Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Busy Week

It's been a whirlwind week so far here.  The end of last week found us in Montgomery, AL speaking to their Young Farmers Summer Conference.  As always, the young farmer groups that we get to speak to are a lot of fun. The passion for raising food and families in Alabama was very strong in that group and there's no doubt in my mind that we have some great new advocates telling the story of agriculture down there. 

From there I got to present at the Agricultural Media Summit on my use of social media in telling my story.  Getting to meet so many of the people behind the articles I regularly read was certainly a treat.  There were lots of fans of Advocates for Ag there.  It was humbling to hear that so many of these professionals in ag communication were appreciative of our work. 

This morning I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to our local Kiwanis club.  It's always a treat when you get to speak to the hometown folks.  I shared some of my story with them as well as highlight the agenda of anti-agriculture groups like the HSUS and others.  I'm glad to know that everytime I get the chance to do this that there are a few less people in the world that will ever donate to them. 

I have to quickly pack a bag and then head for Mitchell, SD.  This evening we are presenting at a beef production workshop.  It will be great to see some good friends of ours in the cattle business there. 

After this week is over though the real work will start.  Spring wheat harvest should get rolling next week and that will be the priority for me.  Food production should be a priority for every human being but unfortunately that's not the case.  That's why it is so important that those of us in agriculture are not only growing food but also telling people where it comes from. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Western Ranchers Need Your Help

Let's call it the El Paso Payoff.  Last week I found out the El Paso Corporation paid $20 million to the Western Wateshed Project and the Oregon Natural Desert Association.  In return, both of these environmental groups agreed to drop all opposition to El Paso's plan for running a natural gas pipeline from Wyoming to Oregon.  I immediately called the company to get their side of the story.  They called me back later that day and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to visit with a Mr. Robert Wheatley, El Paso's media relations guy. 

I had characterized this whole situation as nothing more than a bribe given to the last big opponents of their pipeline.  After all, $20 million made a problem go away.  While Mr. Wheatley certainly disagreed with my evaluation, his explanation of what happened did little to change my mind. 

It's admirable that El Paso wanted to do what they could to lessen the impact to the environment that their pipeline will create, however, dealing with a radical environmental group that has the stated goal of getting ranchers off federal land was about the worst way to go about it.  I asked Mr Wheatley why they didn't give it to a group that wasn't anti-ranching or give some money to a ag group as well as the WWP.  He didn't have an answer but if he was honest the real answer is that the squeaky wheel got the grease. 

So ranching families are now facing an already wealthy environmental group, with a stated goal of getting ranchers off the land, that's just recieved a large cash infusion. 

This part of the ag community will now need your help and support even more.  After my visit with El Paso I was apparent that they were feeling some heat from this deal.  It's important that the entire ag community stand together on this issue and let El Paso know that this isn't acceptable.  Please leave a comment on the El Paso Facebook page or phone them with your thoughts.  It's a quick and simple thing you can do to be an advocate for agriculture.

Modern Beef Is "Green"

Beef Production More Sustainable Now, WSU Expert Says
Jul 26, 2010

Advances in productivity over the past 30 years have reduced the carbon footprint and overall environmental impact of U.S. beef production, according to a new study presented by a Washington State University researcher.

In “Comparing the environmental impact of the US beef industry in 1977 to 2007,” assistant professor of animal science Jude L. Capper revealed that improvements in nutrition, management, growth rate and slaughter weights, have significantly reduced the environmental impact of modern beef production and improved its sustainability.

“These findings challenge the common misconception that historical methods of livestock production are more environmentally sustainable than modern beef production,” said Capper in a presentation on July 14 at the American Society of Animal Science meeting in Denver.   Read More

There are plenty of people trying to eliminate animal agriculture by spreading misinformation about it’s impact on the environment. The truth of the matter is that animal agriculture has greatly reduced the environmental impact over the last few decades. But it doesn’t stop there. The improvement that we have seen is continuing into the future. We depend on a healthy environment to raise healthy livestock which is why farmers and ranchers are some the greenest people around. ~Troy

Thursday, July 22, 2010

El Paso Corp Helping End Public Grazing

El Paso cuts deal with Western Watersheds

ADELLA HARDING Free Press Staff Writer
Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:11 pm

ELKO — El Paso Corp. has reached a precedent-setting, $20 million arrangement for habitat protection with two environmental organizations that protested the company’s planned Ruby Pipeline that will extend from Wyoming to Oregon.

