Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meatless school cafeterias?

Whatever happened to having to eat your meat and drink your milk before you got dessert?

From the Associated Press:

DENVER — More kids could get vegetarian meals and nondairy food and drink in the school cafeteria under a bill proposed by Colorado congressman Jared Polis.

"One of the things I've always been dismayed by is the nutritional value of the meals schools serve," Polis said Monday before promoting his Healthy School Meals Act at a suburban Denver charter school.

Polis, a Democrat, wants to give schools an incentive to offer more plant-based food. He estimated it would cost around $50 million a year but said he believes that would be more than offset in health care savings because fewer children would suffer from juvenile diabetes, heart disease and other conditions linked to obesity.

Troy Hadrick of Advocates for Agriculture remarks:

Withholding meat and milk from our children is certainly not going to make them healthier. If we want our kids to be healthier we have to get back to the basics. They need to eat a balanced diet that includes meat and diary products, get plenty of exercise and cut down on the junk food. This congressman’s proposal is as ridiculous as it sounds. Besides that, I wonder if the parents and the congressman realize that the vegetarian option of macaroni and cheese they are promoting uses cheese which is made from milk, they very same milk that they want removed from the lunch program. Our kids do need to eat healthier, but telling them not to eat meat or drink milk won’t accomplish anything.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Judge's decision is 'powerful, excellent'

The Pacific Legal Foundation hails today's decision on the side of farmers in the Delta water lawsuit:

SACRAMENTO, May 18, 2010 --- Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys applauded Federal Judge Oliver Wanger’s issuance today of a preliminary injunction against a federal regulatory action that has contributed to devastating water cutbacks for farms and communities in Central and Southern California.

PLF is the nation’s leading legal watchdog for property rights, and has been participating in the legal challenges to the Endangered Species Act biological opinions (or "biops") that have triggered these dramatic cuts in water pumping. PLF has been representing some San Joaquin Valley farmers who have been hard-hit by the federally imposed water cutbacks.

Today’s preliminary injunction, issued by Federal Judge Oliver Wanger, targets the "biop" relating to chinook salmon and steelhead, among other species.

PLF STATEMENT: "Judge Wanger recognized that federal regulators had not taken account of how water cutoffs could damage the human environment, and they did not use the best available science," said PLF attorney Brandon Middleton.

"This is a powerful, excellent ruling," said Middleton. "The judge is telling the feds that they can’t ignore the harsh human and environmental impacts of cutting off water to farms, workers, businesses and communities. The judge is also saying the feds can’t get away with using slippery science to justify envrionmental restrictions that rob communities of their lifeblood – water."

A hearing tomorrow in Judge Wanger's Fresno courtroom will address the exact nature of the injunctive relief and how much more water pumping must be permitted.

The ruling is linked at PLF’s Liberty Blog:

Farmers overcame ash spewed by Mount St. Helens

Thirty years ago, on May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted violently. The headline in the May 23, 1980, Capital Press read: "St. Helens dusts NW crops with volcanic ash" and the secondary headline said "Easter Washington's rich farming lands declared disaster area."

Another front-page headline said: "Central Washington farmers 'paralyzed'" in the aftermath of the eruption.

In those early days after the eruption, experts said it was still too early to tell what the extent of damage would be to agriculture. But some things were known already. With some roads impassible, dairy farmers were forced to dump thousands of gallons of milk because they couldn't get it to market. Freight movement on the Columbia River was shut down for a time due to mudflows in the mighty river that had to be dredged to allow ocean-going ships to be able to reach port in Portland.

It was estimated that $100 million in damage was caused to crops in Eastern Washington. Farm machinery suffered additional downtime for maintenance and cleaning to remove ash or repair problems caused by the abrasive powder.

But some farmers also saw some benefits from the ash cloud that eventually reached the East Coast. The ask killed insects that would have ordinarily feasted on their crops and some crops even saw improved yields later in the year.

Normally, when stories about mountains appear in the Capital Press, it is because we are looking at the snowpack in the high elevations to determine the the availability of water for the irrigation season. Or perhaps the story is about summer grazing of livestock in mountain meadows. But 30 years ago, one Northwest mountain cast a long, ashen shadow over fruit growers, row crop farmers, dairy farmers and livestock producers in the region. The mountain's fiery was the news. And the agriculture industry, as it is famous for doing, endured nature's wrath and kept right on feeding the world in spite of the obstacles and unexpected challenges that particular season presented.

