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Posts Tagged ‘environment’

I came across this video this morning and I say AMEN! Finally…it’s said! A voice for us.

I am continually saddened by people who disparage or dismiss the importance of Agriculture. I am saddened by those who are so easily swayed by radical agenda. What saddens me most is that because there are so many removed from Agriculture they just believe the misinformation they are throwing out there.  Earlier this year, an article featured on Yahoo! Education listed three agriculture-degrees in a list naming the top five worthless degrees. Just imagine where we would be without these degrees. These students make it pretty clear!

Farmers Fight is a student-led initiative to reconnect American society to the world of agriculture. Beginning with university students, Farmers Fight encourages consumers to ask where their food comes from, and give students, faculty, public officials, and farmers and ranchers an opportunity to become “agvocates” for the agriculture community. This is a must see!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yFoGib8AfZo

Let’s make this viral….Let’s Stand Up and Fight

Thank you for making this video! Thank you!

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Hello everyone! I thought that I would post a Myth vs Fact about milk and dairy farms. Primarily myths regarding Progressive dairy farms (aka Conventional)

Especially as there is a shortage of “Organic” milk availability.  I have stated before and will again that I support my fellow organic dairy farmers. They do a terrific job with the method of farming that they chose. I just want it to be understood among all of the media mumbo jumbo regarding progressive farming.

As a progressive farmer I choose this method of farming primarily because as an organic dairy I am unable to use antibiotics to treat my seriously ill animals. These antibiotics are the same medicines that I took when I had a breast infection while I was best feeding. Or the same medicine I gave my children when they had infections that became serious. Morally, I have an issue with not being able to treat my cows as I would myself or my children and risk the loss of an animal when there are methods in which to save them.

“MILK IS MILK”

Myth: All milk contains antibiotics, except organic.

Fact: All milk is carefully tested for antibiotics. Any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately, and does not enter into the food supply.

  • Sometimes it’s necessary for farmers to treat cows with antibiotics when they are ill, just as humans sometimes need medication when they are sick.
  • All milk is strictly tested for antibiotics on the farm and processing plant. Any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately and does not get into the food supply.
  • The U.S. dairy industry conducts more than 3.3 million tests each year on all milk entering dairy plants to ensure that antibiotics are kept out of the milk supply. According to the most recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data, less than one tanker in 3,000 tests positive for any animal drug residues, including antibiotics. In those rare cases, any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately and does not get into the food supply.
  • The milk testing system provides dairy farmers strong incentives to keep their milk free of antibiotics. Any milk that tests positive for antibiotics is immediately dumped. In such cases, the farmer responsible for the milk is required to pay for the full tanker of milk.
  • Milk and dairy products are among the most stringently regulated foods in this country.

Myth: Today’s dairy cow is treated like nothing more than a milk machine.

Fact: Dairy cows must be healthy and well cared for in order to produce pure, wholesome milk.

  • Farmers employ professional nutritionists to develop a scientifically formulated, balanced and nutritious diet for their cows. Diets include hay, grains, protein sources, and vitamins and minerals.
  • Dairy cows receive regular veterinary care, including periodic check-ups, preventative vaccinations and prompt treatment of illness.
  • The dairy industry has in place a number of initiatives that demonstrate commitment to animal well-being. The National Dairy FARM Program™ is a nationwide, verifiable program that addresses animal well-being. Third-party verification ensures the validity and the integrity of the program to our customers and consumers.
  • Dairy farmers depend on healthy cows for their livelihood.

Myth: The reason the price of milk is going up in the grocery store is so dairy farmers can get rich.

  • Dairy farmers only receive about 30 cents of every dollar.
  • Market forces, like demand, impact the price of milk at the grocery store,
  • Farmers are seeing a lot of cost increases in producing milk, including feed and transportation. These cost increases have left slim margins for dairy farmers in recent years.

Fact: Price increases for dairy, and all foods, beverages and other goods, are tied to dramatic increases in energy/fuel, distribution, transportation, feed, and supply costs.

Myth: Modern dairy farmers don’t practice sustainable agriculture.

Fact: Dairy farmers depend on land, air and water as part of their livelihood.

  • Dairy farms must meet standards for manure storage, handling and recycling per guidelines from state and federal agencies. Once dried, manure is reused as comfortable animal bedding, composted for local garden centers and nurseries, or spread on fields to grow healthy crops, thereby reducing the need for commercial fertilizers.
  • Dairy farms must follow strict state and local water quality regulations. Dairy farmers use water responsibly in their milking parlors, in water storage and in recycling.
  • Constant innovation on dairy farms has led to widespread adoption of best management practices, and U.S. dairy farms are more efficient today than ever before. According to Cornell University, the dairy industry has reduced the carbon footprint of its products by 63 percent over the past 60 years, thanks to improvements in animal genetics, feeding rations, animal health programs, cow comfort and overall farm management practices. In fact, more milk is produced today with only 9 million cows than with 26 million cows in 1944.
  • Dairy is one of the most regulated and inspected industries in agriculture. Dairy farms must abide by federal, state and local clean water laws that regulate manure application on cropland, and government agencies regularly inspect the water on dairy farms. Further, state agencies have rigorous processes for granting permits to new and expanding dairy farms.
  • Dairy farmers live and work on their farms, so they understand the importance of protecting our natural resources, so that it will be there for future generations.
Please visit http://www.dairyfarmingtoday.org/Learn-More/MythsvsFacts/Pages/MythvsFact.aspx for even more in depth fact sheets

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As a modern farmer, we are called conventional.

