NIMBY stands for Not In My Backyard. Well, if not in my backyard, then in whose backyard should confinement feedlots go?
Construction at Walz Energy is starting up again. Energy is a misnomer, it's actually a giant feedlot. They are marketing themselves as an energy company, though. Last spring I wrote about the 10,000 head cattle feedlot in Monona, Iowa. This is a LARGE CAFO facility with plans to feed 10,000 head per cycle, with two cycles scheduled per year.
Public hearings expressed great concern about air quality, water quality, and the impact on neighbors. The Walz family operates a small feedlot at the same location. In the summer the stench is over powering and triggers my gag reflex.
Your right to extend your fist ends where my nose begins...
Believe me, the stench of 10,000 cattle in a feedlot will definitely extend beyond the feedlot's reach and hit your nose.
The liquid manure storage lagoon has a capacity of nearly 39 million
How Much is 39 Million Gallons?
59 Olympic swimming pools
The moisture from a 1 inch snowfall over 14,364 acres
750,000 gallons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second, 39 million gallons equals 52 seconds of water flow over Niagara Falls.
In the fall of 2018 the project was shut down and a fine imposed after water quality in Bloody Run Creek was impacted by run-off.
Remember, Iowa's waterways are some of the worst in the nation. Iowa's creeks and streams are polluted with nitrates, chemicals, and animal waste.
Does the Iowa DNR care to prevent further contamination of waterways in the state?
Despite opposition construction is resuming. This spring Walz Energy will submit a revised nutrient management plan (NMP), The DNR requires that a public notice be published, giving ten days to review the NMP and request a public hearing.
Joe Sanfilippo, supervisor of the DNR's environmental field office in Manchester, Iowa say's he is impressed with the contractor, “I think they will be capable of properly bringing the project forward.”
What Can You Do?
Today this facility is in my backyard, in the future, a similar facility might be in yours.
Express your concern with the DNR, local authorities, and environmental groups.
Money talks, vote with your dollars. Don't support CAFO's.
Stop buying conventionally raised beef, pork, and poultry.
The cost is MUCH higher than the price in the checkout line.
If you're concerned about genetically modified foods wait until you hear about genetically engineered livestock.
Gene editing for farm animals is on the horizon.
What's gene editing?
It's changing the DNA, inherited traits, or sexual development of livestock through gene manipulation.
Here's a quote from Mitch Abrahamsen, chief commercial and science officer for Recombinetics, “Today in the marketplace, we have a castration-free swine project.”
Swine will be naturally castrated or gene editing will create hogs that never reach sexual maturity.
“Our goal is to put multiple edits in an animal,” says Abrahamsen. “I'm interested in using editing to knock out the germ cell, or testes...”
Recombinetics already has commercial deals with Hendrix Genetics, DNA Swine Genetics, and Semex, a Canadian dairy AI cooperative.
The team that's working on gene editing has a plan to market gene edited animals so that consumers will embrace the new traits without objection. Recombinetics doesn't want the negative stigma that GMO technology has. In other words the spin will be on disease free livestock, less methane producing digestion, and humane animal husbandry (no need to castrate pigs - they're testes free).
In my opinion, I'd rather have livestock that's mechanically castrated than livestock whose genes are altered to render them testes free. If you'd like more info check out Successful Farming Magazine, November 2018 or click this link
Try organic, grass-fed meat - It's healthier and better for the environment.
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
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.
Today it seems like everyone is prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Cell phones, GPS, four wheel drive, and accurate weather forecasts give a feeling of safety. A false sense of security blankets our instinct to avoid dangerous situations.
Because we farm - we're weather dependent. We plan for worse case scenarios like feeding hay when equipment won't start, frozen waterlines, power outages, etc. There's a basic plan for just about every weather event.
When the windchill falls below zero the cattle are fed along the timber. The trees make a great windbreak. Bales of hay and straw are unrolled for feed and bedding.
Planning ahead is essential, the livestock depend on us.
Sometimes, when it comes to running errands or grocery shopping, we aren't as diligent and get caught off-guard.
Without moonlight to guide us, our path was illuminated by farmyard lights. We walked through the hills. We parked the truck on the side of the road. It was a surprisingly pleasant evening for a walk, temperatures near 30 degrees, very little wind, the drizzle was nearly over. We watched our footing carefully, a layer of ice covered the ground. As we walked I remembered reading about The Children's Blizzard of 1888.
The Blizzard of 1888
After weeks of bitter cold temperatures a moderate warming was a welcome relief on the prairies. Temperatures approached near 45 degrees on January 12, 1888. Farmers ventured out to replenish supplies of hay and visit town to conduct business. Children, lightly dressed, walked to school. They were eager to see friends, play outdoors, and enjoy the comparatively balmy weather.
