Thursday, July 29, 2010

El Paso Corp gives to Environmental Groups

El Paso Corporation a large company that is putting in a natural gas pipeline from Wyoming to Malin, OR has given into environmental groups- Western Watersheds Project (WWP)and Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA). Given in may not be the correct words more like bought off. These two environmental terrorists were given a combined $20 million to revoke their protest letters so the pipeline may proceed through Idaho and Oregon's Public Lands. The money is to be put into a trust.

Great just what they need more money to fuel their anti-grazing, anti-multiple use on public lands initiatives. Maybe they should also give the ranchers' some money to fight the litigation that will come forth. Oh wait, the ranchers' didn't protest the pipeline because they saw the good it would do for the rest of the United States. Jon Marvel leader of WWP has already stated this money will be used to "buy out" federal land permits from willing ranchers. Most ranchers wouldn't sell their permit except for the fact that WWP has made it very troublesome to run cattle and sheep on public lands. They put in complaint letters for almost all renewals, NEPAs, etc. The funny part is they protect "wild", no FERAL horses, the most detrimental animal out there.

ONDA is putting their cool $5 million towards a conservation trust for Hart and Sheldon refuges. The two wildlife refuges that have seen tremendous ecological degradation since the removal of cattle and the influx of FERAL horses. The reduction in the number of antelope has been exponential on the two, mitigating the reason they removed cattle in the first place.

Thanks for supporting our domestic terrorists El Paso Corp. It was kind of you to slap the face of the people who produce food for America.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Prop 2 Strikes Again, and Again, and...

First I must apologize. I have been awful about keeping up with my postings. It has been a very busy summer filled with meetings, remodeling, and visiting family.

Now, back on track. Another story by the Sacramento Bee points out the devastating effects of Prop 2 in California and how it is snowballing out of control. Proposition 2 in California was the Humane Society of the United State's baby. The spent millions on advertising to show how "unhumane" the current egg-laying systems, farrowing facilities, and veal calf housing is. The played on the heartstrings of the largely urban populations and recieved the vote to pass a vague bill on animal rights. The bill stated that animals must be able to fully extend limbs, turn around, and lay down without touching the sides of their cages.

Here's the rub. The legislation did not specify anything else. So, now that chicken farmers have spent millions to upgrade facilities with enriched cages.... The American Humane Society and Temple Grandin (a professor at Colorado State University specializing in animal welfare) have applauded the efforts of these farmers to increase the welfare of the animals. BUT The H$U$ is coming in with their inspectors and saying not good enough. They want cage free laying systems. They have also pushed through wording to ensure all eggs coming into California from other states are raised by the same standards. I didn't know California could dictate interstate commerce.

I still do not understand why people couldn't vote at the grocery store. Even after all of the advertisements to get this bill passed on how "awful" the current production practices are- there has been no increase in the purchasing of organic, cage free, or range raised eggs. Emotions versus Science and Heartstrings vs Pocketbook strike again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Intercultural Communications

We were at a horse show this weekend. Not the typical pleasure, equitation horse show but one with a ranch horse class, ranch rodeo, branding etc. There were several kids running around having fun with their ropes and playing. My three year old nephew,went and tried to play with them. Nope, they told him to take his crazy shirt and shorts and go somewhere else. I felt horrible. If they start at that age where are they going to be when they are 20 or 30. He was dressed for the weather, he wasn't riding,and he attempts to rope; why didn't they accept him?

How many times have I walked past or brushed off someone because they haven't followed my dress code? Or didn't look the part? In Intercultural Communications, they call this a non-verbal expectancy violation. A mouthful isn't it. In short, we expect certain people to look, smell, and act a certain way. When, they do not meet these expectations we become defensive and do not want to interact with them. So when, my young nephew was not dressed appropriately to interact with the young cowboys they labeled him weird and wouldn't play with him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"F as in Fat"

A new report called "F as in Fat" stated, over 38 states have more than 25% of its population considered overweight or having a BMI that is above 25.

The report’s most important recommendations all involve coordinating policies across government. Agricultural policy is a particular target.

Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University “The Farm Bill leaps to mind as an excellent place to start. How about creating an agricultural policy that supports production of fruits and vegetables instead of one that spends $20 billion of taxpayers’ money on corn and soybeans grown mainly for animal feed?”

This annoys me. Currently, there is over 3,900 calories per day available for every man, woman, and child in the United States. WAY, WAY too many for most people's sedentary lifestyles. Additionally, how many acres in the midwest are suitable for fruit production and when did corn stop being a vegetable? Granted approximately 80% of all corn produced goes into animal feeds but I don't think that is taking away anything from the grocery store for human consumption. You can still go buy corn in almost any form (frozen, canned, and on the cob) in even our rural grocery store.

So how is taking away money from farmers going to change obesity in America? Its NOT! The only thing that is going to effect it in my humble opinion, is if people get off the couch, off the internet, and go outside! Grow your own garden! Believe me weeding will burn off some calories and make you sore.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Myths about the World

I think of myself as pretty well educated- Heck, I have a PhD. And that is not a post hole digger, even though I have one of those too. But when I read an interesting article about today's environmental myths I was shocked and dumbfounded that I may have been duped into believing the world was ending. We have a huge hole in the ozone layer, that matches the size of California's budget deficiet- Now that is BIG.

Dr. John Christy- state climatologist for Alabama suggests a different theory. "The great secret environmental activists do not want Americans to know is that because of increased carbon in the Earth's atmosphere, global food production has increased by 16%. Carbon is plant food, (DUH) and plants thrive even in drought conditions with more available carbon." Hmmmm.... SO going green may hurt the plant life we are trying to save by not cutting down and letting the bugs eat it? Interesting.

Another issue that I find interesting. According to many, natural diasters have been increasing due to global warming or global conspiracy. Science shows they are at a 30-year low?! Something is not jiving here. Maybe it is because of this silly internet and the instantaneous world we live in we are just more aware of the natural diasters.

My favorite of a long lists of myths is the decline of the polar bear due to habitat reduction from the ice caps melting. Christy states "In 2007, the Antartic hit the record maximum sea level and had more ice than ever. AND Polar bear numbers are at an all time high ~24,200." Records from 1960 indicate levels for polar bears were around 6-10,000.

So, the global conspiracy may live on but I don't think I am going to buy it any longer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Computer and Defend

Borrowed from Amanda Nolz, BEEF Magazine Blogger

I recently ran across an article in the San Jose Mercury News entitled, Farmers Defend Way of Life With Facebook, Twitter”. The article was written by Associated Press writer Julianna Barbassa, and I thought it would be a good one to share with all of you. Below is an excerpt.

“When a video of dairy cows being punched and prodded with pitchforks was recently released by an animal rights group, it made the rounds on YouTube and generated the expected angry responses. But it also raised a flurry of outrage from another corner of the Internet: Farmers fought back, blogging, tweeting, uploading their own videos and chatting on Facebook to defend their industry and explain that the abuse did not represent their practices. Growers aren’t usually thought of as a wired, social-networking bunch. But frustration at being the targets of tech-wise environmental or animal rights groups has inspired them to get involved with social media and answer in kind.”

Have you used social media to share your story? Have you responded to a negative article, video or online conversation about agriculture lately? If we all spend a few minutes at the end of the day correcting the online errors about agriculture, we will finally be able to connect consumers to producers and regain the trust from our customers that we undoubtedly deserve.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Independence Day America

Wow! What a wonderful weekend. Global warming was definitely not in effect as we didn't reach 80 on Saturday. We had fun going to the park and selling beef sandwiches. We also explained the benefits of beef and what all was used in a cow. Look at vegans you aren't as pure as you think you are.

Almost all of a bovine carcass is utilized in one way or another. From fertilizer to filet mignon, it all has its place. Which reduces the amount of waste products to almost nil. THere is defintely some parts that are not eaten though thanks to BSE or Mad Cow Disease. Slaughter plants are required to remove the brain, spinal column, tonsils, and small intestine from the edible meats. This helps to reduce worries about variant Crutzefedlt Jakobs Disease or vCJD. I only say worries because there has been no evidence to suggest that vCJD is transmitted to humans just theories that it might possibly be one route of transmission.