Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, family, Farm, food, hunger | Tags: Agriculture education, Dodge, family, farm, farmer, farmers, farmers and ranchers, Food, hunger
The Superbowl always gets some of the best commercials, but it is a given that all across farm country conversation ceased when the Dodge commercial in support of farmers came on. The ad is actually the first salvo in Dodge’s one million dollar challenge in support of the FFA Foundation initiative “Feeding the world-starting at home.” Check out their initiative here <http://www.ihigh.com/ffa/video_913581.html>
The ad used Paul Harvey’s reading of the poem from his address to the 1978 FFA convention. Many farm groups have used those words and added their own pictures just as Dodge has done, but this is the first time it has made it to the Superbowl. If you missed the program it can be found here <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S87BhEJX_bg>
These are indeed words that tug on heartstrings. The emotion is there despite the calm way that Paul Harvey recites the poem. Perhaps this may be a start for some to dig into exactly what farming is today, and what it is not.
For many years now the consumer of farm products has been concerned that the family farmer is a thing of the past. In some ways they are right, farming is nothing like what it was just after WWII. The young people of the rural areas wanted more than the farm could provide and moved to city jobs in droves. Those left on the farm improvised and made life better. Today the farmer is just as likely to use a computer as his city cousin. What we use them for would amaze you. We need these upgrades in machinery and computing power if we are to feed the world of the future.
Todays farmer feeds 155 people, that is up from only 26 back in the early 60′s. The farmer does this while greatly increasing efficiency. This increase in production is done using fewer inputs than our fathers did, and this increased efficiency will continue.
Today the average farmer gets about 15 cents of the food dollar. From that 15 cents he must pay for his fuel, seed, machinery, fertilizer, pesticides, electricity, hired labor and sometimes water. As you can imagine, there is not much left over to feed his family after paying all of those bills.
Oh yes, it is still a family farm. 97% of todays farms are owned and operated by families. Some folks see names like Monsanto, DuPont, Harvestland, Tyson, HyVee, Kroger, Hormel and many others on their food and think that these are the people who grow the food. Corporations are not growing your food, they are buying the food you eat from farmers and ranchers and getting it to your grocers shelves. Please do not confuse food processors with food producers. It is still the farmer who produces your food.
If you are interested in a few other commercials featuring America’s farmers, I invite you to look at these. Yes, they are sponsored by a food processor, but those are real farm folks in the ads.
Filed under: cars, charity, hunger, make a difference | Tags: cars, climate, Food, hunger, recycle, transportation
Weather it is cleaning up our part of the world or taking care of others in this world, we can all do better. I know I am not always the absolute recycler, there are things I could do yet to save reusable things. I know I could use my car less, and thus help cut greenhouse gasses. I should be able to eat less and save more. Is it maybe because of fear that we don’t want to look for those less fortunate, fear that we may not like what we see?
Love of self is one of the first things we all show when we grow up. Young children always start out with a “mine” attitude. We have to be taught that this world is ours to take care of. Even then we still want to look out for Number 1. There is a little bit of “let someone else do it” in all of us too. So how do we get over ourselves and learn to take care of our world? I really don’t know, but I keep trying.
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, Ag promotion, Animal care, Farm, farm animals, food, food safety, hunger, Uncategorized | Tags: ag education, animal care, farm, farm animals, Food, food safety, hunger
It is the job of everyone involved in agriculture to speak up for agriculture, you do it by your words and actions everyday. Are you saying good things about the industry that puts food on the tables of the world?
Today more and more people do not even know someone involved in agriculture, much less have a relative back on the farm. They do not know where their food comes from, or how it gets to their table. There is a disconnect between meal and raw product.
Without agriculture there is no food, and yet many who depend on us are harboring misconceptions about the most important industry on earth. Here’s some help for you.
When someone comes to you concerned about corporations in agriculture you can tell them that 98% of farms in the U.S. are family farms. Some of these may be corporations or partnerships, but they are still owned and worked by families.
When some one comes to you all upset about what agriculture is doing to the water supply, remind them that families on the farm drink that water too and would do nothing to intentionally harm it. Farmers, through modern conservation and tillage practices are reducing the loss of soil and thereby protecting our lakes and rivers.
If someone comes to you with concerns about how animals are handled on farms, tell them that farmers have ZERO tolerance for willful acts of neglect or cruelty. We believe that animal care decisions should be made by the farmer or rancher and his veterinarian. An animal that is uncomfortable does not produce the most possible food. We need healthy, comfortable animals on our farms and ranches to feed the world.
Our worlds population is expanding. We will need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed the 2.4 billion more people that will inhabit our world. Somehow we must do this with the same, or even less land than we are now using. Today 1 in 6 Americans do not have access to enough food. That number is higher in many other countries. How can we feed more people tomorrow if there are people hungry today?
We need you to join us in speaking up for agriculture. Without you our numbers are diminished, our voice is muted. Please help us when we ask you to speak up for the industry that feeds the world. Volunteer to sit in the fair booth. Speak up when you hear someone who tells the wrong story of agriculture. We need your voice. We need your help. Speak up today.