The company will set up conservation funds with the Western Watersheds Project and the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and the organizations in turn are dropping objections to the natural gas pipeline.

“It’s something we didn’t have to do. We chose to do it,” El Paso spokesman Richard Wheatley said Friday. “The bottom line is we think it’s a preferable approach than being involved in litigation.”

Establishment of the funds also is in line with the company’s outreach efforts to be good stewards of the land, he said.

“There is the potential to do really good work,” Wheatley said.

“We agreed not to try to delay or litigate Ruby Pipeline,” confirmed Western Watersheds Project Executive Director Jon Marvel.

He said El Paso will set up a $15 million conservation fund for Idaho-based Western Watersheds and a $5 million fund with the Oregon organization.

“The money also can be used to purchase private property or conservation easements, but our priority is grazing permits,” he said. “It’s time to end public lands grazing.”    Read More

After learning more about this deal yesterday it becomes a very scary thing. Basically El Paso bribed their opposition to the pipeline with $20 million dollars so they could go after ranchers rather than the energy company. Also keep in mind that most of the pipeline in question is going through ranchland with the permission of the very ranchers who could now be put out of business. This just goes to show that neither El Paso or Western Watersheds have anyone with principals involved in their groups. Ending public grazing will negatively affect the rangeland that has been meticulously cared for by generations of ranching families. Stay tuned to this story because I’m not convinced it’s over yet.

HSUS Says No Cages Are Acceptable

HSUS issues statement on cages for hens
Rod Smith

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other activist groups in the U.S. and Europe that are focused on the treatment of farm animals issued a statement today that they are opposed to any form of cage housing, including colony-type enriched, or furnished, cages, for egg-laying hens.

Despite modifications that colony housing provides over traditional cage housing, modified cages still fail to meet the hens' behavioral and physical needs, according to the statement.

They have "unacceptably restrictive" space for the birds, which restricts the hens' ability for "running, flying and wing flapping, as well as dust bathing and perching," the statement argues. Such a "severe restriction" of their ability to exercise "is likely to lead to frustration, bone weakness and osteoporosis -- clear indicators of poor welfare," the statement says.

The statement calls for egg producers, food companies and others within the food industry to "do the right thing and end the use of cages to confine" egg-laying hens.    Read More

Just in case you were still in denial about what HSUS is trying to accomplish here, they have made it very clear that any livestock kept in any type of pen is unacceptable in their mind. The reason for this is that they have a stated goal to get everyone to become vegan. Piece by piece they must keep making it increasingly difficult for people to afford food produced by livestock. ~Troy

Media Overhyping Organics

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kansas State University
MANHATTAN -- News accounts of organic agriculture and organic food are more likely to be positive than negative and inaccurately claim organic food is safer, according to Kansas State University's Doug Powell.

Powell, an associate professor of food safety, is the co-author of "Coverage of organic agriculture in North American newspapers: Media -- linking food safety, the environment, human health and organic agriculture," just published in the British Food Journal.

The paper is based on a study Powell conducted from 1999-2004 with two colleagues at the University of Guelph in Canada, Stacey Cahill and Katija Morley. Cahill was one of Powell's students at the time.

The team explored how topics of organic food and agriculture were discussed in five North American newspapers. Using the content analysis technique, the 618 articles collected were analyzed for topic, tone and theme regarding food safety, environmental concerns and human health.

The prominent topics of the articles were genetic engineering, pesticides and organic farming, Powell said.

The analysis found 41.4 percent of the articles had a neutral tone toward organic agriculture and food, 36.9 percent had a positive tone, 15.5 percent were mixed and 6.1 percent were negative, Powell said.

