Thursday, November 28, 2013

The inside scoop on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debacle

This past week some of you may have seen the news coming from our home state of South Dakota about how farmers and ranchers were upset with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float that the state of South Dakota sponsors.  The state tourism department had put out a press release announcing Joan Jett was going to be on the float this year. 

For those of you who aren’t aware, much like the SD Department of Tourism, Joan Jett is a a card carrying PETA member. She has been featured in ads supporting meatless Monday’s and claims ranchers abuse their livestock, destroy the environment and poison people with the food we produce. Tourism is a big part of our state’s economy-the second largest industry in our state, agriculture. 

This set our wheels to turning. First, a call was made to the Department of Tourism to talk to someone about this decision.  It’s important to find the source of the information, we don’t want to hang people out to dry. We want to know the reason behind the decision and get the accurate information out. We always encourage the people we work with to find the source and not just go off on a witch hunt.

Second, we posted the information on our personal Facebook page. We felt this was a local issue and didn’t release it to everyone. We encouraged our friends to also contact the Tourism department. We didn’t want anyone fired, we wanted to make sure people understand why this has a negative impact on our number ONE industry in the state.  Our tax payer dollars were going to support someone who is actively trying to stop what our family does. 

Some within agriculture were upset that we gained the attention to this issue, because it hit all the major news sources including CNN, MSN and FoxNews plus some entertainment channels.  But that is what agriculture has been doing for years, just letting PETA say what they say about us and not doing anything.  That approach really hasn’t worked well for us has it?

In the end we got it changed, but it’s because people came together and shared their voice. So share your voice and make positive change. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Red Meat Mafia

Able to Raise Tall Corn in a Single Season...

MOO U, I Got My B.S. in BS...

I'm a Product of Child Labor...

The Red Meat Mafia apparel company came out in July of this year with one goal in mind: To help start conversations about agriculture. We sure think shirt titles like those above do just that. 

The Family, as they are called, is a group of people who are involved in agriculture but all share the same mindset- that advocating for agriculture is important. They designed the shirts to be cute and cleaver but to also make people stop and ask questions. 

We joined the Red Meat Mafia because we believe in their philosophy and got a kick out of the shirts! We're always searching for a way to reach people about what we do. People want to be entertained and what better way to do that then by making them smile. It goes along ways to start that conversation.

 This shirt on the front has the Red Meat Mafia logo. One the back is Food Security. This shirt represents that farmers and ranchers are all part of the very important job of food security.

Each shirt comes with a small postcard that explains the meaning behind the shirt.  This is what makes Red Meat Mafia different then most apparel companies.  It's not just about selling a product, it's about telling the agricultural story.

We encourage you to check out the Red Meat Mafia website to learn more about the company and to order a shirt! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

HSUS Attempting to Override NJ Gov Veto

Animal rights advocates push N.J. Legislature to override Christie's veto on pig crates

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill in June that would have prohibited the farm practice of placing pregnant pigs in gestation cages. (EPA)
Brent Johnson/The Star-Ledger 
on September 17, 2013 at 11:16 AM, updated September 17, 2013 at 3:33 PM
TRENTON — A coalition of animal-rights advocates today urged the state Legislature to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill that would ban the “cruel” farm practice of keeping pregnant pigs in gestation crates.
The Humane Society of the United States announced it is launching a $150,000 television ad campaign in the state to educate voters on the issue.
“All animals deserve humane treatment — especially if they’re being raised for food,” Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said during a teleconference call this morning. “If animals are being raised for food, by God, we have to make sure they are not suffering in the run up to their slaughter.”   READ MORE
HSUS is targeting the state of New Jersey with an emotional based campaign to override a veto by Gov. Chris Christie.  He vetoed the bill based on science not emotion. HSUS is once again attacking a state with very few families that raise hogs. It is our duty as people in agriculture to reach out to New Jersey residents and share the real story of how livestock is raised. How??  Social Media! It’s another place where Team Ag can work together.   -Stacy

Friday, May 10, 2013

Whole New Meaning to Space Food

Farming On Mars: NASA Ponders Food Supply for 2030s Mission            by Clara Moskowitz,
WASHINGTON —The first humans to live on Mars might not identify as astronauts, but farmers. To establish a sustainable settlement on Earth'ssolar system neighbor, space travelers will have to learn how to grow food on Mars — a job that could turn out to be one of the most vital, challenging and labor-intensive tasks at hand, experts say.
"One of the things that every gardener on the planet will know is producing food is hard — it is a non-trivial thing," Penelope Boston, director of the Cave and Karst Studies program at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, said yesterday (May 7) at the Humans 2 Mars Summit here at George Washington University. "Up until several hundred years ago it occupied most of us for most of the time."
NASA is actively engaged in researching how to farm on Mars and in space, as the agency is targeting its first manned Mars landing in the mid-2030s. And some NASA officials are wondering if that mission ought to be of long duration, rather than a short visit, given the difficulty of getting there and the possible benefits of an extended stay. "Sustained human presence — should that be our goal? I think that's a good discussion," Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said here Monday (May 6).   Read More
See rocket scientists understand that the basics for sustaining life in the new space frontier.  Have you stopped to think about food production research that is being done?  It makes me wonder if some of the plants are also being genetically modified to suit the change they will need in order to grow on Mars.   

