Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, Farm Bureau, fish, Fishing, food, Hawaii, hunger | Tags: Agriculture education, american farm bureau federation, beef, Farm Bureau, fish, Food, food distribution, hunger, pork, raising cattle, shrimp industry
On my recent American Farm Bureau Federation trip to Hawaii I got into a few discussions about the food available in paradise. When we are in such a lush area we may think that getting food would be no problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First off you have to remember that Hawaii has a limited amount of land that is suitable for farming. Much of the big island of Hawaii is covered in lava rock and has trouble supporting a goat. The areas that are in production are mostly for raising cattle. The largest cattle ranch in the United States is in Hawaii. Little of the island is either suitable, or gets enough rainfall for production of food.
While on Oahu we drove past large areas that do get enough rainfall, and do have good soil for food production, but these areas are fallow. Since sugarcane and pineapple production moved to other countries where labor is cheaper, no one wants to farm the land.
Hawaiian acres that are farmed are mostly used for the production of high cost items like coffee and macadamia nuts. There are areas that seed companies use to get a winter crop of corn or soybeans, but again these are high value crops. Very few are raising the staples needed for everyday life. There is an abundance of tropical flowers, but most flowers cannot be eaten.
You would think there would be an abundance of fresh seafood in Hawaii as they have a tradition of farming the sea. The shrimp industry is supplied by many farm raised shrimping operations, as well as both fresh and salt water ponds for fish production. Most of these are sold to tourists at roadside seafood shacks.
But my conversation with a chef in one of the larger restaurants in Honolulu showed me some cracks in the food supply.
- Despite having the largest cattle ranch in the country, there is nowhere to process these cattle. Cattle must leave the island to be processed, so there is no major source of locally grown beef.
- The islands large chinese population eats a lot of pork, but there are no large pork producers on the islands, and pork must be sourced elsewhere.
- While Hawaii seems to be a fisher mens paradise, most of the fish eaten in Honolulu is shipped from other countries.
- Despite the large amount of vegetables used in cuisine for those who like the oriental cooking preferred by so many in Hawaii, most is imported.
- Rice, a stable in most of the meals eaten in the islands, is not grown here.
The list goes on. In short, Hawaii is a land on the edge. One person I talked to estimated that there was enough food on the islands to last 5 days, perhaps less in the more populated regions. Wow, what will it take to put Hawaii over the edge, not much. In fact, Hawaii, like most other large cities in the world cannot survive long if we have a major transportation problem.
Our modern world has become so dependent on so few to be sure it is fed everyday. A shortage of transportation fuels would doom so many unprepared people. I live in an area of abundance of food, yet a large snowstorm can decimate the shelves of the local grocery.
Hawaii and its food supply is a warning. Where is your next meal coming from. Are you sure there will be food to eat if something happens to our food distribution system.
Filed under: Ag education, Animal care, Corn, family, Farm, farm animals, food, food safety, harvest, hunger, organic | Tags: beef, Corn, farm, Food, food safety, harvest, hunger, vegan
I read an interesting article on the visit of a vegan to a cattle feed lot today. The vegan was Ryan Andrews, and his credentials are impressive. I thought you might like to read what Ryan found when he visited the Magnum Feedyard in Wiggins, Colorado. Check out http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cattle-feedlot-visit and see for yourself how the truth broke down concepts of cattle feeding.
Here’s some interesting information out of Texas.
“Grass-fed beef may not have as many healthful traits as some perceive, according to results from a recent Texas AgriLife Research study. Dr. Stephen Smith, an AgriLife Research meat scientist, and a team of researchers have found that contrary to popular perception, ground beef from pasture-fed cattle had no beneficial effects on plasma lipid. However, high monounsaturated fat ground beef from grain-fed cattle increased HDL cholesterol, increased LDL particle diameters, and decreased insulin, suggesting that ground beef produced by intensive production practices provides “a healthful, high-quality source of protein.” “We wanted to see from this study if product from pasture-fed and corn-fed cattle had different effects on LDL or HDL cholesterol,” Smith said. “We looked at the scientific literature and could not find any justifications for the statement that pasture-fed beef is better for you. All we found were rat studies in which they were fed omega-3 fatty acids, so we wanted to know if this applied to beef from grass-fed cattle.” The study, funded by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, used Angus cattle raised at the McGregor AgriLife Research Center. One group of cattle was fed a pasture diet with supplement hay. The steers were kept on pasture until 20 months of age. A second group of Angus steers was fed the same way a feedlot operator would and kept on a corn-based diet until 16 months of age, then reaching USDA Choice status. A third group of Angus steers were fed the corn-based diet the longest, until reaching USDA Prime. The fat in cattle that are high in marbling is low in saturated and trans-fats, and higher in monounsaturated fats. Beef cuts from the plate and flank taken from all three grades were made into a ground beef product, containing 24 percent fat. Next, a group of 27 men completed a three-way crossover study. Each group rotated, consuming five 114-gram ground beef patties per week for six weeks from each of the three sets of cattle used in the study. “There really were no negative effects of feeding ground beef from the pasture-fed cattle,” Smith said. “We did see many positive effects in men that consumed ground beef from corn-fed cattle. The ground beef from the USDA Prime cattle increased HDL cholesterol and LDL particle diameter. Both effects are protective against cardiovascular disease. The Prime ground beef also decreased insulin, so it may have some protective effect against type II diabetes.” Smith said the study results surprised many. “As we talked to some user groups and told them that we had found pasture-fed beef is higher in saturated trans-fat, they were shocked.” Smith presented the findings to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association last year and is now sharing among consumers and producers. He recently gave a presentation at the Texas Human Nutrition Conference in College Station. Smith said he did receive some initial negative feedback from ranchers in the grass-fed beef business, but he isn’t telling them that what they are doing is wrong. “I know that cattle are adapted to growing on high-roughage, pasture diets, but my focus is the beef product,” he said. “A lot of producers are receptive. What I’m trying to show them is that the longer cattle are fed a corn or grain-based diet, the healthier the product will be.” “I realize cost is involved – feeding corn is expensive. But, if you want a healthier product, you need more marbling. Time on feed is a big factor.” The study team included Dr. Rosemary Walzem, AgriLife Research poultry scientist, and Dr. Stephen Crouse, researcher from Texas A&M University’s health and kinesiology department.”
Those of us who eat beef always knew that it tasted good, now we find out it’s good for us too. The Japanese like their beef highly marbled. Perhaps they knew.