Organic Farming

A New Super Villain Idea for HollywoodCleaning up the Environment

If movie writers in Hollywood want to create a super villain more devious than Lex Luther, they should look to the mega companies supplying agricultural chemicals. Super villains always have devious plans to control people’s basic needs; food, air, or water. Those un-seen, yet ever present, ag chemicals are polluting the essentials of everyday life; water, food, and air. They’re killers.

On A Scale of 1 - 10

It seems that we’re vilifying plastic grocery bags and drinking straws, which have environmental consequences, however they’re not the super villains of the environment. On A scale of 1 -10 they're up there, but they don't rank at the top.

Scout troops and community do gooders can’t walk the roadside cleaning up the chemical residue and then stacking the garbage bags to show the success of their cleanup efforts. Reversing the impact from agricultural chemicals will take policy changes and an environmental protection plan that actually protects the environment.

Policies should be in the best interest of soil, water, consumers, and all lifeforms. Policies should not be politically motivated by elected officials whose campaigns are funded with kickbacks, lobbying donations or solely motivated by the desire to be re-elected.

In the United States the third leading cause of death in children is Malignant neoplasm (cancerous tumors). Could agricultural pollution be a factor?  Studies show that glyphosate is present in breakfast cereal, breast milk, and water.

Take Action

Protect your health by eating non-gmo and organic food whenever possible. Grow your own organic veggies, eat grass-fed organic meat.

There are safe insecticides that don't have negative consequences. Put your health at the forefront of your life.

Bug Jugs, Homemade Herbicide, Garden Dust

If you're a backyard orchardist and garden enthusiast here are three recipes to keep your fruit trees pest free, kill weeds, and repel cabbage worms. Best of all - the ingredients are right in your kitchen or available at a garden center.

'Bug jugs' protect fruit trees by trapping apple maggots and moth larvae. The weed control recipe is a safe herbicide that controls vegetation around young trees and kills garden weeds. And the third recipe for garden dust effectively controls cabbage worms and larvae. These recipes are safe to use around kids, pets, and pollinators.

Insect Traps for Fruit Trees

Fruit trees need special care; pruning, dormant oil, weed suppression and pest control. Here's a solution that's a safe and effective control to protect fruit from pest damage.

Safe, Alternative Pesticide and Herbicide Recipes

Bug Jugs

  • clean gallon jug
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 banana peel
  • enough water to fill the jug 1/3 full

Tape the cap to the bottom of the jug (for easy disposal because the jug will be full of gross, dead pests). Place the banana peel inside the jug, add the remaining ingredients.

After the blossoms are set hang one jug per inch of tree diameter. Use wide twine or a soft cloth tied through the jug's handle to hang them. Don't use thin string or fishing line because it cuts into the tree's protective bark.

Weed Control

Eradicate and control weeds use the following recipe, It's is very effective and with a few precautions it's safe to apply.

Homemade Herbicide:

Mix all the ingredients together. 20% vinegar is available at farm and garden supply stores or through online retailers. 

Wear gloves and eye protection, 20% vinegar can burn on contact.

When applying  in small areas, or to kill weeds in close proximity to desirable plants, use a dish sponge wand filled with this solution. Wipe the leaves of undesirable plants.

For larger areas use with a garden sprayer.

Apply in dry, warm weather. A second application may be necessary for tougher weeds.

Be careful - this mixture will kill all plants, both desirables and weeds.

Safe, Alternative Pesticide and Herbicide RecipesControl Garden Pests

The final recipe is for controlling garden pests, especially cabbage worms.

Garden Dust

  • 1 cup Diatomaceous earth or all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBS Cayenne pepper

Sift the ingredients together and apply with a garden duster or use a screen sifter (your kids sandbox sifter works great for this) dust plants in the morning while they're wet with dew.

Diatomaceous earth is available at garden centers, farm supply stores and online. It will repel a larger variety of pests than household flour, but we've been successful using both.

Apply this mixture a couple of times per week or after it rains.

These three recipes are a practical and powerful alternative to harsh chemicals.

Happy Gardening!

 

What is your state doing about factory farms?Great News for Iowa!

Iowa currently has over 10,000 factory farms.  A new bill presented in The Iowa House of Representatives, House file number 203 by  Sharon Steckman (D-53).  proposes a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms.
State senator Claire Celsi (D-21) is introducing companion legislation in the Iowa State Senate.
In Iowa over 750 waterways are impaired due to factory farms and chemical run-off.

Show support for this bill by telling your state representatives that Iowa's environment, and your family's health, is a priority.

Here's More great news...
The Rodale Institute is a pioneer for organic farming methods. They are opening the Midwest Organic Center at Indian Creek Nature Center in Marion, Iowa this summer. They will have an outreach and education center. The Rodale Institute is a great resource for organic farms and farmers transitioning to organic practices.

