Monday, December 28, 2009

How PETA spent its Christmas Vacation

While the rest of us were celebrating Christmas, the gang at PETA was busy.

They urged the Pope to "go Vegan".
From the letter they sent him: “Of course, a global shift toward plant-based diets would also have major benefits for humans - vegans have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than meat-eaters do, and tens of billions of animals would be spared the horrors of being intensively confined on filthy factory farms, mutilated without any pain relief, and slaughtered while still conscious. Going vegan and serving only vegan meals at the Vatican would help ensure a bright future for all.”

I think he’s pretty familiar with the first chapter of Genesis where God creates animals for the benefit of man. And with people jumping over the rope at midnight mass, he needs a good dose of animal protein to keep his muscles strong to ward off “jumpers.”

They encouraged kids to leave soy milk for Santa.
They contend it will cause you to gain weight like the calves milk was meant for and that it causes rather than prevents osteoporosis. Give me a Rolaid.

They want you drinking nog instead of eggnog.
I don’t see that trend catching on any time soon. They've posted a whole host of holiday recipes that will help you go vegan.  They say that your holiday favorites need adjustments. 

Took issue with a live nativity scene.
They protested a Sioux City church that was using animals in a live nativity scene. The Rev. John Pehrson, pastor of the church under attack, told them to: "Get over it."

Attacked donating farm animals for the poor.
They say donating money to provide cattle, chicken and pigs for poor people in developing countries was a bad thing. From their website: “These programs often do more harm than good—to animals, to the environment, and to underprivileged people.” So much for teach a man to fish …thinking.

They also have compiled their annual round up of what's in and what's out. They don’t say eating meat, but I’m sure someone was dying to include it on the list.

A few of the things they say are in: job hunting, gay marriage, Tiger’s media circus. A few of their outs: Wearing animals, horse drawn carriages, Ringling Brother’s circus.  See the other ins and outs here.

I think they could have found better ways to spend their holiday, like going to church and helping to feed the poor.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How I spent my Christmas vacation.

Welcome to Kansas when the weather can change in the blink of an eye. Contrasting last weekend's 50+ degrees and sunshine with the blizzard we had on Thursday makes you wonder how anyone can be prepared for these changes.

Last weekend, feeding the cows looked like this.

This weekend, it looks like this.                          

The photos were taken less than a half mile apart. 

This weekend, the temperature in the teens with an even chillier wind chill, and we're fighting our way through snow drifts of up to 6 feet in places. Daryl spent most of yesterday clearing roads so he could get to the cattle to feed them. And in the spirit of Christmas, he pulled a few people out of ditches and cleared driveways for the neighbors.

On a nice winter day, feeding usually takes us about 3 hours. On a day like today, after getting the stock tanks filled, the road bladed again, and the truck started, we started at 9 a.m. and didn't get home until almost 5 p.m. No wonder farmers go to sleep early.

Our pastures have cover for the cattle to get in so they're out of the elements. But we do worry about the calves who have not seen snow before and are experiencing their first cold blast.

We don't know when we'll have Christmas with either of our families yet. It's still a challenge to get anywhere and my Dad has his own chores to do. But that's the way it is on the farm. Often the cattle come first and the rest of the family comes second.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Did you inadvertently support the HSUS? If you bought a Carrie Underwood song you did.

If you live on a farm, and hate the way the HSUS has put our industry under attack, I hope you didn’t buy your kid a Carrie Underwood CD for Christmas. If you did, there’s still time to exchange it.

Underwood, PETA's 2006 Sexiest Vegetarian, helped stuff the stocking of the HSUS with a $200,000 donation on Dec. 3rd. They call her their Idol for Animals.

If someone in your family bought a digital copy of her cover of the song “Home Sweet Home” you helped fund that donation directly. Proceeds from those downloads are what Underwood credits with making up the donation.  But every dollar she makes from you buying CDs and concert tickets or downloading songs creates more income she can afford to give to them.
The releases I’m seeing say the donation is earmarked for spay and neuter programs. That may be so, but I don’t understand how anyone in the ag community could support (listen to or buy music made by) someone who is in the enemy camp.

She’s their farm girl poster child. This isn’t the first time she’s supported their causes.  Even if she’s doesn’t intend the donation to be used for anti-hunting or anti-farming efforts the social media world has interpreted her donation that way. Read comments.

So it's OK if your kids are disappointed when you take the CD back.  It's better than spending your own money to attack your own industry. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This is why we love country life.

After a few weeks of cold, mostly yucky weather, we were blessed with a beautiful day in the country today.  We spent the afternoon feeding cows, fixing portable feedbunks and caused a traffic jam on Road #1800 when we stopped our feed pickup to talk to the neighbors.

We saw an female eagle flying around our pasture and when we got home I got a kiss from our cow dog Deets.  We'll be getting him some Greenies for Christmas.

It was a great afternoon on the ranch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The HSUS' Top 12 Wins of 2009

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States, listed their top 12 state legislative achievements for 2009. This year some 121 new animal protection laws were enacted, up from 93 in 2008.

Watch out, they will be coming soon to a state near you. Watch out Missouri they've filed papers for a referendum next year.

Arkansas: Felony Cruelty and Cockfighting
Made cockfighting a felony in Arkansas, making Arkansas the 38th state with felony penalties for cockfighting. Before passage of this bill, there were five states where criminals could intentionally torture a companion animal and not face meaningful penalties.

California: Tail Docking
Prohibits this painful and unnecessary mutilation of dairy cows, and The HSUS hopes it will provide a model for other dairy-producing states.

Kansas: Felony Cockfighting
Weak penalties and fines are considered just a cost of doing business by cockfighters, who can earn tens of thousands of dollars in gambling wagers. In November, The HSUS assisted Kansas authorities in a raid of an alleged cockfighting operation. This raid was believed to be the first under the provisions of the new law.

Maine: Confinement
Maine became the sixth state to prohibit confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates and the fourth to prohibit the confinement of calves in veal crates.

Michigan: Confinement
Michigan banned three of the most inhumane confinement systems used on factory farms — gestation crates for breeding pigs, veal crates for calves and battery cages for egg-laying hens.

Nevada: Dogfighting
Nevada had some of the weakest animal fighting laws in the country, as the only state that still allowed possession of dogs for fighting. Lawmakers banned the possession, keeping or training of dogs for fighting.

Nevada: Tethering
Nevada also passed one of the strongest anti-tethering laws in the country, becoming the 13th state with some restrictions on the 24-hour-a-day chaining of dogs. The state limited the number of hours a dog can be chained or tied each day, and prohibits short chains and choke collars.

New Jersey: Fur Labeling
All garments containing animal fur to be labeled with the species of animal and country of origin.

Oregon: Exotics
Oregon banned private possession of alligators, monkeys, lions, tigers and bears.

Oregon: Puppy Mills
Oregon passed some of the strongest puppy mill legislation in the country, establishing minimum care standards and put in place protections for consumers who may have purchased a dog with a disease or congenital defect.

Pennsylvania: Surgical Procedures
The bill bans tail docking after five days of age, debarking and surgical birth on dogs, unless performed under anesthesia by a veterinarian.

Washington: Puppy Mill
Prohibits possession of more than 50 breeding dogs at one facility and establishes welfare standards for people with more than ten breeding dogs, including space, exercise, housing facilities, access to food and water and vet care. This legislation also authorizes investigations at breeding facilities.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If only everyone loved to eat meat like these guys do

We take for granted how cheap and available meat is to all of us. Yesterday a group of four Burmese men—people who have fled their country for a better life in America came to our house to butcher a hog.

Preparing the meat for their holiday feast is an important ritual to them. It was something they would do back in their homeland. It is obviously a custom they wanted to share with their families here in America.

Working with them was an interesting study of how these guys coming from a developing society view food compared to us. Their culture relies on rice, vegetables and fruit to provide their needed calories and nutrition. They want to eat more meat, but can’t afford it.

