur. There are many resources available for information on safe food handling procedures, including your department of agriculture and the extension service. Make sure that you are up to speed on proper procedures so that you can be a resource for consumers as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunstein Being Examined

Animal rights views slow OMB regulatory nominee
By Dan Friedman CongressDaily June 15, 2009

The nomination of legal scholar Cass Sunstein to head the government's top regulatory office has stalled in the Senate amid farm and ranching groups' concerns about Sunstein's past advocacy of animal rights.

President Obama tapped Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, to head the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which clears, revises or rejects new regulations proposed by the major federal agencies.

The nomination is among about two dozen that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., last week accused Republicans of holding up. Some Democratic aides and senators said. Republicans are blocking the nominations collectively to protest Democrats' push for quick confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor or to hinder the administration.

"Everyone knows what is going on," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. "You are trying to make the administration as crippled as you possibly can by limiting the number of people you have."
But Sunstein's case appears to be an example of individual senators with specific, local concerns using their power to hold up a nominee.

In May, nine farm and ranch groups that produce products such as milk and veal -- including the American Farm Bureau Federation -- wrote to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and others to "express concern" about three academic papers in which Sunstein urged regulation of animals used in industries, including agriculture. Read More

The position that Sunstein has been nominated for has been called the most powerful position in Washington, DC that no one has ever heard of. Susntein has made it very clear in the past that he is not a fan of hunting or animal agriculture and has called for burdensome regulations on both industries. The Senators that are holding up this nomination have good reason to take this slow. Nothing less than our domestic supply of food is at stake.

McCartney Blames Cows

Paul McCartney Calls for Meat-Free Day to Cut Cow Gas
By Alex Morales

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Paul McCartney, the former Beatle and vegetarian pop star, asked fans to go meatless on Mondays to help slow global warming by reducing the amount of gaseous emissions from farm animals.

Cows, pigs and sheep bred for human consumption discharge millions of tons of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Livestock accounts for about 18 percent of greenhouse gases, more than all the world’s cars, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has said.

“If you want to fight climate change, it’s not only about electricity and coal-fired power plants: Agriculture is a huge contributor too and meat consumption is a big problem,” Jan van Aken, a biologist and agriculture campaigner for the Greenpeace environmental group, said today in a telephone interview from Hamburg. It’s “mainly burps” and animal flatulence, he said.

Supported in his cause by celebrity chefs and Hollywood actors, McCartney said in a statement today that skipping meat a day a week is a “meaningful” change everyone can make to their lifestyles to help the environment. Less consumption may lead to fewer animals reared, and so emissions would fall. Read More

Paul McCartney and others like him continue to suggest things like this based on the faulty information included in the UN report that suggest livestock contribute more to global warming than transportation does. If this were true, the earth would have been continually warming since the beginning of time. After all, there have been livestock on this planet since the beginning. Transportation that relies on fossil fuels has only been around for just over a century. The United State EPA has concluded that animal agriculture contributes less than 3% of all GHG emissions in this country.

Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare

Animal rights versus animal welfare
By: Lorie Huston
June 15, 10:51 PM

Are you an animal rights activist? An animal welfare supporter? Do you know the difference? Many people do not realize there are fundamental differences between the animal rights movement and the animal welfare movement. However, these differences are rudimentary and set the animal rights movement far apart from the animal welfare movement.

Animal rights definition

Supporters of the animal rights movement believe that animals of all types have rights equal to those of humans. The group known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the foremost animal rights group and is well-known in animal rights circles.

Animal rights activists, including PETA, reject the use of animals for any purpose, whether or not the animals are treated humanely. Animal rights activists do not believe that animals of any type should be used in research, sporting events or entertainment venues. Animal rights advocates do not believe that animals should be used as work animals to aid people in completing necessary tasks and believe that breeding and exhibiting animals in zoos and conservation parks is a form of animal exploitation.

Animal welfare defined

Animal welfare advocates, unlike animal rights supporters, believe that animals have the right to be handled humanely and to live a life free of pain. However, animal welfare advocates do not believe that animals should have rights equal to those of people. Animal welfare advocates support the use of animals to satisfy human needs but require that animals used to serve humans are kept in such a way that their basic needs for food, shelter and health are met.

The American Veterinary Medical Association Policy on Animal Welfare and Animal Rights describes animal welfare as "a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia." Read More

There is a huge difference between animal rights and animal welfare. People that raise livestock are definitely advocates of animal welfare. Their livelihood depends on the welfare of their animals. In order for livestock to be productive, they must have all of their needs met, including nutritious feed, clean water and shelter. Animal rights on the other hand is what groups like HSUS and PETA push for. In order for these groups to accomplish their goal of giving rights to animals, they must push family farmers off their land and kill off most of our domestic livestock. But even more than this, both of these groups care about money. They continue to create crisis after crisis and trick people into sending them money.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Foodies Ignore Need For Food

What Food Activists Ignore
Rebecca Ruiz, 06.11.09, 1:40 PM ET

The new documentary Food, Inc., a meditation on the health and environmental costs of industrial food production, closes with a list of wholesome directives: shop at farmer's markets, plant a garden, eat locally, etc. It leaves viewers with an inspirational message: "You can change the world with every bite."

