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It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up! This week, we’re talking graduates, more GMOs, Monsanto and cows.

  • My friend, Holly Spangler, over at Prairie Farmer this week reposted this blog she wrote last year, giving the graduates out there some advice as they jump, head first, into their futures. It’s a pretty great read, graduate or not.
  • This, because no truer words were ever spoken. Proof, again, that 4-H teaches more than just ‘farm stuff.’Earned Rest
  • The fall out from Chipotle’s announcement just keeps on comin’. This opinion piece, from USA Today, was a pretty interesting take on Chipotle’s announcement. I’ve posted I don’t know how many links to stories and opinions on Chipotle’s recent anti-GMO announcement, but this one is a little different. Not only does it analyze the company itself, but some interesting aspects of society in general.
  • Katie Pratt is at it again, this time taking on the March Against Monsanto protestors. Katie talks tools in the farmer’s tool belt and how they related back to Monsanto and even the March Against Monsanto protestors. As always, great info that’s easy to read and easy to share.
  • This, because I love a good, corny joke. Decalfinated
  • This piece, from AFBF President Bob Stallman, which talks about responsible corporate policy and how bowing to the loudest voice doesn’t always equate to the smartest corporate policy. Don’t own a corporation? Don’t worry. These are principles you can apply to your life no matter what. Read: sticking to your guns.
  • And finally, my favorite share this week. A post that my friend, Mary, at Mackinson Dairy, posted on her blog. It’s a guest post from a friend of hers named Heather. In the piece, Heather talks about the healing power of her cows, especially during a particularly difficult time in her life. It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful piece and so worth the read. But make sure you have the tissues handy.

This week’s Weekly Round Up is dedicated to GMOs —well, maybe more appropriately, food wars — kind of by accident. I don’t know, but a lot of articles and information I stumbled across this week dealt with GMOs and the science behind them — and marketing campaigns having to do with GMOs, and conventionally-produced food, and red meat and geesh. There was a lot of stuff this week.

So buckle up. Here’s the unusually long May 15 edition of the Weekly Round Up.

  • This one comes from a favorite site of mine, Ask The Farmers. This post deals with the safety of conventionally-produced food versus organic food. It’s well-balanced and contains some great information.
  • This. I suppose it’s a departure from the “food wars” theme, but whatever. It’s a Jersey cow, so it had to make an appearance this week. Jersey
  • This piece, from the Washington Post. It finally put into words some of the thoughts I’ve had the last couple of weeks after Chipotle’s “We’re over GMOs” announcement. Even if you’re a believer in Chipotle’s decision to cast GMO foods aside, this article is an excellent read, asking some important questions about today’s society in general. It’s definitely worth your time.

“But Chipotle, Whole Foods and those who follow their examples are doing real social harm. They are polluting public discourse on scientific matters. They are legitimizing an approach to science that elevates Internet medical diagnosis, social media technological consensus and discredited studies in obscure journals. They are contributing to a political atmosphere in which people pick their scientific views to fit their ideologies, predispositions and obsessions. And they are undermining public trust in legitimate scientific authority, which undermines the possibility of rational public policy on a range of issues.

“Whatever the intention of those involved, embracing pseudoscience as the centerpiece of an advertising and branding effort is an act of corporate irresponsibility.”

  • This one, which comes from the Illinois Farm Families blog. I love it when someone who has never visited or experienced a farm — and has some preconceived notions — finally gets their boots dirty and sees that, maybe, farmers aren’t that bad after all. Check it out.
  • This. Because it seems appropriate, given this week’s round up. GMO food
  • This piece, from NPR, which talks about the origin of GMO foods. Did you know it wasn’t just 20 years ago, but rather, thousands of years ago? And the article is about sweet potatoes, and who doesn’t like sweet potatoes?
  • This blog post, from Feedyard Foodie. In it, she tackles a commonly asked question — or comment — that she receives on her blog. Like the post from Ask The Farmer, this post deals with conventionally-raised beef versus grass-fed beef, but Anne does a great job of getting down to the guts of the issue, and providing concrete examples of why her family farms the way they do. Be sure to check it out.
  • One final ‘GMO’ post from Minnesota Farm Living. A quick list of 10 Things You May Not Know About GMOs.
  • And today’s final entry, because it’s hilarious, comes from The New Yorker. Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans. You know you want to read it…

Today is May 8. Tomorrow is May 9.

Sorry, I’m having trouble grasping that because it means a year ago tomorrow, my husband and I were in the hospital welcoming our first child. How has it been a year already? It seems like time has really flown by. Especially considering I came up with the brilliant idea of making H’s first birthday gift – a play kitchen out of an old entertainment center – and I’m now SERIOUSLY running out of time to get it finished. Oh well. Who needs sleep anyway?

To keep my mind off the approaching D-Day – I mean, Happy Birthday, H! – let’s do another Weekly Round Up:

  • This article, which talks about the benefits of equine interaction for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a pretty cool read and helps validate what those of us with horses already know: they’re good for the spirit.
  • This. Because, really, it’s just so true. Backbone
  • This article from The Washington Post. It’s a few weeks old, but still worth posting. Many consumers buy animal products produced the way they think the animals prefer, but in many cases, it’s just not the case, as this article shows.
  • This. In my case, it was usually horses out (and sometimes cows if I was hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa’s house) but, yeah, that’s pretty much our version of the neighborhood watch. Heifers are Out
  • And one more, just because I think it’s funny. I think I might need one of these in the trees at my house. Squirrel Feeder

chipotle 2

Last week, I promised a blog post on Chipotle’s latest announcement that the chain will phase GMO foods out of its menu. By now, it’s old news. They made the announcement early last week and most media outlets have covered the story.

