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 Rural America Be Aware

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PostSubject: Rural America Be Aware   Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:27 pm

Rural America Be Aware

There have been two attacks on Rural America by our new president. First, in a speech to teachers, Mr. Obama degraded rural America by saying, "Our schools received three months off to accommodate a farm economy," and we no longer need to cater to this economy.

In the budget the President referred to farm programs as subsidies that are no longer needed.

The rural part of this country should point out that our cheap food policies in this country allow him and most of the urban dwellers to allocate more of the city dwellers money to fancy homes, big boats and other extravagant items.

If 1/3 of the income was used for food as in the case in Europe, the city dwellers would have less spendable income and less discretionary spending.

Who is subsidizing who?
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PostSubject: get the facts , Europe does not spend 1/3 income on food. 1/10 to 1/6th of income yes.   Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:37 pm

The public is better served when the facts are straight- Europeans do not spend 1/3 of their income on food! When widely imaginitive "facts" get sprinkled through posts people stop reading the forums. Fact checking before you post promotes a good public discourse.
Here's an exerpt from National Public Radio :
"The customers trickling into the bakery seem philosophical about the extra 40 or 50 cents on the cost of a loaf of bread. Perhaps that's because, unlike most of the developing world, where up to 80 percent of income can be spent on food, in Britain and much of Europe, that figure is more like 10 percent to 15 percent. Europeans grumble a little, tighten their belts, cut down on luxuries and get on with it.
But there's no grumbling at all, for once, from one group of Europeans.
[b]A Boost for Farmers[/b]
George Munns, 47, climbs aboard his big green tractor on the 500 acres he farms just outside Chatteris. For decades, it has been tough for British farmers, as rock-bottom crop prices meant huge financial difficulties. "
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PostSubject: Thank-you for your correction   Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:19 pm

You have recently challenged some of my thoughts as being generalizations and then point to facts. Congressional Hearings in the 1980's and 1990's had numerous experts testify that this country had a cheap food policy. There were comparisons to numerous countries in Europe who actually spent more than 30% of their income on food.

When you read the National Public Radio excerpt it talks that in some nations about 80-90 per cent of their income goes to food.

An average across the world could be close to the numbers I cited. With the slumping world wide economy I suspect the numbers cited may be higher depending on when or how this number was derived.

However, my point was not what Europe spends on food. I was just trying to draw a comparison to what Americans spend on food compared to other countries.

Your point is well taken and I will research this further as I am sure you will also.


Last edited by mouthpiece on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:46 pm

According to Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food: An Eaters Maifesto, page 145, Americans spend less than 10% of their income on food, less than a half hour a day preparing meals and less than an hour enjoying what we eat. Traditionally people have allocated a far greater proportion of their income to food and were/are much healthier. In the Omnivore's Dillemma he says that our percentage spent on food vs healthcare has 'flipped' since the 1950s.
I supported Ron Paul for president, not either of the two major candidates. But with the election of Obama i did hope that he would take a strong stand against factory farming and genetically modified food. It is interesting that his family wants organic food-will he make it easier for the average citizen to have healthy, clean food? For the most part Americans eat awful stuff that should not be called food. Here in rural America we have the opportunity to fly under the food radar and the chance to eat well, lucky us. I am not interested in "feeding the world", i am interested in helping each country overcome it's challenges, some climactic, some financial but mostly political to be able to feed themselves. Monocultural farming is a potential train wreck.
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PostSubject: cheap food, big farms : the chicken or the egg?   Mon May 11, 2009 2:32 pm

Our food supply has become cheaper as farms became larger and technology and mechanization replaced people. Farmers compete with rising costs of health care, and education and transportation and everything. Enough decendents of farm families are not finding a niche on the farm. Wether people have been retiring, sold land because they didn't want to own it anymore or were squeezed out or left for better opportunities; farm operator numbers are shrinking. There are fewer rural people and we are losing our influence in government. Government isn't attacking rural life as much as it is turning to serve the majority. Things our changing and it won't all be good.

