Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lauren's Farm and Food Roundup

LaurenWhether they’re selling raw milk at farmer’s markets or organic milk to cooperatives, Maine dairy farmers are thriving. The state has a tiered subsidy program for organic milk, giving these farmers an edge over conventional dairies and ensuring that they receive a fair price. However…

A Maine farmer is being sued by Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb for selling the excess milk from his family cow to a neighbor without a license to distribute milk and food products. At a rally held in support of the farmer, a speaker said, “By redefining farmers as milk distributors or food processors, the rules require facilities . . . that are entirely inappropriate to diversified, small, family-scale cottage operations. These rules threaten to quietly erase farmers and access to locally raised foods from our communities.”

Check out this infographic showing the concentration of factory farms in the U.S. How is YOUR state farming?

Michelle Obama has shifted the focus of her “Let’s Move” campaign away from healthier eating habits and will instead focus on more physical activity for the nation’s youth. Science has shown that with the balloon in calories in kids’ foods, healthier eating habits will have a more profound effect on childhood obesity than more physical activity. Looks like another one bites the dust in the face of the big food companies.

Hundreds of Bulgarian farmers, outraged by plans for subsidies next year, organized tractor caravans to the country’s capital on Tuesday demanding the resignation of the ministers of finance and agriculture. The protest hearkens back to the tractorcade of 1979, in which farmers drove their tractors to Washington, D.C. to demand fair prices for their crops. In true farmer spirit, while they were in D.C. a blizzard shut down the entire city. The farmers, using their tractors, helped to transport people and clear the roads.

In a study funded by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, USDA researchers found a tenfold reduction in Salmonella and E. coli in the intestines of cows that had been fed orange peels. What they don’t mention is that the unnatural diet of corn fed to cows in concentrated feeding operations is what leads to heightened levels of these bacteria in the first place. Does allowing cows to eat grass instead of feeding them corn and orange peels sound easier to anyone else?

Georgia farmers are making and selling olive oil for the first time in over a century!

Earlier this month, a group of computer programmers got together for a hackathon of the Farm Bill. What’s a hackathon, you ask? It’s essentially a gathering where participants lock themselves in a room and tackle projects of epic proportions with unrestrained creativity—in this case, deciphering the bureaucratic jargon of the Farm Bill. Check out the project that won first prize.

Norway is experiencing a butter shortage because of a combination of bad weather (that hurt the dairy industry) and high tariffs on the imported stuff to protect domestic production. The shortage may seem silly, but perhaps we have a thing or two to learn from the Norwegians about protecting our domestic industries.

_________________
Editor's Note: Today is Lauren's last blog post for Farm Aid, as she is wrapping up her co-op at Farm Aid. Lauren, you have been a great addition to the Farm Aid team and we're going to miss you! Good luck with the rest of your college career! THANK YOU!

No comments:

Post a Comment