For skeptics, the mantra is easily ridiculed for its preciousness. For true believers, it's the latest attempt to shake Americans out of a complacency that has spawned diabetes and obesity epidemics, a preponderance of factory farms, a rise in e.coli infections and antibiotic resistance, and the corporate takeover of the country's food production.

It's also common practice, within the locavore movement, to make bogeymen out of multi-national corporations like Tyson and Monsanto. While certain practices, like forcing animals to gain weight rapidly and strictly controlling a farmer's seed stock, may seem reprehensible to some, such companies have built a revolutionary infrastructure that feeds billions of people.

Perhaps, as the film suggests, the industrial food complex has no regard for long-term public health and environmental costs. But if food activists continue to cling to unrealistic ideals--and atypical examples of success--and fail to confront the questions of cost and scale, then they will vindicate critics of the movement, who argue that this new era of food production is only for the privileged. Read More

The biggest issue that’s never discussed by critics of our food system is how they would feed everyone. They love to run on and on about how our system is broken and they have the solution. But their solution is temporary at best. Their production methods will not grow enough food to feed everyone. You would think this would be everyone’s goal, but sadly it’s not. People like Michael Pollan continue to promote systems which will cause some people to go hungry, mostly the poor.

Ag - Our Financial Foundation

Ohio's economic well-being directly tied to success of its dairy industry
June 13, 2009

WARM summer days in Ohio bring one of my favorite things: ice cream - rich, luscious ice cream. As we celebrate National Dairy Month this June, keep in mind the many homegrown dairy products we enjoy daily, such as cool glasses of milk and a refreshing bowl of ice cream on a hot summer evening.

Ohio is home to 3,490 dairy farms and 76 milk-processing facilities that produce nearly 5 billion pounds of milk each year.

Nationally, Ohio ranks first in Swiss cheese production, fifth in the number of dairy manufacturing plants and 11th in total milk production.

However, the success of Ohio's agricultural industry is being threatened by a Washington-run special interest group, which moves from state-to-state advocating for agricultural regulations that are devastating local farmers.

This organization, the Humane Society of the United States, differs from our local nonprofit humane societies, which focus on responsible pet ownership and animal adoptions.

During these difficult economic times, agriculture is a financial rock on today's shifting economic sands. Supporting our dairy industry not only creates and maintains jobs, but also keeps Ohio competitive in the world markets. We need to ensure that we support and promote our dairy industry and our local dairy farms. Read More

It’s easy for most people to forget that agriculture is the foundation upon which everything is built in this country. Most of us have never seen empty grocery store shelves. But this doesn’t happen by accident. It takes the hard work and dedication of America’s family farmers and ranchers. There is a threat to this foundation, however. There are some people that want to regulate these families right off the land. Apparently they favor food that has been grown in other countries. Consumers need to realize that when they vote on these innocent sounding farm reforms that there are far reaching consequences for the families that grow their food.

Pricing Electricity Out of Reach

Renewable power will cost consumers more
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, June 13, 2009

California's push for renewable power could prove costly to consumers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to get one-third of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 could cost $115 billion in new infrastructure, according to a report released Friday by the California Public Utilities Commission. Last year, a similar report from the commission estimated the cost at $60 billion.

That money would come from Californians' utility bills.

By 2020, the state's average price for electricity could rise as much as 28 percent above today's levels, based on current dollars. However, the report says most of that increase will happen even if the state abandons its drive to build more wind farms and solar power plants. Without adding any renewable power, prices would rise 17 percent.

That alarms consumer advocates, who have long complained about California's high electricity prices.

"The notion of California struggling under (28) percent higher prices - it's a sobering picture for the California economy," said Michael Shames, executive director of the Utility Consumers' Action Network, a watchdog group.

"This would be a bargain," said Carl Zichella, regional director for the Sierra Club. "Early actions are by far the most cost-effective, and they have the biggest bang for the buck in fighting climate change." Read More

Again, we see the Sierra Club put hard working families at the bottom of their list of things they are concerned about. Advocating for higher prices for electricity is an elitist view point, especially when so many families are struggling to pay their bills already. I doubt the Sierra Club has ever looked into how this would affect young families since that isn’t their concern. A reasonable balance needs to be struck in situations like this.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Movie Critic Duped

June 12, 2009
Meet Your New Farmer: Hungry Corporate Giant

Published: June 12, 2009

Forget buckets of blood. Nothing says horror like one of those tubs of artificially buttered, nonorganic popcorn at the concession stand. That, at least, is one of the unappetizing lessons to draw from one of the scariest movies of the year, “Food, Inc.,” an informative, often infuriating activist documentary about the big business of feeding or, more to the political point, force-feeding, Americans all the junk that multinational corporate money can buy. You’ll shudder, shake and just possibly lose your genetically modified lunch.

