Opinion/Editorial Archive

What Nobody Told Me About Small Farming: I Can’t Make a Living

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

People say we’re “rich in other ways,” but that doesn’t fix the ugly fact that most farms are unsustainable

Salon
by Jaclyn Moyer

Source: Jay & Melissa Malouin

On the radio this morning I heard a story about the growing number of young people choosing to become farmers. The farmers in the story sounded a lot like me — in their late 20s to mid-30s, committed to organic practices, holding college degrees, and from middle-class non-farming backgrounds. Some raise animals or tend orchards. Others, like me, grow vegetables. The farmers’ days sounded long but fulfilling, drenched in sun and dirt. The story was uplifting, a nice antidote to the constant reports of industrial ag gone wrong, of pink slime and herbicide-resistant super-weeds.

What the reporter didn’t ask the young farmers was: Do you make a living? Can you afford rent, healthcare? Can you pay your labor a living wage? If the reporter had asked me these questions, I would have said no. Read Full Article »

Our Responsibilities to the Animals We Eat

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The Call of the Land
by Steven McFadden

Source: Socially Responsible Agricultural Project

Each year more than nine billion animals go to slaughterhouses in the USA to be killed, processed, and packaged into the beef, pork, lamb and chicken that eventually find their way onto our dinner plates. It is an industrial process on a staggeringly vast scale, and it has some fundamental problems.

While the number of animals fated to pass through industrial processes has continued to grow in recent decades, the number of independent family farmers who care for them has continued to decline due to high-efficiency corporate mechanical processes and confinement strategies that optimize profit. The animals have been relegated to “units of production.” The population of human beings in our rural regions in the heartland of America has, meanwhile, been decimated as family farmers have steadily fallen victim to vertical integration and the relentless economic demands of corporate bottom lines. Read Full Article »

Farming Science, Without the Conscience

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The New York Times
by the Editorial Board

Source: Aurel

You don’t have to be a vegan to be repulsed by an account in The Times revealing the moral depths to which the federal government — working as a handmaiden to industrial agriculture — has sunk in pursuit of cheaper meat and fatter corporate profits. The article, by Michael Moss, examines the little-known U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, financed by American taxpayers, which employs the sophisticated tools and scientific expertise of modern animal management — apparently without a conscience.

The details Mr. Moss’s article exposes are sickening. In engineering animals to maximize industry’s bottom line, the center, at a sprawling, secluded site in Nebraska, has created pigs that bear freakishly large litters of frail piglets, which are often crushed by their mothers. Cows give birth to triplets, many of them deformed. Lambs are born in open fields, where they starve, are eaten by predators and are overcome by the elements. These so-called easy-care sheep are bred to eliminate the need for shelters and human help at birthing time. Read Full Article »

Take Paradise, Put up an Animal Feedlot

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Manure Sprayed on Fields
Source: Socially Responsible Agricultural Project

CAFOs. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Sometimes people say Confined Animal Feeding Operations. Here in northeastern Wisconsin, we have 16 CAFOs in Kewaunee County, second only to our neighboring Brown County which has 20. Most of these operations have 5,000-10,000 animals living in the closed quarters of the confinement model.  In all, Wisconsin has 260 CAFO operations statewide, the bulk of them being industrial dairy operations.

Looking at the topography where 
we live, right below the “thumb”
of Wisconsin, it’s 
hard to imagine the 
lack of forethought 
or planning that
 went into the pro
cess of these me
ga-operations and 
their expansions, considering that at one time we were a community 
of thriving class 
1 trout streams, 
and have the good
 fortune to live in an area along the beautiful Lake Michigan
 shoreline, dotting our community
 with beaches and breathtaking lake
views– the literal gateway to the
 famous Door County, Wisconsin. Read Full Article »

Let’s Move Past Complaining About Raw Milk Misinformation, and Do Something About It

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

by David Gumpert

RawMilkAnswerBookI know I’m not the only supporter of food choice who is frustrated because much of the news in the mainstream media about raw milk seems to be negative and often inaccurate. I know I’m not the only one who is tired of complaining, and wants to do something about it.

But do what? Is it even possible to counter the huge resources of the government and dairy processing industry, which together with the mainstream media, seem intent on spreading as much misinformation as possible.? For example, Time Magazine in December seemed to take joy in reporting on a CDC study that said outbreaks involving raw milk had quadrupled over the most recent six years, from an earlier period. “This Is One Health Trend You Don’t Want to Try” headlined the Time article.

The Time report conveniently avoided explaining that outbreaks aren’t the same as illnesses, and that the CDC’s report had inexplicably neglected to include the number of annual illnesses in the data it disclosed. And rather than note that the CDC’s own report indicated that more than 80% of illnesses were of the mild variety, from campylobacter, Time instead pointed readers to a CDC web site where they could find “a raw milk horror story from a mother who fed it to her son, then saw him go into kidney failure and be placed on a ventilator.”   Read Full Article »