Archive for the ‘biotechnology’ Category

Welcome to the Weekly Round Up where everything is interesting and nothing is second-rate.

Or something like that.

  • So, Supreme Court justices are always austere and serious, right? Turns out, that may not be the case. To find out what you get when you mix a bunch of justices from the highest court in the land, wine and the State of the Union address, check out this article from NPR’s The Salt.
  • This, because, well – I don’t think this is well-known.   corn
  • This story, from Scary Mommy, which has nothing to do with agriculture and everything to do with a boy who’s caught trespassing and stealing – but in the best way. Ever.
  • This, because wise words are always good to hear on a Friday. dreams
  • So, I know this is a longshot, but have you heard of GMOs? Oh, you have? Weird. In all seriousness, though, it’s a touchy topic these days. And, it’s a worrisome topic for moms and dads who are out there just trying to pick the right food for their families. So what do you when you have questions? Tour Monsanto, of course. For more on one mom’s tour of Monsanto and the questions she asked, be sure to check out www.WatchUsGrow.org.

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It’s Friday! I mean, seriously, were more beautiful words ever spoken? I think not.

Anyway, as is usually the case around here, Friday means it’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up. Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

  • You’re probably aware of my love for the Blue and Gold jacket. I was an FFA member all the way through high school and am not ashamed to say that it helped shape who I am today. Heck, it even helped me land on a career choice. Given that, it’s no surprise that I don’t take kindly to people who rail against it, like a PETA blogger this week, who said, “FFA is lame AF.” I was all piped up and ready to respond, when I saw something amazing happening: Rather than respond to the blog and effectively promote it just by sharing, FFA members and alumni across the U.S. started sharing their FFA memories, pictures and positive moments instead. Talk about powerful. Here’s my favorite post – be sure to check it out.
  • This, because you know I love a good play on words. And cheese. Sweet Dreams
  • This article, from the Huffington Post. We’ve covered Bill Nye’s (Bill! Bill! Bill! – you know you were singing it in your head) switch from anti-GMO to pro-GMO before, but this piece, from Dr. Robert T. Fraley at Monsanto, offers a different take on why he switched.
  • And, speaking of GMOs, this story which appeared on CBS Sunday Morning. If you have questions about GMOs, this story does an excellent job of presenting both sides of the story.
  • This video, from Steve Harvey. Yes, Steve Harvey. He’s a well-known comedian, but did you know he grew up on a farm, too? In a rare moment where he’s not cracking jokes, Harvey talks about what it meant to grow up on a farm, and what he learned from the experience. It’s beautiful.
  • This, because whether you’re a farmer, accountant, writer, office manager or kid, this is true. Always. New Start


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Day 29. Only one more to go.


How is it the end of November already?  I mean, we’re like, 26 days away from Christmas.

Christmas tree 2.jpg

I’m in the spirit.

Anyway, on this, Day 29, we’re taking another look at biotechnology. This time, from www.biofortified.org.

When I decided to focus this year’s 30-day series on excellent agricultural websites and blogs, I put a call out to my friends asking for their favorite websites.

Biofortified.org was one of those suggestions.

Biology Fortified, Inc. (BFI) is an independent educational tax-exempt non-profit organization incorporated in Wisconsin with the mission of enhancing public discussion of biotechnology and other issues in food and agriculture through science-based resources and outreach.

They enlist a panel of experts in biotechnology to help communicate with consumers and dispel myths related to the science.

In addition to their experts, the website is home to lots of great information, including an interesting experiment which is testing wild animals’ preference of GMO or non-GMO foods and a blog.

Be sure to check it out, especially if you have questions about GMOs and what they mean for your family.

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

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Are you seeing the trend here? There have been a whole lot of food safety, food processing, consumer question answering websites over the last 22 days.

Today is no different.

Today, we’re headed over to U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s (USFRA) Food Dialogues page.

A little bit of background about USFRA:

USFRA is made up of more than 80 farmer – and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.

Essentially, USFRA is a national version of Illinois Farm Families (www.WatchUsGrow.org) and Common Ground (www.FindOurCommonGround.com). Same concept of transparency and answering consumer questions, but on a bigger scale. Plus, there are events!

In addition Food Dialogues being an internet presence where farmers can answer questions and talk about why they do what they do, USFRA hosts Food Dialogues events across the country where panels of farmers and industry professionals are on hand to answer consumer questions in a live setting.

