| November 29, 2010
Apparently the 10th time’s the charm. After nine previous attempts to get the Pigford vs. Glickman settlement funded by Congress, the 111th Senate has appropriated $1.15 billion to resolve the many longstanding lawsuits filed by black farmers systematically discriminated against by the USDA.
“This is a huge, huge victory for myself and black farmers, many of whom have died waiting for justice,” said John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association. “I have been working on this thing for 26 years. I’ve been hearing ‘no’ for so very long.” The initial lawsuit was settled out of court in 1997. However Congress has since failed to appropriate the funds necessary to address farmers’ claims. The legislation must now go back to the House for passage during the lame duck session in order to become law.
Both President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack applauded this recent decision. Obama issued a statement Friday saying, “I urge the House to move forward with this legislation as they did earlier this year, and I look forward to signing it into law.” For updates on the Pigford Settlement and upcoming legislation visit the National Black Farmers Association website.
By Andrew Gunther
| November 24, 2010
Recently John Stossel of FOX Business Channel has aired a number of segments disparaging sustainable agriculture. His issues have included the use of herbicides and pesticides, grainfed vs. grassfed beef, genetically modified salmon and food safety. Is Stossel going out of his way to be outrageously provocative? To what end? And for whose benefit? Certainly we are not the only ones to condemn these reports as being inaccurate, unbalanced and biased, as the many comments to the reports attest.
Stossel would no doubt accuse me of being unrealistic and only supporting small scale farms. However, the reality is that to keep the planet healthy and fed we will need to employ a wide range of solutions. Sadly, the last 40 years of ”big ag’s” version of the solution has shown chronic failure in the form of antibiotic resistance, tainted water and some of the largest food recalls in history. Too bad Stossel doesn’t recognize that we have to stop using the planet – a finite resource – as “big ag’s” test tube.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 22, 2010
Sherry Siebnaler raises Animal Welfare Approved Tennessee Fainting goats at Morgan Hill Farm in Hero, VT. Sherry has been farming her entire life having grown up on a dairy farm, but she only started raising goats in 2007.
Carlton and Adam Draughan raise AWA-certified pigs at Natures Farm, LLC, where the pigs have the opportunity to root and forage for vegetation on pastures or in woods. “We want our customers to understand that our product is as natural as nature allows,” says Carlton. As well as the clear animal welfare benefits of outdoor pig production, consumers benefit from more complex flavors found in pastured pork, with lower saturated fats and higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids when compared to conventional pork.
Born and raised running cattle, you could say ranching is in Tim Linquist’s blood. He has been ranching all his life though most recently he and his wife Lynda and sons Cody and Ty have focused their attention on 300 Boar Spanish Cross goats. The goats are the essence of CT Biological Weed and Brush Control and as such they provide an environmentally conscious alternative to weed and brush control otherwise managed with chemicals and equipment. Tim explains that he became Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) to assure consumers his animals are treated well. AWA’s transportation standards are of particular importance given his goats are transported to locations to provide weed and brush control. The Linquists are proud that both their family and their goats have a high quality of life. Goats graze all year long, and on-pasture kidding is practiced. The ranch also offers eggs from hens who roam freely on pasture.
For more information about CT Biological Weed and Brush Control, Inc. visit http://werentgoats.com/.
Together, Angela Miller, Russell Glover, Chris Gray, Peter Dixon and farm managers Alex Eaton and Margot Brooks raise 100 Oberhaslis goats and make award-winning cheese at Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, VT. Consider Bardwell’s use of rotational grazing for their goats on pesticide-free and fertilizer-free pastures produces the sweetest milk and the tastiest hand-made cheese. They only use whole, fresh milk that is antibiotic and hormone free.
Ray Family Farms raises pastured AWA beef cattle, pigs and laying hens in Louisburg, NC. Farmer Chad Ray feels honored to be associated with AWA, explaining, “By being an AWA approved farm, we can show potential customers all over the world the same thing by proudly presenting our AWA logo. There’s a powerful brand being built upon everyday by AWA farms. We are proud to serve ourselves, our customers, our animals, and our creator by being a part of such a fantastic organization.”
| November 19, 2010
Animal Welfare Approved has an annual tradition of thanking the family farmers who work so hard, year in and year out, to produce healthy, safe, humane and environmentally responsible food for our communities. Farming is not an easy job, and we want to encourage AWA friends and followers to take this opportunity to appreciate farmers you know for their contribution to this harvest holiday of Thanksgiving, and throughout the year.
Please take this opportunity, by including a comment below, to share your appreciation for the farmers in your life. You may also comment via Facebook and Twitter (#ThankAWAfarmers). If you are a farmer, tell us about fellow farmer or mentor who has influenced your development or has helped you along the way.
Thank you for sharing, and for supporting pasture-based farming this holiday season!
By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 15, 2010
Standing on the lush pastures of Orange Spring Ranch, onlookers are awarded a spectacular view of the rich agricultural land of the Central Valley. Nestled against the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Orange Spring Ranch is home to a herd of Red Angus bulls. Amongst the oak trees, the cattle graze year round on grasses and clover.
By Andrew Gunther
| November 5, 2010
An article which first appeared on the web back in January is doing the rounds again. This time it’s being used by the National Beef Packing Company to promote its “natural” beef.
The National Beef Packing Company has a lot to say about the benefits of its feedlot-raised, grain-fed beef versus grassfed beef, and is currently using an edited version of an article by James E. McWilliams, entitled “Beware the Myths of Grassfed Beef,” to support its argument.
I’m not sure if the editing of this newer version was done by McWilliams himself, or if National realized that if they printed the original article in its entirety they would at the very least find themselves promoting the animal welfare and health benefits of grassfed over feedlot beef. Because in his original article, McWilliams states that “the comparative health benefits of grass-fed beef are well documented” and that “scores of studies indicate that it’s higher in omega 3s and lower in saturated fat.” He also says that grassfed systems are “kinder to the animals” – all points which have miraculously disappeared from the National Beef Packing Company’s current version. But let’s not worry about that now, and go straight to the “meat” of the article.