This is what the dictionary says about conventional.

con·ven·tion·al (kn-vnsh-nl)

adj.

1. Based on or in accordance with general agreement, use, or practice; customary: conventional symbols; a conventional form of address.
2. Conforming to established practice or accepted standards; traditional: a conventional church wedding.
3.

a. Devoted to or bound by conventions to the point of artificiality; ceremonious.
b. Unimaginative; conformist
 
Look at that description….we are anything BUT conventional. We are always looking for ways to improve. Become more efficient more sustainable. We look for new ways to comfort our animals. We are open to new things and all of benefits that technology can bring. We do not always agree on all advancements but we are open-minded and look at all sides and benefits…….. We are “PROGRESSIVE”!
 

pro-gres-sive

 /prəˈgrɛsɪv/

–adjective

1.

favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are.
2.

making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.
3.

characterized by such progress, or by continuous improvement.
 
I had this conversation a long time ago with my friend and fellow blogger Dino Giacomazzi. It has stayed with me. I feel that if we must change the labels that are put upon us.
 
I bring this up as I had a customer at farmers market who asked me, “Do you take care of your land”? My first reaction was hurt. Real hurt. I took a moment and a breath. I realized that she has heard some things that would lead her to believe that dairy farmers do not take care of our land or are not sustainable. I looked at her and calmly said…”It is the place where I live. I drink its water. Eat from its bounty. I am the third generation to do so and hope to have it for the fourth to do the same. I hope to see my grandchildren drink  and eat from it”. Why would I not take care of my life, my future”?
 
She looked at me and said “I never thought of it that way…of course”.
 
That was enough for me to know that, even though in the smallest of scales, I must continue to reach out and help to teach those that do not understand. We need to educate and be proactive and explain to those that do not know that we are “progressive” and we are here to feed them, and the world.
 
I urge all of the agriculture communities to get out there and share your stories…it can make a huge difference!
 
 

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Calves are our future!

Spring is in full swing. We have been busy harvesting our wheat. Spring cleaning around the dairy and of course busy making cheese. 

This week we celebrate Earth Day I thought about how EVERYDAY is Earth Day for farmers. The “Earth” is our livelihood! As we chop our wheat we begin to think out our next crop. The crops that we grow to feed our cows.

We test our water, ground and harvest to make sure that everything is in sync. Good care of our ground and water and our feed is our way of securing our future.

I am glad we have Earth Day to remind those that have never had the blessing of experiencing life on a farm. It does surprise me though, that some of those that celebrate Earth Day do not realize that us farmers, are living Earth Day…everyday. Many are completely unaware of our connection.

Taking the joy out of our time of celebration is the realization that evil lives among us in this world. My husband and I saw a video taken at a calf ranch in Texas that showed abuse to the animals that were put in their care. We have a hard time believing that there are people who could do this.

We have been asked at farmers markets if we treated our animals well. We are always taken back that someone would think that we wouldn’t treat our animals well.

Seeing these images myself allows me to understand why people might ask us this question. They don’t know! I remind people that we all have seen terrible images of abuse to children, spouses, and fellow-man.  Common sense tell us that this is not the norm. We shake our head at the thought and are sickened.

 It is the same with animal abuse. We have responsiblity to care for our animals not only for productivity but morality. THIS is the norm.

Those that film those images are obviously able to do so to fulfill their vegan agenda. That agenda must be so powerful that they can witness the abuse over and over again without stopping it. I could not manage watching it for a moment little alone over and over again without calling the authorities. To me that is an accomplice to that crime. Both the abuser and the witness should be prosecuted to the full extent.

 I pray for justice to prevail and that we are not judged because of a few sick individuals.

 So in closing…let us celebrate Spring! Let us celebrate our Earth and all of it’s bounties let us forever be grateful of those gifts!

I bring you this post to wish you a very Happy Easter!

May God bless each and every one of you!

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Fresh & Safe Milk In My Vat!

Another Sunday evening  in my cheese plant making a fresh batch of cheese.

I love this time in my cheese plant. It is quiet and I like to try to multi-task as I wait patiently for the milk to heat to the pasteurization temperature of 145 degrees and keep it there for a half an hour. I then cool it, add cultures. The process is about three and half hours. Then up a couple of times in the night to check and add rennet.

With this time I decided to blog about the following reports, 

“Earlier this week, in milk sample tests from Washington, California and Arizona, the government found extremely low levels of radiation. The levels are more than 5,000 times lower than the thresholds set by the FDA, and far below levels that would cause any concern for public health. 