Now that one patriarch and his sons can farm 12,000 acres using machines and a little bit of hired labor our area might go through another period of rapid population loss. As a rule the larger grain farms succeed and the smaller farms get absorbed. Livestock used to be a way to keep the small farm going, but not so much anymore. It takes a lot of animals to produce an annual return to the operator of 40 or 50 thousand dollars like grain farming in a good year. The small farm does not have a lot of options, most of them need an off farm job. In fact one of the largest farmers I know started with no land and an off farm job. The off farm expenses keep going up. As pointed out by Joelie, health care costs are much higher these days and who wants to go without health insurance?

Things are changing all the time. I have been trying to find the data for the farm sizes and farm size trends in Europe but haven't come across it yet. It would be interesting to see if Europe is having the same problems that the US has with farms in the larger size categories growing and small farms fading away. Europe has many of the same environmental problems to solve. And hey they have been farming for an extra thousand years plus over there.

Comparing farming, farm income and food prices of the US and Europe makes some sense. "European Union Farm Subsidies of $55 Billion are 43% of EU Budget " The EU collects a flat tax of 1% so everybody pays, even the poor. The numbers were a surprise to me. Not so different from our numbers here.

Europe wants to maintain self sufficiency of food, can't blame them for that. It could be that Europe's rejection of GMO grain has something to do with that- one problem with GMO grains is that the seed is owned by US corporations not farmers. It's a totally legitimate point. GMO seed is immensly popular in the US because round up ready crops are cheaper to grow by requiring less tillage to control weeds. That part is the good part because tillage increases soil erosion and we can't afford to loose more soil. And the Bt corn reduces the need for insecticides, also a good thing. But, the seed ownership issue alone is enough for other countries to refuse GMO varieties.

Farmers in this country don't have to grow GMO grains and some don't grow GMO. But it is more profitable to raise round up ready and Bt corn. They grow GMO on Joelie's farm, she could tell us why better than anyone. As with any new technology we should watch GMO crops closely and maybe we should think about labeling and sorting it off seperately so that we could regain some of the export market to those countries that have refused our US corn because it contains GMO corn.

Expensive corn can be good. There has been a problem with the price of our US corn being cheaper than Mexican grown corn(protected from export) and NAFTA putting Mexican farmers out of business. They had small farms, small incomes and they needed fairly expensive corn to make a living on their acreage. The trade protection that was lost with NAFTA let our cheap US corn in and ruined their livelihood. This was called "an unintended consequence." The article was in Agweek last week.
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Mon May 11, 2009 8:38 pm

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, the leader in developing genetically modified foods and manufacturer of the herbicide Roundup, is suing the German government because it is refusing permission for Monsanto to grow it's GM corn in the country.
Reuters' Michael Hogan reported April 21 from Hamburg: "Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, said on Wednesday it hoped legal action to end Germany's ban on growing GMO maize would allow the variety to be sown for the 2009 harvest.
"On Tuesday, Monsanto said it had started legal action against the decision April 14 by German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner to ban cultivation and sale of Monsanto's MON 810 GMO maize which stopped it from being sown for this year's harvest. Monsanto hoped a court decision would be available by mid May which would permit the maize to be sown for this year's harvest, a Monsanto spokesman said...
A spokesman for Germany's Agriculture Ministry said: 'We have taken note of this lawsuit, which is not a surprise.' The ministry would not make detailed comment on legal cases.
"The ban put Germany alongside France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg, which also banned MON 810 maize despite it's approval by the EU as safe for commercial use in the bloc.
While most Americans pay no attention to the use of GM crops, Europeans do. Thus the France24 news program featured on April 19, a program about the serious and growing pigweed problem plaguing farmers across the southern U.S..
"'Superweeds' are plaguing high tech Monsanto crops in southern U.S. states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops, or even abandon their farms.
"The gospel of high tech genetically modified (GM) crops is not sounding quite so sweet in the land of the converted. A new pest, the evil pigweed, is hitting headlines and chomping it's way accross Sun Belt states, threatening to transform cotton and soybean plots into weed battlefields.
In late 2004 'superweeds' that resisted Monsanto's iconic 'Roundup' herbicide, popped up in GM crops in the county of Macon, GA...
Superweeds have alarmingly appeared in other parts of GA, as well as SC, NC, AK, TN, KY and MO...
"Today 100,000 acres in GA are severely infested with pigweed and 29 counties have now confirmed resistance to glysophate, according to weed specialist Stanley Culpepper from the University of GA.
Just as the world is facing a "perfect storm" in the growing economic crisis, it may be that agribusiness or ag industry is facing it's own "perfect storm"
This is from the May 7, 2009 Issue of The Wanderer
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PostSubject: Europe not happy with US agriculture   Tue May 12, 2009 11:00 am

