News for June 14, 2010
Maine Organic Dairy Farmers Question Raw Milk Ban
Some organic dairy farmers in Maine are unhappy with a recent decision by the Organic Valley cooperative to ban the sale of unpasteurized, or raw milk. Twenty-two years after it was established to help save small family diaries and promote the consumption of more "natural" dairy products, Organic Valley is now telling its farmers they may no longer sell raw milk.
[ READ MORE (Maine Public Broadcasting) ]
Raw milk case moving to Dane County
It will be up to a Dane County judge to decide what to do with an East Troy farm whose owners are part of a lawsuit against a state agency over raw milk sales.
Mark and Petra Zinniker, N7399 Bowers Road, had their farm shut down last September after state agriculture officials said more than 30 people from Walworth, Waukesha and Racine counties were diagnosed with a bacterial infection from consuming raw milk traced to the farm.
[ READ MORE (Gazette) ]
Christian County prohibits sale of raw milk
You won't be able to buy raw milk at farmers' markets in southwest Missouri's Christian County.
The board of directors of the county's Health Department voted unanimously Thursday to prohibit raw milk from farmers' markets. The department had previously allowed dairy farmers to distribute raw milk at such markets.
[ READ MORE (KOAM) ]
Urban Gardens Sprout in Mall Food Courts, on Office Rooftops
Think there's no suitable space left in your urban neighborhood for growing sustainable local food? Think again. As awareness grows about the positive impact environmentally sustainable, local food farms and gardens can have on local economies and public health, new urban and suburban food gardens are sprouting in some surprising places. Here are just a few innovative gardens in creative locations that may change the way city residents think about where good food comes from.
[ READ MORE (care2) ]
USDA To Host Red Meat Mobile Slaughter Unit Information Session
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service ( FSIS ) today announced it is hosting a red meat mobile slaughter unit information session on June 24. The goals of this information session are to educate farmers, ranchers and processors on how to set up mobile slaughter units, receive the federal grant of inspection and meet USDA food safety requirements. The session is being held in response to interest in USDA's efforts to support local/regional slaughter through the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative.
"This session will educate small producers and processors on establishing mobile slaughter units and how to ensure the safety of the products so that they can receive the USDA federal mark of inspection," said Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande.
[ READ MORE (USDA) ]
Half of Farm Expenditures Are Spent Locally
Total farm business operating expen-ditures amounted to more than $187 billion in 2008. A recent ERS-supported study found that about half of all farm input and equipment expenditures were made locally in 2004. Researchers examined the purchasing patterns of farmers to determine the likely impact of farm spending on various types of local economies, from highly urban to totally rural. In the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey, a joint effort by ERS and USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, farmers were asked how far they travel to purchase most of their farm inputs and equipment. Farmers were also asked the distance to the nearest town (the average was 8.3 miles) and nearest city of more than 10,000 people (the average was 24.2 miles). If a farmer traveled farther than the nearest city of 10,000, farm-related purchases were considered “nonlocal.” To determine if the local share of farm purchases varied by location, and to better gauge the potential impact of these expenditures on nearby communities, counties with farms were categorized according to their proximity to urban centers, population density, and commuting patterns. The assumption was that farming is not likely to have a large impact on the economies of more urban, densely settled communities or on nonmetropolitan areas that are highly dependent on metro economies (based on their commuting patterns).
The study found that farm business expenditures were potentially much more important in rural counties (those with low-density, non-urban settlement) than in urban counties in 2004, whether metro or nonmetro. Farm expenditures per nonfarm worker in a county, a measure of the relative importance of farming to a local economy, averaged about $4,500 in rural micropolitan counties (defined as counties containing an urban core with a population between 10,000 and 50,000)—more than 100 times the $41 urban metropolitan county average.
[ READ MORE (USDA) ]