Only one of them—Albert—speaks English. He worked in packing plants when he first came to America. He quickly learned to speak English and now is an interpreter in the school district his children attend.

“Thank You” seemed to be the only words of English the others new. They used those words often. Working with them provoked a great deal of thinking for Daryl and myself.

The sterile environment that packers use to process the meat that ends up in a grocery store was a far cry from this.

They started working in the grass, not wanting to impose on us more than they had. We moved them to an old tarp and they went to work. They started to boiled water in a pot out in the open air, not to clean their tools, but to remove the hair from the hog. It was a slow process until I started boiling water on the stove in the house.

I suspect people used to boil more water when getting ready to deliver a baby at home. They didn’t let even a drop of the water go to waste.

This was a low-tech operation. They did it all by hand—using tools that made Crocodile Dundee’s knife look like a pocket knife. They used our hay hooks to pull the pieces apart while one of them made very prĂ©cised cuts through the meat, separating muscle and bone into manageable pieces. They washed these pieces with a garden hose, and wouldn’t hear of us bringing more water from the house.

Vegans and those pushing a vegetarian lifestyle will try to scare you into believing that there is a huge issue with fecal matter infecting your food. These guys had no such fear. They used both the large and small intestines. They turned both inside out using a stick from a weed growing near by.

I guarantee none of them will be sick even though fecal matter was within a couple of feet of the rest of the meat. They were reasonably careful and everything got rinsed—with the garden hose—before they packed it away. And I’m sure they know how to properly cook food to eliminate the chance of illness. Something else we seem to have lost here in America.

They started at 4 p.m. and were done by 7:30, everything packed in coolers—even the head and feet. It was backbreaking work done in temperatures that were dropping toward the freezing mark.

This hog died a good death and became the Christmas dinner for people who do not have the means to partake of fresh meat often. They truly appreciated this animal in letting nothing go to waste. Only a small amount of connective tissue was left behind.

Things we would never touch like the pancreas, stomach, intestines and kidneys were all saved to become some delicacy in their Christmas feast.

Even though we didn’t know the words, we caught on to a few jokes they told, the way the razzed each other when one of them messed up. Albert kept telling us things of their traditions as they went along and of their lives here in America.

The whole experience made me more thankful for how easy it is to eat in our country. How rich we are that we can let so much go to waste. It also made me thankful that our world is small enough that we crossed paths with these men who could put so many things clearly in perspective.

Note: The Burmese come here as refuges fleeing a hard line government. They work hard to learn our language and customs, but because of their circumstances they’re very private. These guys drove almost 6 hours to come here because they don’t know any hog or cattle farmers around Garden City, Kan. If you know of someone out here who would be willing to sell them a hog, steer or heifer from time to time or donate one and allow them to process it at your place please let us know. We’re glad to have them, but we know it’s a hardship for them to travel this far.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear CNN, You got it wrong

Grotesque, horrific, barbaric that sums up your report on downer hogs—but it’s your reporting that those words describe, more than what goes on in the meat plant.

You’ve been duped into helping The Humane Society of America in pushing a vegetarian agenda. They’ve been asked repeatedly by the meat industry to help fund research on how animals are kept and slaughtered. They don’t respond. They don’t contribute.

The rest of the world has acknowledged that hog farms are not responsible for the emergence of the H1N1 virus. Only these radical animal activist groups are still spreading that lie. Until you bought in.

What was shown in some the video is not downer hogs. But a viewer wouldn’t know that. Viewers also wouldn’t know that the video was taken out of context. Maybe you should have had a farmer review the video with you instead of an animal rights extremist.

America has the safest food supply in the world, but you would never know that from listening to your report. What happened to balanced reporting or fair journalism? Where was a hog farmer in your report?

This reporting makes me question anything I see on your network.

From Jody

Please send your own note to CNN using this link.  If they start hearing from us, maybe they'll stop reporting these lies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Did Oklahoma State bow to activists?

Last week a commotion erupted when Oklahoma State University (OSU) cancelled an anthrax research project that appeared to have been blessed by all levels.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) had agreed to fund the study, that would have created an animal model of anthrax infection in baboons. The University's animal use and care committee had given it the green light.

OSU isn’t giving much detail about why they cancelled the study. But there are lots of people jumping to conclusions based on some circumstantial evidence. And the university is issuing some fishy statements like:

“OSU is focused on enhancing and expanding its existing research strengths including our ongoing programs in bioterrorism research. The proposed work would have distracted from those efforts."

How does doing research distract rather than enhance the reputation of the college? How is proving to the NIH that your institution is unreliable a good thing?

Word in the blog world is that it’s been cancelled because a big donor is a big animal activist. And it appears this isn’t the first time that donor has caused research to cease.  (read more)

Last April, OSU announced it would not longer be euthanizing animals in it’s veterinary labs. Madeleine Pickens, as in Mrs. T. Book Pickens, and OSU alumnus stopped that practice with her checkbook when she threatened to redirect a $5 million donation to the vet school because she did not agree with such practices. Mr. Pickens, has contributed over $450 million to the university in recent years.

A website connected to the Pickens’ posted a victory statement shortly after the announcement was made. According to Mrs. Pickens's Web site posted an article from DVM Newsmagazine about the decision, appending the original headline with the exclamation "Kudos for a Great Decision!" suggesting that Pickens had played a role in the decision.

Regarding the cancelled program, OSU released a statement through spokesman Gary Shutt saying,
"this research was not in the best interest of the university. The testing of lethal pathogens on primates would be a new area for OSU that is controversial and is outside our current research programs.”

What’s controversial about not wanting to be a victim of anthrax?

Who could be against anthrax research that could protect both human and animal populations?

The only thing controversial--to animal activists--is research on a primate.

There’s no smoking gun yet. But let’s say that OSU did bow to activists. They may have preserved some donor money for the university, but what did it cost?
  • Activists get some real traction here in the Midwest
  • It fuels the fire for other activists to bully colleges and foundations into submissions because these tactics have been proven work
  • It prevents humans from benefiting from this kind of research.
  • OSU gets a reputation as a fickle research partner

That’s a very high price to pay.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How many feral horses do you want in your back yard?

How much to do you want to pay for to keep a feral animal?

Wild horses conjure romantic images of the west in the minds of many people.

So much so that thirty-eight years ago, they were declared living symbols of the west and put under the supervision of the Bureau of Land Management.

In a report on Fox News, Ken Salazar, of the Dept. of the Interior estimates 32,000 roam public lands while another 32,000 have been sent to other parts of the country to preserves. And even more have been adopted by people taking in one or two at a time.

Apparently seven new preserves in the Midwest and Eastern U. S. are needed to sustain the horses currently roaming the West. To acquire the land and transport the horses to these new “homes” will carry an estimated cost of $96 million.

There’s a huge cost to take care of what are really feral animals.
Since 1971, the BLM has removed over 270,000 horses from Western ranges. That sounds like a population that could destroy its current habitat to me. What shape would the herd be in if it hadn’t been managed during the past 35+ years?

But of course the activists know how to manage this herd better than anyone.
A relocation effort was supposed to start tomorrow (Dec. 7th) but an activist group has sued to stop the action. In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection organization and ecologist Craig Downer brought the lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management.

We wouldn’t think twice about spaying or neutering a feral cat or dog. Should it be any different with a feral horse? We wouldn’t think twice about euthanizing a feral animal, but these horses are sacred in the minds of many.

This group contends that these horses must be left in the wild. If they are they will starve. If they’re relocated or adopted, can anyone explain to me how they remain wild horses?

I also find it amusing that group that many supporting this suit are the ones supporting sustainability? How does an ever increasing feral horse population that must be transported, fed and watered in what isn’t their natural habitat help to make the planet more sustainable?

