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News for June 28, 2010

Shaping how Americans eat: the debate rages

The U.S. government has just served up a heaping mouthful to people who eat - the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.

It not only squarely addresses the undeniable - that two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese and that our children are on a similar trajectory - it also recasts some advice we have heard before: urging Americans, for instance, to shift their diets away from meat and animal protein and fats - foods such as red meat, cheese and butter - toward a more "plant-based diet," a term that includes not just fresh fruits and vegetables but also foods such as nuts and lentils and olive or canola oil.

READ MORE (LA Times) ]

Consumers are buying into organic farms

Axel Burlin plucked oat grains from the farm field, rolled them around in his hand and marveled that he was growing cereal.

"Can I eat it?" the 10-year-old wondered out loud.

READ MORE (Chicago Tribune) ]

State searches second farm in raw dairy products case

It appears the state's investigation of raw milk has grown into a broader crackdown on sales of unpasteurized milk products.

The Minnesota Agriculture Department has searched a second farm that has allegedly sold raw milk. The investigations began after E. coli traced to unpasteurized products sickened eight people. The southern Minnesota farm blamed for the E. coli outbreak has been searched twice.

READ MORE (MPR) ]

Farmers turn to milk for fields

About 50 people arrived in this small Missouri town this week with one thing on their minds: milk. But they weren't thinking about drinking it, they were thinking about dumping it. Call it a fad or a revolution, but cattle and dairy farmers say that spraying raw milk on their pastures might be the easiest way to grow thicker, more nutritious grass.

"When you start spraying milk on your fields, you're going to be thought of as a fool," chuckled Larry Sansom, a cattle farmer from Kentucky who drove six hours to learn about the method. "But I guess you've got to hold your nose and jump."

READ MORE (Columbia Tribune) ]

Can one-time tillage improve no-till?

A one-time tillage has no adverse effects on yield or soil properties on no-till land, according to field research conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although tillage is another expense for farmers and generally increases the risk of soil erosion, a one-time tillage may be performed to correct some problem, such as a perennial weed problem.

The feasibility study was conducted for five years at two locations in eastern Nebraska. Charles Wortmann led the interdisciplinary team in examining the effects of a one-time tillage on no-till land for grain yield, reducing stratification of soil properties, increasing soil organic matter, and improving soil physical properties. The results were published in the July-August 2010 edition of Agronomy Journal.

READ MORE (Physorg) ]

Pigs in Takoma Park highlight rise in suburban livestock

Mark Parisi, who spent his boyhood on a Connecticut farm, thought it made perfect sense to put two pigs in his suburban Takoma Park back yard and raise them to become pork chops. But not everyone in the neighborhood was thrilled to see the porkers rolling around in the dirt. Soon, someone squealed, and the authorities came calling.

But when they arrived, time and again, they found nothing amiss on Parisi's small plot of land. It turns out that pigs, chickens, goats and the occasional rooster are perfectly legal in Montgomery County and many other Washington suburbs. That puts the BlackBerry-obsessed region, partly by accident, partly by design, on the leading edge of a national "grow your own" movement that has evolved well beyond organic vegetables.

READ MORE (Washington Post) ]

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