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farmer-veteran workshops
 Keith's dad, January 1943
After the war he enjoyed growing tomatoes

Farmers - Veterans Workshop

When our friend Hal returned home from WWII he was searching for something. He had a variety of jobs, nothing felt right.  Then he started helping a friend farm. He also started gardening. He began to feel his worth again. He'd found a challenging occupation. Keith's dad enjoyed growing tomatoes. It was a rewarding experience.  Are you a veteran  interested in farming? The Farmer Veteran Coalition is holding a series of 4 farmers -Veterans workshop to help veterans interested in starting a farm business or finding agricultural related employment. Here are the dates and locations of these workshops in Iowa:

February 20, 2014 Ottumwa, IA

February 22, 2014 Waterloo, IA

March 13, 2014 Red Oak, IA

March 15, 2014 Storm Lake, IA

Here's a calendar of events with more information.        DSCN0005-150x150 (2)

GrazingJust when you thought it couldn't get any worse...
Monsanto is receiving the Nobel Prize for agriculture! In June 6500 genetically engineered sugar beet plants were destroyed in Oregon by unknown individuals. The sugar beets were the property of biotech giant Syngenta AG. The FBI is investigating. There's a backlash to big agriculture, consumers want to choose what they eat and how it's been grown. The 'Just label it' project is still collecting signatures, if you haven't signed their petition yet, now is a great time.

BUYER BEWARE! At the recent Grassfed Exchange Conference buyers and producers of "Grass fed" cattle defended their policy of selling steers who've been fed distillers grains and soy hulls (these aren't non-GMO or organic grains by the way. There's no reason to feed any grain to grass fed cattle!). You might be surprised who is selling this beef in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and at many co-ops in the area. At Forest Hill Farm we don't source our beef steers, we raise them. All the beef sold by Forest Hill Farm is 100% grass fed, rotationally grazed, dry aged and is raised on this farm.
If you are interested in finding out who's selling this beef? I'll send you the article,  email me, you might be surprised! You might be even more surprised to find out who buys these steers and sells it as 'grass fed beef' direct to consumers.

This summer we've had a beef shortage, for that, we apologize. The demand has outpaced production. This fall we bought a few heifers from a friend who bought one of our registered Red Angus bulls, 'Combine' a couple years ago. The Heifers have outnumbered the bull calves born on the farm. The good news is the herd is growing steadily. The beef shortage will be resolved next summer.
Warmest wishes and food for thought.

6C8644044-130815-bees.blocks_desktop_mediumFriends of the Earth has releases a new study by The Pesticide Research Institute. In the study they found that many “bee friendly” plants sold at Home Depot, Lowes, and other large garden centers contained neurotoxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids which could harm or kill bees and other pollinators. 7 of 13 sample garden plants purchased at top retailers contained these toxic compounds.

The EPA is taking action to protect bees by developing new pesticide labels that indicate ingredients that may harm bees. The new labels will have an advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. The labels will contain warnings for products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Here's a great TED Talk by Marla Spivak - Why Bees Are Disappearing

 

Leg of lamb roast
Leg of lamb roast

Omega 3 fatty acid is essential for human and animal health. It plays a vital role in boosting immunity, disease resistance, creating anti-inflammatory responses to infection, and reduces the risk of heart disease and blood clots. Leading British ruminant nutritionist Cliff Lister says, “Grass-based diets encourage lean muscle development rather than fat, meaning that grass-fed beef and lamb is typically leaner than meat produced from silage or grain-fed stock and contains a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Click here for Roast leg of lamb Recipe

Forest Hill Farm's lamb is 100% grass fed. The sheep graze in our organic pastures.

 

 

Honey Bees Are The Bomb!

Mine Sweeping Bees

Croatian researchers are developing a new tool to locate the estimated 250,000 mines buried in the war torn region: honey bees! Honey bees are too light to trigger the devices and they can be trained to hunt for TNT. Read more

GE Wheat? We haven't Got Any GE Wheat...or Do We?

 

USDA Discovers GE Wheat

USDA officials are investigating the discovery of Genetically engineered wheat found in Oregon. Monsanto was authorized to field test the Roundup Ready wheat in 16 states from 1998- 2005 but Monsanto withdrew it’s application in 2004. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services emphasized that this wheat doesn’t pose a food  safety concern. The FDA stated that the GE wheat variety was as safe as any non-GE wheat currently on the market.