GMO crops do not endear US farmers with the rest of the world. That's for sure, GMO's are sort of a US agriculture public relations disaster. Gee thanks Monsanto. But the GMO's are still profitable here in Grant County so expect to see them for a while.

When will you stop raising GMO crops?

There's a wormer for cattle, horses, pigs, etc brand name Ivomec that's a great product. It's made from fermented worms- (refined in a factory) it's definitely very useful and safer than old wormers. When resistance to that finally comes that will be unfortunate. Resistance to Round up was not unexpected. Well sure it would be nice to get off the chemical merry go round and stop developing new pesticides as pests become resistant but farmers buy the stuff by the ton. Farmers are in business, GMO's have been good business and reduced pesticides(Bt GMO corn means no spraying for cornborer) .

The stand that the Europeans have taken is honest. They were willing to forgoe the benefits of Monsanto round up ready/GMO's.
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Tue May 12, 2009 6:08 pm

Monsanto, who represents the U.S. has taken on being the neighborhood bully in other parts of the world by trying to force GMO's on nations that do not want them.
Also unfortunately in the U.S. consumers are not allowed to know if they are consuming GMO food or not since it is not labeled. GMO free labelling is on the horizon, and that is good for everyone, except perhaps Monsanto.
Bt has in the past been allowed to be used as a spray in organic fields, i am not certain of it's status at present. But to put the Bt gene which is toxic into a seed that is consumed by animals that people consume, or consumed directly, does not seem to be a good thing to me, personally.
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PostSubject: rural life under attack or is agriculture under attack?   Wed May 13, 2009 5:52 pm

It is true that the federal gov might be doing less for rural life than it did in the past- funding cuts are bound to hurt us. SD has always been one of the highest per capita recipients of federal dollars. But ignoring rural life is not the same as an attack.
Agriculture as an industry and as an occupation is under attack, from within and without.

Without a healthy ag economy rural towns are "bedroom" communities.

Eventhough agriculture is a huge broad industry everyone and their uncle gets to be an expert on ag policy, more so than energy policy or transportation, infrastructure, etc. There's so much difference between cotton farming in Georgia, wheat farming in Colorado and growing organic herbs in Idaho yet people all over the net and in our communities feel free to call this kind of agriculture morally right and that kind of ag as morally wrong. The truth is in the details. But details get in the way of gut feelings, so the faint of heart just google up another mess and put up selected quotes from websites that actually promote the idea that milk is not a food.

Type your fears into google and you'll find plenty of support. You will also find that there are many many people that feel free to moralize about everything that farmers might be doing while they build their cute little house on the edge of town and maybe don't even put in a septic field. Animal rights is one of the simpler and very popular stances amoung the non-farming public and there are probably more vegans than livestock farmers in the US.

Coming from a natural resources background it's obvious to me that all farmers are users of the soil. That's not a concept in the urban mind. Instead of dividing our ag producers we should be figuring out how to educate our urban bretheren before it's too late.
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PostSubject: educate urban bretheren   Thu May 14, 2009 6:28 am

LindaS wrote:
Coming from a natural resources background it's obvious to me that all farmers are users of the soil. That's not a concept in the urban mind. Instead of dividing our ag producers we should be figuring out how to educate our urban bretheren before it's too late.

LindaS, your above quote intrigues me. Isn't it obvious that farmers are users of the soil even to an urban dweller? What do urban dwellers need to be educated about?

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Thu May 14, 2009 8:50 am

Yes, this is a very interesting thread. Please lay out what must be communicated to the uninformed. Thanks.
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PostSubject: Just a few of the things i think urbans need to know   Thu May 14, 2009 10:33 am

No I am not a mind reader but it doesn't take a long time on the net or speaking with my urban relatives to find out that some misconceptions about farming are widespread.