These horses are a problem. If they were a city problem like feral cats or dogs they would be dealt with. But since they’re not roaming city streets, activists will call them wild and move to protect them. How romantic.

Wonder how the activists would feel about wild dogs and cats roaming their neighborhood, eating their pet food, damaging their lawns and lawn furniture and harboring disease?

What would they do then to rid themselves of the problem?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Put the yoke on the HSUS

I got an email from Wayne Pacelle from the HSUS with Bill Maher's smiling face tonight.

Yep, I know you're jealous.

They are trying to drop-kick IHOP in the frying pan for using eggs from chickens who are raised in cages. Go to their website and you can see that they've been targeting IHOP for a while. The message is for their constituents to call IHOP to tell them to switch to cage free eggs. No mention of what you're omelet or scrambled eggs will cost if they bully IHOP into submission.

I say we in ag need to rally to IHOP's side. Instead of calling IHOP to tell them to switch to cage free eggs, let’s bet them at their own game and tell IHOP to stick to their guns because conventional methods for raising chickens and egg production have merit.

Here's the number they listed to call IHOP: 1-866-444-5144.

Let’s pull off our own virtual protest of the HSUS and their tactics. Share this number with your friends.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Any volunteers to call the HSUS or PETA?

I thought the rest of the world knew that pigs weren’t to blame for the spread of the H1N1 virus. Apparently nobody called the HSUS or PETA to share this news.

They are using H1N1 as another reason people should choose not to eat meat. You can even watch an hour long presentation on their website blaming “factory farms” for the emergence of this strain.

From the HSUS website:
“Crowding pigs into factory farms likely led to the emergence of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. So far, millions of people have been infected and thousands have died. Learn the inside story on the origins of swine flu and ways we can help prevent flu pandemics in the future.

“The price of factory farmed meat doesn't reflect its true cost. This pandemic may be part of the price we're all paying for products from filthy industrial pig factories.

“. . . the best way to reduce the risk of future outbreaks may be to follow the advice of the American Public Health Association and declare "no more factory farms."

But, in another section of their site about the H1N1 and safety of pets, they inform that other animals that have contracted H1N1 have caught it from a human.

Hmmm? Don’t worry about your pets, but farm animals are evil—yes I’m drawing my own conclusion. No need for any HSUS member to call me.

PETA is up to similar tactics. They’re now calling it the pork flu at events and handing out masks as well as handing out starter kits to make the switch to eating vegan. And to appeal to the artsy crowd, they’re sponsoring a “swine flu haiku” contest.
Give me a Rolaid.

Neither group has gone as far as to say you’ll contract the flu by eating meat, but the average person reading on their site would make that assumption.

Here’s what they’re saying about agriculture’s role in H1N1 and other health issues.

“Hans-Gerhard Wagner of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization has acknowledged that factory farms create an “opportunity for emerging disease.” The meat, egg and dairy industries keep diseased animals in crowded, filthy conditions and feed them a steady diet of drugs to keep them alive. It shouldn’t come as a shock that factory farms provide the ideal conditions for drug-resistant “superbugs” to develop.

How about this billboard from PETA: “Your demand for meat creates disease.” It’s in the UK. How would you like to see that up against a “Beef: It's what's for dinner” billboard?

These groups see some chinks in our armor and that their message is starting to gain some traction. Now more than ever it’s time for producers and the organizations that represent us to start sharing reality and calling these guys out when they spread lies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give Thanks

Tomorrow is the day to "Thank a Farmer" on your Facebook, Twitter, Blog or other social networking sites.

We're going to try to make this a trending topic from 10 a.m. to noon (CST) using the hashtag #thankafarmer.

I know many of you have participated in the Give Thanks program. This is one more way to get the word out about the importance of agriculture. If you haven't posted a note on the NCBA Thank A Farmer site, today's the day. If you aren't on Twitter, but want to participate, shoot me a note. I'm happy to help show you the ropes.

American's take for granted their safe, cheap food supply. We spend a lower percentage of our paychecks on food than anyone else on the planet. People who aren't connected to the land don't realize the work that our farmers do so they can enjoy a holiday feast or a snack on the run.

Thank a farmer and tell the world how important they are.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Meat is not just murder any more

Here’s a new book out that you’ll want to stuff in your family’s stockings this Christmas.

Jonathan Safran Foer a well known fiction writer, and darling of the book critics, has written a new book called “Eating Animals” examining his issues with eating meat and the food industry in general.

I have often seen animal activists call us murderers. But this guy says the slaughter of animals for food production is genocide.

The ante has been upped.

This guy has a platform and a way with words that could be deadly to our industry because he believes that we all have blood on our hands.

In an interview with Paul Shapiro, who runs the HSUS’ factory farming initiative, Foer takes shots at animal agriculture and factory farms.

These excerpts are taken from the HSUS website.

“It is unacceptable to be indifferent bout genocide, or callous environmental destruction, or animal cruelty (when done anywhere that isn’t a farm.) Indifference toward factory farming should be equally unacceptable.

"If animal agriculture isn't the most important problem in the world right now—it's the #1 cause of global warming, #1 cause of animal suffering, a decisive factor in the creation of zoonotic diseases like bird and swine flu, and so on—it is the problem with the most deafening silence surrounding it.

“The real horror of factory farming is not found in the instance, but the rule. . . . It's a shame that most people's exposure to the meat industry comes through horror videos of slaughterhouses. . . . And unfortunately, they can conceal something that is far more horrible: the everyday, systematized cruelty and destruction.

“In a way, videos of animals being tortured are a distraction that the meat industry is probably happy to have, as they suggest that the fault is with workers. The fault is not with workers, but the system itself. It is straightforwardly impossible to raise the number of animals we are currently raising for food without making their lives miserable. The misery is built into the system.

“Another system could take this system's place. But a movement toward small, family farms will require people to eat much, much less meat. And that's not going to happen any time too soon. In the meantime, the most important thing is to come to terms with the dominance and destruction of factory farming, and reject it. "

See anything you disagree with here? See anything he’s flat wrong about?

Guys like Foer and the HSUS say they’re only after the big guys. They are proponents of local eating and supporting family farms where things are done right. But anyone disparaging any part of the food system brings the whole system down.

This week the USDA released its report showing that 14.6 million American households went hungry last year.

The anti meat agenda doesn’t ever talk about how to replace the nutrients and protein lost if animals were phased out of the diet. The environmental extremists don’t talk about how to solve food distribution issues if suddenly everyone was eating local.

How many more people would the adoption of an anti-meat, radical environmental agenda make insecure?

Would they call people dying of starvation because of the policies they pushed genocide?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Subtracting Somehow Means More in Baltimore.

How does taking away meat from the menu give students more choices?

While watching balloon boy last week, we missed the awards that the Baltimore School District is receiving from a bunch of animal and environmental activist groups for implementing Meatless Monday. In case you missed it, check out the reporting from the Huffington Post and CNN.

What's the protein content on the menu?
Grilled Cheese Sandwich Who knows? I’m seeing between 2.9 and 16 grams.
Vegetarian Chili 8-12 grams of protein
Corn 1 gram
Green Beans 1 gram
Fruit 1 gram

So the kid would have to eat everything on the plate consuming to equal the amount of protein in a single serving of chicken or beef. How many extra calories is that?

Maybe trading out meat for something else gives someone a choice, but it's not a good choice when 75% of school children don’t get enough protein in their diet anyway.

But the polls say people like the idea.

In a poll on the Huffington Post, the supporters were winning. Awesome said 54.79%. Non issue, why is it getting covered said 40% of respondents and only 4.59% said they were not a fan as of 8:45 p.m. (CT) Tuesday.

Think this is about giving kids better choices? Think again. It’s about an animal rights and environmental activist’s agenda.
The rest of the story, The program is being coordinated in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of Public Health. Ever heard of the Center for a Livable Future or the Grace Spira Project? Neither had I.