What do you remember about how Mount St. Helens affected agriculture in 1980?

Monday, May 17, 2010

A towering incongruity

That's an expression that was used by a county supervisor I used to cover, and it applies to this question I have.

Continue reading.

Convention hotel deadline is today

From the California Cattlemen's Association's legislative bulletin:

The 2010 CCA/CCW Midyear Meeting will take place June 16-17, at the Lake Natoma Inn in Folsom. This is your opportunity as a member to give direction to your association. New this year, we have a condensed two-day meeting schedule to collaborate with the 2010 CBCIA Tour, June 18-20, following the Midyear Meeting.

Registration materials will be mailed to you, but are also available to print on our Web site,, where online registration is now available.

The schedule is boasting with education and opportunities to mingle with your fellow ranchers. The Allied Industry Council wine and cheese reception will be a great chance to support the group and raise money for their scholarship fund. Don’t miss this fulfilling event!

Hotel reservations can be made by calling the Lake Natoma Inn at (916) 351-1500 and by mentioning the California Cattlemen’s Association you can receive the block rate of $109/night. Reservations should be made by this coming Monday, May 17.

If you have any questions about Midyear, please contact Chaley Paulson in the CCA office at (916) 444-0845 or

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tip of the Week: Acid Loving Plants

Groovy, man. Did you know some plants dig the trip on acid?

Capital Press' Kay Marikos has the details over at the Back Forty.

Friday, May 14, 2010

FBI files: Cronkite collaborated with war protesters

The man widely credited for turning American opinion against the Vietnam War ... was working behind the scenes to do just that.

Continue reading.

Stewardship in the Scott Valley

Here are a few more photos of Scott Valley, Calif. rancher Gareth Plank, who spent two hours last Friday showing me how his gravity-based irrigation system and filtration pond conserve water and replenish the Scott River.

He makes the point that he's hardly someone who's out to ravage the resources.

Of water and worry

From one of this week's Capital Press editorials:

Water wars are nothing new to the West, where agriculture has been caught in the crossfire for decades.

With these studies and strategies in the making, who could blame farmers and ranchers for being more than a little skeptical, and nervous.

To see what we're talking about, click here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Japanese consumers love American pork

More on the U.S. meat industry's successful outreach to Japanese consumers.

From the U.S. Meat Export Federation:

The love affair between Japanese consumers and U.S. pork got a bit cozier recently when Japan’s largest retailer hosted an intensive three-week promotion that resulted in the sale of more than 2.6 million pounds of American pork.

Aeon Group, the largest retailer in Japan that includes the nationwide and major regional supermarkets Aeon Retail, Mycal, Max Valu, Daiei and Inageya, partnered with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) for three weeks in late March and early April on a spring pork promotion at Aeon’s 1,600 retail outlets. The promotion was developed with support from the Pork Checkoff and USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funds.

To support this multifaceted “Aeon Loves U.S. Pork” program, USMEF-Japan organized a promotional partnership with Nihon Shokken, one of the country’s largest sauce and seasoning manufacturers, to develop a new barbecue sauce to package with U.S. pork back ribs – the newest pork cut to be introduced to Japan.

Understanding that many Japanese consumers are still unfamiliar with the back rib, USMEF prepared for the promotion by conducting a seminar to teach Aeon’s tasting demonstrators how to prepare the ribs and communicate proper cooking methods to consumers. The seminar, funded by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, also provided the demonstrators with information on the nutrition and safety of U.S. pork.

Since most of Tokyo’s nearly 13 million residents rely on the world’s busiest public transportation (nearly 3.2 billion riders per year), Aeon and USMEF developed train advertisements with the “Aeon Loves U.S. Pork” theme to promote the campaign.

For the point of purchase, USMEF developed special “Tasty Rib” tool sets composed of recipe leaflets, a display board and stickers to support both U.S. pork back ribs and spare ribs. Aeon provided its customers with a choice of both uncooked and cooked (ready-to-eat) back ribs.

“Aeon Loves U.S. Pork” is more than a campaign, it’s a relationship,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, USMEF-Japan’s senior marketing director. “We want consumers to experience the quality of U.S. pork and make it part of their regular family menu, and Aeon sees a great business opportunity with U.S. pork.”

For their part, Aeon representatives are thrilled with the promotion. Going into it, they expected to increase U.S. pork sales 5 percent over the previous year. To their delight, sales jumped 48 percent, and Aeon and USMEF already are planning their next joint U.S. pork promotion for July.

