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So, you know how I love dairy cows? Wait, sorry, that was a stupid question. If you’ve spent more than three seconds here, you probably know that.

Anyway, it’s my love for all things dairy that drew my attention to this article in Forbes Magazine.

Okay, it was actually the article’s headline, Big Agriculture Gets Its Sh*t Together, which really sparked my interest. Then I saw cows and, well, I was a goner.

Despite the snarky title, which, let’s be honest, I love, the article is a treasure trove of information about how today’s dairy farmers are working to make their farms more sustainable with fewer resources.

If you’re curious at all about how big — and I mean BIG — farms operate, this article is for you.

The focus of the article is Fair Oaks Dairy, located in northwest Indiana. Fair Oaks is one of the largest dairy farms in the country, housing around 36,000 cows.

With that many animals in one spot — not to mention their hog operation — there’s bound to be some poop. And the way that Fair Oaks deals with manure is on the cutting edge of farm technology.

They’re turning their manure into an energy source for the farm, reducing their environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

To top it off, the dairy itself is open to the public for viewing, tours and questions.

How cool is that? Looks like they really did get their sh–well, stuff, together.

 

 

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

 

Silence is golden, unless you have a blog to write. In that case, silence is most certainly not golden.

That’s my way of saying, “Sorry for the silence – whether or not you enjoyed it.”

Anyway, I came across this article the other day and wanted to share it in its own post, rather than saving it for the Weekly Round Up.

I’ve written before about the important role women play in agriculture and how women are increasingly taking leadership roles on farms across the country.

Growing up with an independent mom who managed our own farming operation, I love seeing stories about women who take charge, no holds barred, and get the job done.

Just like these gals last week:

That’s why I loved this story from the Washington Post about how today’s farming and ranching women are holding their own — and then some — on farms across the country.

That’s not to say that women haven’t been doing this for centuries — they have. But now, given social media and, well, a glass ceiling that continues to crack, women are forging their own ways.

It’s a great story, so be sure to check it out.

You guys. Did you know it’s January. And not just January – it’s January 15. We’re halfway through the month.

How the heck did that happen?

Anyway, it has been a while since we’ve done the Weekly Round Up and that means I have a lot of stuff to share. Like, a whole lot. So, let’s get right down to it:

  • First, this short video from the Center for Accountability in Science. It’s a great video which talks about how farmers use antibiotics and what that means for humans consuming meat from animals treated with antibiotics. If you have questions about how your meat is raised, and how it’s treated when it’s sick, this video is for you.
  • This article, from Forbes, which discusses Chipotle’s recent fall from grace. I’ve talked a lot about Chipotle here on the blog, and why I’m not a fan of their marketing campaign (Read: It’s a web of lies!). In December, the company, famous for its “Food with Integrity,” showed not only does it need to clean up its marketing campaign, but their restaurants in general. Ugh.
  • This. You know, just a little food for thought. Tomatoes
  • This article, from the Huffington Post, which has nothing to do with farmers, but everything to do with food — and how our kids eat it. Or in my case, how our toddler’s throw it on the floor, dump it in their heads, feed it to the dog and smear it on the table — basically anything but actually eat it. I found it quite a while ago, but it’s a really great article, and after testing it out with my own hard-headed munchkin, it’s got some pretty great advice.
  • This article, from U.S. News and World Report, about how today’s farmers are working hard to run sustainable farms. Excellent stuff in this one, folks.
  • Do you have questions about convention dairy farms vs. organic dairy farms? If so, this blog post, from The Farmer’s Wifee, does an excellent job of explaining just how many rules all dairy farms have to follow. It’s a great read.

And finally, a request: What do you want to see? I’m thinking of revamping things a bit, and I would love to know what you want to know. Would you like to see more myth-busting, agriculture style? Or, maybe you would be interested in farmer features. How about recipes? What would really get you excited to check things out? Let me know in the comments!

Day 29. Only one more to go.

Whew.

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:

We’re in the homestretch, people. It feels good.

To kick off the homestretch, we’re talking more food safety. Because you can never be too careful when you’re cooking for yourself or your family.

Today, it’s www.FightBac.org, brought to you by the Partnership for Food Safety Education:

The Partnership for Food Safety Education delivers trusted, science-based behavioral health messaging and a network of resources that support consumers in their efforts to reduce risk of foodborne illness.

We work with an active network of 13,000 health and food safety educators – we call them BAC Fighters!- and support them by making their work more visible, collaborative, and effective.

These BAC Fighters are connecting each year with an estimated 7.5 million consumers –helping them to protect their health through safe food handling and hand hygiene. See “Who is educating consumers about reducing risk of foodborne illness.” Thanks to the support of our 25 Partner Organizations and Federal Liaisons, we’re able to help millions of consumers keep top-of-mind the preventive practices that destroy or hinder the growth and spread of dangerous foodborne pathogens that can cause serious illness and even death.

Similar to the other food safety websites, this one is chuck full of excellent information, including food safety basics, food poisoning, food safety education, information for kids, and free resources.

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

Happy Black Friday, everyone! While some of you may be out shopping today (or home already, if you’re one of the dedicated early risers), I’m home, shopping online.

Because I don’t need to land a good deal that badly.

If you’re like me, camped out at home, wearing a comfy pair of sweatpants with the laptop open on your lap, add this website to your must visit list: www.TheMeatWeEat.com.

A project of the American Meat Science Association, http://www.TheMeatWeEat.com was created to provide accurate, fact-based information from U.S. meat scientists to help consumer make informed decisions regarding the meat their families enjoy.

MeatWeEatLogo

TheMeatWeEat.com provides simplified site navigation, a variety of resources and enhanced search capability, making it quick and easy for the visitor to find the answers they are seeking,” said Deidrea Mabry, director of Scientific Communication and Technical Programs, American Meat Science Association. “People have lots of questions about how their meat is produced and the best ways to prepare it. Our site gives people access to hundreds of meat scientists with a wide variety of expertise as well as the opportunity to ask those scientists questions about topics that are important to them.”

According to my best friend, Rachel, Deidrea is “pretty much Wonder Woman,” and after checking out the website, I have to agree.

There’s so much to take in, including videos and podcasts, webinars, fact sheets, Meat MythCrushers (a video series focused on busting common myths surrounding meat and poultry product and processing), meat cooking and storage tips and frequently asked questions.

“Today more than ever, whether a consumer’s meat purchase is driven off of preference, convenience, or cost, consumers have the luxury of choice when they go to the meat counter,” Mabry said. “Along with this luxury comes a lot of information and labeling claims regarding the different cuts of meat. We believe TheMeatWeEat.com will be an avenue where consumers can educate themselves to feel confident in their choices when feeding their families.”

“What the American Meat Science Association members do, and will continue to do through TheMeatWeEat.com is to provide proven, verified information to consumer so they can make decisions about leading a healthy lifestyle that includes advice for eating a healthy and well-balanced diet that includes meat and processed meats, maintain a healthy weight, and include physical activity,” Mabry added.

Yes, ma’am. I don’t think any of us as consumers can ask for more than that.

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

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