Henry Spira was an animal right’s activist.

From the Spria Project website, “Launched in 1999, the Henry Spira Project focuses on documenting and communicating the public health and environmental implications of industrial food animal production (IFAP) and promoting humane, more sustainable practices that do not harm the environment and human health.”

Timing is everything. Congress will be considering standards to the school lunch program this fall. Reports on a guy like Mr. Geraci turning around a failing food service system with building blocks like school gardens and Meatless Monday is a way to get a seat at the table for vegetarian options.

Tony Geraci the had of the program is a media darling for his innovative ideas and school garden . Just putting a spotlight on him gives these groups a fan base for this concept who are swallowing the idea that a veggie lunch is a good thing. I mean that's all they're seeing in the media these days so it must be true.

So much for healthy choices.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RT @foodprovider While hurting family farmers RT @PVDairyGal1: wht HSUS sends out after scare tactics work

Monday, October 12, 2009

Larry King Live or Larry King Lies?

I tuned in hoping for honest debate.
I should have known better, this was CNN after all.

But millions of people tuned in to see if what they are eating could make them sick. Over 6 million people looked at the Larry King Live website and over 200,000 of those posted on his blog.

I was on Twitter while listening to the program, which seemed to be where most of the farm community was hanging out.

Did those viewers learn the truth? I’m afraid not.
The ag folks got some good stats in, but a lot of the stats shared were either lies or gross inaccuracies.

One of the anti-meat people said that 98% of all animals sent to slaughter come from factory farms. Maybe he’s misinformed about the 96-98% of all farms being family farms. But he says that and because so few American’s have a point of reference, many will believe him.

The show started with families telling how loved ones had died from eating hamburgers. Then it moved on to a panel was stacked with vegans spouting a bunch of inaccuracies.

I may be biased, but it seemed Larry and his cohort were in their corner based on the questions they were asking and what the comments they were sharing on the website.
They’re after us and they’ll do anything they have to in order to scare people into not eating our products.

Patrick Boyle, American Meat Institute, needs a raise for his part of the program. He was articulate, on message and a bright spot on the panel. We need him making the TV circuit all the time.

There was a strong voice out there echoing what the ag industry spokespeople were saying about beef being an essential part of the diet. But we weren’t out in the force we should have been.
RT @agritweets Cattle: Novartis Chief Criticizes Animal Activists : Daniel Vasella, chief executive of the Swiss pharac..
RT@FarmBureau: 1493~Christopher Columbus brought calves, goats, sheep, pigs, hens, citrus, melons and many veggies to America. ag history

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jody vs. the Vegan the next day

AND THEN THE NEXT DAY. . . She came back with more.
More of the same
Day late and a dollar short.
She never answered any of my questions. She's still ranting about us being cruel murderers. More name calling and personal attacks. That's a way to win friends and influence people. There was one thing new--Now we're destroying the environment.
Continue reading and get inside the mind of an intense animal activist.

VEGAN: You know about the chickens yet you do not care? That hideous treatment and cruelty bothers you not? And frankly, you haven't "come back" with any evidence substantiating your position other than personal motive. What you are indeed asserting is that you eat steak now so that the planet can support food necessity in 40 years? Are you kidding? The only numbers you have shown is vitamins. Sweetie, I am vegan, I gave birth to a healthy child, and both she and I are healthy. Your naturopathic doctor? Are you serious? Why would I care what he says when my gyno and personal physician and pediatrician are completely unconcerned? Is that a joke??? What will the extra farming do to the water supply? Really? You mean animals don't drink water and CAFO's don't pollute our environment?Despite substantial improvements in the nation's water quality since the inception of the Clean Water Act, nearly 40 percent of the nation's assessed waters show impairments from a wide range of sources. Improper management of manure from CAFOs is among the many contributors to remaining water quality problems. Improperly managed manure has caused serious acute and chronic water quality problems throughout the United States."

... Read MoreCanadian source:"Primary agriculture is responsible for more than 10 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities. It is estimated that up to 40 per cent of these farming-related emissions come from the production of livestock, including manure stored in open-air earthen storage areas or applied to the land as fertilizer. Untreated sewage that is used as fertilizer may also contaminate groundwater and nearby lakes and rivers. ""

One of the largest pork companies on the East Coast was fined $12.6 million - the largest water pollution fine ever- for dumping hog waste into a Chesapeake Bay tributary.U.S. District Judge Rebecca B. Smith ruled Aug. 8 that Smithfield Foods Inc. was liable for nearly 7,000 violations of the Clean Water Act since 1991. She said she wanted at least a portion of the fine to be used for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. The ruling resulted from an EPA lawsuit that accused Smithfield of polluting the Pagan River and destroying documents to cover it up.Smithfield Foods, which slaughters pigs and packs the meat in two plants on the river, was accused of dumping illegal levels of hog waste into the river for several years. The decaying waste and excrement raised the levels of phosphorous and other elements in the river, poisoning shellfish beds. The Pagan River has been closed to shellfishing for 27 years because of high levels of fecal bacteria and is considered unhealthy for swimming. ""

On June 25, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., Tyson Foods Inc., pled guilty to 20 felony violations of the federal Clean Water Act and agreed to pay $7.5 million to the United States and the State of Missouri. The plea agreement will settle all federal and state charges against the company for illegal discharges at its Sedalia, Mo., processing plant. In addition, Tyson Foods will hire an outside environmental consultant to audit the Sedalia plant’s environmental management program and will implement an improved environmental program based on the audit’s findings. Each day, the Sedalia plant processes approximately 1 million pounds of chicken and generates hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater. Between 1996 and 2001, the plant repeatedly discharged untreated or inadequately treated wastewater from the Sedalia plant in violation of the limits in its discharge permit. Repeated citations and lawsuits by the State of Missouri did not bring the plant into compliance. Discharging wastewater containing higher than permitted levels of processing wastes can harm fish and wildlife and make surface waters unuseable for recreational and drinking water purposes. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the FBI with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, Mo., and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Cargill Pork Inc., which operates a 17,000 pig farming operation in Martinsburg, Mo., pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act and will pay out a total of $1,551,000, including a fine of $1 million, $51,000 in restitution to the State of Missouri for natural resources damages and the costs of investigation and $500,000 in already spent remediation costs. The defendant admitted illegally discharging hog waste from holding ponds at its facility into the Loutre River, which is a tributary of the Missouri River. The discharge occurred due to a failure to properly operate waste management equipment. In addition, no report of the release was made to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. After the release, 53,000 fish were killed along a five mile stretch of the Loutre River. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis."

Approximately half of the 50 million pounds of antibiotics produced in the United States are used for agriculture and half for human health. Recent studies in Europe indicate that pharmaceutical compounds are common contaminants in surface water. Radioimmunoassay tests developed for clinical and regulatory use were adapted to screen for multiple classes of antibiotics in liquid waste and surface-water. A tandem reverse phase/mixed mode solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry method was used to analyze for 21 analytes from four classes of antibiotics. Initial results indicate that antibiotics are transported into surface and ground water in areas with animal feeding operations and wastewater-treatment plants."

Several health and welfare problems seen predominantly in meat-type birds are related to rapid growth rate. A correlated response to the selection of turkeys for increased body weight and a broad breast is the development of deep muscle myopathy (atrophy of the inferior pectoralis muscle) caused by an inadequate blood supply to the tissues. Both turkeys and meat chickens exhibit skeletal disorders, particularly in the bones of the pelvic limb (femur, patella, tibia, metatarsus) and their associated tendons. Skeletal abnormalities can be further exacerbated by the resulting motor impediments. The lack of synchronous growth among body components in broilers, including the heart and lungs, can contribute to pulmonary hypertension causing excess fluids in the body (ascites). An additional problem is 'sudden death syndrome,' the cause of which is unknown.These health problems are of great concern to the poultry industry, and considerable research is being conducted on the negative aspects associated with rapid growth in today's broilers.