"We concluded that articles about organic production in the selected time period were seldom negative," he said. "Organic agriculture was often portrayed in the media as an alternative to allegedly unsafe and environmentally damaging modern agriculture practices. That means organic was being defined by what it isn't, rather than what it is."     Read More 

This is an interesting look at how the media rarely uses objectivity in their reporting any more. They have been more than happy to just jump on a bandwagon of untruths about modern agriculture. There is no doubt that all production systems have a place in agriculture, that’s not the point of this discussion. The point is that the media is failing their clientele with their preference to unobjectively follow trends rather than inform their readers. ~Troy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Safe Fruits and Veggies

I'm sure many of you have heard of the "Dirty Dozen". This was put together by some anti-agriculture groups that tried to scare people about the fruits and vegetables they eat. Unfortunately it's all to easy to scare consumers about the food they eat these days and the truth ends up taking a back seat to a slick marketing campaign. But now there's a new website available that addresses this very issue.

Please check out to learn the truth about the food we eat.

Possible Tax Credit for Beginning Aggies

Senate Considers Beginning Farmer and Rancher Tax Credit
July 20, 2010

ROUNDUP, Mont. - Start a small farm or ranch, or open a new small business in Montana, and get a tax credit worth up to $10,000. That's what's on the table for the U.S. Senate as a "jobs bill" is being debated.

Executive director Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs says spurring micro-enterprises and entrepreneurship make a lot of sense for job creation, since those kinds of small businesses are credited as being the new job incubators.

"It's for people who create their own job by starting a small business, or get started in farming and ranching. That's the way we've created a lot of opportunity in rural America for over a century."

Hassebrook says the proposal is the first one he's seen that focuses on micro-businesses for rural areas. Read More

There’s no doubt that it’s very difficult for young farmers and ranchers to get started in agriculture. I get asked quite often if I know of any programs that can help so I thought I would pass this on. While the idea has a long ways to go before reaching fruition, it’s good to hear that there are some people who still put value on small rural businesses. ~Troy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Armed Guards Required For NM Officials Visiting Ranches

Armed Escorts to Accompany New Mexico Livestock Inspectors By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published July 16, 2010

When inspectors in New Mexico begin surveying 32 livestock scales along the increasingly dangerous Mexican border later this month, they'll have armed escorts at their sides.

It will mark the first time armed deputies will travel with New Mexico Department of Agriculture inspectors, who certify the scales used to weigh livestock, Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos said.

"These scales that the ranchers use to ship their cattle are in isolated areas," Cobos told "And the administration decided since those inspectors and personnel are not armed, they wanted to be able to concentrate on their work without worrying about their security."

Cobos said that beginning on July 26, deputies will accompany inspectors to the scales in a corridor that stretches southwest from Interstate 10 at Las Cruces to the New Mexico-Arizona border, along Luna, Hidalgo and Grant counties.

"It also helps the deputies become more familiar with the ranches and their particular layouts," Cobos said. "It's a benefit to all of us."

"It's a safe way of providing their personnel with protection so they don't encounter a situation that would imperil the equipment or their lives," Cobos said. "It's a relatively small cost to prevent a tragedy." Read More

So it’s too dangerous for the NM Dept of Ag officials to go to these ranches without armed guards yet the government is telling us the border is safer than ever? Why do we have United States citizens living inside our borders that are being forced to live in fear? These ranches should not be the first line of defense for our country.

Tour Teaches Consumers About Water

Ag tour helps residents understand the world of water in northern Colorado
Meagan Birely

Drip irrigation. Those words might not mean a lot to someone living in the city, but to a farmer in Weld County, those words have become a big deal.

On Friday, the Chamber of Commerce Agricultural Committee brought farmers and city folks together to learn about the process, product, procedures and problems of sharing water.

The tour, “From Desert to Oasis: The story of how irrigation transformed the plains of eastern Colorado” took a busload of people around Weld to look at different places impacted by and using different irrigation systems.

Stephan Andrade of Evergreen said he was looking for the best ways to keep farmers farming and cities drinking water.

