Others’ Milk

Fascinating bit of history...

Walk down a dairy aisle and you may start to notice how little we've done with the whole concept. Worldwide, there are about 6,000 mammal species, each with its own unique milk, but Americans get at least 97 percent of all our dairy products from one animal. (That would be the cow.) Even at my local Whole Foods, purveyors of exotica like shad roe and that kombucha stuff, there was only a single brand of goat’s milk. “EASY TO DIGEST!” reads the desperate carton.

(link) [Slate]

21:46 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Heat wave 2012 culprit?

Ran across this article from last week while surfing this morning: I think it posits the best explanation I've heard for the rather bizarre weather we've been having this year. Still no rain here...

It’s the emerging seesaw pattern of intense heat separated by slightly cooler, sometimes storm-carrying weather that’s a major clue as to what’s going on with the weather, and why the rest of the summer is likely to play out largely along the same steamy lines.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor]

10:24 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Cottage cheese gets a high-end, artisanal makeover

Good stuff, indeed. But expensive, and difficult to keep. It was rarity when I was selling TP product, and it's still pretty tough to find locally. If you can find it, it's worth every penny (and that'd be about 500 pennies for a pound).

Artisanal cottage cheese? The phrase trips off the tongue much the way "organic corn dog" or "hand-crafted diet soda" might. Because while cottage cheese has been a supermarket staple at least since your grandmother served it with pineapple slices, it retains a ho-hum image as a bland diet food. In the hierarchy of culinary esteem, it's not too far above Velveeta.

(link) [MSNBC]

21:09 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Chickens: Boom in Indy farming leads to more busts

Wild chickens, indeed! And why any urban coop contains a rooster is beyond me...

Billie Bowling's job compels him to do things like lay a lasso-type thing around the necks of stray pit bulls, scoop up unwanted kittens and corner a runaway wallaby (this actually happened three weeks ago on the Northwestside).
But the other day, Bowling found himself chasing three chickens down a suburban street. He and a fellow Animal Care and Control officer, Jason Kindig, were called to the vicinity of 38th Street and Moller Road on June 27 by a resident who reported "wild, aggressive chickens."

(link) [IndyStar]

17:22 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Why German Shepherds Have Had Their Day

There's a lesson in here for all breeders of any livestock, be they puppies, piglets or lambs.

Success can be a drag. You yearn for it, strive for it, and then, when it finally arrives, it sets off repercussions you never anticipated that sometimes undo that success.

(link) [New York Times]

21:14 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Consider the Oyster Farm

Funny and informative tale of shellfish farming on Cape Cod. I can assure the author, however, that raising things with roots or legs (especially legs) can just as, er, interesting...

Oysters don't need feeding and they don't run away. So why is it so (hilariously) hard to raise them?

(link) [Gilt Taste]

08:20 /Agriculture | 1 comment | permanent link

Draft horses bring fiber optics to remote locations

Because some things are just done better the old fashioned way...

The problem is as old as rural electrification. Vermont’s difficult terrain and sparse population make it unprofitable to develop rural infrastructure — a situation that left the towns of Victory and Granby dark until 1963, when Central Vermont Public Service finally ran electricity to those towns.

(link) [Vt Digger]

14:55 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Agricultural Marketing Fees: Not Just for Christmas Trees

There has been much brouhaha in the media over the so-called "Christmas tree tax". I'm glad to see it recognized as a tax, because that's exactly it is, even though it's technically a fee collected by USDA that goes to the Christmas tree growers trade association.

But where's the outrage over all of the other "agricultural marketing fees"? I've had to pay $1 per head when I sold my pasture raised beef cattle to support a beef industry association that is doing it's level best to convince the public there's no difference between pasture raised and feedlot beef! In short, I'm forced to fund advertising for my competitors! Mercifully, I'm exempt on the egg checkoff because I don't have enough hens, and I always make sure I sell lambs in lots of four or less to exempt myself there. But I'd be taxed on those, too, again to essentially support advertising my my larger competitors.

Follow the link for a more or less complete listing of current checkoff programs (and their fees). If we really want a free market, we need to end all of these.

The fees, which were supported by an industry group called the Christmas Tree Check-off Task Force, were earmarked for industry marketing efforts. USDA’s role was to make sure that all growers helped pay for those efforts, whether they supported them or not. Those growers, at least for now, have been given a reprieve. But the ill-starred Christmas tree tax was far from the only such mandatory marketing levy on agricultural products from popcorn and blueberries to mangos.

(link) [Heritage Foundation]

10:26 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Favorable market for lamb has farmers flocking to sheep

There certainly seems to be a buzz building around sheep here. One of these days I'll get around to detailing some of what we've been working on for the past few years in our flocks.

At the Johnson County farm where he began raising sheep as a 4-Her in 1945, Stan Poe is participating in a revival of the lamb.

(link) [Indianapolis Star]

23:58 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Wisconsin Judge: No Right to Decide What to Eat Without Permission from State

There's a lot of folks getting awfully bent out of shape over this (and other rulings involving raw milk). And rightly so, I might add. But I have to wonder - where were these folks when the state declared that farmers may no longer grow hemp and consume it? Or poppies? Why are cows so special?

If you're going to oppose state intervention in food production, a little consistency might go a long way.

Demonstrating his ignorance of core values enshrined in common law and what Judge Cooley defined as the “right to be left alone” from overly pernicious government interference, a Circuit Court judge in Wisconsin has ruled that people who consume raw milk have no right to do so.

(link) [Fact Over Fiction]

20:55 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

In China, what you eat tells who you are

Good grief - the money quote has to be from a farm manager with the 2nd Commercial Bureau, which has a subsidiary that slaughters 50,000 pigs a year at a farm in Sanhe, Hebei province - "Sometimes raising pigs is about politics too."

In a nation reeling from tainted-food scandals, organic products are mostly reserved for the rich and political elite. Chinese government officials have exclusive suppliers, who do not advertise.

(link) [Los Angles Times]

14:22 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Can the World Still Feed Itself?

While I certainly disagree with some of his prescriptions, I find myself agreeing with his diagnosis. If we're not already unable to feed ourselves, we soon will be. And I agree that the main culprit is the drive toward biofuels. It's a double edged sword - and there'll be a price to be paid, sooner or later, beyond the subsidies and hype.

Yes, says Nestle's chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, but not if we burn food for fuel, fear genetic advances and fail to charge for water.

(link) [The Wall Street Journal]

21:45 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

German Farmer Captures a Famous Runaway

Bringing the cows home ...

Yvonne, the bovine runaway that confounded German authorities and tickled the funny bone of the international press, was back on the farm on Friday after three months of evading capture in a Bavarian forest.

(link) [New York Times]

22:28 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Who cut the cheese?

The most dangerous thing in this sordid tale is not the raw milk ...

A yearlong sting operation involving a multitude of state and federal agencies brought to justice Wednesday a dangerous ring of raw dairy enthusiasts in California.

(link) [Daily Caller]

via Overlawyered

07:48 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Sheep in the News: Mutton Busting

Who knew? I wonder if my granddaughter's opinion of Grandpa's Sheep Rodeo would improve if she'd had a chance for some mutton busting of her own?

Mutton busting, as the sport is known, is the pint-size equivalent of competitive bull riding. Children cling to the backs of sheep, and generally speaking, whoever stays on the longest wins. But just as in bull and bronco riding, even the most talented rider ends up on the arena floor.

(link) [New York Times]

19:25 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link