Read More"Abstract: The behavioural responses of groups of seven lambswere compared with control groups after castration and taildocking by rubber rings, application of a Burdizzo clamp inaddition to a rubber ring, and after surgical castration atfive, 21, and 42 days. All methods at all ages produced changesin behaviour which were interpreted as indicative ofconsiderable pain."

Negative health conditions and inhumane situations due to artificially promoting weight and size:Several health and welfare problems seen predominantly in meat-type birds are related to rapid growth rate. A correlated response to the selection of turkeys for increased body weight and a broad breast is the development of deep muscle myopathy (atrophy of the inferior pectoralis muscle) caused by an inadequate blood supply to the tissues. Both turkeys and meat chickens exhibit skeletal disorders, particularly in the bones of the pelvic limb (femur, patella, tibia, metatarsus) and their associated tendons. Skeletal abnormalities can be further exacerbated by the resulting motor impediments. The lack of synchronous growth among body components in broilers, including the heart and lungs, can contribute to pulmonary hypertension causing excess fluids in the body (ascites). An additional problem is 'sudden death syndrome,' the cause of which is unknown.These health problems are of great concern to the poultry industry, and considerable research is being conducted on the negative aspects associated with rapid growth in today's broilers.

There was information with respect to prodding:"Bruising costs the beef industry about $22 million annually. The 1995 National Beef Quality Audit found that bruising cost the industry $4.03 for every fed animal marketed, a significant increase over the 1991 quality audit. To decrease bruising, use a prod only to the extent necessary. Don't beat cattle with canes and sticks."

"The No. 1 concern of packers in the 1999 audit was the high incidence of bruising. Only 11.8 percent of cow carcasses did not have a bruise. When a bruise is created on an animal, it takes time for the body to heal. Handling practices at the ranch are very important in minimizing bruises. It is estimated that one-third of bruises occur on the ranch, and the other two-thirds occur in transport and marketing."

Literally millions of animals are condemned yearly due to diseases, malformations, and other repulsive conditions. If these animals were being cared for, they would not become so horrifically afflicted.

Read MoreIt really sucks to be a chicken or "other bird":The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act:Originally passed in 1958, the law that is enforced today by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was passed as the Humane Slaughter Act of 1978. This Act requires the proper treatment and humane handling of all food animals slaughtered in USDA inspected slaughter plants. It does not apply to chickens or other birds.

Twenty-Eight Hour Law:Originally enacted in 1873 and 1906, the law was repealed and reenacted in 1994 by PL 103-272. This law requires that animals being transported across state lines (by truck, rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water)) may not be confined for more than 28 consecutive hours without being unloaded for food, water, and rest. The law is also known as the "Cruelty to Animals Act," the "Live Stock Transportation Act," and the "Food and Rest Law." It does not apply to poultry or to animals being transported in a vehicle where they have food, water, space, and the ability to rest.

And then another farm guy chimed in: I have been curious to what the animal rights movement would do if for some reason the livestock industry suddenly stopped? Would they care for them.I respect you for expressing your view, even though I don't share them and I am sure that we will agree to disagree on this matter.

Jody, you forgot to mention the extremely high level of estrogen in Soy products, far higher than in red meat. Trent told the numbers on the radio a few weeks ago.

Trent: 3oz of beef 1.69 nanograms of estrogen, 1 teaspoon of soy oil 28,000 nanograms of estrogen

I was on a trip to St. Louis when all this got posted. So I wasn't in a place where I could reply. But I'm kind of at the point of why bother. She's ignoring the debate. Calling names and putting forth some junk science and reports that I find suspect.

I do wonder where she found it. I don't think this was something she pieced together on her own. But the string isn't one I've seen on other sites. If you know her source of all this cruelty infomation, let me know.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jody vs. the Vegan

This all got started when Trent Loos made a comment on his Facebook page about not attending the World Dairy Conf.

Us farm kids were talking about how to increase milk consumption through advertising and merchandising when a vegan jumped into the discussion. Sorry this is long but you will be entertained. And I have changed the vegan's name to protect her identify.

VEGAN: I am confused: here we have a culture embedded with the "eat meat, drink milk" mantra. Everywhere I go I am bombarded with these messages, and I cannot go anywhere without seeing trucks carrying animals, destination: death, packaged animal corpses, the scent of decomp as people bar-b-que the murdered animals, commercials, magazine adverts, ... billboards, fast-food establishments around every corner, etc., etc., etc., all bombarding me with the "eat meat, drink milk" message, and you get pissy over one poster? How absolutely ludicrous and prejudicial is that??? Let me ask you, by the way, what happens to the male babies? Have any of you ever had human breastmilk? Does that sound ewy to you? When I breastfed I offered to pump some for people, and the response was always one of revulsion, yet you'll drink the scummy, pus-infected secretions of animals who live in squalor, eating crap, slaughtered in reprehensible manners in hideous places? Really? Why not hire women to milk themselves? Would you be supportive of such an idea? At least they would have the choice and compensation if chosen.Nice message, CJ. Thanks for remembering me on a Saturday night. I make a lasting impression, don't I? Cannot help but think of me when espousing the illegitimate, murderous manners of animal food production and how I'll fight you people until the day I die?
TRENT: Whether you choose to admit it or not the value of milk meat and eggs to the human body are scientifically documented. Fortunately we both live in a country were we have the right to choose to keep our bodies in state of denial if you so choose.

ME: Obviously you've been brainwashed and don't really care for the facts. You're buying a line of lies without researching the facts or thinking for yourself--the declarations you made in this thread aren't even an accurate description of the dairy industry. The smell of animals means nutrition to me. If you're hungry enough, someday it will smell like sustenance to you too.

VEGAN: XX, feel free to care less even more and not send me messages about eating horses.The value of a vegan diet has been established as having a beneficial impact on health and lowering the risk of certain cancers.How many animals did you kill today, Trent and Jody?... And, Jody, brainwashed is the definition I provided above and it is YOU who has fallen into the typical stereotyped animal corpse eater. I think outside the cruel box. Furthermore, Jody, the "declarations" I have made are indeed FACTS that I have derived from the USDA and have them for your perusal if you would like. Also, what happens to the male babies? Jody, the smell of animals means nutrition to you? Do you know how perverted that sounds? Do you have cats, dogs, hamsters...?

TRENT: Oh Vegan I am glad you reminded me of the male bull calf thing...You are implying that they are harvested for veal calves as babies...less than 20% of the dairy calves born go through any veal program... but more importantly veal calves weigh 500 lbs when they are harveted that is hardly killing a baby. The rest of dairy male calves are fed to normal fed cattle weights of 1400 lbs...NO Baby killing happening here.
"veal calves weigh 500 lbs when they are harveted that is hardly killing a baby."Pure semantics: how old are they, Trent? And, yes, then they are killed. "The rest of dairy male calves are fed to normal fed cattle weights of 1400 lbs.."... Before they are killed...

ME: Only a small number of bull calves are born today thanks to scientific advancements, that I'm sure you disapprove of too. But I won't bother to explain since you know all about the dairy industry. I wouldn't want to bore you with facts you already know. Call me perverted, but I'll be eating meat tomorrow because I believe it is the source of protein and many essential nutrients--taking any supplements in your vegan diet? I don't have pets. I have livestock being grown to become food. There's a difference between pets and livestock.
Oh and Vegan, Do your pets live in the house?

Vegan: "But I won't bother to explain since you know all about the dairy industry."I get my facts from what you would call unbiased sources: the industry and the USDA. "There's a difference between pets and livestock." ... That is so hypocritical, Jody. They are all animals. And did you know that reducing or discontinuing animal-derived food consumption lowers health risks? And you people baffle me with the ease and indifference you consider animals: born only to die unnecessarily so, living in horrific conditions, brutalized, suffered, exploited. You have to accept that when there is an option between kill or not, your moral obligation is to go with compassion and not kill. And you think I am brainwashed.

