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News for May 28, 2010

US considers new traceability system

THE need for the US Department of Agriculture's proposed new animal traceability system boils down to the disease investigation of the "Black Cow" for Colorado's state veterinarian.

Dr. Keith Roehr, state veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, was among those recruited by USDA to help salvage remnants of the failed National Animal Identification System and replace it with something simpler and more decentralised.

READ MORE (Stock & Land) ]

Local food movement boost local butchers' business

Interest in buying locally produced food has helped butchers' business as consumers who want to know more about the steaks or chops they eat crowd counters at shops nationwide.

"I could say that in the past five years, my business has doubled," said John Brooks Jr., the meat-cutter at Des Moines' B&B Grocery, Meat and Deli, an 88-year-old family owned store.


Rules create hurdles for local food

New Ontario meat processing rules threaten small-scale local food producers at the same time the provincial government seeks to boost local food sales, people in the business say.

"They're applying the same standards to us as a small producer . . . as they are to Maple Leaf," said sheep farmer Brenda Forsyth. "It seems to be fairly random how stuff gets interpreted."

READ MORE (Sun Times) ]

More and More Maine Farmers Selling "Shares" to Local Residents

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA for short, has become popular over the last 20 years. The standard model is for a farmer to offer a certain number of "shares" to local residents, who then are entitled to a portion of the farmer's harvest. And now is the time for Mainers to sign up.

READ MORE (Maine Public Broadcasting Network) ]

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

On June 1st, the Discovery channel's Planet Green is introducing a new series based on a urbanite gay couple in New York who 'accidentally' became farmers. Trying to build a sustainable farm while managing a relationship makes for some funny and emotional episodes. Author Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, a doctor and former executive with Martha Stewart, run the Beekman Farm.

The idea blossomed from an unlikely place, and Ridge explained, "We started by growing vegetables on our rooftop?in New York City, and that inspired?us so much that we started looking for what we thought?was going to be a weekend place in the country and grew?the size of our garden. Now we grow 110 different?varieties of heirloom vegetables. What we hope?is that by doing a show like this, we will inspire?more people to do that, to see how easy it is."

READ MORE (Hollywood Today) ]

Slaughterhouse options shrink for small farmers

In some respects, John Bermon says, his livelihood as a small-scale livestock farmer is out of his direct control.

The owner of Aberdeen Hill Farm produces pasture-raised pork, lamb and beef in Gorham, N.Y. Before he can sell his meat at nearby farmers markets or deliver it to customers in the Rochester area during winter months, he drives his animals more than 80 miles to the Leona Meat Plant in Troy, Pa., where they are slaughtered and processed in a small, family-owned facility that is inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Local Slaughter House Concerned About Potential USDA Regulation

The owner of a local slaughter house is concerned a U.S. Department of Agriculture Safety plan could put him, and many small slaughter houses, out of business.

Joe Cloud, owner of T&E Meats in Harrisonburg, says the USDA may mandate more intensive testing of meat, similar to that of large-scale slaughter houses.


In E. Coli Fight, Some Strains Are Largely Ignored

For nearly two decades, Public Enemy No. 1 for the food industry and its government regulators has been a virulent strain of E. coli bacteria that has killed hundreds of people, sickened thousands and prompted the recall of millions of pounds of hamburger, spinach and other foods.

But as everyone focused on controlling that particular bacterium, known as E. coli O157:H7, the six rarer strains of toxic E. coli were largely ignored.

READ MORE (New York Times) ]

Additional rural summit details released

The Obama Administration has released more details about the National Rural Summit that will be held on Thursday, June 3, in Hillsboro, Mo.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, and the full USDA sub-cabinet will be there to continue the conversation about ways to rebuild and revitalize rural America with agricultural leaders, farmers, ranchers and community leaders who attend the day-long event. The full agenda is at

READ MORE (Southeast Farm Press) ]

Sustainable farming gets serious

Next to nothing goes in. Out comes delicious food. That's the vision that Jon McConaughy has for the farm he has been quietly building at 20 Long Way in Hopewell Township. And after six years of work and a "substantial" investment, McConaughy is well on the way to realizing his goal of opening a restaurant and a store nearby that serves food grown on the farm.

It's not the first farm-to-table concept in the country, but it might be the most ambitious. McConaughy wants Double Brook Farm to go completely "off the grid," turning the operation into a kind of agricultural perpetual motion machine that has nothing but labor as its "inputs" and lots of healthy food as its "outputs."

READ MORE (MercerSpace) ]

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