Saturday, January 17, 2009

Looking Out For Us?

And the government wants us to believe that they have our bests interest at heart and are looking out for us? Who are they really serving?

A few short articles for our 'In The Know' category.

****Both are from: Acres, December 2008****

USDA Subsidizing GMO Crops
The USDA is offering corn farmers a $3 per acre discount on crop insurance rates for fields planted to a genetically engineered corn in the 2009 season. To qualify, a farmer must plant at least 75% of his crop from a qualified variety of GM corn from Monsanto, Pioneer, Sygenta or Dow AgroSciences.

Testing Pesticides on Children
The EPA has "temporarily" shelved two experimental studies that would have exposed infants and school children to potentially hazardous levels of pesticides and other chemicals. One would have involved infants under the age of 3 in the Las Vegas area, and the other would have assessed "exposure for school-aged children." In 2005 the agency had canceled a program that would have paid Florida parents to spray pesticides in the rooms of their infant children, but in 2007 the EPA formally legalized experimentation on human subjects. Jeff Ruch of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility noted that these corporate-sponsored experiments "are usually designed to justify higher human exposure to pesticides.....while serving no discernible public health purposes."

Friday, January 16, 2009


OH BABY-- it's cold out!!

The thermometer on the house under the patio read -8* last night when I went to bed at 1am (I was going to take a picture of if but the batteries in the camera were dead). John said when he got up this morning it read -11*. I'm sure it was much colder away from the house. At noon today with the sun shinning, it still was only 2*.

Because money is tight, we are trying to not turn on the electric heat that we have in the house and keep the woodburner good and stoked at all times. Anything that generates heat by using electric uses more energy than most other things. I was quite surprised as to how warm the house stayed with it being this cold. We usually have the electric going more when it's this cold to keep the chill off but the woodburner isn't going as good either as we have it going now. One good thing, firewood sales have picked up since the cold snap.

When it's this cold, it can be a challenage to keep everyone warm and happy here on the farm. The cattle tend to like it a bit colder than our comfort zone of 70-80* but I don't think they like it this cold. Thankfully the sun is shining today as the cattle can go out into the snow covered pasture to walk around and eat the hay the guys give to them. With the black 'fur' that they have, they warm up nicely. Giving them more hay is important as the energy produced by the digestion process will produce heat and helps to keep them from using their fat layer for energy. Keeping the water from freezing is another issue but there is plenty of snow out there and they do like munching on that.

The laying hens are up in the barn by Gandma's house for the winter and today the outside door will not be open to help keep the heat that is in there in. There is a greenhouse that is connected to the barn so the hens can get some sun even though they are inside today. Nathan set up a heat lamp for those who would like to sit and bake for a while to warm up. It is important to keep the layers warm as if all their energies go into keeping warm, then they are not putting that energy into laying eggs. Because it has been so cold, we have had to collect eggs 2-3 times a day. An egg in an unattended egg box (meaning no hen sitting on it laying their egg) can freeze quickly in these temps.

One of the outside cats did make his way into the garage last night while the door was open (this seems to be a great pastime of their's--bolting into the garage when no one is looking). I decided to let him stay as it would be warmer than the adopted treehouse that they now stay in.

All in all, everyone seemed to fair OK through the night. We have one more night of cold temps (not quite as cold but still below 0) and then we warm the 20's.

Stay warm!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pastured Poultry

What sets our chicken apart from conventional chicken? The answer: grass. While this is not the only thing that sets our poultry products apart, it is by far the most significant. So what difference does this make? Everything. Raising chickens on pasture is the most significant way to increase the nutritional density and taste quality of a poultry product. Our meat chickens are moved, in a bottomless pen, to fresh grass daily from the time they are 3 weeks old until they go to market, so to speak. This simple act creates a world of difference in the end product, as well as the health of the growing bird.

Compared to a human's diet, grass performs the same function to a chicken as fruits and vegetables do for you and I. They keep us healthy and provide us with crucial vitamins and minerals. The benefits of sunshine and fresh air also work their miracles with our birds. Unfortunately, birds grown in confinement operations do not get these same luxuries. By putting the effort into providing fresh pasture to our birds, we are able to raise birds that are plump, clean, and healthy.