“The sales results were much better than we expected,” said Michihisa Murakami, group buyer for Aeon Global. “We appreciate USMEF’s great support. The U.S. pork sales totals during the promotion period were the largest ever. The sale of the new item, the back rib, was successful too.”

The Aeon stores promoted a variety of U.S. pork cuts during the campaign, including pork loin, tender loin, CT butt, belly, jowl meat, spare ribs and back ribs. Pork loins were a major hit for Aeon. Promoted as pork steaks (tonteki), the loins alone accounted for 1.2 million pounds of sales, up 34 percent from last year.

The surprise hit of 2010 continues to be pork back ribs. Aeon sold more than 143,000 pounds of the American barbecue favorite over the three-week span. The ribs were introduced to Japan for the first time toward the end of 2009, and are quickly gaining a loyal following of consumers.

Hog-callers turn into swinemasters at California fair

Chase Ruiz, 5, of Dixon, a first-year hogcalling contest, won his age division to the delight of emcee Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of Dixon May Fair. (Photo by Marilyn Sexton)

From Kathy Keatley Garvey at UC-Davis:

DIXON, Calif.--Hogcallers turned into “swinemasters” at the eighth annual Dixon May Fair Hogcalling Contest as they tried to coax 250-pound porkers into four-squeal drive and hamward bound.

“Boss Hog” Nick Stacey of Dixon won the adult division for the fifth year with a series of oinks and “soo-eys” while the 2009 high school champion Annaley Herzog, 16, of Vacaville teamed with Rachel Fink, 16, to win the 14-17 age division by doing a rap song about much-desired Billy Currington tickets.

Chase Ruiz, 5, of Dixon won his age category, 5 and under. He brought home the bacon with loud snorts. Lindsay Tryba, 11, of Dixon, a member of the Roving Clovers 4-H Club, Dixon, swept the 6-to-13 age category by pleading “I need some bacon with my eggs.”

“It was fantastic and a swine time at the fair,” said emcee Donnie Huffman of Vacaville, president of the Friends of Dixon May Fair, which sponsors the annual event. “We had great participants and we held it in our new swine pavilion.”

Hogcallers had one minute to call the hogs, using only their voice. First-place winners in the upper age categories received two tickets to the Billy Currington concert at the fair. Winners in the under 5 and 6 to 13 age groups received carnival tickets, compliments of Butler Amusements.

Contestants yelled everything from “Soo-ey!” to “Here, piggy, piggy” to specific food references in attempts to coax them over. Judging was on hog response, audience response, creativity and originality.

Judges were Mary Harris of Vacaville, vice president of the Dixon May Fair Board of Directors; Hendrick Crowell of Fairfield, member and past president of the fair board; Richard Byrum of Fairfield, president of Butler Amusements; and JoAn Giannoni of Dixon, secretary of Friends of Dixon May Fair.

None of the hogs pulled any hamstrings, Huffman said, but one hog wanted to root in the sawdust and take a nap.

Stacey, whose daughter used to raise pigs, wore a shirt lettered with “Boss Hog” on the front. The back indicated the years he’s won the competition.

Herzog, accompanied by Fink, rapped out why they wanted tickets to the Currington concert.

Herzog, a contestant in the Dixon May Fair’s Royalty Court and a member of the Tremont 4-H Club, Dixon, with horse and poultry projects, wrote and delivered a rap song:

“Here piggy, pig
Come over here
Please hurry up
The prize is near
I want some Billy Currington tickets
All for me
So, come over her
Please, please, please.”

She later reported that the Currington concert was “awesome” and that she’ll be back to the hogcalling next year to defend her title.

When Roving Clovers 4-H Club member Katie Luedke, 15, of Dixon called the hogs, on cue her friend and fellow Roving Clovers 4-H’er Stephanie Marshall, 16, of Vacaville squealed, jumped the fence, entered the ring and hugged her, much to the audience’s delight.

When it was her turn to call, Marshall, wearing her 4-H uniform, got the “pig idea” and went whole hog, coaxing two hogs over to her at the same time.

Champion Chase Ruiz, in his first time hogcalling, said he learned how to hogcall from his brother, a contestant from previous years.

Three members of the Gary and Lisa Short family of Dixon called the hogs. Dad Gary won second; son, Eli, 10, won third in the 6-13 age division, while son Caleb, 12, also participated but didn’t land in the winners’ division.

