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News for August 20, 2010

Dairy farmer's witness concedes problems while defending farm

Gaylord, Minn. — A dairy consultant testifying on behalf of a Gibbon dairy farmer testified in court Friday that he believes "quality milk products and safe products can be produced on that farm."

Farmer Michael Hartmann is in the middle of a trial in Sibley County District Court, seeking to lift a state embargo on the sale of his products.

The Minnesota Agriculture Department claims Hartmann sold E. coli-tainted raw milk, which sickened eight people last spring. Hartmann denies the allegation.

READ MORE (MPR News) ]

Raw milk rising Young dairy farmers confound expectations

ALFORD -- Dairy in Berkshire county is, as every census attests, a dying industry. But three local dairymen -- Topher Sabot of Cricket Creek Farm, Williamstown; Paul Paisley of Milk House Jersey & Swiss, Alford; and Sean Stanton of Blue Hill Farm, Great Barrington -- are bucking the dire trends. Sabot and Stanton are in their early 30s. Paisley is around 40 -- a decade younger than the average dairyman. None come from farm families.

Beneath federally mandated inch-high warnings -- "Raw Milk Is Not Pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to human health." -- they (and Robert and Martha Kilmer's Twin Rivers Farm in Ashley Falls) have been doing steady business selling milk in its natural state.

"The FDA says it'll kill you. Other people tell you it'll cure whatever's wrong with you. My position is it tastes great," Sabot said, "and I never was a milk drinker."

READ MORE (The Berkshire Eagle) ]

Recall expands to more than half a billion eggs

A half-billion eggs have been recalled in the nationwide investigation of a salmonella outbreak that Friday expanded to include a second Iowa farm. More than 1,000 people have already been sickened and the toll of illnesses is expected to increase.

Iowa's Hillandale Farms said Friday it was recalling more than 170 million eggs after laboratory tests confirmed salmonella. The company did not say if its action was connected to the recall by Wright County Egg, another Iowa farm that recalled 380 million eggs earlier this week. The latest recall puts the total number of potentially tainted eggs at over half a billion.

An FDA spokeswoman said the two recalls are related. The strain of salmonella causing the poisoning is the same in both cases, salmonella enteritidis.

READ MORE (msnbc.com/AP) ]

McDonald's shareholders vote down cage free proposal

Shareholders for McDonald's voted against a proposal to buy at least 5 percent of the restaurant chain's eggs from cage-free facilities.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which owns 101 shares in the company and sponsored the resolution, similarly proposed at the 2009 annual shareholders meeting that McDonald's start transitioning to purchasing eggs produced in cage-free facilities.

In the recent proposal, the HSUS argued that cages provide for inadequate animal welfare and that McDonald's U.S. operations had fallen behind competitors and the company's own European operations in transitioning toward purchases of eggs from cage-free hens.

READ MORE (Texas Ag Daily) ]

Young Cheesemaker Says Goodbye to Wisconsin

My Farewell Speech to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

by Bill Anderson

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

My name is Bill Anderson.  I am 25 years old.  I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and have lived here for my entire life.  Though I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee, I just completed the entire Wisconsin cheese maker licensing program, and passed the final exam yesterday.  I should also mention that my mother grew up on a diversified family-run dairy farm in central Wisconsin.

However, this week I am making the biggest move of my life.  I am moving to Athens, Ohio, to start an artisanal cheese program for Snowville Creamery, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

READ MORE (Hartke Online) ]

The Benefits and Politics of Raw Milk
When: Thursday, Sept. 30, 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Where: Threefold Educational Center, Chestnut Ridge, NY

The Biodynamic National Conference, "Biodynamics and the Future of Agriculture: Growing the Food Revolution," will feature a pre-conference workshop co-sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation on "The Benefits and Politics of Raw Milk."

Raw milk, one of the most primal and health-giving foods, is now at the center of the growing food rights movement and a storm of political controversy. How did this happen? Why is it so important? Where do we go from here? These questions and more will be addressed by an incredible panel of luminaries in the raw milk and food rights movement. 

- Sally Fallon Morell (Weston A. Price Foundation) will explain the health benefits of raw milk and describe the long history of nutritional research into raw milk. 

- David Gumpert (journalist and author of The Raw Milk Revolution) will illuminate the contentious political and legal landscapes surrounding raw milk and where things stand with the food rights battle in the present. 

- Michael Schmidt (biodynamic farmer and raw milk advocate) will share lessons from his epic legal victory over the Canadian government, assuring his right to distribute raw milk to his farm members. 

- Mark or Petra Zinniker (biodynamic dairy farmers) will give an update on their struggles to keep America's oldest biodynamic farm viable through raw milk and a new kind of consumers' association.

Please consider joining us for the whole conference. We have an exciting array of workshops - from the introductory to the advanced, from the practical to the theoretical to the artistic, ranging from composting to fair trade to community supported agriculture to making raw sauerkraut - as well as special events like the Biodynamic Food and Wine Tasting and a special screening of Queen of the Sun, a new documentary on the bee crisis by the director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Join as we gather at the Threefold Educational Center, the birthplace of biodynamics in the US, to honor our origins, strengthen our foundations, and work together to envision the future of the food revolution! 

For more information, visit www.biodynamics.com/biodynamic-conference-2010.

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