In 1888 twenty-two weather stations, overseen by the Signal Corp, monitored weather data and relayed the information by Western Union to sixty “Flag Stations” throughout the prairie states to keep pioneers informed. On this day the message to fly the “cold wave” and “blizzard” flags never reached the volunteer flagmen. Warnings never came or arrived too late for the settlers of the Dakotas and Nebraska. They were caught off guard.
In the Dakota Territory the lunch hour had just ended. Children were at their desks when the wind began to howl in an eerie wail. A dark cloud descended rapidly from the northwest. Within minutes the sun disappeared, by all accounts nightfall had arrived. Ice crystals blasted the clapboard buildings. The wailing wind was deafening. Snow swirled in through every crevice. Gale force winds gusted to nearly eighty miles per hour.
Pioneers that lived through the blizzard of 1873, and the 1880 “snow winter,” where thousands of cattle froze to death on the prairie, had never seen a storm arrive with such speed and violence.
Visibility on this January day was so poor you couldn’t see more than a few inches ahead. Folks on the prairie were snow blinded by the blizzard, many died within a few steps of their homes.
Many teachers released school and sent their students into the storm. The children became disoriented and couldn’t find their way home. In other schoolhouses teachers kept their students inside. When the supply of coal, school books, and desk were exhausted they surrounding cold stoves praying for rescue. They clung together for warmth.
Parents anxiously awaited the arrival of their children. Rescue parties searched schools and bare prairies. Hope of finding loved ones faded as the temperature fell and the storm raged on. Mothers stood in doorways calling out for their children. With their voices exhausted they rang cow bells or beat pots. They hoped the sound would direct their children home. The wind chill fell to 30 degrees below zero.
Farmers watering their cattle or out gathering hay from their stacks got caught by the storm. They knew from experience to get under the storm; visibility is better close to the ground. They crawled to find shelter.
In Minnesota a large number of farmers died when they became disoriented after securing their livestock. They couldn't find their houses which were just steps from their lean-to or dugout barns.
Iowa fared better, the storm didn’t rage here until dusk. Chores and errands were done for the day. In Keokuk, Iowa the temperature plummeted 50 degrees in eight hours. Company B, Second Regiment from Davenport, Iowa was headed to Des Moines to escort William Larabee in his inauguration parade. Company B, trapped by the storm, did not arrive.
The Weather System
The weather term for such a storm is anticyclone. Winds spiral inward toward the center of low pressure in a counter-clockwise pattern. The lowest air pressure was over Iowa and Nebraska. Higher pressure over North Dakota and Montana caused a vacuum effect over the mid-section of the country. Cold rushing air created great friction and static build-up. Snow thunderstorms raged across the plains. A phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s fire caused static build-up. The air was electrified. Sparks emitted from people's fingertips and caused hair to stand on end. The shocks were so fierce the pioneers refused to add fuel to fires.
Children buried themselves in haystacks, huddled together in darkened classrooms, or froze to death on the prairie while searching for shelter. This was the fate of those caught in the blizzard.
On Friday, January 13, 1888 skies were clear, the air was bitter cold. Relieved students and teachers were grateful to be found alive. One teacher, who had ventured outdoors with her seven students found safety inside a haystack. They were alive, barely. Another teacher acted swiftly when the storm tore the school's roof away. Tying a makeshift rope out of torn cloth she tied her students together. Walking in a line, eyes frozen shut, they hit the side of a building and were saved.
Other unfortunate children got caught in the storm and were found frozen to death.
It's estimated that two hundred fifty fatalities littered the prairies, most of them children. Countless survivors of the initial storm succumbed to infection when frostbitten limbs were amputated. Others perished from pneumonia. It's estimated that this storm claimed five hundred lives.
That was then, This is now
When our truck wasn't able to compete with the ice we packed our gear and started walking. We talked about survival skills and common sense ideas…like staying home.
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.
We want to take a moment to let you know how thankful we are for having you as a customer.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Warmest wishes from Forest Hill Farm
A "Corny" Celebration
In New England in 1623, a famine devastated the newly settled Pilgrims. Corn, their primary crop, became so terribly scarce that they rationed it kernel by kernel. Each person was given five kernels a day. That's all! When the famine was finally over, receiving the five kernels of corn became a symbolic ritual. On Thanksgiving Day, people each received five kernels of corn on their plate as a reminder of those hard times - and of their gratitude to God for their many blessings.
The word "thank" comes from an Old English word that means to think. Perhaps we could use this definition to add new meaning to this holiday - this "Thinks-giving."
Thinking people are thankful people. When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give each person five kernels of corn. Ask individuals to think about each kernel and the blessings it represents:
First kernel- the beauty and bounty of nature God provides.