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Undercover Video

Is an Egg for Breakfast Worth This?
New York Times

Supermarket eggs gleam with apparent cleanliness, and nothing might seem more wholesome than breaking one of them into a frying pan.
Think again. The Humane Society of the United States plans to release on Thursday the results of an undercover investigation into Kreider Farms, a major factory farm that produces 4.5 million eggs each day for supermarkets like ShopRite.
I’ve reviewed footage and photos taken by the investigator, who says he worked for Kreider between January and March of this year. In an interview, he portrayed an operation that has little concern for cleanliness or the welfare of hens.   Read More

Kristof has been a vocal opponent of the production practices of family farms and ranches for quite some time now.  What’s most disappointing is his lack of investigation in this case.  He obviously wasn’t interested in finding out the truth.  Rather than go see the facility for himself he paints a picture based on the accounts of the paid undercover cameraman.  Along with that he apparently believes that growing up on a farm decades ago qualifies him to evaluate what he sees on the video.  
No one supports any type of livestock abuse but to recklessly pass on information from the world’s wealthiest animal rights group is uncalled for.  Lots of families depend on the affordable food supply that we can provide in this country.  The HSUS doesn’t want any type of animal agriculture to take place so lets look at what this video really is.  It’s another attempt at eliminating meat, milk and eggs from our plates. -TH

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fur and Wool Ban Not Popular

November 30, 2011
A Cool Reception to a Ban on Fur
FUR is everywhere on the high fashion row of Melrose Avenue. It lines jackets on the mannequins in John Varvatos, dangles from scarves in the windows of Kitson, and drapes from hangers at Maxfield. Even on a 75-degree day in November, fur remains very much in season here.
And in the last week, these swanky window displays have become something of a political statement, a symbol of resistance to an ordinance that was passed Nov. 21 making this city the first in the country to ban the sale of fur apparel.
While boutiques here prepare for the ban to take effect in September 2013, Melrose Avenue may offer an early reading on the future of fur in the fashion industry: Even as animal rights activists declare victory, designers and storeowners have reiterated their commitment to fur’s place in high fashion, warning that shoppers will simply take their business outside of West Hollywood.
At the boutiques along Melrose Avenue, sales clerks scoffed at the idea that fur was falling out of fashion. One called the ban “ridiculous,” another said it was “super annoying.” Far from beginning to clear fur from their shelves, store owners are instead talking about clearing out of the city.     Read More
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone that believes West Hollywood, CA would represent the views of mainstream America.  This ban on fur and wool has gone so far though that even many of the people that live and work there feel that it's ridiculous.  Livestock and even wild animals provide us with many significant resources.  When it comes to the fur from wild animals, it's necessary for us to manage their populations appropriately anyhow so we might as well utilize the resources they provide us rather than waste them.  
Interestingly enough, these people even banned the sale of wool in this ordinance.  Giving a sheep a haircut once a year hardly matches the cruelty that PETA, HSUS and other anti-agriculture group would like you to believe.  -Troy

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My November Column

Every month I write a column for the Dakota Farmer magazine.  I've really enjoyed writing it over the last couple years.  Last months column was pretty special for me.  I've had several people tell me that this has been their favorite article I've written.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

Click here to see the magazine article.

The cable news channel CNN ran a story on their website this summer that raised the question “Does 4-H desensitizes kids to killing?”.  As a former 4-H member for 13 years and the parent of a first year 4-H member this certainly caught my attention.  Over the course of those 13 years I spent countless hours leading, washing, combing and clipping on calves.  I did everything I could to make them as comfortable and healthy as possible.  So how could anyone ever believe that this somehow desensitizes kids?  
According to the story, some believe that 4-H helps desensitize youngsters into having no emotional attachment to animals raised for food.  A few of the commenters even tried to claim that this was some grand conspiracy by the meat industry to keep them in business.  Apparently by forcing these kids to sell their livestock to be processed somehow turns them into greedy, uncaring people and will lead to a life of mistreating the animals in their care.  
The truth of the matter is that it teaches kids about responsibility and how life works and is sustained.  We just capped off our 4-H year with a trip to Rapid City, SD for the Western Junior Livestock Show.  It’s a tremendous show that our son was very excited to be part of.  For his first year in 4-H he decided to show a bred heifer named Morgan.  All summer and through the fall he learned how to care for his calf.  He probably put a hundred miles on his bike just going back and forth to the barn to check on her.  In the end his hard work paid off when he proudly marched his well-behaved heifer into that show ring with a grin on his face.  
While we were at the show I tried to figure out how all of the hard work each one of those kids had put in that summer could somehow be a bad thing?  I didn’t see any desensitized kids.  What I saw were hard working, polite young people, working with their families and their fellow 4-Her’s to learn responsibility and proper livestock care.  
I also couldn’t help but think what a better place our world may be if every kid had a “Morgan” in their life for just one summer.  Morgan will be in our herd for the next several years but like every cow on the ranch her time will come to an end.  However, the lessons she taught our son will last forever and for that I’m grateful.