Divided into chapters dedicated to points along the commercial food chain — from farm to fork, to borrow a loaded agribusiness phrase — the movie is nothing if not ambitious. “There are no seasons in the American supermarket,” the unidentified voice intones in the opening scene, as the camera sweeps the aisles of one such brightly lighted, heavily stocked if nutritionally impoverished emporium. From there the director Robert Kenner jumps all over the food map, from industrial feedlots where millions of cruelly crammed cattle mill about in their own waste until slaughter, to the chains where millions of consumers gobble down industrially produced meat and an occasional serving of E. coli bacteria. Read More

There are a couple of reasons to share this article with you. The first one is that it is a good example that shows people don’t even have to go to the movie to think they have learned something. Movie critics that know nothing about agriculture or food production will not spend anytime checking to see if the movie is accurate. They are only going to regurgitate the agenda of the filmmakers. The other thing that caught my eye in this review was when the critic made the claim that cattle are getting fed e.coli. Somehow trying to infer that that’s how e. coli get’s into the food chain. If that’s what the movie is telling people, then Pollan and Kenner are blatantly lying to consumers. Nothing could be further than the truth. E. Coli lives naturally in the rumen of cattle regardless of how they are raised.

Researchers Going Underground

U of I to build underground animal research lab
ERIN JORDAN • ejordan@dmreg.com • June 11, 2009
The Iowa Board of Regents approved $11.2 million for an underground vivarium that will house University of Iowa animal research laboratories.

The 35,000-square-foot facility would connect the Medical Education Research Facility and Carver Biomedical Research Building on the west side of campus. The links would mean researchers would never have to transport animals above ground, said Jordan Cohen, interim U of I vice president for research.

“Security is a huge issue with regard to biomedical research,” Cohen told the regents.

A Nov. 14, 2004, break-in at animal research laboratories in the U of I’s Spence Laboratories and Seashore Hall cost about $425,000 and temporarily stalled some research. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack, in which masked intruders trashed computers and other equipment and stole hundreds of laboratory animals.

Other universities, such as the University of Southern California, have built similar facilities, Cohen said.

The U of I vivarium would be built as a shell to be later equipped with laboratory space. A grassy courtyard would be above the facility. Link

It seems like a sad commentary on this country when our medical researchers, who are trying to improve the human health condition, are forced to do their work underground. Unfortunately there are some people and groups, like the Animal Liberation Front, that put more value on the life of an animal than they do human lives. It’s a crime against all human beings, when this terrorist group stall the development of human medicine.

Whale Wars

Whale Wars - Eco-Terrorism as Reality TV
Richard Spilman
Writer, Videographer, and Multimedia Designer
Posted: June 5, 2009 05:25 PM

Tonight begins the second season of "Whale Wars" in which a scruffy band of eco-crusaders, the Sea Shepherds, go to war against the evil whaling ships, by any means necessary. The reviews for the first season were great. Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times writes: "Whale Wars splashes across the increasingly exhausted genre of people-at-work reality series like icy seawater, jolting you awake with a frothy, briny burst of -- well, you get the idea. This is one spunky show."

So what is the problem with "Whale Wars"? The problem is that it is cheap exploitation in praise of what is nothing less than eco-terrorism. It is the glorification of vigilantism on the high seas. And oh, by the way, the Sea Shepherds do almost nothing to protect the whales where they really do need protection.

While "Whale Wars" presents a simplistic case of us against them, the noble environmentalists against the evil whalers, the reality, of course, is not so black and white. By international agreement with the International Whaling Commission, the Japanese were allowed to kill up to a nine hundred minke whales and fifty fin whales in 2007/2008 in the Antarctic ocean for "research purposes." Critics claim that this is thinly disguised commercial whaling. Whatever it may be, minke whales, in particular, are not considered to be particularly threatened. Estimates have placed the minke population in the Southern Hemisphere in the range of 200,000-416,700 whales.

The Sea Shepherds on "Whale Wars" are abolitionist animal rights activists. Read More

Paul Watson is nothing but a terrorist and a pirate. Watching the show, people are led to believe that they are trying to stop some sort of illegal activity, when in fact the whalers are perfectly legal in their action. Attacking whaling ships, however, is not legal anywhere on the planet. Watson was quoted as saying a few years ago that it’s ok to be a terrorist as long as you win. I know there are probably a lot of kids that watch the animal planet channel. Hopefully they won’t grow up thinking this same thing.