Providing the hogs were Garrett Pryor, 10, and his sister, Allison Pryor, 12, of Dixon and their friend, Cody Meitrott, 10, all members of the Maine Prairie 4-H Club. Garrett’s hog is named Jimmy (after Jimmy Dean of hot pork sausage fame); Cody named his hog, Bacon, and Alison named hers Lefty.

The winners:

Adults: 1st, Nick Stacey of Dixon; 2nd, Gary Short, Dixon; and 3rd, Silvin Forcier of Dixon.

14-17 or in high school: 1st: Annaley Herzog, 16 and Rachel Fink, 16, both of Vacaville; 2nd: Katie Luedke of Dixon; and 3rd, Stephanie Marshall, 16, Vacaville.

6 through 13: 1st, Lindsay Tryba, 11, Dixon; 2nd, K-La Duncan, 11, Dixon; 3rd, Eli Short, 10, Dixon; and 4th, Josh Marshall, 7, Vacaville.

5 and under: 1st, Chase Ruiz, 5, Dixon; 2nd, Dallan Roebemy, 5, Dixon; 3rd, Natasha Patterson, 3, Benicia; and 4th, Parker Franceschi, 5, Dixon.

Huffman, a former 4-H club swine leader, entertained the crowd with pig jokes, including

“How do you take a pig to the hospital?”
In an hambulance.

“Do you know the name of a famous ice cream company?”
Hog ‘n Dazs (Haagen-Dazs)

“What do you call a pig that studies karate?”
Pork chop.

Why should you never tell a pig a secret?
Because he might squeal.

Obama nominee: Health care 'must redistribute wealth'

"Any health care funding plan that is just equitable civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional." - Donald Berwick

Continue reading.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You mean the HSUS had to hire a reporter to write a hit piece?

Blogger Troy Hadrick at Advocates for Agriculture is appalled that the Humane Society of the United States apparently hired an "independent investigative reporter" to do a hit piece on lobbyist Richard Berman, whose Center for Consumer Freedom advocates protecting consumer choices.

Continue reading.

R-CALF: Restore our border

From the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America:

R-CALF USA fully supports an 18-point plan titled “Restore Our Border (ROB) Security Plan” created by the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association (ACGA) and Southern Arizona Ranchers that requests the “immediate attention and implementation by Local, State and Federal Authorities charged with securing our border with Mexico and the security of the citizens of Arizona.”

According to ACGA, this report is the culmination of over 18 months of meetings, research, fact-finding and interviews regarding potential solutions to the current border crisis, and the basis for the report is to provide concrete actions which have been vetted as viable and needed along with measureable results regarding the implementation of these needed actions directly adjacent to the U.S./Mexico border.

The report states:

* We call for the politicians and government officials to take the necessary steps to enforce our laws and protect our fellow Arizonans.
* We must put the necessary manpower directly on the border to stop the foreign invasion.
* We must give law enforcement and the judicial system the ability to enforce every immigration law.

“R-CALF USA fully supports the ‘Restore Our Border Plan’,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “We implore both Congress and the Administration to act quickly and decisively to implement the ROB plan to protect U.S. ranch families along our southern border whose lives and property are continually threatened by drug trafficking and other unlawful border-crossing activities.

“Additionally, we encourage both our members and U.S. beef consumers to offer their endorsement of this plan that recognizes it is the responsibility of our government to protect U.S. ranch families whose lives and property are threatened by a foreign source,” he added.

Persons who wish to offer their support for this plan can give their endorsement at

Ant seminar to be webcast live today

From Kathy Keatley Garvey in UC-Davis' Department of Entomology:

DAVIS--Ant specialist Andrea Lucky, who will receive her doctorate in entomology in June from the University of California, Davis, will discuss “Systematics, Biogeography and Conservation of Ants in Australasia and the Pacific” at a seminar set Wednesday, May 12 in 122 Briggs Hall, UC Davis.

Her talk, from 12:10 to 1 p.m., involves her research in the evolutionary history of ants in the geological complex region of Australasia, Melanesia and the islands of the Western Pacific.

“I use a combination of traditional morphological taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics to interpret how, when and where individual lineages diversified within this complex landscape,” she said. “In addition to my work on the biogeography of ants, I am also involved in biodiversity assessment and conservation using ants in Papua New Guinea.”