Second Kernel- our rich heritage of courageous men and women who helped establish this land of freedom.
Third kernel- the work each of us has - in school, at church or on the job - and the privilege of doing it to the best of our abilities.
Fifth kernel- God's power and presence throughout our past, present and future.
Make your Thanksgiving celebration a "corny" occasion this year for the whole family. It's a good way to think about how fortunate we really are.
From the Norway Lutheran Church 150th anniversary cookbook, Saint Olaf, Iowa
Turkey Brining Recipe
2 gallons water
1 can apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup sea salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 TBS peppercorns
1 cup brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 oranges, cut in quarters
Mix all the ingredients together. Place thawed turkey In a food grade bucket or brining bag. Pour in brine. Refrigerate for 24 – 48 hours. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Bake or smoke turkey according to your favorite recipe.
Let Your Heart Be Full of Thanksgiving!
Welcome a stranger,
Seek out a forgotten friend
Keep a promise
Brighten the heart of a child
Encourage the young
Express your gratitude
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth
Speak your love
Speak it once again…
Let your heart be filled with
A few years ago Eva, our shepherd was in an accident. She had a wound on her paw that wouldn't heal. For over a year we tried several remedies. She wore boots like the dog's in the Iditarod, took antibiotics, went through miles of bandaging, nothing worked until she started healing with honey.
One veterinarian suggested re-breaking her leg to readjust the rod and plate. The theory that if Eva could walk straighter it would take pressure off the wounded paw. That seemed like a traumatic solution.
Then a family friend, who's also a veterinarian, suggested sugaring or honeying the wound. I decided to use crystallized honey. Every day we cleaned Eva's paw, spread honey on the wound and bandaged it. She started healing within a few days. By months end the healing was nearly complete.
Applying honey is a simple solution.
Bacteria can't grow in a high sugar environment and honey is naturally antimicrobial.
Healing properties of honey are well documented. Organic honey is perfect for healing cuts, burns, skin ulcers and surgical wounds.
The Results of Honey's Healing
Honey can Heal...
Case studies, laboratory research, and clinical trials confirm honey heals many ailments and has revealed surprising insights:
Consuming honey instead of sugar reduces weight gain, improves memory and reduces anxiety
Diabetic ulcers and infected wounds that stagnate under traditional care heal rapidly with honey
Burn victims and amputees, including civilian casualties during the Iraq war, respond well to honey bandages, making painful skin grafts unnecessary
A spoonful of honey helps alleviate side effects of head or neck radiation in cancer patients
Honey proves more effective and safer than children's cough medicines
Functioning as both a prebiotic and probiotic, honey stimulates intestinal health
Cataracts respond well to honey from sting-less bees from South America
In addition to the healing property of honey, another reason to keep pesticide free, pure and clean is that studies show pesticides threaten not only bees learning and memory but humans, as well.
Pesticides Influence Bee Learning, Memory
Royal Holloway University of London compiled a decade of studies on agrochemical research and the affect on bees. Their research determined that even at very low field-realistic dosages pesticides significantly reduced the bees ability to memorize rewarding scents which are a vital component in their search for food. Exposed bees had trouble remembering what type of flower to visit, where to find flowers, and which flowers they'd already drained of nectar. And at very low doses of pesticide exposure bees had difficulty finding their way back to the hive.
What does this mean for you – is Alzheimer’s in your future
Since the repeal of Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) it's not easy to identify where fruits, vegetables and meat is coming from. 75% of grass-fed beef is imported. Other countries allow classes of pesticides banned in the United States. Consuming these products increases your exposure.
Studies link pesticides Alzheimer’s
DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was used extensively as an insecticide in the 1940s, but has been banned in the United States since 1972 after scientists linked the compound to wildlife health and environmental concerns. DDT is still used in other countries to combat the spread of malaria.
"We have additional studies underway that will seek to directly link DDT exposure to Alzheimer's disease," said co-author Dr. Dwight German, Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern. "If a direct link is made, our hope is to then identify the presence of DDE in blood samples from people at an early age and administer treatments to remove it."
The study found elevated levels of DDE in blood samples of 86 patients with Alzheimer's disease as compared to 79 control patients from the UT Southwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Emory University Alzheimer's Disease Center.
Source: UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution's faculty includes many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985.
Your Children and Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides has a Pesticide-induced Disease Database which sites studies and research about children's exposure to agrochemicals. Visit their site to educate and protect your family.
Limiting your families exposure is as simple as switching to an organic diet. You can do that by growing your own fruits and vegetables, buying organic meat and dairy, and by using clean products around your home.
Remember, You have control over your families health.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
We 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