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Climate Change | Water Shortage | Agriculture

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December 29  |  climate change, crops, Editorial, Farm, global warming, Nutrition, Opinion, Research, safe drinking water, water conservation, water preservation, water stewardship  |   Webmaster

While the pundits and partisan experts continue to argue over the validity of global warming, there is little doubt that climate change is a reality.  The rapidly increasing changes in our climate are impacting our water supply.

Scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have calculated how much of this essential resource the world risks losing to the effects of climate change.  Droughts will become more widespread and wildfires are expected to get bigger, longer and smokier by 2050. The growing world population and its increase in water consumption are also straining fresh water resources.  Water sources are melting and drying out.   

37 nations already make do with the bare minimum in water resources, according to experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a co-author of the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.  Massive investments in efficient water management are necessary to counter the effects of water scarcity.

 Agriculture is the world’s largest consumer of water

In times of rising food prices, the agricultural sector has become more interesting for investors. Asian companies, particularly in China, as well as their European counterparts are buying up large swaths of land in Africa to grow food products. They, too, have a vested interest in good harvests and are keen on investment in any aspect of agriculture that offers a significant opportunity to reduce its demand for water. However, technical solutions to save water in agriculture will play only a small role due to the high costs.

Changes in the world’s agriculture and eating habits need to be re-examined

Hunger follows on the heels of water scarcity

Agriculture must change in order to counter dwindling water resources. Climate researchers warn of an increased risk of hunger, in particular in poorer countries, with farmers trying to adapt to cycles of recurring drought and extreme, torrential rains.  One way to counter these extremes is through organic farming, which strengthens the capacity of the soil to absorb water, to enrich it and later deliver it again to the plants.

Organic farming could also limit the spread of diseases and pests without farmers having to resort to pesticides.  Crop rotation and diversity would make it more difficult for diseases and crop destroyers to infest cultivated areas.  This was common practice for many generations before industrial farming began.

In addition, consumers will have to alter their habits in ways that include eating less meat and seeking out crops more attuned to local conditions.  In dry regions of the world, farmers could plant the cereal crop millet, which needs significantly less water than corn.

Another climate-friendly measure: growers and consumers should be located closer to one another to decrease theamount of shipments and transports.

Such changes would help feed a constantly growing global population.  Even today, the world produces enough food for 14 billion people.

We don’t need to produce more foodwhat we need is better quality and more diversity.

 

Source:  http://www.dw.de/climate-change-fuels-water-scarcity-and-hunger/a-17325128

 

 

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Water Critical Issue for Farmers`

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March 10  |  Case Studies, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Opinion  |   Webmaster

This is a very timely and telling story for Canadians.  It’s shocking to think that Canada, a country with more water than almost any other country on the planet, has to worry about water supply. This seemingly inexhaustable supply has always been taken for granted and thus encouraged us to be wasteful and inefficient with our use of water. That can’t continue.

A panel of experts has reported that water is becoming a critical issue for Canadian farmers and better water management needs to start now.

The comprehensive 284-page report, Water and Agriculture in Canada: Towards Sustainable Management of Water Resources is from the Council of Canadian Academies, an independent, nonprofit organization that prepares science-based studies to inform public policy.

The panel identified critical areas, such as risks to water supply, monitoring of water quality and quantity, land management, new farming technologies and governance of water resources.

See the full story by Bob McDonald, science editor for CBC, please click here  …

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Thank God for Farmers

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February 17  |  crops, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Nutrition, Opinion  |   Webmaster

The whole world was buzzing with tweets, emails, facebook comments, and all sorts of social media shortly after the airing of the now famous “So God Made a Farmer” commercial during the Super Bowl football game.  It struck a chord in most people and for a brief moment in time, seemed to transcend the differences between country-folk and city-folk.  It served as a reminder for all of us to pay tribute to that small group of dedicated individuals and families, scattered throughout the land, who help feed and nourish us.   Farming and ranching has a long history and is a cornerstone in our success as a civilization.  Yes, indeed, thank God for farmers.