Her talk will be Webcast live (see link on home page of Department of Entomology at and then archived at

Lucky completed her undergraduate degree at Brown University in Providence, RI, where she majored in biology with an emphasis on ecology and evolutionary biology.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she traveled to Ecuador as a Fulbright Fellow, where she worked with insects in the Amazon.

Lucky entered the doctorate program in the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 2004 and completed her degree in the lab of Phil Ward.

After receiving her Ph.D., she will move on to a postdoctoral scholarship at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, where she will work with Rob Dunn on a project examining geographic variation in ants and the processes they mediate.

Lucky’s talk is her exit seminar and also is part of the department’s spring seminar series, launched March 31. The series, coordinated by assistant professor Neal Williams, ends May 26.

The remaining schedule for the seminars:

May 19: “Walnut Twig Beetle and Thousand Cankers Disease: Characterizing an Emergent Threat to Forest and Agroecosystems in North America” by Steve Seybold, chemical ecologist and forest entomologist, Chemical Ecology of Forest Insects, USDA Forest Service, and Department of Entomology affiliate

May 26: “Butterflies and Moths in Central Europe: Natural History, Climate Change and Voltinism” by Florian Altermatt, postdoctoral researcher, UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Good news for livestock production

Echoing what Capital Press' Carol Ryan Dumas wrote last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation reports:

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 2010 – Following two years of tough economic times for livestock producers, 2010 is shaping up to be a much better year thanks to an improving economy and tighter supplies of beef, pork and poultry.

“Livestock producers have seen a return to profitability in the past two months after going through probably the worst economic situation anyone can remember in 2008 and 2009,” said John Anderson, livestock economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “This is certainly good news for livestock producers because it provides a good opportunity to rebuild equity.”

The Agriculture Department released its initial assessment of the U.S. and world crop and livestock supply and demand estimates today. USDA also released its first calendar-year 2011 projections of U.S. livestock, poultry and dairy products.

USDA expects total meat production to be down in 2010, compared to 2009. USDA forecasts a 2 percent increase in broiler production this year, but a 1 percent drop in beef production. USDA estimates a 3.5 percent drop in pork production this year.

“Pork producers were the hardest hit during the economic decline in 2008-2009, and the big drop in production this year is evidence of that,” Anderson said.

Total U.S. meat production for 2011 is projected to be slightly higher than 2010, as increased pork and poultry production more than offsets a decline in beef production, according to USDA. Beef production for 2011 is forecast to decline due to tighter supplies of cattle.

“The reason USDA is showing a decline in beef production is that it takes a cattle producer at least two years from making the decision to increase herd size to having cattle ready for market,” Anderson said. “Poultry producers can turn things around pretty quickly, while the lag time for pork producers isn’t quite as long as it is for beef producers.”

Anderson said the forecasts for increased meat production in 2011 is a positive sign that shows livestock producers are optimistic enough to increase their herd sizes, following two years of reducing herd sizes.

“Meat and poultry producers have just come through a two-year period during which they consistently lost money,” Anderson said. “Beginning in late-2008, weak demand both here at home, as well as in the export markets, drove product prices down. Producers are now finally able to take advantage of higher prices.”

An improving demand picture is also welcome news for livestock producers.

“Evidence for improving demand has been mounting in recent weeks,” Anderson said. “Department of Commerce data shows consumer spending at food service and accommodations facilities grew at a remarkable 8 percent rate (quarter over quarter) in the first quarter of 2010. This was the first quarter-over-quarter increase since the second quarter of 2008. The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index for March indicated that the restaurant industry entered an expansionary phase for the first time in 29 months.”

As for USDA’s May crop report, Anderson said the forecasts of larger U.S. and global grain stocks is the big news.

“The increase in stock levels is due to forecasts for good crop production in 2010 and strong world competition,” Anderson said. “However, USDA’s corn stocks projection fell below many forecasts due in part to better export demand.”

Demand for corn and other coarse grains is strong, but production levels are still high. According to Anderson, the corn crop is off to a good start this year. Planting is 81 percent complete, the fastest on record, which gives producers a better chance at achieving good yields, he said.

Is free speech an impediment to democracy?

President Obama and his newly minted Supreme Court nominee seem to think so, if their recent and not-so-recent comments are any indication.

For more, read the Jefferson Journal at

May is International Trade Month

From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association:

Did you know that May is International Trade Month? President Obama has set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years as a way to stimulate economic and job growth. The best way to do that is through free trade agreements (FTAs). But unfortunately, our pending FTAs with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are stalled in Congress. With other countries outpacing us in the race to ratify new trade agreements, it's more critical than ever that Congress take action. Every day that passes without progress puts American jobs and market share at further risk.