Organic Farms

 There are 723 organic farms in Iowa, ranking it 5th in the nation. 
Forest Hill Farm is proud to be an Iowa organic farm.
We're committed to the health of the land, livestock and you, our customers.

 

 

 

Are you a typical American?

Americans spend 43% of their food budgets eating out or getting take-out.
In 1985 it was 41% - BethKobliner

Change what you eat.

What if for one month you got the entire family involved in meal planning, shopping, and food prep.

Give the kids a cookbook and let them choose the menu and write the shopping list.

When my sister and I were kids we enjoyed, Betty Crocker's Boys and Girls Cookbook. We made fun, easy recipes.
Our boys loved Roald Dahl's books. They recreated the recipes from Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes cookbook.

Your family will share delicious meals and quality time together. Cooking at home is healthier, less expensive, and fun.

Avoid health risks by avoiding chain restaurants

Beef with a Side of Antibiotics-

Two burger chains, Shake Shack and BurgerFi, serve beef without the routine use of antibiotics. These are the only two restaurants to earn an “A” on the Chain Reaction scorecard. This is the fourth annual scorecard released by six major consumer and environmental organizations. 22 of the top 25, including McDonalds got an “F” grade because they don't have a policy restricting antibiotic use in their beef.

Public health experts warn that the widespread use of antibiotics in meat production is rendering antibiotics less effective by creating drug-resistant bacteria.
Click here for the report

Better yet, eat organic, grass-fed meat at home!

Food Facts For Thought:

  • Over 50% of the environmental impact of producing beef involves growing the corn used as feed. (hint, hint...buy grass-fed beef instead of grain fed) source: -Successful Farming, January 2019
  • There will be a 50% increase in food demand by 2050 -FAO
  • By 2030, 62% of the crops used the most in any nation's diet will originate from some other country. -International Center for tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  • Meat Recalls According to a report by U.S. Public Interest Research Group, recalls of beef, pork and chicken rose by 83% over the past five years. More than 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food-borne illness every year.

Weight Loss Without Dieting and Cancer Protection Study
MIG Grazing

A diet of grass based meat works as well as Weight Watchers without having to buy packaged meals, attend meetings, or calculate points. Grass fed meat and dairy are leaner than grain fed products, they also have fewer calories. When it comes to loosing weight, Grass Fed Beef -is the dieter's choice

The typical amount of beef eaten in the U.S. annually is 67 pounds. Changing from grain fed to grass fed beef will save you 16,642 calories per year. A six-ounce beef loin from a grass-fed steer may have 92 fewer calories than a six-ounce loin from a grain-fed steer. Source: Pasture Perfect by Jo Robinson

It's A Big Deal

Loosing 4.75 pounds a year doesn't sound like a huge difference but it only requires switching to grass-fed meat. Adding exercise and calorie restriction amplifies your results. There's a bigger benefit to grass-fed meat than weight loss, though.

Organic Diets Lower Cancer Risks

A new study published in JAMA International Medicine found that eating organic foods can reduce your risk of developing cancer by 25%. Some study participants, the volunteers that ate mostly organic food, were 73% less likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That's the cancer linked to Monsanto's Round-up (currently there are 8700 plaintiffs suing Monsanto). There is also a significant reduction in postmenopausal breast cancer in consumers of organic foods. 

The researchers were surprised by the enormity of protection that organic food provided. The study followed 68,946 volunteers for four and a half years.

Julia Baudry, the study’s lead author and a researcher with the Center of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cité of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research said, "We did expect to find a reduction, but the extent of the reduction is quite important."

She noted the study does not prove an organic diet causes a reduction in cancers, but strongly suggests ,“that an organic-based diet could contribute to reducing cancer risk."

An organic diet may reduce the risk of breast cancer because organic production prohibits pesticide use. Pesticides are endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen function.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified two pesticides, malathion and diazinon, along with the herbicide glyphosate (Round-up)  as probable human carcinogens. All three are linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Grass-fed meat and dairy  are higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which researchers have noted lowers the risk of breast cancer. Finnish researchers found that women who consumed the highest amount of CLA had 60% lower risk of breast cancer than those with the least CLA.

Eat Clean in 2019!

Fat Cattle and Lean hogs is an oxymoron, cattle are naturally lean. Hogs are, by nature, fatter. Confinement operations want leaner hogs so they feed ractopamine (Paylean supplements). Again, confinement livestock producers are working against nature.

