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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for August 12, 2010

Angling for a Fight: MA Ag Bullies Try to Run a Tiny Raw Dairy Out of Business...

Lots of raw milk drinkers I meet when I'm out speaking before various food and green organizations about the ever-increasing intensity of the crackdown on raw milk and nutrient-dense foods tell me, "Well, if it gets real bad, I can always go out and buy my own cow or goat." It that's your fall-back strategy, the story I'm about to tell about the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture's renewed crackdown on raw milk may make you squirm just a little.

Last we heard from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, its paper pushers were taking the summer off from going after raw milk producers. At least that's what MDAR's commissioner, Scott Soares, supposedly told his pals at the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association in June. The general reading in Massachusetts was that the heat had gotten a little too intense from the May 10 Boston Common demonstration and followup ag hearing opposing the effort to squash buying clubs. Soares' strong suggestion in his statement to NOFA-MA was that the bureaucrats wanted to wait till after the elections in November, when politicians would be less inclined to respond to constituent complaints.

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Female Infants Growing Breasts: Another Disaster From Hormones in Milk Production

People are very upset about this, and for good reason. Female infants in China who have been fed formula have been growing breasts.

According to the official Chinese Daily newspaper, medical tests performed on the babies found levels of estrogens circulating in their bloodstreams that are as high as those found in most adult women. These babies are between four and 15 months old. And the evidence is overwhelming that the milk formula they have been fed is responsible.

READ MORE (Huffington Post) ]

Certified Organic: The Inspection

When I was coming up as a young nerd, tests in school were greeted with a weird mixture of anxiety and thrill. Now, lo these many years later, the feeling of being assessed can still cause a reflexive tinge of worry. Today an inspector on behalf of the Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA) came by to make sure we were following procedure, which would determine our certification.

On this blog, I've already talked about about organic certification and as I mentioned, the ethic of organic growing was very familiar to me but this was my first year being responsible for certification. The paperwork we filled out earlier in the year was very detail oriented and as the day approached, I became nervous that maybe I wasn't doing enough. Were my log entries detailed enough? What if I had improperly recorded a fertilizer application? Was my crop rotation plan reasonable?

READ MORE (Huffington Post) ]

Farmers Lean to Truce on Animals’ Close Quarters

Concessions by farmers in this state to sharply restrict the close confinement of hens, hogs and veal calves are the latest sign that so-called factory farming — a staple of modern agriculture that is seen by critics as inhumane and a threat to the environment and health — is on the verge of significant change.

A recent agreement between farmers and animal rights activists here is a rare compromise in the bitter and growing debate over large-scale, intensive methods of producing eggs and meat, and may well push farmers in other states to give ground, experts say. The rising consumer preference for more “natural” and local products and concerns about pollution and antibiotic use in giant livestock operations are also driving change.

READ MORE (New York Times) ]

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