Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Biodiesel in Columbus

Here is the Ohio Soybean Association's video about the new biodiesel blender which is located in Columbus. With all of my literature review on biodiesel and the energy associated with creating it from certain crops, I'm still pretty skeptical about the fuel, but soybeans are still definitely the best route to pursue in my opinion. Soybeans are much more readily available and also more consistent for production of biodiesel in terms of both supply and product quality than other oilseeds which are out there right now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

State Fair, here we come

As we move into the Ohio State Fair, my posts will again become sparse. It's not that there's not a bunch going on in the ag world that's worth reading about, it's just that I don't have as much time to tell you about it anymore.

How about that weather today, eh? Being out on pig farms, I'm especially grateful for the break in the weather and I bet many other people are too. Now if only the ants could stop making a rush on our apartment and my desk, my arguments with nature would be complete.

For those of you interested in the dairy industry and their fight against Johne's, which is rumored to be more prevalent than previously estimated, here are two suggestions from the ARS about how to reduce transmission on your farm. Of course, this might be old news or simple suggestions, but if you haven't read it before, then that link is for you. (And besides, this is research proving the methods work.)

Don't be surprised about the source or the findings of the study here, but this study claims that the benefits of organic are far overpraised. Who knew? lol.

Also, Cargill announced a new method of reducing sodium in food. With the new sodium craze isn't this just what the public was looking for?

This Scottish institute was awarded a grant to develop parasite vaccines.

Also important, the American Humane Association has approved practices set forth by the Federation of Animal Science Societies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Brace yourselves...

Stanford University claims that confined livestock agriculture is actually BETTER for the environment!?! This straight up contradicts with many environmental lecturers' attitudes towards condensed agriculture and the "factory farms" of the U.S.

NAIS ends

Apparently we couldn't find an efficient method of tracking animals in the US yet...

Return from camp

Nothing refreshes the mind quite like a full week of 5 hours nights and 200 kids running (well more literally walking) rampage on the camp in a hurry to do all things that they can't do at home. That aside, I truly love 4-H camp and look forward to the opportunity to return as a dean once again next year. In the meantime, I will give you more food for thought today as I sort through my inbox for articles and ideas to post.

Progressive Dairymen is a new group I joined online. Under the name "Proud to Dairy", it's a group which serves as a great site to find dairy blogs and to network with other people throughout the U.S. who are proud to dairy. Somewhere on the website is an article in which our MSU team was interviewed about our National Dairy Challenge experience in California. However, for now, I include this great interview article with Gary Conklin about the farm video incident earlier this year.

The European Union has voted to ban the sale of cloned animals for food in Europe. Interestingly, we still don't see the true value or cost of using cloned animals to produce food.

My alma mater had a 4 legged, 6 footed piglet born this week. Hopefully I will get some pictures to let you see this strange critter.

About 100 dogs were rescued in Delaware County, OH, and are in desperate need of adoption. It always troubles me to think about so many dogs in need of good homes and the poor alternatives that await them. However, we are still not ready to be getting a dog, and so we'll have to wait for now.

This interview at the JAM definitely happened just in front of me as I was talking to some of my friends. Dr. Croney was greatly supportive of my presentation in Denver and for that I am grateful. Please listen to the interview with an open mind and try to see the points which she tries to make in her interview with Trent Loos.

Col. Sanders was inducted in the Meat Industry Hall of Fame this year. Posthumous recognition always seems pointless to me, but still, it's a nice gesture towards a great man who created a store which now sells notoriously unhealthy food.

Also, the video about the truth of pork production is available on Please share with those around you who may have a skewed view of pork farming.

Finally, another weigh-in on the HSUS/OFBF agreement, this time from the pork producers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mid-July Heat and Conklin Update

Boy this heat sure has been bad this week. After driving to Denver and back, I can safely say that there are a) a lot of flat lands between here and there, b) I don't plan to drive there again soon, c) there is thankfully still farmland in the blessed country, d) I have seen all of the heat you're all suffering. Good luck keeping the crops growing and healthy.