As a consumer you need to work with your body to promote healthy living. Give yourself a fighting chance, switch to an organic diet that includes grass-fed meat, dairy and eggs it will be a great boost for your health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of One Grass-fed Steer

  • 1 grass-fed steer prevents soil erosion
  • 1 grass-fed steer builds soil’s organic matter
  • 1 grass-fed steer improves soil’s water retention
  • 1 grass-fed steer, when MIG grazed, reverses desertification
  • 1 grass-fed steer prevents 8 pounds of phosphorus from entering waterways
  • 1 grass-fed steer feeds four families healthy meat and heals the environment
  • 1 grass-fed steer removes up to 20,000 pounds of atmospheric carbon from the air
  • 1 grass-fed steer keeps 100 pounds of nitrogen from polluting streams, rivers, and lakes
75% of all grass-fed beef sold in the United Stated is imported. Buying local grass-fed beef supports farmers and restores the environment where you live.

Now, from the power of grass-fed meat to superbugs ...

The latest tests by federal scientists found that nearly 80% of supermarket meat had antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“Consumers need to know about potential contamination of the meat they eat, so they can be vigilant about food safety, especially when cooking for children, pregnant women, older adults or the immune-compromised,” said Dawn Undurraga, Environmental Working Group’s nutritionist and author of the report.
Those bacteria were resistant to at least one of fourteen antibiotics tested for by the Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a federal public health partnership.

Now, Let’s Talk Corn...

Genetically engineered corn seed is “stacked,” with traits. There are three levels of “stacked” corn. Each stack is either; corn borer resistant, rootworm resistant or herbicide resistant. A double stack has two traits, a triple stack has all three.
GMWatch reported that rats fed triple stacked corn developed leaky stomachs.

Now, It's Your Turn...

Put the Power of One Grass-fed Steer to work for you. Feed your family healthy meat that repairs the environment and heals the earth. Avoid products that cause harm to your family and the area you live in.
You have the Power to improve your diet and the earth!

Twenty-six years ago we decided to go organic. Now, two healthy young men later, we're still committed to healthy farming. That's why our farm is certified organic.

Many hours were spent learning about grass-fed meat and the benefits of raising food organically.

The Reasons to go Organic

Here are the two primary reasons we started organic farming ...

Go Organic

 Cookie

and

 Garrett.

They grew up on organic fruits, veggies, grass-fed raw milk and organic meat.

Both have grown and the farm has, too.

The boys live overseas and look forward to beef and dairy when they get home. They don't eat much of either one in Vietnam.

Our son and his new wife will be here soon. He asked if we're milking Blossom, the house cow. She'll calve in the next few days. Ten days after calving we'll separate her calf at night and reunite them after milking each morning. Everyone is looking forward to good milk.

Another reason to go organic, Our first grandson, Max.

Go Organic

Organic, grass-fed meat is better for kids

Studies show that Pesticides lower IQ scores. Evidence suggests that genetically engineered food may contribute to Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and allergies in children.

Here's Some Good News...

The organic Trade Association released a new and expanded survey on organic attitudes of U.S. Families.

Twenty-five percent of the millennials in America are parents. In the next 10 to 15 years, 80% of millennials will be moms and dads.

This generation is a huge supporter of organics. The survey shows that becoming a parent deepens the desire for consuming organic products.

If you're not a dad yet, here's an important suggestion;

Change Your Fruit, Not Your Underwear

The age-old solution of switching from briefs to boxers is outdated. To father a child change the fruit you eat, not your underwear.

Researchers at Harvard University surveyed 155 men who sought fertility treatments. They found subjects who ate more soft skinned produce, like potatoes, grapes and apples, which contain higher levels of pesticide residue, had half as many sperm and fewer normally formed sperm than men who ate more thick-skinned produce like avocados and pineapple. Study author Jorge Chavarro tells The Washington Post, "It was actually very surprising that we were able to identify such a strong association, I think this raises a lot more questions."

Here's another reason to go organic

Glyphosate (Round-up) Detected in Pregnant Women

Researchers from Indiana University and University of California San Francisco have linked glyphosate exposure in pregnancy to shortened gestational length.

93 percent of a study group of pregnant women in Indiana had detectable levels of the glyphosate in their urine. Those with higher levels delivered earlier compared to those with less or none.

Overall, glyphosate exposure during pregnancy is associated with shorter pregnancies, which correlate with lifelong adverse health consequences for children. 

Most Importantly...

Herbicides, pesticides, and the misuse of antibiotics in livestock feed is death by a thousand cuts.

It's incremental exposure over time that creates the tipping point in our health.

Your children are counting on you to limit their exposure before it's too late.. .

How do avoid the overload in the human body and environment?

  • Don't support the chemical companies.
  • Buy organic food for your family.
  • Buy organic seed for your garden.
  • Buy bee friendly plants and seeds.
  • Use earth friendly products.

Additionally, spend your money on items that YOU believe in. Products that are safe. Food that is nutritious, clean and organic.

Spend your money on items that Do No Harm.

Here are a Couple of Links to Check-out

Poisoning our children by Andre' Leu

Consumer Reports Banned Drugs in Meat

EcoWatch, Glyphosate detected in pregnant women

We'd love to serve you as a customer. However, if you're not in our area find a farmer that's committed to your health and sells pasture raised meat. EatWild.com has listings by state.