On their website, you can find information about animal welfare, antibiotics, GMOs, farm size and ownership, food choices and price, food safety, hormones and growth tools, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer, water quality and a section on how farmers do what they do.

As with all of the other websites I’ve featured, lots of good stuff if you take the time to read it. So make sure you take the time.

To see the rest  of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

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I’m a firm believer in embracing differences and looking for similarities. Some of my best friends came from very different backgrounds than I, but have some kind of common thread, too.

4-H House 2

These gals were kind enough to ‘shower me’ when I got engaged many, many moons (and pants sizes) ago.


Take, for example, these girls. These are my 4-H House girls — at least, most of them.

All of us come from different backgrounds. Some of us grew up on farms; some of us didn’t. But the one thing we all had in common was 4-H and living in 4-H House at the U of I.

That one common thread has led to lots of friendships. And those friendships have morphed from Lord knows how many late night dance parties to a whole bunch of wedding invitations and a bunch of really cute kids — and regular email updates and get-togethers to keep everyone updated.

You can find the commonality in anything. It’s like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon — there’s a connection in everything.

And that’s what FindOurCommonGround.com was founded on; finding the common ground between consumers and farmers.

Similar to WatchUsGrow.org, FindOurCommonGround.com is a collection of farmers, mostly women, who openly talk about farm practices and topics, including antibiotics in meat, animal welfareorganic and local foods, GMOs, food safetyhormones, food prices, sustainability, farm ownership, and more. The only difference is these farmers don’t only farm in Illinois — they farm in states across the country.

You can even select your home state to find a list of farmers who can answer your questions about any topic under the sun. How cool is that?

Funded from checkoff dollars from the American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association, FindOurCommonGround.com is an excellent source of information for all of your farming questions.

The see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

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Biotechnology and GMOs are one of today’s hottest topics. A simple Google search shows the battle lines are drawn and proponents on both sides are staunch in their support.

Still, despite the amount of media coverage and information on the internet, the science behind biotechnology and GMOs is still incredibly misunderstood.

In fact, as I’ve mentioned on the blog before, consumers like you and I view some of today’s most controversial scientific topics in a completely different way than do America’s top scientists.

report published by the Pew Research Center based on surveys of adults and, separately, a survey of scientists belonging to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, found that only 37 percent of the public viewed GM foods as safe to eat, while 88 percent of the scientists viewed GM foods as generally safe.

And here’s the remarkable part: Sixty-seven percent of the consumers surveyed acknowledged that they lacked a “clear understanding” of the health effects of GM crops.

Soybeans Corn

So, what do you do if you don’t feel comfortable believing the hype from either side, but want to get to the guts of the GMO issue — and the science behind it all.

That’s simple. You check out www.GMOAnswers.com.

Similar to the other websites I’ve featured so far, the amount of information you can find on GMOAnswers.com is astounding. And all of it is researched and presented by a wide variety experts in the fields of biotechnology and genetic engineering.

From the basics of genetic engineering and GMOs to studies about biotechnology and a place where you can ask questions — and read questions from other internet information seekers, GMOAnswers.com has all the information for which you’re looking.

To see the rest of the 30-day blogging challenge, check out the following posts:

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Sticking with the same “how to pick the good stuff” theme from yesterday, today’s feature website is www.BestFoodFacts.org.

So why is this one of my favorites? Because, as the headline on their homepage says, it’s just the facts, from the experts. And I love it when I don’t have to wade through a bunch of extra stuff (read: opinion) to get to the guts of an issue. It benefits me and, in turn, benefits my husband and tiny human.

Hannah and Daddy

Those experts include everyone from Extension food specialists and professors to nutritionists and plant geneticists. And those experts hold jobs in their respective fields across the country, ensuring you’re getting the best possible information no matter where you are.

And their website. Oh man, you guys. There is just SO. MUCH. INFO. And it’s good info. There’s a blog, videos, hot topics‘Consuming Evidence’ section, recipes and even a place to ask your most burning farm and food questions.

And then, there’s my very favorite section of the website: The ABCs of Food. Click here and you’ll find a landing page with every letter of the alphabet. And behind every letter, another page of topics. For example, if you select ‘A,’ you’ll find posts about whether there has been an increase in food allergies, acrylamide, apples, aspartame and more.

I could go on, but if I did, this post would be ten pages long. Seriously. It would take weeks to explore everything on this website which is why BestFoodFacts.org landed on this list. Check it out. It’s definitely worth your time.

To see the rest of the series, check out these links:

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