“We just want to see what everyone is doing in terms of best practices and how to share this limited resource we call water,” Andrade said. “You get to see firsthand what people are doing that is always helpful as opposed to just reading about it.” Read More

I just wanted to share another example of farmers and ranchers hosting tours on their places to help educate their neighbors. These types of tours are probably the best way to tell our story. The impact can be tremendous when you can stand there and physically show a consumer what you do and why you do it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Putting All Our Eggs in the Social Media Basket

I wanted to highlight this well written blog post from Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy Farm. Like Will, I have used social media as a way to share my story about agriculture. But, we must remember that these are just someof the tools we have to educate consumers about where their food comes from. I've always said that tweets and status updates will never replace the handshake and looking another person in the eye while you share your story. Follow this link to see what Will had to say.

Tech Essential To Feeding The World

Croplife America Conference: Feeding A Hungry And Growing
Matt Kaye

Agriculture and food safety experts agreed at a Washington, DC policy conference that technology is key to feeding a hungry and growing world, but there are other issues that may keep that from happening. Julie Borlaug, whose Nobel laureate grandfather Norman is credited with saving a billion people from starvation through plant genetics, defended GMO technology against those who argue food distribution and equity is the problem, “It is a production problem…if they cannot produce the food, if we cannot get the food to where it needs to be…it’s not just global justice, it’s global production. If they don’t have the inputs, if there’s no infrastructure, they don’t have any technology, you can’t say it’s an equity problem-it’s a production problem for the people, where they are.”

Experts at the Croplife American National Policy Conference pointed to estimates that world population will soar to 9-billion by 2050 and will require a doubling of food production on the same acreage.

Former Purdue University Ag Dean Bob Thompson says activists continue to stand in the way of GMO technology in developing nations and that regional ecosystem differences hinder transfer of the technology, “The tools of modern science are freely mobile…but then, you’ve got to make the local adaptation investments, in order to optimize those varieties for the local agro-ecological environment.” Thompson says it takes adaptation investments to get those varieties to thrive in areas and also to adapt to changing climates…all of which will take money in budget-starved countries and help from the US. Link

The only people that I see complaining about new technological advancements in the world of agriculture are the ones with full stomachs. When you are hungry your priorities change quite a bit and they have nothing to do with protesting about how food is grown.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Antibiotics In Ag Essential

Antibiotics in agriculture are essential for animal and human health
By Peter Silley, professor of applied microbiology at the University of Bradford - 07/13/10 02:06 PM ET

Antibiotic resistance is a significant global public-health challenge that has created an emotional public response among critics, public-health experts, and animal-health advocates. It involves debate over antibiotic use in both humans and animals, and demands improved monitoring and surveillance, more research and, ultimately, the development of a range of tools that will help reduce reliance on antibiotics. This week’s Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, “Antibiotic Resistance and the Use of Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture,” will further examine how these products are used in agriculture and their impact on human health.

The emotional rhetoric surrounding this issue has resulted in knee-jerk legislative proposals to ban certain uses of antibiotics. Blunt policy instruments could be harmful when dealing with such a critical and complicated issue. It is easy to point fingers and suggest that eliminating some uses in animals would reduce antibiotic resistance in humans. But it is important to act on specific, data-driven evidence. Simple widespread bans on certain uses — including those in animals — would be detrimental to animal health and, more importantly, human health.

If we are to contain the spread of antibiotic resistance, we need careful, data-driven understanding of the sources and causes of that spread. Antibiotic resistance is a collection of specific problems, or specific pathogens resistant to particular drugs. Specific bacterial/drug combinations, or “bug-drug combos,” must be considered separately from other combinations.

Scientific risk assessments conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or by private researchers demonstrate that none of these three bacterial/drug combinations are related to the use of antibiotics in animals. Read More

Healthy livestock are essential for safe and healthy food. But as usual, the anti-animal agriculture groups are using this debate to further their agenda. It’s clear that in order to make any meaningful reform of antibiotic use, the human side must be addressed first. A perfect example would be how antibiotics are distributed in other parts of the world. In some countries you can buy them right over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. They are greatly misused in the US as well by the over-prescribing doctors and the careless patients who fail to follow directions. In the livestock industry you will never see them being used incorrectly. It costs too much money and is too important to the health of the livestock for that to happen. No one who is advocating for antibiotic use changes in livestock only can be taken seriously. ~Troy

Moms On The Farm

Moms Day Out On The Farm
By Alex Hoffman
Published: July 13, 2010, 5:02 PM

HARTFORD, SD - Whether you are shopping for yourself or feeding a family, people are spending more time studying food labels.