Filed under: Farm, food, hunger, Politicians, Politics | Tags: Asia, cheese, farm, Food, hunger, politics
News from Bloomberg Press -- "Asia’s growing appetite for pizza and cheeseburgers means the U.S. is exporting the most cheese ever, boosting costs for Kraft Foods Inc. Wholesale cheddar cheese prices have rallied 49 percent this year as the U.S. shipped more than twice as much to Asia in the first four months of 2011 as a year earlier." The growing prosperity of Asia is drawing processed foods, especially proteins, out of U.S. markets. I expect food prices to increase as world wide demand increases. The rest of the world wants to eat like we do, and as they are increasingly competing with the developed countries for protein, you can expect world food prices to increase.
Filed under: Biofuels, Corn, ethanol, Farm, food, hunger, Minnesota | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, Corn, ethanol, farm, Food, history, hunger, Minnesota
There has been a bit of rumbling the last few years about how ethanol production has caused corn, and thus food prices, to go up, and “greedy” farmers are at fault. Then today I read this in the Washington Post;
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture report released last month that broke down where each dollar spent on groceries goes. Farmers received an average of 11.6 cents per dollar in 2008, the latest year data was available. That was down from 13 ½ cents 10 years ago and from 14 ½ cents in 1993, the USDA report showed.
The rest of the money goes to processing, packaging, transportation, retail trade and food service, which includes any place that prepares meals, snacks and beverages for immediate consumption including deli counters and in-store salad bars. The share going to each category has declined some, except for food service which now gets 33.7 cents of every dollar spent, the USDA reported.
“While the commodity and food prices have been going up, the share going back to the farmer has been going down,” said Chad Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University.
As our food prices go up, the farmer gets paid a smaller and smaller percentage of that food dollar. So if corn prices are at near record levels, why are farmers not getting a record percentage of our food dollar. The fact is that despite the assertion that everything we eat has corn in it, which is not true, corn is really cheap in a historical perspective.
Back when I started farming, you could buy a cup of coffee or a candy bar for five cents. Corn prices then were at about a dollar and corn farmers in my area produced about 100 bushels per acre. Today that same cup of coffee or candy bar will cost you about a dollar, and corn is priced at under five dollars for a yearly average and area corn farmers are producing over 180 bushels per acre. That means your cup of coffee or candy bar have gone up 20 times while the corn price has gone up five times. If corn prices had held pace with coffee and candy we’d have $20 corn now. We’d also have a lot more families still on the farm.
Thankfully we don’t have $20 corn now. If we did we would not be able to afford the steak, pork chops and chicken nuggets we all love. We’d be eating cabbage, rutabaga, turnips, potatoes and beets, bread prices would also be out of sight. Using corn to produce ethanol for fuel would be out of the question, and we would be spending closer to half of our income for food instead of less than 10%. Just think of all the things you would have to go without, and all of the jobs making those things that would be lost.
It is so easy to see prices going up and get scared that we will not be able to afford our food tomorrow, but we still live in the country that spends the smallest amount of our paycheck on food. The rest of the world would like to join us, and as they get better jobs they are starting to compete for the fine food we take for granted. We’ve had life too good for too long, if we are going to keep the good life, we need to get out there and earn it again. You can’t make the price of food go down by complaining about it with your mouth full.
Filed under: charity, history, hunger, make a difference, Politicians, Politics | Tags: Food, history, hunger, JFK, politicians, politics
Today is the anniversary of JFK’s presidential speech that had the famous phrase “Ask not what your country can do for you . . . Ask what you can do for your country.”
I’m beginning to think this country has become a welfare state. More and more I see people with their hands out asking that their government give them something. They expect that the government will give them everything. That is not the U.S. of A. I was born in. That is not the country that our fathers fought to build and protect.
Our constitution gives us the right to pursue happiness. It does not say that we will be happy. There are opportunities in our world today for everyone to work. It may not be the job we want, but it is work. I see folks complain about our illegal aliens here in the U.S. but most of them are here doing jobs we don’t seem to want to do. If you want to eat, get out there and work. Our country was built on hard work, not on a life of constant vacations.
Our entertainers have done more than anyone to break our country, and it is our fault. We value major league sports and movie actors more than we do our teachers and police force. We pay major amounts of money to watch entertainment, and then complain that the prices in the grocery store are going up a few pennies.
We are truly blessed in this country to have so much that we can complain about it. Next time you feel that the government owes you something, check out how much you have given to your country and to your neighbor first. Ask what you can do for others, before you ask for a handout.
A democracy can only last until its people realize they can vote themselves something for nothing. I’m afraid we are about to reach that breaking point, that the country that has given us so much will cease to exist. It is time for all of us to do, not ask.