ME: I don't consider the USDA unbiased. Name your sources and let's compare what we know. You're obviously very passionate about what you believe, but I'm not seeing any facts. You're just name-calling in your arguments: hypocrite, pervert and murderer. That's a pretty typical argument of the anti-meat folks in America. I have seen the reports about reducing health risks, by reducing red meat intake, but usually they are accompanied by a retraction. If you want to debate that, again, start naming your sources--I would be happy to put names/dates behind what I know. About 85% of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops--since you like the USDA that's where it came from. Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food. It is not suitable for growing vegetables or plant material that sustains human life. Figure out how humans can digest grass and we're in business, but until that time, people must eat meat, milk, eggs, etc or they will not get the calories they need to survive.... Read MoreDiary bulls--Thought Trent had provided some good stats, but since you asked again. Using technology less than 10% of calves born are bulls. (From a report from Cornell University.) You do need a few bulls. My moral obligation is to feed the world, and you can't do that on a plant based diet. So I am calloused in preferring that an animal die so many people can live. I know I can't convince you that steps are taken to ensure the animal doesn't suffer at the vast majority of farms or facilities. There's too much hidden camera footage from the poorly run facilities in our industry that will back up what you believe. But I've seen it done differently and better than what you think happens. Yes animals die to become food. I know you won't believe this of a murdering hypocrite, but I do care about the health and welfare of the animals in my care. But you can't convince me that they should serve a different purpose than to feed people. I'm logging off. Would be happy to debate more tomorrow.

VEGAN: Are you disputing the fact that animals are killed? No matter what you say, believe, or profess, the fact is that animals are killed: killing is inherently inhumane. You claim to want to feed the world, congratulations, it's not working. "I do care about the health and welfare of the animals in my care." That's what you claim, but as long as ... Read Moreyou are killing animals, you cannot possibly care for them other than as objects to further your motive. "But you can't convince me that they should serve a different purpose than to feed people." Yes, same old meat-eating rhetoric. "people must eat meat, milk, eggs, etc or they will not get the calories they need to survive." Really? Seriously? Prove it. "Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food" Do these animals not require water? Or are these magical animals who do not produce any waste?Here is one link to poultry and the numerous conditions they are exposed to:
ME: Yes, I murder animals to satisfy my motive of feeding people. That's the only motive I have, because we sure aren't getting rich by farming.
Had expected more from you today than again calling me a murderer or hypocrite. Would have been nice if you had put forth some stats that I could have countered. The chicken report is stuff I already know.
You want proof that people need meat? I'm sure you won't believe any of this, but here it is.
Like I said yesterday, much of the world's surface is suitable for growing grass, not plants for human consumption. By 2050, the UN says, our planet must double food production to feed an anticipated population of 9.3 billion people. If we can't grow stuff people can eat on a large portion of our planet, we need to feed animals, so they can be turned into food. If you have another idea I would love to hear it.
Here is why we need meat. Protein--Tofu has 8 grams per serving to beef's 28. We're going to have to grow a lot more beans if we need to satisfy everyone's protein needs with them alone. Nuts range from 6 to 10 grams. That's a lot of trees.
What will all that extra farming do to the environment and water supply? And do you need me to cite a nutritionist who says that plant protein isn't as high in value as animal protein? They're all over if you Google natural protein source. Plant sources other than soy are incomplete proteins which means they don't contain all 8 amino acids. And if you're taking soy in high amounts it can block the absorption of other nutrients.
Where can you get more B-12, Zinc and Iron than you can in beef? It's not a plant. It's a pill. My naturopathic doctor says those nutrients are not well absorbed when taken in pill form. You've seen the experiments were they drop a vitamin pill into water. Kind of the same principle.
So I think I've come back with some numbers that are well documented. Better documentation than anything you've come up with so far.
I get that you think killing animals is wrong under any circumstance. I think animals are an important part of the food chain here to serve the nutritional needs of an ever growing population.
We'll never agree. I know I'll never convince you and you'll never convince me. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this topic with you.

That's where I left it with her. I used to let this stuff go. I know I won't change her--or any hard core animal activist's opinon. But I am being more vocal in defending our industry.

If you are in ag, and not following Trent's blog or on twitter @trentloos you should be.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

National Parks and Animal Rights?

The National Parks program on PBS inspired Wayne Pacelle because the founding of our national parks was radical and controversial just like the animal rights movement.

I must be missing something.
Read his blog entry from Sept. 30th.

Norman Pang not charged

The radical animal activists lost this go round.

Norman Pang has not been cited, arrested or charged for alleged cruelty to animals by the Honolulu prosecutor's office.

But the animal rights group had to get their dig in. From a prepared statement attributed to Pamela Burns, CEO of the Hawaii Humane Society.

"Although we received numerous complaints, we were prohibited access to the property to conduct an animal cruelty investigation. As a result our case was severely compromised. We stand by our decision to forward this case to the prosecutor's office for their determination about the strength and quality of the evidence to pursue a conviction."

Of course they couldn't just leave the guy alone. No word on whether he's dropping his defamation case.

Read more about the charges being dismissed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Become a JobAngel

I know a ton of people looking for work right now and found a grea website that works to connect job seekers with helpers.

JobAngels Mission: Help One
At JobAngels, the mission is to help bring people together in a community setting where each person commits to a single goal: to help just one person find gainful employment. That person can be a friend, a family member, a colleague or a complete stranger. JobAngels members are innovative and passionate about driving a new generation of talent networking that is both meaningful and results-oriented.

Whether you're looking to help someone or looking for a new postion, this is a neat tool to expand your network.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feinstein: For Fish, Not for Farmers

Farmer's in California's San Joaqin Valley can't rely on Sen. Dianne Feinstein to help them through a choking drought.

Instead she's voting to holding their water hostage to save the Delta Smelt, a 2 inch long endangered fish.

The San Joaquin Valley was one of the most productive agricultural region in the world. Not so anymore.The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued restrictions on the areas surrounding the Valley to protect this fish.

In protecting the fish, they are killing the farmers.

The University of California, Davis, estimates that San Joaquin Valley farm revenue losses ranged from $482 million to $647 million. Total economic losses could hit $3 billion this year.
Jobless rates in the region are at 14%. In Mendota, the unemployment rate is near 40%.

In June, the administration refused to designate California a federal disaster area because of the drought even though the U.S. Drought Monitor lists 43% of the state as being under "severe drought" conditions.

Earlier this week, Feinstein compared an amendment that would bring water to the farmers to Pearl Harbor. Watch

We can see who is going to save the fish. Who is going to save the farmers?

Read more analysis at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You'll want to contribute to this legal fund

Norman Pang who lives in Hawaii, has filed a lawsuit against two animal groups.

He says he's being unfairly targeted for animal cruelty by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS)which has been feuding with him for years.

So he’s going to court seeking some relief.

"I am sick and tired of their harassment -- their name calling," said Norman Pang, with Animal Haven. "Abuser, murderer, they are calling me a collector, a hoarder and such names like that none of which are true. I am so tired of that I decided to file a lawsuit.”

For years, Pang and his wife Bonnie operated Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter. The Hawaiian Humane Society unsuccessfully tried to pursue animal cruelty charges against the couple 14 years ago.

After his wife passed away, Pang agreed to give up the animals at the shelter because he was having trouble caring for them. Now he says he feels like he was stabbed in the back.

“I feel so betrayed because I thought the Humane Society of the United States was coming in to help me," said Pang, co-founder of Animal Haven.

Because of the rocky history with the group, Pang thought he had an agreement that the Hawaiian Humane Society be left out of the process.. So a crew, from it's national office, was flown in to help instead. Read Wayne Pacelle’s blog entry on the event.