On Tuesday, a group of moms went beyond the packaging and got a firsthand look at where it all comes from.

Surrounded by miles of rolling hills, the farm is normally a quiet oasis. But Tuesday, this land north of Hartford became an outdoor classroom.

Women are taking a break from work and families to find out exactly what it takes to get food from the field to the fridge.

"I think it'd be fun for them to see where it all starts from instead of just going to the grocery store and saying, 'Well, that’s where chicken comes from,' or 'That’s where pork comes from,'” hog farmer Dennis Steineke said.

Most of these women have very little experience being on a farm and say they're excited to learn what it's all about.

"It's good to learn about how farming works and how we get our meat and how the animals are taken from the farm to how we get them in the grocery store,” participant Jackie Studenski said.
Read More

This is a terrific program sponsored by Ag United. I’ve mentioned on this blog many times the importance of showing consumers what we do. There are those in our industry that talk about being advocates and there are those that actually do something. If you ever get the chance to host a tour of your farm or ranch jump on it. Thanks to Ag United and these South Dakota producers for hosting this tour.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Too Much Milk?

Too much milk?
By Chris Woolston Special to the Los Angeles Times
July 12, 2010

Few things in life look as pure and simple as a glass of milk. The ingredient list on the carton is refreshingly short too. All it says is "milk," perhaps along with some added vitamin A and vitamin D. No preservatives, no artificial colors, no high-fructose anything. Just milk.

But like many things that appear simple from the outside, there's a lot going on beneath milk's surface. That glass is swirling with natural cow hormones, which isn't surprising considering the source. Milk contains sugars found nowhere else in nature, and it offers a particular blend of nutrients — including protein, calcium, magnesium and potassium — that you can't get anywhere else.

Yet, almost 8,000 years after nomadic herders realized they could tug at the udders of slow-moving livestock, we still aren't sure how much of the stuff we should be drinking. The USDA recommends three cups of dairy a day for all adults, but the science behind milk hasn't been settled. "This is one of the most complicated and interesting areas of nutrition," says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, "and we don't have all of the answers."

Many high-profile nutritionists — often working with large research grants from the dairy industry — say that milk in great quantities is an essential part of the daily diet that can help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. "Anything less than three glasses a day, and you won't get all of the nutrients that you need," says Connie Weaver, head of food and nutrition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Most of Weaver's funding comes from the National Institutes of Health, but she's also supported by the National Dairy Council.

On the other side, groups promoting animal rights and veganism — including PETA and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — say that cow's milk is a nutritional nightmare that doesn't belong in the human diet. "It's gross," says Dr. Neil Barnard, author and founder of the PCRM. "Milk is nutritionally perfect for one purpose: feeding a calf," he says. "The idea that we should be drinking milk from a cow is just bizarre."

Willett, one of the world's most prominent nutrition experts, doesn't belong to either camp. From his viewpoint, one or two cups of milk each day is a safe, reasonable and nutritious goal. "But beyond that," he says, "the benefits are unclear, and there may be some risk."

The PCRM website says that milk raises the risk of breast cancer, but even Barnard isn't convinced. " Breast cancer is unclear," he says, adding that he doesn't often look at the organization's website. A 2005 report from a researcher with the Australian equivalent of the Dairy Council combined results of 52 previous studies examining the issue. When put together, the studies didn't show any connection between dairy and breast cancer.

Read More

With all of the studies mentioned in this article that may suggest this or that, we do know that no single food has ever been proven to cause cancer. That is undeniable fact. So with that in mind we need to go back to common sense. When it comes to food it’s important that we eat a balanced diet that includes meat and diary products. And just to show you how radical groups like the PCRM are, Dr. Barnard (founder of the PCRM) even admits that he doesn’t agree with everything they are saying about milk on their website. You would think that they’d at least try to get their story straight while trying to mislead the public.

Reporter Finds Different Story at Stampede

Opinion: What's the beef with Stampede roping, anyway?
By Jen Gerson, Calgary Herald July 11, 2010 Comments (5)

As they were setting up for the Calgary Stampede a few weeks ago, I got a taste of an annual Stampede event of a more sombre variety.

Signs and PETA pamphlets in hand, eight protesters lined a park on 17th Avenue S.W. in their attempt to ban the rodeo practice of calf roping. As I asked one about the basis of his beliefs, he looked at me and asked: "Has anyone ever told you you look just like Maria Sharapova?"
I dropped my pen, arched my eyebrow and looked in the activist's doe-like eyes, noting his long hair and hand-stitched linen vest.

Filed under the things thought, but not said: "Oh buddy, there are right trees and there are wrong trees. Right now, you're barking up one of the wrong ones."

Whether you agree with the man's stance or not, you have to respect someone who has cultivated such a diehard passion for un-winnable fights and impossible pursuits.

However, I took a decidedly less sympathetic view of the Vancouver Humane Society, which has again launched an anti-calf-roping tirade without having bothered to actually visit Stampede or talk to the calf ropers or cattle ranchers. Instead, they've told me they're basing their opinions on the reports of activists. Reliable. Read More

Unlike most animal rights activists and vegan promoters this reporter actually went to the Calgary Stampede to see for herself if the calf-roping seemed as cruel as the protesters were claiming. Unfortunately for the animal rights crowd, their crazy claims didn’t match up with reality again. This is a case study for all of us in animal agriculture. A positive outcome is almost always achieved when we are able to actually show the public what we do and why we do it. That’s why it’s so important that we are out there telling our story, we can’t let others do it for us. This is also why I always tell consumers that if they have a question about agriculture that they should ask a farmer, not Google. We are the most direct and trusted source of information about food production so we need to be available to answer the questions and show consumers first hand what we do.

Beef Burgers, It's What's for Dinner

Appetite for "better burgers" shows no satiety
By MATTHEW BARAKAT (AP) – 21 hours ago

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — With a drive-through seemingly on every corner, you might think the market for burgers long ago reached saturation. But the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America last year was Five Guys, which specializes in double-pattied behemoths the size of a softball.

And that's just the tip of the arugula. So-called "better burger" joints are one of the fastest-growing parts the restaurant industry. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay launched Bobby's Burger Palace in the Northeast. Elevation Burger is expanding into Kuwait. Mooyah Burgers & Fries, Meatheads and the Shake Shack are looking to expand.

Higher-grade beef, fresher or more creative toppings, and better buns are bringing customers in the door.

It's a market that has room to grow. Such chains represent only about 2 percent of the $65 billion burger market, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based restaurant consultant Technomic. Read More

People love burgers! Even with so much misinformation about beef production being put out there by vegan animal rights activists, consumers love what we produce. However, we need to maintain that relationship by continually sharing with them how that beef gets on their plate. They want to know and there are a lot of groups that jump at the chance to tell them their version and make it harder for the truth to get out. Education and promotion are essential items that should be on every producer’s daily chore list.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Prop 2 Forces Cage-Free Only Eggs in CA

California cage law will apply to out-of-state eggs
Associated Press
Posted: 07/08/2010 04:31:12 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — California's two-year-old law to protect egg-laying hens has been extended to out-of-state egg suppliers who hope to sell their products in the state's grocery stores.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed AB1437 into law, calling it a positive step for California egg producers and animal welfare.

The measure requires that all eggs imported to California come from farms complying with Proposition 2, which was approved by voters in 2008. Violators could face up to 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Proposition 2 says cages for egg-laying hens must be large enough for the animals to stand up, lie down and extend their wings.

Both laws will take effect in 2015. Link

Let's look at what has happended here. Because of HSUS getting Prop 2 passed, consumers have less choices available to them at the grocery store in California. The choices that are left will be more expensive. This is exactly what their mission is, to force people to eat the food they decide is best. So the next time you hear Wayne and Co. claiming that they don't have a vegan agenda just remember what has now happened in California. This should be an incredible wake-up call for anyone who thinks HSUS is just a humane society.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

HSUS Has Ohio On Leash After Deal Reached

State's deal with HSUS might not be end of conflict
JULY 3, 2010
Chillicothe Gazette

For months, the spectre of a fall statewide issue related to animal cruelty promised to create a showdown between animal activists and the farming community in Ohio.

But a last minute deal brokered by Gov. Ted Strickland brought together the animal rights and farm groups for a deal that boosts both sides.

The deal calls for Strickland, the Humane Society, the Ohio Farm Bureau and their partners to join forces in favor of tougher laws governing farm animals, including provisions that ban certain crates and cages and the use of strangulation as a form of euthanasia.

It also calls for setting felony-level penalties for cock fighting, cracking down on puppy mills and promoting a ban on future exotic pet purchases.

The farming community took a hit recently when a video from a Plain City farm showed brutal treatment of cows there.

Animal rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, were accused of harassing and dishonest practices to get the signatures needed on petitions.

As Strickland said in a Wednesday press conference, the still-unsigned deal was necessary to avoid a bitter campaign war.

But a closer look reveals Ohio isn't out of the woods just yet.

Provisions in the agreement keep the state on a proverbial leash when it comes to HSUS getting what they want.

For example, if HSUS isn't pleased with the progress on rules regarding wild and dangerous animals (big cats, bears, primates, alligators, venomous snakes, etc.) by Dec. 31, all bets could be off. The same thing goes for 2014, 2017 and beyond -- if HSUS isn't happy with the progress, then a ballot issue could be forthcoming.

As California is learning, HSUS only stays happy for a fleeting moment, then it moves on to the next item on its agenda. The safe money is that the same thing will happen here in the Buckeye State.

So, enjoy it while it lasts, Ohio. You might not have to hear the cacophony of dueling political ads this year, but that doesn't mean it won't be coming in the future. Read More

There’s plenty of discussion happening about last week’s announcement of the deal that was reached in Ohio. One of the things that I continually remind people when it comes to making deals with the HSUS is that it’s only temporary. They can always change their mind and come back anytime. That’s exactly what this article discusses. When you make deals with the devil you are going to get burned every time. ~Troy

Calgary Stampede Sponsors Targeted

Animal rights activists target Stampede sponsors
Updated: Sat Jul. 03 2010 15:21:25

With the Calgary Stampede less than a week away, animal rights activists have launched their first protest. This time they have a different target: Stampede sponsors.

Around a dozen protestors gathered at Tompkins Park, along 17th Avenue Southwest
The protesters say they are now targeting major corporations that sponsor the rodeo, including Bell Canada which had been sponsoring the steer wrestling event.

The group, called the "The Calgary Animal Rights Meetup Group" is urging Canadians to boycott Bell.

Jeremy Thomas from the group says, "Every year animals are hurt and killed and scared out of their minds for the sake of entertainment, not to mention the ones that get killed in the practice sessions." Read More

The Calgary Stampede has been a target of anti-rodeo animal rights activists for some time now. This year’s strategy is to protest the supporters of the rodeo. Even though a dozen protesters will do little to stop an historic rodeo that draws thousands of visitors to their city every year, it’s important that rodeo and animal agriculture take advantage of events like these to educate the public about what it is we do.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Livestock Care Issue Won't Be On Ohio Ballot

Livestock care amendment won't be on ballot
July 1, 2010
Dix Capital Bureau

COLUMBUS -- The Humane Society of the United States has abandoned its drive to place an animal care-related constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

The decision came late Wednesday afternoon, the day the group was supposed to turn in petitions to the Secretary of State, after negotiating with Gov. Ted Strickland and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

The resulting agreement included five proposed livestock standard changes: phasing out veal crates in 2017; phasing out new hog gestation crate use this year with a 15-year phase-out on existing equipment; implementing a "timeout" on battery cage permits used to confine egg-laying hens; and instituting standards for both downer livestock and euthanasia practices.

Those changes will be forwarded to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, the voter-approved body that will have to sign off on them. Read More

Only time will tell if this “agreement” was a good idea or not, but after 12 hours of thinking about it, here’s my early take on things. It would seem to me that this agreement has effectively stripped the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board of it’s constitutional duty. The citizens of Ohio decided that they wanted this board to make the decisions about livestock welfare based on scientific reasoning, not emotional arguments made by out-of-state animal rights groups. Unfortunately they are now in the position of being forced to accept this agreement based on politics rather than what’s best for the livestock.

There’s no doubt that the ballot issue would have been risky, but Ohio’s agriculture leadership seemed ready to fight for their industry right up until yesterday.

Report Backs Non-Conventional Practices

National council report backs sustainable food
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

(06-30) 04:00 PDT Washington - -- The prestigious National Research Council threw its considerable heft behind the sustainable food movement Tuesday with a 570-page report that endorses the new food and farm practices that began in the Bay Area and have taken the nation by storm.

There are now twice as many farmers - 30,000 to 40,000 - selling local meat and produce in farmers' markets than there are growing cotton, a major industrial crop, said August Schumacher, an author of the report and a former undersecretary of agriculture in the George H.W. Bush administration.

"This is not just San Francisco, Boston and New York," Schumacher said of what has been called alternative agriculture but is fast going mainstream - everything from the locavore, organic and "slow food" movements to animal welfare advocacy. "It's Kansas City. It's Boise, Idaho. It's Abingdon, Va."

External costs

While the industrial farm model has generated astonishing efficiency gains and lowered the cost of food, the report found, it has imposed enormous external costs on the environment, human health, animal welfare and workers that are not included in the price of food.

Julia Kornegay, the chair of the committee that wrote the report and chair of the department of horticulture science at North Carolina State University, said the industrial farm system has become increasingly fragile and prone to outside shocks such as a sudden increase in oil or feed prices, water shortages or concerns about food safety.

Produced by a dozen academic and industry leaders and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the report squares off against a growing backlash by proponents of industrial agriculture to what they see as a utopian and romanticized vision of pastoral life that would take food production back to the 19th century and starve the world.

"A post-materialist fantasy," is what Robert Paarlberg, a member of the Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Research Council and a leading food policy academic, has called the new food movement.

Paarlberg says the new food movement is playing out on Africa's small, impoverished farms, where most of the continent's people earn $1 a day, where 80 percent of the labor is done by women and children, where animals forage, insecticides and herbicides are unaffordable and food imports are the only barrier to starvation. Read More

Here is what this article says, America’s farmers and ranchers had done an incredible job of feeding our country and others at the most affordable price in the world, BUT, that needs to be changed. Their claims that food production is too vulnerable to things like high oil prices are an extremely narrow point of view. That doesn’t justify families having to pay much higher food prices all the time. When inputs go up, so do prices. No type of farming will prevent that.

Here’s another thing that seems apparent. The people that were studying this issue went into it with the pre-conceived bias that the current food production system is bad and needs changed. You can tell this by the broad statements made such as the environment needs to be protected. I don’t know anyone that’s involved in agriculture that doesn’t care about the soil and water that generate their livelihood. I get tired of hearing people say that I don’t care about things like that. I don’t care what type of production system you use, if you don’t care about things like that you will be out of business very quickly.

A well-fed society neglects it’s agriculture. Those words have never been more true than they are today.

Editors Encourage Avoiding HSUS Donations

Give to the local Humane Society
• Journal Editorial Board Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:00 am
• Rapid City Journal

The Humane Society of the United States is cheating abused, neglected and abandoned animals out of the help they need with misleading ads that don't disclose the way donations actually are spent. (See related article on this page.)

The national organization uses gut-wrenching ads filled with pitiful animals in an emotional appeal to raise money. The problem is, only a very small fraction of that money filters down to local shelters, with those in many states, including South Dakota, receiving no money at all.

According to the financial report posted on HSUS's website, the agency raised nearly $100 million in donations and bequests last year. It spent nearly $31 million of that on fundraising alone while only $11.6 million was dispersed to animal care facilities.

Most of the money not used for administrative costs is spent on educational campaigns.
Don't make the mistake of confusing the national organization with the local Humane Society that does so much to help animals in need.

The next time you see one of those gut-wrenching ads of abused animals, and feel inclined to help, be sure to give to the local Humane Society. Read More

The editorial board of our regional newspaper in western South Dakota took note of the harm being caused by the Humane Society of the United States. The local humane societies lose when donations are made to the HSUS. If they are so confident in their mission, they should at least be honest in their commercials and advertise where the money is going to be spent. A little honesty from a humane society shouldn’t be asking too much.