 

 

Bird and Flying Insect Populations are on the DeclineWe haven't seen a Red Tailed hawk on this farm in three years. Where have they gone? The barn swallow numbers are declining, too. As a matter of fact there are fewer birds in the area. Their numbers have declined in the last few years. The peripheral area surrounding the timber, where the brambles and wild flowers are abundant, is prime nesting ground. The wild turkeys and pheasants are thriving but the local and migratory bird numbers are dwindling. Bird and Flying Insect Populations are on the Decline

Is Your Windshield Clean?

David Kline, editor of farming magazine has noticed a scarcity of flying insects. He doesn't drive a car but asked drivers if they've noticed a difference. We've noticed. When we take a drive through the countryside the windshield stays clean, not bug splattered. We use to buy special washer fluid to get rid of the bug goo, not anymore.

Here in north east Iowa the helicopters and small planes (the aerial applicators) are unleashing insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides over the crop fields. Our farm is on the Sensitive Crop Registry to protect the bees we raise and our organic status. The sprayers don't fly over our farm which is a contentious issue for some in the area.

The next time you take a drive notice the windshield. If it's clean think about the possible causes and consequences. Why are the insects and birds disappearing? New studies show the negative effects agricultural chemicals have on developing brains, children's health, behavior and immunity. PLoS ONE links agricultural chemicals to the Decline of flying Insects

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Celebrate Bees

In the early spring, when the apple, peach and cherry trees are blossoming I keep the bees interested in pollinating the fruit trees by cutting the grass very short. This keeps the dandelions down until after the trees have finished blooming. It’s my trick to get bigger fruit crops.

Later in the spring there are still plenty of dandelions to keep the bees happy . And there's a variety of clovers and flowers planted for the bees, too.  It’s a pollinator paradise.

Bee FriendlyCelebrate Bees

On a trip to Seed Savers Exchange I bought Blue Boy Bachelor’s Button, Lambs Ear, and Heritage Farm Poppy seeds. The bees love these.

On our farm the pollinators are safe from  pesticides and herbicides. We’re an organic farm, it’s all about health and quality of life.

Recipes to Help Both You and the Bees

Honey Lemonadecelebrate bees

This lemonade is a great energy booster. Not only does it taste great it helps the honey bees and your local beekeeper.

  • 1 cup Fresh squeezed lemon Juice (if you don’t have a citrus juicer this one works great)
  • 1 cup local honey (support a local beekeeper, don’t by commercial honey, It's probably not be real honey, anyway)
  • 6 cups water
  • Put the honey and lemon juice in a blender and mix at high-speed for one minute.
  • Pour into a pitcher, add  water and ENJOY!
  • You can add fresh fruit, raspberries or strawberries taste great. Adding ginger or mint is an extra tasty treat, too.
  • Meyer lemons make this even better, they’re sweeter than regular lemons. When they’re available buy them in bulk and freeze the juice.

Bug Jugs and Bee Safe HerbicideCelebrate Bees

Plant bee friendly gardens and keep them pesticide free. These recipes protect your fruit trees and kill weeds without using glyphosate.

Save the Bees!

 

 

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The Efficiency of Grazing Cattle

Working on time management skills? You might just learn a thing or two from a cow. In the 1940's Cornell University studied cattle to see how they spent their time each day.  Andre' Voisin's book, Grass Productivity  has the detailed study on the efficiency of grazing cattle.

The university studied cow-calf pairs on pasture. Observers learned that cattle graze for a little less than eight hours per day. No over-time for bovine. They never exceed eight hours of grazing time.

Spend time Wisely

The cattle spent about seven hour per day ruminating (chewing their cud). The time differed slightly depending on the fiber content of the forage. Some ruminating is done lying down and part standing up.

Cattle lie down for slightly less than twelve hours per day. Cows divided these 12 hours into nine rest periods of varying length.

The cattle in the study didn't deviate in their daily routine. When they replicated the study in other countries the cattle showed the same results. In areas with hotter daytime temperatures the cattle spent no more than eight hours grazing, but they did it at night. The slight variances  by breed or heredity weren't much different, they didn't change the study's results.

Quality is Everything

Here's where the efficiency of grazing cattle matters.; If cattle spend eight hours grazing each day quality is everything. If they're grazing poor pastures without nutrient dense forage they're basically spending eight hours eating junk food. Eight hours of quality forage, either pasture or hay, boost the cattle’s health. Feeding quality produces quality results.And how they're grazing matters, too. MIG grazing improves soil quality and prevents erosion.

If you're spending eight hours at something be sure to get the greatest return from those hours. Junk in - junk out. Quality counts. With organic production It's about quality not quantity.

The Efficiency of Grazing Cattle

 

 

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