 According to the EPA’s statement, milk, water and other select products were tested for radiation. These very low amounts were anticipated, and will likely continue to appear over the next few days of testing. Federal and state government officials, and medical experts from around the country continue to underscore that miniscule levels of radiation detected do not pose a health concern to the U.S. food system, including U.S. dairy products.”

I don’t like to add unnecessary hype to this story, but I thought it was important to reassure you that our milk is safe. Our nation milk quality standards are unsurpassed. Our milk in continually tested and monitored.

We are drinking our milk and making cheese.

Let us not forget the real victims of this great tragedy. So many have lost everything. I include them in my prayers daily. I encourage you to also do the same and be grateful for all of the good, safe and abundant food supply we are blessed with.

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"I love talking with consumers"

Below is a great blog post that brings to light a study in the UK regarding the difference between organic and “progressive” farming.

Many of you know that I work Farmers Markets in coastal communities. Many people in those areas are removed from farming practices. They are however, in my opinion, often confused about practices of farming. They hear reports of organic foods/dairy in the media. There are many that  will not consume anything else but organic because they believe that is better in health and environment practices. They believe that is the only style of farming that cares responsibly for their animals, land, and water. I  love to share with them our practices. I love to see their faces when they hear that we choose to farm progressively but our greatest responsibility is the same. We get the most benefit by treating our land and animals with the greatest of responsibility, love and care. They ARE our livelihood.

I do not mind that people support organic methods. I think that is great to support that “style” of farming. I just think that consumers should know ALL of the facts. The true and honest reality. They should base that on the science and not on the hype and trend or what they hear. The money they spend should be done so because they believe in the style of the farming and NOT on guilt.

I answer many questions every time I work a market. I do so with honesty and desire to inform. I am often asked “Does your cheese have hormones”? I explain that all mammals have hormones but I do not use “R-bst” (what I believe they are asking).  I do not take sides (even though I am a “progressive” farmer) . I think there is a huge problem with mislabeling and misleading advertising. How do we fix this? It’s up to us…the consumer to look for the science to back up the claims. We need to demand the studies and proof of their claims.

http://dairyadviser.blogspot.com (Thanks to you for posting this)

Is ‘organic’ milk different or better?

A recent Journal of Dairy Science research study by Mrs. Gillian Butler and coworkers from Newcastle University in the UK has received a great deal of press coverage in the UK and elsewhere. The results indicated that milk produced under UK organic standards had significantly higher levels of fat, but that there were also significant differences in the type of fat in the milk. The fats thought to be ‘beneficial’ were found to be higher in ‘organic milk.’

This result was based on milk purchased in grocery stores located in the UK, and the result is likely due to the unique ways that cows are raised/fed in the UK. Full results at http://bit.ly/f7xTgN, just click on the PDF tab. There were also significant differences in milk fat composition for season and year in this UK study.

The US data is different, however. While there is a small, though statistically different, difference in some fatty acids, analysis of milk from cows raised by organic standards, rbST-free certified or conventional methods demonstrate “…that there were no meaningful differences that would affect public health and that all milks were similar in nutritional quality and wholesomeness.” The abstract is at http://bit.ly/bg4yGs, but the PDF is not available for this article without a J Dairy Science subscription.

Similarly, milk composition from various regions and seasons in the US was found to be “… remarkably consistent across geographic regions and seasons from the perspective of human dietary intake of milk fat.” Again, the abstract is at http://bit.ly/exfCcU, while the PDF is not available for this article without a J Dairy Science subscription.

Dairy cattle in the US tend to be fed in a more seasonally consistent manner and are fed feeds that would tend to not amplify the results observed in the UK.

There is much misinformation regarding these studies currently in the press and on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.

You’ve got to read the primary research before you can reach conclusions. Hope that helps.

DairyScienceMark

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Our New Recyclers!

Hello everyone! I am starting to feel the pinch of the reality of a new business. Making cheese, selling cheese along with the dairy work and my commitments to serving the industry as well as trying to blog and social media. I sit here on this Sunday evening and remind myself that I can only do what I can do…..

So this will be a short (but I think very sweet) post.

As I was loading up the van with cheese on Thursday to sell, Tony gave me a surprise…Three little piggies! We hated the fact that we were not using the whey from my cheese making to its greatest potential. We could not feed it to the calves easy (some eat too much and get tummy aches). Transporting it to the heifers was a big chore and inconsistent. So Tony built a pen with easy access and we now house the three little pigs! :) Whey has a great source of protein and they love it!

Jack, Brie, and Cheddar! They LOVE the Whey!

My cousin Diane called it perfectly and posted on Facebook that they are the best… ” eco-friendly garbage disposal” and she is so correct. Really though, that is was dairy and  farming is all about…recycling. We reuse and make the most of what we have. I know to many it seems like a trendy thing…but really farmers have been doing this for generations.

I look forward to sharing their progress!

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