On Monday, May 3, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) President Steve Foglesong and representatives from the National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Corn Growers Association held a press conference to highlight the importance of our pending FTAs. The following is an excerpt from Foglesong's remarks as prepared:

"I, as a producer, through our Beef Checkoff program have been spending my own money to keep our foot in the door in Korea and many other countries around the world, waiting and hoping to have the chance to some day actually get to sell my product, beef, to anxious consumers all around the globe. It doesn't seem like much to invest a dollar a head for every animal we market. But over the course of ten years, if you market 10,000 a year, it gets to be $100,000--and to most of us that's real money. And we as cattlemen expect a payoff for our investment, and the time for that payoff is now.

"Congress has the ability to level the playing field and open the Korean market to our products if they would just get down to business and get it done. The Australians are working diligently at passing their own free trade agreement, and if they beat us to the punch they will secure a 2.67% tariff advantage over our U.S. products for the next 15 years. Let me break this down for you. If we allow Australia to secure their own FTA before us, for the next 15 years, the average Korean housewife will go to the store and have the option to buy several products: domestically grown Korean beef, Australian beef, and U.S. beef. What's she going to buy? What would you buy? What ever was cheaper, right? Of course you would. You've got kids to feed and only so much change in your pocket. You'd really like to try the U.S. beef. You've seen the ads for years and it looks so good. But it's 3% higher and you've only got so much money. If Congress doesn't quit plodding along in the mud, this scene will get played out over and over again for the next 15 years.

"Farmers and ranchers, if they are profitable, will put most of what they make right back into the economy--always have, always will. They are not savers; they are builders. What they spend their money on is manufactured goods, tractors, pickup trucks, fence material, feed--all things that are made by people at good paying jobs that are created when there is money being made out in rural America. The cattle feeding business has been a losing proposition for the last 27 months for a lot of reasons, but our ethanol policy and the economic downturn both get a huge share of the blame. Supply and demand recently has put a glimmer of hope back in our industry and cattlemen across the country are poised to rebuild their farms and ranches with any evidence of profit showing up on the horizon. Cattlemen live by a few simple rules, and the most important is that your word is your bond; you never go back on a deal--period. Multimillion dollar deals are done every day on a handshake, or a simple, 'yea that sounds good to me,' over the phone--no contract, no legal representation, just the purest affirmation of a deal, your word. You break this rule and the word travels fast, trust is broken, nobody wants to do business with you.

"I heard what President Obama said in the State of the Union and what Ron Kirk has been talking about, and I know what I expect of the Congressmen I sent to Washington. I expect them to keep their word. The President promised to deliver healthcare with the help of Congress and I expect that same level of commitment from the President and Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid delivering these Free Trade Agreements so America's farmers and ranchers can do their part to create jobs and jump start our economy."

For more information on beef trade, visit:

A few more trade facts from the NCBA:

The U.S. is the world's largest beef producer. With an annual processing of about 34 million head of cattle, the U.S. produces about 12 million tons of beef. Brazil is second with nine million tons, followed by Europe at eight million tons, and China at six million tons. These numbers are important to put into context when we consider that in just the next eight years, beef consumption around the world will increase by about 8.5 million tons, or about three-fourths of the entire U.S. beef herd. Beef exports over the next eight years are expected to grow by 2.8 million tons, equivalent to 20% of U.S. beef production today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rove: 'The president has done nothing to prepare the ground for comprehensive immigration reform'

Former presidential advisor Karl Rove comments to the Capital Press about immigration, cap and trade and agriculture here.

Karl Rove: Farmers have 'moral authority' when it comes to political advocacy

Former presidential advisor Karl Rove was in Redding, Calif. this morning to promote his new book, "Courage and Consequence," and he had plenty of things to say to the media before headlining a fund-raising breakfast for a local politician.

Continue reading.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Tip of the Week: How to identify dangerous spiders

Some advice from Capital Press' Kay Marikos:

This week's Country Living Association "Tip of the Week" is about eveyone's favorite spiders.

Very few people enjoy spiders. While most are just as afraid of you as you are of them, there are a few that are dangerous and you should be aware of them.