Farming is not a perfect industry, of course not, there's room for improvement. But it important that our numerous urban bretheren have a reasonably accurate perception of agriculture. For our sake and for their sake.

Because hydroponics has been developed and is in limited commercial use, some people think we can raise all of our food that way.

Organic growing also has environmental impacts. Soil erosion is greater and loosing soil is losing farm land. But organic growing deserves the credit for the renewed interest in where our food comes from. Organic is an important alternative that needs to be subsidized in order to expand, it's less than 1 percent of our US food production at present(local harvest.com). The expanding size of organic farms has helped increase production.

Many organic farms hire "foreign" workers to help with the labor intensive growing and harvest of produce. US farms have a labor shortage in some sectors. There's not much of labor shortage, and not many jobs in mechanized grain farming. My daughter will be working with immigrant labor in Indiana, helping them with legal issues through the State of Indiana this summer, i am proud that she is interested in solutions.

US farmers have lower overall cancer rates than the general public, but slightly higher incidence of respiratory disease(farmers lung is still around). Check it out at the CDC web site.

There are carcinogens and toxins in vegetables from your garden. Natural plants are still plants and they have evolved all sorts of defenses including chemical defenses. All natural sorghum can still poison cattle with nitrates if the weather and harvest time go wrong.

Some people believe that we can get all the nitrogen we need to feed the world from legumes and their nitrogen producing bacteria. Many people believe that soybeans leave more nitrogen in the soil than was removed, just because soybeans are a legume like alfalfa. Soybeans are closer to a net zero of nitrogen, they just make what they need and not a lot extra. The amount of alfalfa we would need and number of years that land would have to stay in alfalfa is out of the question if people are to be fed. We should look for more efficient ways to use fertilizer all the time, but the world is addicted to chemical fertilizer now just as it is addicted to oil. in the long run it's easier to live without oil than it is too live without chem fertilizer. Why? because when we harvest a crop and ship it to feed people in minneapolis either as wheat or as meat the nutrients that were taken off in the grain are not returned to the soil. The human's make manure and that goes into our rivers and into sludge that is sold to golf courses and a tiny number of grain producers(much of human sewage is too laden with heavy metals, industrial chemicals to use on food crops).

Hardly anyone realizes that industrial pollution is still the number one problem on EPA's list of ground water and surface water contaminants. Chemical fertilizer is higher on the list than feedlots. CAFO's specifically are not on the list.

At the same time there are naturally occuring nitrates in ground water, also arsenic, etc in various places. Not all ground water contamination can be blamed on man. Lots of it can. Natural nitrates make you just as sick as agricultural or municipal nitrates. Organic farming can produce nitrate pollution especially when alfalfa roots break down and rain washes the nitrates into the lower soil profile. Not that organic farming is any big threat to our ground water, not at all. But all farming has these issues.

City sewer lagoons/treatment plants are allowed to discharge treated and with special permission, untreated water into our rivers and oceans. Treated municipal waste still contains high levels of phosphorous, salts, nitrates. Few cities have the money to remove those nutrients. Cities remove BOD or biological oxygen demand. That is the stuff that is rapidly decomposing and would the oxygen out of the river water as it decomposed. Cities do use various techniques to reduce pathogens. In responsible states the regulated feedlots are not allowed any discharge into our rivers. If it does happen is makes the news and it should. Cities discharge into our rivers every day, and are allowed a certain amount of pollution.

Field applied agricultural lagoon aged manure, especially if it's been through a digester, has several million times fewer pathogens than dry stack manure. The PEW Commission report on livestock( a source much quoted by the anti livestock people) state this. It also calls for regulation of all livestock feeding operations down to 300 animal units. That's a lot of stinky little lagoons that are too small for digesters and too expensive per head for the little guy. We need to develope some science based systems for the little guy to save, treat and handle his manure. There are some innovative systems but we need more. It's only a matter of time before urban dwellers will not tolerate old fashioned stock piled manure in their watershed. That's possible eventhough carefully applied stock piled manure is scientifically safe. Science has been put out to pasture in the manure debate. That's true even if they don't want to spend big dollars on a state of the art sewage treatment plant for their town. They have the votes, they can vote their feelings.

