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News for September 03, 2010

Micro Mini: Niche Market Food Makes Farming Sustainable

While sustainable food, small farmers and community-based agriculture are all the rage right now, a small farm that struggles is not sustainable at all. And many small farms do struggle with the cost of maintaining land and growing food in times when food prices drop, crops fail, or the market for a particular food disappears. Small farms have to be adaptive and savvy to become financially sustainable.

READ MORE (JustMeans) ]

Free-range poultry network taking flight

NORTHFIELD — Every night last year, after working a back-breaking 12-hour shift at his day job in Apple Valley, José Rosas stopped by a small farm just north of town to tend to his flock of 2,500 free-range chickens.

There, he checked the birds’ food and water levels, occasionally weighed the chickens and did all the handy work associated with running a small poultry operation, before returning home to his wife and three children.

READ MORE (Northfield News) ]

Eggs' 'Grade A' Stamp Isn't What It Seems

To some shoppers, the meaning of the "USDA Grade A" shield on egg cartons seems pretty obvious.

"It means that the rabbi's blessed this as kosher, right?" said Stephen Potter, an early-morning shopper at a Safeway store in Alexandria, Va.

"It means they've been checked. It's the quality seal. They're safe," suggested Susan Hergenrather, who was cruising the aisles at a Harris Teeter supermarket.

READ MORE (Wall Street Journal) ]

USDA Extends Use of Methionine in Organic Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program announced an amendment to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The amendment extends the use of methionine in organic poultry production.

Published in the Federal Register as an interim rule with request for comments, it extends the allowance for methionine in organic poultry production until October 2012, with the following maximum allowable limits of methionine per ton of feed: four pounds for layers, five pounds for broilers and six pounds for turkeys and all other poultry.

READ MORE (Wisconsin Ag Connection) ]

Bodybuilders Bodybuilding Protein Raw Milk

READ MORE (Metacafe) ]

Former egg farm workers say complaints ignored

DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. Agriculture Department employees worked full-time at two Iowa egg farms at the center of a salmonella outbreak and massive recall, but two former workers said they ignored complaints about conditions at one site.

The USDA employees worked next to areas where roughly 7.7 million caged hens laid eggs at the two operations, but agency spokesman Caleb Weaver said their main duties are "grading" the eggs and they aren't primarily responsible for looking for health problems.

READ MORE (Google News / AP) ]

“MILK WAR” — a new raw milk movie debuts Sept 19th at festival in Toronto

“Milk War” is the second of several movies that are in the process of being made about Ontario raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt and the raw milk controversy.

It will be debuting as part the MUCK film festival at the Royal Theatre in Toronto, Sunday September 19th, 2010.

READ MORE (The Bovine) ]

As Pressure Builds on Rawesome, Its Manager Tries to Make Sense of Endless State-Sanctioned Body Blows

James Stewart, manager of Rawsome Foods in Los Angeles' Venice district, has been having a nightmare--"that they'll come and bulldoze this property." 

"This property" consists of one forty-foot and two twenty-foot shipping containers that have been refurbished into a funky food distribution center used by the 1,500 members of Rawesome, which is a private food club. 

READ MORE (The Complete Patient) ]

In the Fields of Italy, a Conflict Over Corn

VIVARO, Italy — Giorgio Fidenato declared war on the Italian government and environmental groups in April with a news conference and a YouTube video, which showed him poking six genetically modified corn seeds into Italian soil.

In fact, said Mr. Fidenato, 49, an agronomist, he planted two fields of genetically modified corn. But since “corn looks like corn,” as he put it, it took his opponents weeks to find his crop.

READ MORE (New York Times) ]

Mom makes sure children eat organic, even at school

Rosanne Lindsay, a food and environmental activist and mother of three, takes extraordinary measures to ensure that her children eat well.

The family’s diet is all organic, and she packs lunches for Ana, 14, Nika, 12, and John, 9, in a matter of 20 minutes while feeding them breakfast before they go to school.

Since they’ve attended the private Eagle School, which doesn’t have a food program, she hasn’t had to compete with some of the notorious items that tempt students at public schools.


Ill. park allows kids to experience small farm

DECATUR — Asking a teenager about her favorite park activity, you don't expect an answer like this: "I like to plant 'em and pick 'em."

Then again, Partnership Park isn't an ordinary park.

Opened two years ago to introduce urban children to the great outdoors, the park offers an organic garden, Welsh Mountain ponies and an even bigger welcome to youth groups as it goes through the process of becoming an independent entity.

READ MORE (Rockford Register Star/AP) ]

Food safety groups slam USDA egg graders at farms in recall

U.S. Department of Agriculture staff regularly on site at two Iowa egg processors implicated in a national salmonella outbreak were supposed to enforce rules against the presence of disease-spreading rodents and other vermin, federal regulations show.

Though USDA says its authority was limited, the agency's egg graders were at Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms at least 40 hours a week — including before the outbreak — inspecting the size and quality of eggs inside processing buildings.


New USDA act will help organic farmers

BRATTLEBORO -- Recently released reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture could mark an important turning point in the acceptance of organic products in the mainstream marketplace.

The USDA Agriculture Risk Management Agency said this week that farmers who grow certain organic crops should not pay a premium on their crop insurance programs.

The agency also said that certified organic farmers should receive adequate payments when their crops fail, and those payments should not be pegged to the lower prices conventional farmers get.

READ MORE (Brattleboro Reformer) ]

Organic farm group polls pols

BARRE —  More than 385 candidates for office in the primary and general election have been canvassed about raw milk regulations, labels on genetically modified organisms in food crops, and state-inspected poultry slaughterhouses. 

Jack Kittredge, policy director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, said yesterday he’s been pleasantly surprised with responses to date. 

READ MORE (Telegram & Gazette) ]

Massachusetts Dairies Promote Raw Milk

Next week, 11 Bay State dairies that sell raw milk directly to consumers will jointly host Raw Milk Dairy Days. The event, to be held Sept. 11 and 12, is encouraged and promoted by the state chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

The public is being invited to tour the farms, watch milking demonstrations and, of course, sample and purchase raw milk. Marketing of raw (unpasteurized) milk at the farm is legal in Massachusetts. It's tightly regulated for safety by Massachusetts Department of Ag Resources.

READ MORE (American Agriculturist) ]

USDA Lax on E. Coli Strain Linked to Beef Recall

(Aug. 30) -- A strain of E. coli that the government doesn't regulate has already sickened hamburger eaters in two states. 

And federal food safety detectives say more cases may be identified as we approach the summer's last big weekend for picnics and barbecues. 

The supplier, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. in Wyalusing, Pa., has recalled approximately 8,500 pounds of ground beef products. Cargill is the nation's second-largest beef processor.


GE Sugar Beets: Groups Condemn USDA Action Avoiding Court Order

WASHINGTON - September 2 - On September 1, 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that it was in the process of issuing permits to authorize the planting of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings this Fall, without performing any review of the crops’ environmental impacts. These GE beets have been altered so that they can tolerate being sprayed with Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. The unprecedented permitting process for a commercially-grown genetically engineered crop was initiated without public notice and comment or any environmental review. Last week the agency met with companies involved and invested in promoting the gene-altered crop.



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