Monsanto issued this statement:

“The glyphosate-tolerance gene used in Roundup Ready wheat has a long history of safe use. The gene that was used in Roundup Ready wheat also produces the same protein that has been and is used widely in corn, soy and several other crops by millions of farmers throughout the world.”

My wise and wonderful grandmother use to say, “Right is right even if no one does it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone does it.” I think those words perfectly apply here. Just because millions of farmers world wide are using a product doesn’t mean it’s a safe or that it's a good product.

Agent Orange Corn

Dow AgriSciences announced the launch of Enlist corn which is resistant to 2,4-D. Dow expects the first sales of Enlist corn in 2013 with a planting date of 2014.

Shared Links

Our customers are the best! They're informed, educated and always willing to share. Here are some links they've sent us....

The Best and Worst States for Eating Locally

Where does Iowa rank? How about California? You might be pleasantly surprised with the results. Kudos, Cameo thanks for the link!

GMO Awareness

  Wow! This is the eye opening history of  Monsanto. Thanks for sharing Dave!

 

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CRE...The New, Deadly Bacteria
There's a new  family of bacteria resistant to ALL known antibiotics. It kills nearly half of the patients infected with it.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) calls this a "nightmare" bacteria. CRE stands for Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae. It's not found in the general population, yet. One-in-24 hospitals in the United States are infected with the CRE bacteria, it's  also found in nursing homes.  The truly frightening progression of this bacteria is it's ability to spread resistance to other bacteria.
“These are nightmare bacteria that present a triple threat,” said Thomas Frieden, director at CDC,  “They’re resistant to nearly all antibiotics. They have high mortality rates, killing half of people with serious infections. And they can spread their resistance to other bacteria.” One of the insidious behaviors of this bacteria; It's evolving.  It’s “the biggest threat to patient safety in the hospital we have,” said Costi Sifri, an infectious disease physician at the University of Virginia Health System, “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anything is slowing their spread.”
Could antibiotics in animal feed have contributed to this? So far, a connection hasn't been made. In my opinion logic and common sense would lead to this conclusion. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) urged for the banning of antibiotics in animal feed.   They're also calling for stricter guidelines regarding the human use of antibiotics. The OMA in a report titled, "When Antibiotics Stop Working" explained that doctors are facing the extinction of one of the most fundamental and life-saving tools in medicine - effective  antibiotics.
Seventy percent of all antibiotic consumption in the USA is used up by the farming industry - most is used in livestock feed.  In livestock production antibiotics are used to promote growth, not health. Combined resistance to multiple antibiotics has been found in E. coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. When will the excessive use end?
In 1977, the US FDA concluded that adding antibiotics for human medicine to livestock feed raised the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Peter Lehner, from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) asked why nothing has been done over the last 35 years.  Lehner said:

"More than a generation has passed since FDA first recognized the potential human health consequences of feeding large quantities of antibiotics to healthy animals. Accumulating evidence shows that antibiotics are becoming less effective, while our grocery store meat is increasingly laden with drug-resistant bacteria. The FDA needs to put the American people first by ensuring that antibiotics continue to serve their primary purpose - saving human lives by combating disease."

Here at Forest Hill Farm we don't use antibiotics in feed. Cattle and sheep only eat grass. Pigs and poultry aren't fed ANY antibiotics.

More food for thought!

Cattle Quiz: What cattle eat 678 always loves to have her picture taken

 

 
 
 Click on the links to see what some farmers are feeding their livestock.
Cattle are ruminants. Ruminants eat grass, at least they should. Here's a simple quiz to test your knowledge. If you guess correctly  you should  become a cattle farmer, we need common sense producers.
1. Cows eat...
If you guessed 'A' you're one smart cookie! However, both B and C are being used as cattle feed. The biggest shocker is that University scientists and veterinarians aren't admonishing these alternative feed practices, they're studying them  Read more here
 
2. Cattle's rumens are designed to digest...
a. Grass
b. Gummy worms
c. Sawdust
e. All of the above
I tried to throw you off with the potato chips. If you guessed 'A' you're right again, kind of. These day's  'All of the above' (excluding 'A' as an answer) might be correct. Grass is very expensive, especially if it's on ground that could have gone into corn production so cheaper alternatives are being fed to cattle at an alarming rate.
 
3. Cattle need _____________ to thrive...
b. Gummy worms, antibiotics, hormone implants
c. Sawdust, antibiotics, hormone implants
d. Potato chips, antibiotics, hormone implants

If you guessed 'A' congratulations again! You might know more about feeding cattle than some farmers. Don't you feel smarter already?