Genetically modified crops: have reduced herbicide and pesticide use and kept food prices down(for US farmers GM crops allowed for the same yield but less cost of input ). Monsanto doesn't hold the seed rights to all GM crops. From the human genome gov site:
"In 2006, 252 million acres of transgenic crops were planted in 22 countries by 10.3 million farmers. The majority of these crops were herbicide- and insect-resistant soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and alfalfa. Other crops grown commercially or field-tested are a sweet potato resistant to a virus that could decimate most of the African harvest, rice with increased iron and vitamins that may alleviate chronic malnutrition in Asian countries, and a variety of plants able to survive weather extremes. "

What makes a food nutritious, the way it was raised or what's actually in it? There are some popular web sites that state milk is not a food even in moderation. Milk Sucks is one of those sites and quotes from that site were used to fuel fears of Riverview Dairy. But that site was against all kinds of dairying, even little organic dairying even keeping one cow and drinking her milk so how could anyone think it's information was credible? It's popular web site, googles right up.

Violations reported in the media do not give a clear picture of the overall effect of farming and ranching on the environment. Another thing that googles right up are violations of EPA regulations. Yes those people are getting caught. Good! However;the people who fall applied too much nitrogen chemical fertilizer and contaminated ground water don't get caught. And really it's not considered a crime to contaminate the ground water beneath your farm or your septic field or your municipal sewage lagoon, it's considered an accident. That is if anyone ever figures out what happened. Stuff that happens under ground is under reported! EPA puts out a national report that't rarely quoted.

Farmers in the US do use a lot of chemical. Fortunately I can say that the farmers we work with are very responsible and carefully follow the laws. So I assume that farmers around here that i don't know are also responsible. But just abiding by the law isn't land stewardship, our laws don't cover everything. Our culture of agriculture is what creates trust and support from our fellow man. It's under attack.

Conservation and saving the enviroment isn't just about jumping on bandwagons against things that annoy us but anyone can vote that way if they feel like it.
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PostSubject: ethanol   Fri May 15, 2009 12:16 pm

Ag problems are rarely exclusive to farmers or one type of farm. If we keep the debate honest and the facts straight then urban and rural people can work on problems together. And if there still has to be a battle over something, the results will be better if the communication was thorough and true.

The alarmist philosophy is all about getting some people to take care of problems while the alarmists run about pointing here and there.
Sometimes journalists and would be economists, sociologists, researchers are so desperate to get something published that they jump right to the most gut wrenching conclusion possible in order to get "press". Taking the time to check sources or subject a paper to pere review they leave to others. We have become a society of people who say "prove me wrong" instead of offering a shred of proof in the first place.

Agro tourism aside the majority of people in the US only know agriculture through reading and the average quality of what's available to read is awful. now that we can all self publish we have some responsibility not to fill up the world with nonsense.

The ethanol debate is a good example of "fact deficit debate".
Ethanol has been indited for causing hunger and of being detrimental to energy production.

People a few steps away from corn farming are missing a couple of key facts.
A. Corn that goes to ethanol production still returns 40% of the feed value back to agriculture. Ethanol produces a very useful high protein animal feed, distillers grain. Some studies pretended that there was no feed value in the ethanol by product- distillers grain. Ridiculous, but if you aren't in touch with ag then you don't know that distillers grain has been fed for millenia( after people made beer they fed the slop to their animals). This glaring error created a whole debate on the inefficiency of ethanol that's wasted a lot of time. Corn uses solar energy to make starch which can be fermented by yeast into a fuel,very efficienty these days, especially efficiently in our local ethanol plant. Kudos to Northern Lights and Northern Growers.