Farmers Feed Cities

Thank a Farmer

 

 

 

The words in the video are from the speech that Mr. Paul Harvey gave to the 1978 National FFA Convention.   Here is the transcript to this wonderful and inspiring speech:  

So God Made a Farmer

And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the township board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to cradle his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure to come back real soon and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse, who can fix a harness with hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, will put in another 72 hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to help a newborn calf begin to suckle and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower in an instant to avoid the nest of meadowlarks.”

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, rake, disk, plow, plant, strain the milk, replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with an eight mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his his son says he want to spend his life doing what dad does- “So God made a farmer.”

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Following are the links for the Dodge Ram ad, the original YouTube video, and other informative sites:

http://www.youtube.com/ram

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuzhwkaNC40

http://www.farms.com/FarmsPages/ChatDeshBoard/ChatThreadView/tabid/146/Default.aspx?chatid=112671

https://puroxi.com/archives/5653

I love farmers

 

 

 

 

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Antibiotic Resistance in China

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February 16  |  antibiotics, Case Studies, Farm, food safety, Immune System, Latest News, Livestock, Pork, Research  |   Webmaster

More disturbing news from China. A news alert from Food Safety News reveals that manure from Chinese pig farms contains both antibiotic residues and high concentrations of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

The new study published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences adds to the evidence that antibiotics used by China’s pork producers pose significant health risks. The study also found that once manure leaves the farm, its potential for spreading antibiotic resistance to other surrounding bacteria in the environment is much diminished, but not eliminated. Why should this concern us?  Because it is becoming a worldwide problem.  “We’re not trying to single out the Chinese here. This is a global problem,” said James Tiedje, a microbiologist from Michigan State University who joined the team of Chinese researchers for the project.

Pork production with antibiotic use has been growing rapidly in China, where half of world’s pigs are grown for a country with a growing appetite for pork. Demand for pork has increased in the orient, while it is steadily dropping in western countries, and almost non-existent in the middle and near east countries. For a variety of religious, cultural, and personal health reasons, a huge and growing segment of the world’s population abstains from pork and the mounting evidence seems to support their position.

Closer to home, a recent article by Dr. Mercola detailed surprising and disturbing results in a new investigation by Consumer Reports. It found that 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested — nearly 200 samples in total — were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes fever and gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.

The pork also tested positive for other contaminants, including the controversial drug ractopamine, which is banned in many parts of the world. Worst of all, many of the bacteria found in the pork were resistant to multiple antibiotics, weakening the immune system and compromising medical treatment with potentially lethal results. 

And much like other countries, what happens on the farm doesn’t stay on the farm – and it can impact human health.    Said a press release on the study, “Manure, compost, or soil containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria could thwart the efficacy of human antibiotic therapies if it runs off into rivers, leaches into groundwater, is dispersed as dust, or if composted manure is distributed as organic fertilizer, according to the authors.”

There is some good news, however.  Any of our customers operating pig farms have successfully overcome, and in many cases, eliminated these issues by using PurOxi products and systems.  Clean ~ Clear ~ Nutritional ~ Water is a cornerstone in their healthy, prosperous operations.

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Source: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/02/china-antibiotic-resistent-bacteria-found-in-pig-manure/#.UR_aJfLaKSo

For full report and scientific evidence visit http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/02/05/1222743110 and click on the links provided.  Click here for the pdf file.

 

 

Drought Lingers on as Crops Wither

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August 30  |  crops, Farm, Latest News  |   Webmaster

Following is an interesting graphic from the NY Times, showing the latest info on the drought and resulting crop production.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/24/us/drought-crops.html?smid=tw-share

 

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It’s all about the Drought!

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August 26  |  crops, Dairy, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Newsletters, Opinion  |   Webmaster

Unless we’ve been in a cave or in outer space for the past few weeks, we are all aware of the severe drought that has been plaguing the Midwest.  Actually, you can see its effects from space:

 http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/us-drought-so-bad-nasa-can-see-it-space.html

This is the worst drought since 1988 and may go on record for causing the worst economic and social effects since the infamous 1930s “Dustbowl”.  It may take years to recover as a nation, but many small & medium size farms may not survive it.