She goes into detail over at the Back Forty.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Farmer:: One size doesn't fit all

Talent, Ore. farmer Ken Muller writes on today's Capital Press opinion page:

Without drastic and immediate change, we risk losing many of Oregon's current farmers and ranchers and driving away those young entrepreneurs who would be the future of agriculture. The existing rules and regulations pertaining to food and agriculture in Oregon are set up to be "one-size fits all," meaning that family-scale farms and ranches are subject to many of the exact same regulations that are required of industrial-style farms.

We would never require a bicyclist to have a commercial driver's license to share the road with an 18-wheeler. Yet that's what we do when it comes to regulating Oregon's farms and ranches.

More here.

As the EU goes, so goes the USA?

From Jeff Cox at CNBC (hat tip: Brian Hearden):

The current European debt crisis likely will not end until the euro collapses as a currency and takes the entire European Union with it, said Dennis Gartman, hedge fund manager and author of "The Gartman Letter."

"I think the whole thing will go down to defeat, the whole thing will eventually unravel," Gartman said in an interview with

Gartman said he doesn't have a specific timetable for how long it will take for the collapse of the 17-year-old EU, but said, "it doesn't look good."

The debt problems continued to escalate Wednesday as Greek citizens rioted in the streets over proposed austerity measures that would be required for any rescue plan to gain approval.

At the same time, Moody's warned that it might downgrade the debt for Portugal, accelerating worries that Greece's unremitting debt worries could spread across the continent.

The thing is, with U.S. banks having major holdings in EU countries, if the EU sneezes, America could catch the cold. And if that's the case, so much for the budding recovery.

If a few rioters in Greece are enough to send the stock market on a near 1,000-point dive, I have a feeling it's going to be a long, hot summer.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Are you a shameless, heartless pig?

Roaming around the radio dial last night I landed on AM 620, a liberal radio station out of Portland, just as their late-night yakker was saying "every capitalist in America" is a shameless, heartless SOB who "couldn't care less about human life."

I don't know what the issue was, but if your farm or business makes money or aspires to, he's talking about you.

Continue reading.

Farm Bureau endorses open primary

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:


Seeing it as consistent with its long-term effort to reform government, the California Farm Bureau Federation has endorsed the “open primary” measure on the California ballot, Proposition 14.

“Farm Bureau has consistently supported measures to make our state government more responsive,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “Proposition 14 will help California break away from special-interest politics and allow for a truly representative state government.”

Proposition 14 would amend the state constitution to require that all voters receive the same primary election ballot for most state and federal offices. The two candidates earning the most votes in the primary—regardless of their political party affiliation—would advance to the general election.

“We see this as an opportunity to elect representatives who will consider all points of view and seek actual compromise,” Wenger said. “California needs office holders who will work across deeply divided party lines to reach solutions that are in the best interests of the entire state. Proposition 14 will help candidates who want to serve the people and will reduce the political polarization that has hampered California for too long.”

The California Farm Bureau Board of Directors considered all five measures on the June 8 ballot. The organization’s complete list of ballot positions:

Proposition 13: Property Tax Assessments/Seismic Retrofitting YES

Proposition 14: Open Primary Elections YES

Proposition 15: Public Funding of Elections NO

Proposition 16: Vote Requirement for Local Electricity Providers NO

Proposition 17: Auto Insurance (No Position)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Big brothers are everywhere

Welcome to the New Amerika, where government entities aren't at all shy about making threats to get your money.

From Fox News:

A threatening TV commercial appearing in Pennsylvania has residents of the state spooked by its "Orwellian" overtones, and critics are calling it a government attempt to scare delinquent citizens into paying back taxes.

In the 30-second ad, ominous mechanical sounds whir in the background as a satellite camera zooms in through the clouds and locks onto an average Pennsylvania home. The narrator begins her cold and calculating message:

Your name is Tom ... You live just off of 5th Street ... Nice car, Tom — nice house. What's not so nice is you owe Pennsylvania $4,212 in back taxes. Listen Tom, we can make this easy. Pay online by June 18th and we'll skip your penalty and take half off your interest because Tom, we do know who you are.

The satellite snares its target — Tom's house — and the screen flashes another menacing line as the ad peters out:


Actually, a similar thing is happening to ranchers in Northern California's Siskiyou County, except it's not over taxes but regulatory fees. The state's Department of Fish and Game is basically telling ranchers to buy their water-diversion permits now or face prosecution later.

For more, check soon -- maybe late next week.

In the meantime, don't turn around -- the commisar's in town.

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