B.The percentage of corn that goes into animal feed is roughly 50%, the percentage that goes into ethanol production is around 25% (it was rising and then it leveled off recently). Cheap corn means Tyson Chicken makes better profit and puts small corn farmers out of business. Corn for human consumption is a different crop and priced differently, although it is influenced by field corn acres and prices. A lot of our human consumed grains and legumes are raised on specialty contracts and take special handling. It takes a lot of transport to get food to the consumer. Mexican farmers were demonstrating against cheap US corn imports(as NAFTA opened the corn floodgate on them) when corn was still over 4 dollars.
C. Corn ethanol plants are fairly easy to convert to cellulosic ethanol and may start doing that when the cellulosic process is further developed. So even if corn becomes a problem ethanol still has potential to eliminate some fossil fuel for a net benefit.

By reading just a few newspapers urban people are likely to miss the facts on ethanol and very possibly vote for officials that are against ethanol. California has a fairly urban voting base and because of the perception that ethanol is bad has turned it's back on ethanol in favor of electric cars, etc. And this is happening just as the process for making ethanol out of corn stover and sawdust are becoming commercially viable. All due to repition of outdated press releases.
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Sun May 17, 2009 8:47 am

I had to take some time to read these posts over a couple of times. It seems that you are pointing to the problem with modern media -- journalism in this country is dead. People have gotten good at using public opinion tactics to counter or neutralize any information. What's a responsible citizen to do to get the real facts?
People need to hear succinct, bottom-line info followed by why the other argument is wrong, and finally the source where the facts can be checked.
Our attention spans are short in this mass media age, so it needs to be short and well presented.
Getting the info to people? Focus on leaders -- opinion leaders (people who seem always well informed and articulate on topics) do the most educating in this country, plus elected officials at all levels and journalists. They need one-on-ones, written material, speeches and Web sites. I think 'myth buster' information is among the most effective approaches.
That's the how to -- much, much easier said than done.
My Congressman is on speed dial on my phone; he invites me to many events and I'm on his email lists. He even does conference call town hall meetings that I participate in. Get to know your Congressional representative; send info; spend time educating his staffers. Become one of the voices in the crowd that he knows and whose input he appreciates in his fact gathering. When there is specific action that needs to be taken on something, let them know. Perhaps contact Sen Mike Johanns' office, Nebraska senator. He was recently the Secretary of Agriculture -- he may have key info or suggestions.
These are the most effective things I can think of doing.
By now, nearly everyone realizes we aren't being informed by mass media, but indoctrinated and manipulated. People will respond well to real info and real education, I think, especially if it is linked to issues they care about -- right now, one lightning rod issue is being 'green.' That's an entre to getting peoples' attention.
Good luck! Keep doing what you're doing.
Zorro
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PostSubject: good suggestions   Mon May 18, 2009 9:52 am

Thanks for your comment Zorro, very sensible. No wonder you have a good relationship with your legislators.
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PostSubject: too many words about some things, not enough about others   Mon May 18, 2009 10:26 am

Just a couple of things, as I read my posts from the other day you could say I spent to many words on the minor problems in organic farming. Sorry about that. EPA lists chemical fertilizer and feedlots in our major hazards to our water and not and never any part of organic farming as a major environmental hazard. I was trying to make a point that farmers all share issues, even if they are practicing very different types of agriculture.

Bt (bacillus thurengiensus) is approved for certified organic farming as far as I know. It is naturally occuring and is not toxic to birds and mammals at all. Crystaline protein it's called. It harms the digestive tract of catepillars. It is harmful to a variety of catepillars and so it can kill some good bugs with the bad. Putting the gene that produces the protein into corn created bug resistant corn. You can by Bt solution and use it to stop the population explosion of catepillars that we get along Big Stone Lake if you apply it early when the catepillars are small. Both urban, suburban and commercial farmers can use this to replace some of the more toxic pesticides like Sevin. Timing has to be right but spraying Bt is effective. It is also used in water soluble wafers to control mosquitos. I use it in my stock tanks.

If you are interested in toxicity or the carcinogenic properties of chemicals the EPA lists of both of those are a great place to start. There are a lot of common household and common industrial chemicals on the lists of potential and definite carcinogens. The small number of ag related chemicals on the lists might surprise you. The number that can be found in the average home arsenal of cleaning and automotive supplies and emissions(such as the car exhaust in your own garage-benzene et al) is unnerving. You can see why the movement of organic lifestyle and farming has established itself. Most of the carsinogens are manmade (not all of them).