The USDA is issuing weekly updates …

http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/08/24/agricultural-weather-and-drought-update-%e2%80%93-82412/

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=DISASTER_ASSISTANCE

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

It’s estimated that this current drought is affecting over 68% of farmland and over 80% of essential crops in those areas, especially corn, hay, soya beans, etc.  And the effects will be felt across the nation with rising food prices and a strained federal budget to try and offset some of the losses.  Thank God for crop insurance!  Payouts from this year’s drought are expected to set record levels.  Unfortunately, livestock producers and dairy farmers have no such safety net.  Various government levels have tried to open up reserve land for grazing, water-sharing programs, meat buying programs, etc. but it is a drop in the bucket.  Clean water and grazing lands are becoming scarce and feed corn and hay have doubled in price since 2010.

While the debate rages on about whether global warming is the cause or whether this is just one of earth’s cycles of change and the while the policy makers on Capitol Hill bicker about their partisan lobby interests, farmers and ranchers struggle to survive, waiting for the much anticipated Farm Bill to finally become law.  It may be too late or not enough for some.   These dedicated, hearty individuals are used to struggle and adversity and being dependent on Mother Nature.   But they don’t like to depend on any level government.  Emergency drought legislation would surely help right now.

Meanwhile, more and more farmers and ranchers are taking to the internet and social media to stay connected, updated, and to network with others, sharing stories, ideas, and recommendations.  In fact, they have their own hashtag on Twitter: #drought12.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/08/24/159999270/farmers-waiting-out-the-drought-tune-into-twitter

Yes, this has been and will continue to be a very tough year for those dear folks.  Next to oxygen and water, they are responsible for the most important ingredient for our life – FOOD!  We are grateful for their dedication, hard work and pioneer spirit and are proud to be a part of their operations.

Let’s all offer them whatever support we can and pray for them.

 

Following are some links of interest to this ongoing story.  There are many more.

 

http://cropwatch.unl.edu/croprss/-/journal_content/56/1841/4969212?

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/us/drought-missouri-dairy-farmers/index.html

http://www.agprofessional.com/news/Farmers-persevering-through-drought-167350075.html

http://farmprogress.com/customPage.aspx?p=382

http://science.time.com/2012/07/18/how-the-drought-of-2012-will-make-your-food-more-expensive/

http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-drought-devastating-american-farmland-2012-7?op=1

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/drought/index.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/08/23/f-drought-climate-change.html

http://www.fb.org/

 

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Dairy Farmers left out in the heat with no assistance from govt.

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August 26  |  crops, Dairy, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Opinion  |   Webmaster

“Where’s the Beef?”

Dairy Farmers left to fend for themselves while partisan politics delay the Farm Bill.

No emergency drought assistance forthcoming.

 

The drought pushed fifth-generation dairy farmer Mark Argall out of the business    photo by Brandon Ancil/CNN

 

Small and medium sized dairy farms are barely hanging on, while some are selling off parts of their herd and others unwillingly going out of business, while Capitol Hill drags it feet in passing the omnibus Farm Bill.

The Obama administration earlier this month announced emergency drought assistance that included low-interest emergency loans; a federal buy-up of meat from livestock producers; and the opening up of some protected lands for livestock grazing.

None of those efforts are targeted at dairy farmers, however, dairy advocates say.

Farmers in southern Missouri are selling of dairy cows because their fields have dried up. photo by Brandon Ancil / CNN

 

Missouri’s governor, meanwhile, created a cost-share program to help farmers get access to water for their cattle, but McCallister said that’s more of a Band-Aid than a real solution.

Michael Scuse, under-secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said dairy farmers have not been offered enough of a safety net because Congress has not finalized an omnibus piece of legislation called the Farm Bill.

“Had we had a Farm Bill passed by now, there’s a very good chance we could offer some additional assistance” to dairy farmers who are struggling because of the drought, he said.

Several programs that deal with emergency assistance for livestock owners expired in September 2011; and an insurance program for livestock producers, which he said “never had adequate funding,” will be cut further in September and eliminated by October 1 unless new legislation is passed, he said.

 

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Pray for Farmers

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August 26  |  crops, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock  |   Webmaster

It might be a little late to pray for rain to save this year’s harvest, but not too late to pray for farmers and ranchers who are hurt by the lack of it. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation asked Americans to join them in a National Day of Prayer on Thursday, Aug. 23, for all those being affected by the drought. 