Most of the time, I would try to have a post up as soon as possible, dissecting the decision and what it means for farmers and agriculture. But this time, I held off because, honestly, I wanted to know what everyone was going to say about it.

The restaurant chain has consistently been in the news in the last few years, both for its marketing campaigns and the agriculture community’s response to those campaigns, and most of the time, the media has backed Chipotle’s plays whole-heartedly. But not this time.

This time, the response was mixed at best. And that’s what’s interesting.

What’s more interesting is some of the most prominent outlets reporting on Chipotle’s announcement aren’t exactly taking Chipotle’s announcement hook, line and sinker. Time, National Geographic, Slate, NPR, Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and more dismissed the announcement as a marketing ploy — and not a particularly good one at that.

That’s an about-face when it comes to the way Chipotle stories have been reported previously. So what’s the deal? Have consumers and the media decided that Chipotle’s marketing team is no longer speaking the gospel truth? Or is something else happening? Are consumers and media starting to accept GMO foods as safe and economical?

I’m not sure if it’s one or the other. In fact, it’s probably more that people are starting to see Chipotle’s marketing as just that: marketing. It’s not a company with a heart, trying to do the right thing. It’s just a company like any other company, trying to sell a product.

Consumers — and the media — are starting to look at Chipotle’s anti-agriculture marketing through critical eyes. And that’s a good thing.

Happy May Day, all! The first day of May means I’m now down to eight days to finish my daughter’s play kitchen for her birthday. I don’t even know if that’s possible considering the painting and sawing left to do. Oh, and the garage to clean and the yard to mow and the….oh, there’s so much stuff to do.

In the mean time, let’s do another edition of the Weekly Round Up.

  • So, Chipotle is back in the news. This time, they announced they’re phasing GMO foods out of their menu. And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already heard that. There’s been so much press surrounding the announcement, and so many opinions, I’m going to devote a full blog post to the topic. But, until that’s ready to go, here are a few of those aforementioned stories to keep you busy.
  • Speaking of GMOs, this piece by Mark Lynas appeared in the New York Times this week. We’ve talked about Mark Lynas before. and his conversion from GMO opponent to advocate. In this piece, he again gives his ‘why.’ It’s an excellent read.
  • This. Most people don’t think of horses as livestock, but they are. And they contribute significantly to local, rural economies. Equine Industry
  • A little bit of back story for this bullet: there are millions of bloggers out there, but only a few (relative to the number overall) ag bloggers, and I follow most of them. They’re a talented bunch with lots of good stories to tell. This week, one of the bloggers I follow, So She Married a Farmer, had an accident on her farm where her daughter was severely injured. They’re fighting through it, but it certainly puts things into perspective. Which is why Holly at Prairie Farmer focused her Friday Five on child safety on the farm. If you’re a farmer, or if you’re not, take a look.
  • And this. For the Record

I don’t know about you guys, but in addition to celebrating the fact that it’s Friday (YAY!), I’m also celebrating today’s warm weather and non-existent wind. It’s 78 and sunny today. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Anyway, it’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up:

  • This. Because it’s awesome. And because on my way home from work yesterday I counted six planters in the field. SIX. And I only live about 20 miles from work. They’re going like gangbusters out there. Text and Plant
  • This blog post from In Udder News… It’s a pretty cool read about the science behind organic farming. I’m a believer in traditional agriculture but I’m also a believer in choice, and organic food is one of the choices consumers have, even if it’s not my choice. Often, organic farming is accused of being unscientific, but writer Julaine Treur shares the science behind her organic dairy farm and other organic farms across North America. It’s worth your time.
  • There’s a lot of talk about sustainable farming, but what is sustainable farming? No one seems to have a good, all-encompassing, agreed upon definition. I’m not saying I have one, but this does seem pretty truthful. If you aren’t successful, you won’t be able to sustain much. sustainable farming
  • Dr. Oz is in the news again, but not because of some crazy claim he’s recently made, This time, he’s in the news because a group of top physicians have asked Columbia University to remove Dr. Oz from his faculty position at the Ivy League school because he continues to promote “quack treatments” and continues to display an “egregious lack of integrity.” Columbia has refused, saying the school “is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”
  • And, finally, this. Yes. Without Cows

Time for another Weekly Round Up, folks!

  • It’s no secret I hold youth programs like 4-H and FFA close to my heart, and this article is an excellent example of why I love them — and I why I think every kid, no matter where they live or what their interests are — can benefit from these great programs. Lily Wilson, who auctioned off the pig she was raising for 4-H to help a friend, exemplifies everything that is 4-H.
  • This. Any kid with livestock — of any kind (!) — will tell you this is true. Proof? I distinctly remember pulling my cow, Doreen, into showmanship at our national show in Louisville, making one spin around the ring, and her absolutely LOSING IT because she didn’t like billboards that made noise every time they changed screens. And yes, I smiled THE. ENTIRE. TIME. Showmanships
  • Speaking of youth organizations, this blog from Katie Pratt at Rural Route 2: The Life and Times of an Illinois Farm Girl. In Governor Rauner’s most recent draft budget, the Illinois Agricultural Education line item has been zeroed out. For more on what that means to more than 25,000 ag ed students across the state, check out Katie’s blog.
  • Oh man, if this isn’t true. Farmer
  •  If you’re on social media at all, you’ve probably encountered the Food Babe. You can probably guess what my feelings are toward her, but I’ll leave that out for now. Instead, ladies, take a look Elle’s article questioning the Food Babe’s methods and information. In fact, Food Babe Vani Hari has come under attack quite a bit this week, but I’ll let you search out those articles yourself…
  • And finally, this. Remember, folks, spring planting has started, or is just around the corner, which means it’s time to keep an eye out for farm machinery on the roads. Be safe this spring!Slow Down
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