Filed under: food, food safety, Minnesota, organic, science | Tags: children, Food, food safety, hunger, Minnesota, summer
A Hard Look at Soft Drinks
By Jill Grunewald
It’s hot, we’re thirsty, and many Americans’ impulse is to reach for a soda or soft drink. For lots of folks, nothing compares to the fizzy, ice-cold, übersweet drink that we’ve been savoring for over 100 years. In past decades, the evolution and radically increased consumption of these beverages has done a real number on our health.
While statistics on beverage consumption vary considerably, it’s inarguable that Americans consume vastly more soft drinks than any other country. It’s no coincidence that we also suffer from the highest rates of obesity, heart disease, and Type II diabetes, all of which are exacerbated by excessive sugar intake.
According to a 2007 American Journal of Public Health report, “Yearly U.S. per capita consumption of non-diet soft drinks rose 86 percent between 1970 and 1997 alone (22 gallons vs. 41 gallons). The prevalence of obesity increased 112 percent during that approximate time.” Today, says Dr. Joseph Mercola, we’re downing approximately 57 gallons per person per year, which means some are guzzling over a gallon a week. When you consider that this doesn’t include most diabetics and small children, the volume is actually higher. The Lance medical journal recently published a report that said, “One extra soft drink a day will give a child a 60 percent greater chance of becoming obese.”
You can read the full article at
This was not news to me, but if you drink soda you should read this. America’s addiction to sweet and unsweetened soft drinks is an epidemic that a bit of will power can solve. Just drink water. It’s better for you.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, food, food safety, genetic modification, GMO, harvest, hunger, organic, planting, science | Tags: Food, food safety, harvest, history, hunger, Planting
Bacterial disease wipes out the crop at local pumpkin farm
Posted Sep 08, 2010 @ 09:31 PM
There will be no pumpkins at Miller’s Market this year, and a plant disease called bacterial leaf spot is to blame.
The farm on Kentville Road east of Kewanee has been a popular destination in the fall for people seeking pumpkins for making decorations, jack-o-lanterns or pie.
But John Miller, owner of the farm, said Wednesday, “This year we will not harvest.”
Miller said bacterial leaf spot has caused a 95 percent loss of marketable pumpkins at the farm.
Bacterial leaf spot causes pumpkins and other fruits to spoil, and Miller said, “You really have to look for a pumpkin that isn’t affected with the disease.”
This is the second year in a row the disease has struck the Miller farm. Last year, Miller said, bacterial leaf spot claimed 75 percent of the pumpkin crop, although the rest was harvested.
There is no known control for the disease at this time, Miller said.
“This disease is becoming a major concern for many pumpkin growers in both Illinois and Indiana,” Miller said. “University of Illinois plant pathologists are conducting research concerning this disease in a number of pumpkin fields in Illinois,” including Miller’s.
He added that this strain of bacteria attacks cucumbers, melons, squash and pumpkins, which are members of the cucurbit family.
There is the danger in planting. You may not get a harvest. When a disease or pest attacks one type of plant you have to depend on distance to separate stocks of that plant so that some survive or different parent stocks, one of which may be resistant to the disease or pest.
Modern farmers also try to plant different varieties of a crop to spread the risk. To plant only one variety is to ask for trouble. There have been cases in the past where one set of varieties with the same parent stock have all suffered. These incidents have reinforced the resolve of seed breeders and their farmer clients, to have a wide variety of parents for their seed stock. This has also made it very important that we have a variety of sources for our food, including heirloom varieties, organics, and GMO’s in one type of food source, or a wide variety of plant and animal sources. All of them have a place in preserving the most important job in agriculture. Feeding the world.
Filed under: food, history, hunger, science | Tags: Food, harvest, history, hot, hunger, man, obesity
Science for a long time has been searching for reasons that the human body looks the way it does. We are so much different than other mammals, and yet so similar, why? Why are we the only mammal that has so little hair? Why do we have a brain so much larger than other mammals? Why do we walk on two feet?
Some recent research has suggested that our bodies are made to run. When man came out of Africa he was following the game of the savannas that helped to feed his big brain. To kill that game he had neither the teeth or the claws of other meat eaters. Man was not as strong as most other meat eaters, nor could he out sprint the grass eaters he depended on for food. But in the long distance race man could run down anything.
In the heat of the day most mammals need to stay out of the sun, to rest and stay cool. Their fur keeps them from sweating enough to stay cool when temperatures rise. When they run too long they overheat. Man could not run as fast as his prey, but he could out last him in the distance. Man’s lack of fur made it possible to sweat and stay cool in the heat that other animals would overheat in. When man’s prey was needing to rest and cool off, man kept his prospective meal on the move, until he ran down even the swiftest of animals. When it was time to make the kill, his prey was too hot to move.
Our bodies are made for the marathon. Our bodies are made to outlast so that we can feed that big expensive brain we carry. The brain that needs so much fuel to keep it going.
It is no wonder then that when we eat, and do not move enough to burn that fuel we will get fat. Our bodies are storing the plenty of today to feed our brains for the hard times to come. We need to move to keep our body and brain in the shape they were made to be in. Man was not made for a life of inactivity, his body is made to run. We have bodies that are made for a marathon.