My trip to Denver was pretty awesome. It was great to visit with and meet so many people in the past week and I greatly enjoyed giving my talk on tail docking in dairy cattle. I also had the opportunity to listen to many research projects and read various posters, including welfare and nutrition topics.

On that note I will turn back to the grind mill with ARS reports related to ongoing research.

First, check out the article outlining different egg production practices and the fact that they found no significant difference in egg quality between the different practices.

Also, some cool engineering research on how to make levees last longer.

I don't know about you, but I get nervous every time we talk about bringing in a pest to change an ecosystem.

And I will close with an update via Humane Watch about the Conklin Farm legal case and prosecution of that scummy Billy Jo Gregg, Jr.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vegan discovers a real feedlot

I want to thank Molly for sharing this great blog on facebook. This is a story by an accomplished vegan in the field of nutrition who took the time to learn the truth about cattle feedlots, and then learned that they're far different than what he had been told.

Colbert on Agriculture

Rarely does Stephen Colbert make my agriculture blog. In fact, this is probably the first time ever. However, listen to his interview of Manny Howard at the end and how he talks about his experience with trying to raise his own food. Talk about someone who has an appreciation for where his food comes from!

ARS update

As I am on the ARS listserv I just thought that I would share a few interesting agricultural research updates which came my way today.

First is research related to pear bugs and their pheromones that they release. Interesting to me is all of the studying related to ways to prevent use of pesticides on fruits. Good luck to the researchers on this!

Second is research on how virgin olive oil changes the activity of genes in humans. This modification of gene expression is something that must be a pain to research, but it absolutely fascinating to read about.

Grandin weighs in on Conklins

I would like to congratulate this vegetarian website for their use of Temple Grandin in an article discussing animal abuse on dairy farms.

Grandin's opinion on this issue is somewhat moderate, in indicating that while this is not the case on an average farm, there are staffing issues that are leading to mistreatment of animals. I would agree that there are animal welfare improvements that belong in the farms of today and tomorrow. This vegetarian website should be commended for even venturing to provide a moderate viewpoint on such a volatile topic.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Everybody wins...

... for now.

As I sit and watch the Nederlands as they are down to Brazil at the half, I thought that I would take a minute to attach more articles relating to the HSUS and Ohio Agriculture compromise which will be the defining leader in animal welfare decisions and discussions for the next few years in Ohio. Time will tell how the board takes this agreement and puts it to use, and time will also be the indicator as to how honest HSUS's intentions truly were, but for now we have a respite from the sharp debate and the wording in the document shows potential to be a reasonable way to use the care standards board to truly function as they were intended to per last years election results and to improve animal welfare in livestock production within the state of Ohio.

For more opinions, please read the OVMA, Ohio Pork Industry, Ohio Dairy Producers and Wayne Pacelle's (HSUS CEO) opinion on the issue.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

OFBF Interview

Jack Fisher is interviewed and online here related to the OFBF negotiations with HSUS.

The taste of victory...

... is bitter in my mouth. I started today on the kill floor at school, frustrated, and like a lot of people who are starting to post onto the OFBF press release, I feel sold out. HSUS is allowed to walk away with a compromise, and as one person said on the Humane Watch release comments: HSUS has their foot in the door now. And that's about all there is to this. That and the fact that we really did sell out on the pet owners. Trent Loos particular captured my attention via facebook with an especially depressing article on Feedstuffs.

I went looking for more positive and encouraging opinions and found them at the Humane Watch site. After reading the actual draft which is circulating now and which I found on Humane Watch's website, I feel better about the issue. Sure, it looks like we sold out pet owners, but these pet and exotic animal bills are already in the legislature now. Frankly, I have trouble getting worked up over the reduction in small animal production since there are so many animals abused and/or abandoned now.

Veal crates by 2017, well, American Veal Association is already planning on this anyhow. And does this deal leave the door open for HSUS to come back? Yes, but then the deal is negated as well. All of this is reversible and strongly resembles a truce. I can deal with this, but it's going to be a massive PR miracle to not leave the public feeling betrayed by the OFBF after last years Issue 2 campaign and the results from a OFBF compromise. The fight is not over yet.