In the end, all of the extra work put into our products pays off for you, the consumer. How? Well, to start, our products are healthier. Our broilers contain fewer calories, less fat and saturated fat, higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, you don't have to worry about feeding your family anything you wouldn't eat yourself. This is all without mentioning the great taste. We have received compliments that our chicken is the best customers have ever had. These kinds of compliments are very greatly appreciated and make our hard work worth it.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Grass-Finished Beef

I will take some time in my next several posts to explain a little bit about our farm products. The first of which I will talk about is our grass-finished beef. As I have mentioned before, our beef animals are fed a ration completely consisting of grass and hay (along with some salt and kelp for minerals). This is the food that cattle, which are herbivores, were created to consume. They have been given a unique digestive system that is capable of turning plant materials, such as grass, into meat and milk. It is amazing the balance our Creator has instilled in this system, because we as humans are incapable of surviving on these same plants.

Cattle were not in any way designed to consume grain products, which is today's standard commercial feed. Grain can actually upset a cows digestive system by making it too acidic, causing a condition called acidosis. This is a cow's version of an upset stomach. Sure, they like grain, but that doesn't mean it is the proper food for them to eat. This would be the same as you and I eating a constant diet of candy bars, ice cream, and potato chips. It would definitely taste good, but it wouldn't be healthy. We would also most likely gain a lot of weight from this diet. This is exactly what happens when cattle are fed grain- they get fat!

Aside from making the cattle healthier, grass-feeding makes a better product for us to consume. Grass-fed beef products are lower in fat and cholesterol, contain higher levels of important omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and CLA, and the meat has a significantly lower risk of carrying harmful strains of E. coli. Our beef also doesn't contain traces of antibiotics and hormones, commonly found in conventional beef. Once people try it, many think that grass-fed beef tastes better too!

What has been presented here is only portion of what could be said about the many, many benefits of grass-fed beef. It is easy to see that God has designed a perfect system for converting otherwise useless grasses into healthy meat for us to consume!
PS--if you notice in the picture above, you will see the Lorain County Fairgrounds in the background through the trees. This is how we arrived at the farm name with 'Fair View' and the name 'Meadow' coming from all the pasture we have....we are a grass-based farm.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

More GMOs

I would like to start the new year off with a new 'series' that deals in part some of the # 2 purpose of this blog: To provide info and discussion of relevant and interesting topics relating to the various social, environmental, political, economic, and moral impacts of agriculture in our world today.

Because we wanted to let you know of things that we come across that we think you might like to know about, we have decided to give these topics the label name of 'In The Know'. (If anyone comes across something that you know about that we didn't notice yet, please share that with us.) As I said, topics that we come across will be put into the label of 'In The Know', so if you are checking back to see what's been happening here on the farm and want to also caught up with those other happenings in your world, click on the 'In The Know' label (it's in the white box to the right of the page under Labels) and it will bring up all that has been posted there.

The first 'In the Know' topic has to deal with a new GMO (genetically modified organism) or GE (genetically engineered) product now on the store shelves that you might like to avoid. If you don't buy organic, you could be using a GMO/GE food item--SUGAR--and not even know about it.

In a response letter from Kellogg's dealing with a comment letter sent by OCA (Organic Consumers Associations) basically saying "we don't want GE sugar so don't offer it", one of Kellogg's responses was....
"Consumer preference is the critical factor Kellogg uses in determining the products being provided in each market, and those preferences are not the same in every country", then went on to say "Public acceptance of biotechnology in Europe is lower than in the United States. As a result, all Kellogg products sold in Europe are free of any ingredients derived from biotech sources."

Kellogg's believes that the concerns about biotech ingredients in U.S. food are low....we need to change that! It would help change 'those preferences' though if we did have the same labeling advantages that Europe has so we could know more about the food we are buying. You, the consumer, do have a say in determining the products available by voting every time you use your food dollars. Please see article below......

**** From: Organic View (a publication of OCA), Winter 2008 ****
Fighting For Food Safety
OCA Launches Kellogg's Boycott as GE Sugar Hits Supermarket Shelves

OCA and our allies have called for a boycott of all Kellogg's products after the company refused to source only GE-free sugar. Farmers in the US began planting Monsanto's genetically engineered sugar beets on a wide scale for the first time this year. Much of this crop will be converted to table sugar and sweeteners used in cereals, candies and other food products.

Of course, as with all genetically engineered foods in the US, none of the products containing these ingredients will be labeled as such. Roughly half of all processed foods contain sugar from sugar beets, so when these products hit grocery store shelves, millions of consumers will be exposed to yet another experimental biotech ingredient.

The enviromental aspects of the Franken-crop are equally disturbing. Monsanto's RoundUp Ready Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets is designed to withstand massive doses of toxic weed killers, and studies of other comparable GE-crop varieties indicated a notable increase in pesticide use.

To read more (and see the letters) and to take action go to:

posted by Louise