 

Let’s all continue to pray for those dedicated, hard-working people that grow our food and please spread the word.

“The farmer’s is a sacred calling because he is a collaborator with God in the work of His creation. … The farmer’s calling is one that must command great respect. Much knowledge and skill are required to manage well the farmstead with its land and fences, barns and granaries, tools, and machinery. Farming is among the greatest of human arts. The farmer must be an artisan and a craftsman, a capitalist, financier, manager, worker; a producer and a seller. He must know soil and seed, poultry and cattle; he must know when to till the soil, cultivate his fields, and harvest his crops. In the presence of his Lord the farmer should recall all this, not in a spirit of vainglory or pride, but in grateful appreciation of the calling that God gave him as a tiller of the soil. Praise and thanksgiving should rise in his heart as he reflects on the high regard the Lord has showered upon him and his work.”

(From Partnership with God, by the Most Reverend Aloisius J. Muench.)

 

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Let’s acknowledge Farmers

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July 23  |  Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Newsletters, Opinion  |   Webmaster

Take a Moment to Appreciate Farmers and Ranchers:

We all take the supply and safety of our food for granted, without really thinking of how it got to our grocers.

Please take a moment to view these videos to gain a true appreciation for all those dedicated, hard-working folks who take their responsibilities seriously to keep us fed, well-nourished, and healthy.

YouTube

http://youtu.be/121obbAdQtM      

http://youtu.be/Kg_T3cZm5Ms    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uqYTMjintSA     

http://youtu.be/R4rzCJehqn4

 

And here are some interviews and insights from local ranchers and farmers:

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/07/16/what-every-farmer-wants-to-hear-go-usa/?hpt=ea_r2

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/07/03/no-bull-start-a-conversation-with-a-farmer/

 

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Antibiotics in Meat

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July 18  |  antibiotics, Beef, Editorial, Farm, food safety, Latest News, Opinion, Reports, Tests  |   Webmaster

The resistance to over-use of antibiotics is gaining steam throughout North America after the recent release of a detailed study by Consumers Report.  Apparently 82% of those surveyed said that they would buy antibiotic-free meat and poultry if it were available. This sounds quite convincing and seems to endorse the position of the Consumers Union and its supporters:  (FixFood, Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, Natural Resources Defense Council, etc.)

However, closer inspection reveals that it was 82% of the 24% of respondents who said that the stores where they shopped did not offer antibiotic-free meat/poultry.  That in fact amounts to less than 20% of the total people surveyed.

Most large cattle ranchers and hog and chicken farmers put antibiotics in  either feed or water to help their livestock process food more efficiently and  to bulk up faster.  Veterinarians and cattle experts argue that using small doses of antibiotics  as a preventive measure cuts the risk of an animal getting sick by 25 percent to  50 percent.

But many scientists and medical doctors believe giving antibiotics to animals  when they are not sick contributes to more drug-resistant infections, known as “superbugs” in humans.  The most recent data used by the “no antibiotics” camp is a 2002 report released by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.  It states that the “vast majority” of the 99,000 people who died from hospital-acquired infections, were caused by antibiotic-resistant infections.

Undoubtedly, this debate will rage on for some time.  It may even become a political hot button approaching the November primaries.  For more information on this topic, we have listed some links below. 

http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2012/06/consumer-reports-poll-majority-of-americans-want-meat-raised-without-antibiotics-sold-at-local-supermarkets.html

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/06/antibiotics-are-widely-used-by-u-s-meat-industry/index.htm

http://notinmyfood.org/press_release/consumers-union-launches-marketplace-campaign-for-meat-raised-without-antibiotics

http://www.meatwithoutdrugs.org/#the-issue

Also, for those who prefer to examine their options, we have included a real-time map of farms, markets, eateries and retailers who serve meat raised without excessive use of antibiotics.

http://www.realtimefarms.com/fixantibiotics

http://blog.realtimefarms.com/2012/06/21/real-time-farms-powers-the-fixantibiotics-food-finder/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog

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Editor’s Note:

Oxy Blast customers report drastic reduction in the need to use  anitbiotics and report improved health and weight gains in all species.

 

 

 

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