"When they came on my property with the cameras I immediately asked them what they were doing, and the guy with the camera told me we're doing a training film," said Pang.

He should have known better when the HSUS is involved.

The video, showing animals in a sad state was posted on the HSUS website with other hideous descriptions of his situation. Pang says the images are deceiving because most of the animals were already sick when they arrived at the shelter.

"Right now we look like the worst people on earth because of the way we're being presented by the Humane Society," said Pang. He claims, the societies were working together to gather evidence, in order to build an animal cruelty case against him.

"Any of the footage we take on these animal rescue operations is immediately shared with the media and immediately put out in the community again," said Igna Gibson, Hawaii State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Hawaiian Humane Society says the images are disturbing and has turned over all materials to the prosecutor's office as evidence. It is now up to the prosecuting attorney whether or not to pursue charges against Pang. They've also created some FAQs on the case.

So far, Pang has not been cited or charged with any animal cruelty charges. Both the Hawaiian Humane Society and the Humane Society of America have declined comment. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Dec. 7.

This is a common tactic. Shot the film and pray on the public’s sympathies. It’s a great PR tactic and a highly effective fundraising tool that most people can’t see through.

I need to find out if Mr. Pang has a fund to help with his costs. I’ll be more than happy to send him a contribution.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How natural is your food?

Meat and vegetables are natural. A Twinkie is not.
Oh, if it was only that simple.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) from the USDA is seeking comment as the agency looks to define the term natural in relation to ag. products. There is a movement among the organic foodies to make natural mean something closer to organic when placed on a label at the market.

Both agencies have struggled to define the terms used to describe how the food was produced--all natural, organic, etc. for some time. But it appears this time they may get serious about it.

The publicity swirling around The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food, Inc have caused a bigger slice of the population to start asking questions about how their food was created and start making assumptions about the correct way to raise food.
After being “educated” through reading the book or watching the movie, they now know that organic and natural are the only ways to ensure your food is healthy and safe.
Those who will fight for a definition of natural are moving us toward the big farming is bad farming mentality.
Farmers and ranchers, some information and comment on the proposed rule. Let the agency know what you consider natural. Don't let our voice be drown out by those who think they know how to best produce our food supply.

Comments are due by November 13, 2009. To submit comments electronically follow these directions found as part of their advance notice of the proposed rule change.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Newsflash!!! Cap and Trade won't help Cattlemen

The Agriculture and Food Policy institute at Texas A&M released a study last month saying what those of us in ag suspected all along.

Carbon offset credits available to agriculture will not provide a significant source of income to farmers and ranchers. And the increasing costs of fuel and fertilizer will create a negative impact to the bottom line of many.

Shocking I know--none of us dreamed it could be so.

A summary paragraph of the report says: "Given the assumptions in this study, for some farms such as rice and the cattle ranches, no level of carbon prices would make them as well off as the Baseline. While a few farms would be as well off as the Baseline with only slightly higher carbon prices each year, there are also several farms that would need carbon prices of $80 per ton per year or more to make them as well off as the Baseline."

Thank Saxby Chambliss (R., GA) for asking A&M to do the research on this subject and for looking out for farmers across the country.

"The study indicated that the benefits are predominantly the result of increased revenue from higher prices -- a result of fewer acres planted to these crops, not from payments under an offset program. In other words, geographic disparities would exist as a result of the Waxman-Markey bill," Chambliss explained.

"This is in direct contrast to what Agriculture Secretary (Tom) Vilsack said while testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in July, at which he stated that all agriculture would benefit from this plan," Chambliss added.

"Payments from a carbon offset program provide some benefit to some producers but are not a significant factor in the profitability of farms in the analysis," he noted.

Read the report
Read further analysis at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wal-Mart’s Food Safety Czar has spoken.

Wal-Mart has a vice president of food safety. And he just upped the ante for companies doing business with Wal-Mart.

But I’m not sure he got the point right.

Speaking at the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Executive Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo, Wal-Mart’s Frank Yiannas spoke about creating a culture of food safety at our nation’s largest food processing companies.

"The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 is talking about traceability and we are saying it needs to go beyond traceability," he said. "It doesn’t simply matter where your food came from. You need to know how it was produced; you need to know what is in your product.

"We saw after the Peanut Corporation of America event that it took some manufacturers weeks to figure out they had P.C.A. ingredients in their products. This is simply unacceptable. We will expect more from suppliers."

And he told these guys that this culture of food safety must start at the executive level. I buy that.

He also said instead of more rules we just need to do a better job policing and enforcing the safety standards at our food processors.

I also buy that.

But I think he missed an opportunity to plant the seeds for an education program that would really make a difference.

We in agriculture take a huge amount of responsibility for maintaining a safe food supply. But what about the consumer’s responsibility?

Those of us above a certain age have been taught through home economics classes to cook everything properly: proper handling, proper washing, proper temperature, proper time at that temperature and proper ways to hold and store food before and after the first meal it was served at.

Now I’m not saying that kids aren’t learning that today. But I think smaller numbers of our population are learning it or practicing the correct procedures to kill pathogens when that food arrives in the kitchen.

Yiannas told the grocery executives that they are part of a race.

“I feel like, in general, the industry is in a race. . . . The race is between public health’s ability to track foodborne illness outbreaks and industy’s ability to prevent foodborne illnesses. I think some in this industry are losing the race. I would suggest there are some food manufacturers who have (in years past) produced food that may have resulted in illnesses and they don’t even know about it."

But I think he should have referred to our industry’s portion of the race as a three-legged race. One where ag shares the responsibility with consumers to make sure that the product is handled appropriately from farm to plate.

And who is better positioned than Wal-Mart to start educating consumers about the role they play in food safety issues?

If the responsibility isn’t shared, then those of us in ag are running a losing race.
See more of Yiannas’ comments at:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's the Matter with Kansas State*

Really what’s the matter with the K-State Collegian?

Since when does a school known for agricultural excellence have an editorial promoting a vegetarian lifestyle. Maybe I’m becoming an old fogy. But that just doesn’t seem right.

I realize that Vegetarianism--More than Just a Lifestyle appeared on an opinion page. But when it become acceptable that opinion pieces could be full of untruths?

I live in America so I can have my freedoms. I believe that vegetarians have a right to their way of life too. But I take issue with anyone manipulating their facts--or spreading lies--in the name of environmental sustainability and animal rights. Especially when these lies are told to scare you or make you feel guilty so you will abandon the healthy food you enjoy.

I was delighted to see so many current ag students and alums take issue with the report and share some facts to put the reporter on the straight and narrow. But sadly the comments are running about 50-50 for and against modern agriculture. Hopefully someone has offered to allow this author to sit in on some animal science courses.

If you haven’t already send your comments to:

Need some facts to counter the author's "facts" go to our webpage.

***Now before you K-Stater’s slam me for my headline, it’s a nod to William Allen White who is the subject of research being done by Tom Brokaw this week. Mr. Brokaw flew coach from New York to Kansas City this week on his way to Emporia where he met with descendants of Mr. White and other locals. I believe TMZ missed getting a photo of him sitting on the airplane like a common man. Mr. Brokaw’s stock went up with me because he skipped flying first class.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The "Milk Cartel"

I listen to NPR most days even thought I have a hard time swallowing their take on things. And I listen because every business person I know listens religiously.

This week’s ag. reporting was how the “Milk Cartel” is running small dairy farmers out of business. They devoted 12 minutes to exploring what’s gone on with consolidation and prices for farmers. Twelve minutes is an eternity in radio.

I’m glad we’re not in the dairy business. There’s not a lot of good news in that segment right now. I don’t pretend to understand all of the issues those farmers face.

But this coverage is another example of how the mainstream media is equating big farming with bad farming. Your slice of agriculture is next.

And lots of intelligent, influential people will be listening, buying it all as the truth.