Research does develope safe chemicals also.
Ivomec wormer is both a conventional and certified organic approved substance in wide use. It paralizes parasites inside the animal. The parasites then starve to death, unable to feed. Is that cool or what? It's approved for a wide variety of domestic animals but it is possible to overdose a cat or a collie.

So there are two substances, chemical but not synthetic in origin that have their place in sustainable farming, conventional agriculure and even in the most urban environments.
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PostSubject: under attack mentality just an excuse   Wed May 20, 2009 12:39 pm

National Geographic just published a long and truthful article about agriculture. I can hear you all yawning. Millions of people will read that and vote accordingly so I am glad I didn't have to wait longer to see an article like that in the national media. I am glad that those readers don't have to depend on annonymous info published on hidden agenda websites for their info about agriculture. Maybe they will see that we need agriculture and it's a legitimate way to make a living.

Keeping up with the food needs of the growing population is the admirable part of agriculture and used to be the pride of rural communities. It's a shame because so many practices have been improved, regulation has taken hold and there is good new technology to be used responsibly. But the pride is hurt by fear mongering and sensationalist web sites.

The attack mentality is an excuse for not listening and not talking with the "enemy". It discourages civil discourse.
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Wed May 20, 2009 7:19 pm

Those people you write about sound rather menacing Linda S. Thank goodness for groups like our Grant County Concerned Citizens who always document their findings, have invited many speakers to their meetings and listen to those who have something to say, such as when you came and spoke about water issues.
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PostSubject: Will history repeat itself?   Wed May 20, 2009 10:01 pm

The family farm has produced enough food to feed the world for decades. Other entities have attempted to reach the success of the family farm but have failed. The family farm continues to be one of the greatest strengths of American history and the American way of life. However times are changing.

Government demands low food prices for the masses. The claim is that corporate farming will be as successful. Low food prices will enable greater disposable income to the masses and will assist in the economic downturn. That is, if government can hold down, the prices.

Here is something to think about.

Fifteen years ago I was involved in a bank closing and purchase of a bank. A private party agreed to put as much capital in the closing bank as a large national bank. The FDIC in Kansas City refused to approve the sale to the private party.

After hours in the meeting the FDIC regional man said, “You just don’t get it! Don’t you understand that it is easier to regulate 1000 large banks vs. 10,000 small banks! Fifteen years later, the banking system has collapsed.

Will history repeat itself in agriculture?
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joelie hicks
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PostSubject: Re: Rural America Be Aware   Thu May 21, 2009 9:04 am

It is definitely a problem when food becomes compartmentalized. When there is disease or other problems with a certain food it is much better for everyone if there are diverse sources for all food.
As far as 'feeding the world' is concerned, i operate on the "if you teach a man to fish" theory. I would rather spend money, time and brainpower helping people around the world feed themselves. In India, power giants such as monsanto have muscled their way in, corrupted parts of government and have made it difficult for farmers to make a living, there have been many suicides over there as a result of people not being able to keep their land. Big agriculture's dependence on cheap, foreign labor coupled with agribusiness power giants have created havoc in many places. Most people would rather live and work near their homes and families. The amount of money sent home via western union shows the devotion that these workers have to their families. Last year we had a speaker at GCCC who told us about how in one county in MN the hands of law enforcement are tied because the corporation that hires and houses their labor is so powerful the state will not investigate. This means that many in the immigrant population are not protected. If someone dissapears, who would know. If an employer is taking advantage,to whom can the employee turn?
Some of the most successful farm families in our area, and by successful I mean that they live in a nice home, eat well, dress well and have a decent vehicle as well as some of the fun things, such as the occasional vacation, lessons for their kids etc. with low or no debt, and w/o dependence on off farm income have farms where they milk less than 50 cows. Because they milk so few it can be easily managed by the family as well as having, pigs, chickens and crops.
The title of this "rural america be aware" is a good one, actually all America should be aware of where their food comes from, who raises it and how it is raised. The consumer should have some knowledge of what is in their food. Food choices from even Biblical times are political choices.
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