Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ethan's Farm and Food Roundup

EthanOnce again, we are hearing of dairy farmers’ calling it quits, because the cost of producing milk isn't covering the income they are making from their products. Feed costs are skyrocketing right now, leading to this farm in Vermont shutting down and this farmer in New York culling his herd. Have farms in your area been forced to shut down their farms because of rising costs?

Pesticide resistant weeds are sweeping across the U.S., affecting about 12 million acres nationally. These weeds have grown immune to Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, and leaving farmers with no backup plan for combating the invasive weeds. “Farmers and government officials need to change existing practices if food production is to be protected,” industry experts said on Thursday.

The future of farming is seeing a shift towards advanced robotics
as farmers find alternative methods for the backbreaking and time-consuming work they must accomplish each year. But don’t worry just yet, "There's very much a human element in all of the business decisions and all of the equipment selection and maintenance," says Jeremy Brown, president of Jaybridge Robotics. "I don't think you're going to eliminate the farmer with automation."

The Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee has decided to attach a "do pass" recommendation to the state's pending ag-gag bill, giving it the support it needs to be made into law. If passed, the bill will prevent employees from videotaping potential animal cruelty on farms, or from gaining access to employment under false pretenses.

With the recent boom of organic farms all over the U.S., there has been an ongoing debate about the future of farming and whether organic or conventional farming methods are the best option for feeding our population. But this article from The Atlantic raises the question - Are we missing the point by pitting one against the other?

The Perennial Plate is a series about sustainable farming and eating, and follows farmers and ranchers all over the country to get an idea of what it means to own and operate a sustainable farm. This episode visits J Bar L Ranch, a grass-based ranch on 30,000 acres in the hills of Montana. It is easy to see how you would never want to leave this place!

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