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 investors.com

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 Feedstuffs.com

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: http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/news/headline_stories.asp?ArticleID=105581

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: opinion@spub.ksu.edu

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.