To listen to the report or read the story click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whole Foods Not Immune to Protests

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, recently authored an article in the Wall Street Journal which is causing his regular shoppers to threaten to boycott. Protesting in person and online, shoppers are critical of his article against the Obama healthcare plan and in favor of a free-market type system.

"A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to healthcare, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This 'right' has never existed in America," Mackey wrote.

Think they got their practice protesting factory farms?

The organic food movement has created a very vocal public not afraid to demand what it wants--within reason or not. I find it extremely interesting that helping create that voice amongst its consumers is now working against the Whole Foods Brand.

The following analysis comes from Brandweek.
Especially considering Whole Foods has a highly engaged customer base, many of whom are deeply concerned about the issues of health and food, said Amy Shea, global director of Brand Keys. "It becomes problematic for a brand when you have the emotional side firing, and that's what [Mackey] did, he tripped that wire. It's never a good idea for a CEO to do an op-ed piece on such a volatile topic. Of all the topics he could have chosen, he chose one that is very, very close to the space in which the brand participates."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The TIME Bandit--bad reporting from TIME Magazine.

Credit for this post goes to the Beef Advocate Network – I've sent my e-mail to the editor of TIME Magazine. You should too. Instructions on how to send e-mails below. Sorry for the length, but it's too important to cut. P.S. I'm also deleting their application from my Blackberry.

TIME cover story bashes
American food system
August 21, 2009

TIME magazine’s August 31 edition hit newsstands August 21 containing, as a cover story, the article: “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food.” The magazine’s cover features a photo of a ground beef package with a warning label: “Warning: This hamburger may be hazardous to your health. Why the American food system is bad for our bodies, our economy and our environment – and what some visionaries are trying to do about it.”

NCBA offered six expert spokespeople to visit with TIME – five coordinated in just one afternoon due to the reporter’s tight deadline – however, TIME included only one quote, obtained from an earlier interview with Kristina Butts, NCBA Manager of Legislative Affairs, about antibiotic use. Included below is a summary of the myths contained in Bryan Walsh’s article and our attempts to combat each myth prior to the article’s publication.

Attempts to follow up with the reporter have gone unanswered. We developed a comprehensive national response strategy that includes working with an industry-friendly reporter to cover the untold story behind this article, regional consumer media outreach and facilitating feedback to TIME from cattle farmers and ranchers. Two of the experts interviewed for the article submitted letters to the editor to TIME magazine, as did the Center for Consumer Freedom. We also alerted Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) graduates to share their stories in response to the article.

In addition, NCBA Executive Director of Producer Education Tom Field, Ph.D., will be on NPR’s “To the Point” on Monday, August 24. The program will feature a roundtable discussion of the topics raised in the TIME article and also will include Walsh, Polyface Farm’s Joel Salatin and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson (click here for local stations and run times).

If you’d like to respond to the TIME article, letters to the editor can be submitted through the on-line version of the article by filling out the form that pops up on the magazine’s Web site after clicking on “Bryan Walsh” (right below the headline at the following location:,8599,1917458,00.html). The article also has been posted to If you’re registered on Digg, you can vote to bury the article, and select “inaccurate” as your reason for doing so. You also can scroll to the bottom of the page and post your thoughts about what you know to be true about beef production. In addition, TIME has a Facebook fan page where comments can be posted about the story.

As a reminder, public information refuting the types of claims made in the article can be found at Additionally, please feel free to draw information from the myths and refutations piece below.

Funded by The Beef Checkoff
TIME magazine article myths
and beef industry refutations

Myth: Intensive agriculture is accelerating global warming; eating less meat will slow global warming.
· Livestock only contribute 3 percent of U.S. GHG emissions according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

· A grain-based system of cattle production has a low environmental impact and lower methane emissions.

Myth: CAFOs are major polluters and are inhumane for animals. Work in a CAFO is monotonous and soul-killing.
· About 85% of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food. Ranchers take pride in caring for their animals, ensuring they always have room to roam and grow, access to clean water, a balanced and nutritious diet and humane treatment at all stages of life. Producers work with veterinarians and nutritionists to make sure cattle are healthy. Many of these principles are contained in the Beef Quality Assurance guidelines followed by beef producers.
· Experts like nutritionists and environmental engineers are used to ensure beef producers are good stewards of their cattle and of the land
· Each animal gets the attention it needs and every animal is checked daily
· Ranchers’ commitment to providing a safe, nutritious and wholesome product affects their everyday decisions
· Ranchers should share their passion for what they do
· Fact sheets about beef and the environment can be found at http://www.explorebeef.or/g

Myth: Animal agriculture relies heavily on antibiotics and is contributing to antibiotic resistance in human pathogens.
· Beef producers use antibiotics judiciously to treat animals that become sick and to ensure optimum health of animals in our care
· Resistant bacteria encountered in human medicine are due to antibiotic misuse in humans, not animals. No connection has been found between antibiotic use in cattle and antibiotic-resistant foodborne or other pathogens
· All antibiotics used in beef cattle production go through a rigorous testing process before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration
· Antibiotics are an important tool to prevent, control and treat disease in cattle, and healthy cattle are the foundation of safe food
· B Q A guidelines are followed and producers work closely with veterinarians when selecting and administering antibiotics

Myth: Local, organic, grass-fed and/or other niche products are the only way we can feed the population sustainably.
· Understanding the differences between types of beef production, costs/challenges associated with each type, high cost of feed, and disadvantages of grass-fed products in U.S. due to a short growing season is important to know before discussing sustainability.
· The appropriate use of technology and management creativity allows farmers and ranchers to feed the world with increasingly smaller numbers of farmers and ranchers
· Beef producers invest not only their business life but the entirety of their experience to producing good products while sustaining our communities, our resources and our enterprises
· Beef producers feed their families the same food that consumers buy

Myth: Americans are eating too much meat; modern food production encourages obesity. Hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy. Corn helps produce that marbled taste many of us love, but it can result in beef that is higher in fat — helping to fuel the obesity epidemic.
· There are 29 lean cuts of beef, providing consumers ample choices for high-quality, lean protein.
· Consumers are NOT over-consuming protein. (We are well within Dietary Guideline recommendations.) Beef should be included in a healthy diet.

If you belong to the KLA and are not a member of the Beef Advocate network, let me know and I'll put you in touch. They provide great information to dispute attacks on agriculture

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vegetarian Lunches: Coming Soon to a School Near You

School lunches are the latest piece of the food chain coming under attack from a group suggesting they’re interested in promoting health, when they are really pushing an anti-meat agenda.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is using the voice of a vegetarian child to promote the need for more meatless and non-dairy options on the school lunch menu.

The group placed posters on Capitol Hill featuring, Jasmine Messiah, an 8-year-old attending a Miami, Fla. public school, who asks: “President Obama’s daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don’t I?”Messiah and the PCRM say vegan, vegetarian and non-dairy options are a must to make school meals healthier.

On it’s website, PCRM says it is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine. They also seek to eliminate animal research. Reports I’ve read say they have received as much as $1.3 million from PETA. Other reports say that physicians make up less than 5% of this group‘s members.

I have no issue with improving the quality of what is served in school lunches, we all need to eat more vegetables. But all of us in farm country should have a problem with, mandating a vegan or vegetarian menu as the only way to make these meals healthier.

Today it’s animal foodstuff. Tomorrow it will be anything touched by biotechnology or chemicals.

This group’s primarily goal is to influence how the Child Nutrition Act is reauthorized later this year. That act regulates the National School Lunch Program and could cause significant changes to what is served in school lunches.

This is just one more piece of the debate about what constitutes healthy eating that will be part of upcoming farm and food policy and even the discussions on our nation’s healthcare situation. This isn’t the most organized or well known group in this fight.

But it’s one more thing we need to pay attention to, and work to offset with messages of our own about what constitutes healthy eating.

You can see their campaign at: