Oprah Loses, Wheat Gains

Do you remember when television and multimedia diva, Oprah dissed eating beef, and cattle producers sued her?  Don’t expect anything like that to happen with the celebrity billionaire’s latest pronouncement.  Being referred to as “Oprah’s gift to grains,” the star has released a tweet on Twitter that she had eaten bread every day and has lot 26 pounds.

Oprah recently bought 10% of the Weight Watcher company for $43,000,000.00.  Jula Kinnaird, who heads the public relations firm working with Wheat Foods Council, said with all the negativity that has been thrown at the grain industry recently, Oprah’s announcement was “a breath of fresh air,” adding that the grain industry is working hard to maximize her pronouncement.

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Although Oprah may have personally lost weight, her financial portfolio gained some heft. Based on her Weight Watchers ownership and the increase in the company’s share price after her weight loss announcment, she gained $120,000,000.00 in profit.

Her profit was a boon to the grain industry as well!  Thanks Oprah!

-WheatLife Magazine, March, 2016

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Here’s an Environmental Award for You! And You! And You!

Farmers across the United States have always been big on sustainability, and are always searching for new technologies and techniques to help save water, fuel, time, and just plain money.  Now, more and more farmers and ranchers are also becoming environmental champions, creating habitats, recycling materials, incorporating new environmental techniques, and much more.

They are being recognized and applauded for their great achievements, and for their excellent contributions to agriculture and society.  Several publications have featured articles on farmers and ranchers for their environmental achievements, and we thought you’d like to hear about it as well!

In Ag Alert’s January 27, 2016 issue, we learned that the Sonoma County Winegrowers were awarded with the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California’s highest environmental honor.  This award was the culmination of two years’ hard work to become the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable winegrape growing region.  Here are some of the accomplishments they have made:

*48% of Sonoma County’s 58,280 vineyard acres have been certified as sustainable by a third-party audit, while 64% have been self-assessed as sustainable

*18,780 vineyard acres participate in the Fish Friendly environmental program

*1,171 vineyard acres participate in the USDA Organic Farming Program

*more than 162,340 pounds of vineyard material was recycled by growers in 2015

For a vineyard to become sustainable, growers must complete a self-assessment of each vineyard that encompasses a comprehensive set of 138 practices that are rated on a scale of 1 to 4.  Then, a plan is developed to document improvements focused on water conservation, water quality, energy efficiency, employee and neighbor relations, business viability and more.  Once the growers complete their self-assessment, they work with an independent auditor to review their assessment, conduct site visits and evaluations, and review the improvement plan.  The auditors are environmental scientists, biologists, chemists, professors, geologists, and other trained professionals.  If they approve the work a vineyard has done on their self-assessment and improvement plan, then the grower receives certification.  Not a simple little process!

Prather Ranch in Shasta County was given a GEELA award from the governor of California. The GEELA program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made contributions in conserving resources,protecting and enhancing the environment, and building partnerships with the public.

The ranch was praised for minimizing waste from animal food products and for creating conservation easements to protect endangered species.  They are best known for creating a premium dry-aged natural beef program, the philosophy of which is an understanding of the importance of low-stress cattle handling, responsible stewardship of the land, and a desire to provide a stable and satisfying life for those who work on the land.

Prather Ranch operates across almost 35,000 acres, over 50 percent of which is held under conservation easements to provide pools, riparian areas surrounding waterways, and other habitat areas for deer, elk, wild turkeys and the endangered bank swallow.

Kin and Matt Altman of Altman Specialty Plants in Vista, CA were recognized for their incredible water and energy-efficient irrigation systems that have reduced water use by 50 percent per acre.  As one of the nation’s largest horticultural growers, they specialize in drought-resistant and water-efficient plants.  They also raise 5,000 plant species using an integrated pest management program, controlling pests in a way that minimizes impacts on the environment.

In 2014, the Altmans created a massive water recycling program that captures irrigation runoff, treats the water, and then allows reuse of that water.  As a nursery growing thousands and thousands of plants, over a million gallons of water were being used a day.  Now, that water is being recycled and reused!

The Hafenfeld Ranch has been recognized for their certified organic beef program, as well as for their efforts in erosion control, wildlife-friendly water systems, and improvements to irrigation infrastructure.  They have also begun a conservation program on their 500,000 acre ranch that will provide preserved habitats for many species including turtles, butterflies and a bird called the Southwestern willow flycatcher.

Sustainability and environmentally-conscious farming and ranching are becoming more and more important to farmers across the United States.  Huge improvements are being made every year in water conservation, farming techniques, chemical usage, and in providing habitat for wild animals.  And, farmers and ranchers are learning how to share their accomplishments with the public, to demonstrate their true love for the land and for the hard, important work that they do.

Keep your ears open for all of the sustainable and environmentally friendly practices that our farmers and ranchers practice.  Let us hear about it when you learn something new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thought of the Week

In the United States, since 1967, each year, urbanization has converted an average of a million acres to nonagricultural use.  For the past decade, we have been paving over more than 1.2 million acres each year.

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Happy Birthday!

Here’s a HAPPY BIRTHDAY two our two dear old mares.  On April 1, 2016, Merrygold (on the right) turned 30 years old, and on May 1, Roxie (on the left) will be 35!  Considering that horses age roughly 3.5 years for each calendar year, these ladies are old!  That makes Merrygold 105 and Roxie 122!

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Both horses have been retired for about 3 years.  Merrygold was my fine riding horse, she carried me hundreds of hours and thousands of miles over beautiful trails here in Idaho and in Washington.  We had many happy adventures together, packing and camping, taking day rides, climbing mountain trails, crossing creeks, exploring the endless countryside, enjoying gorgeous vistas with friends and their horses.

Roxie is the FarmGirl’s mare, and she, too, was a fabulous trail horse.  In her prime, she was ridden 500-1,000 hours a year – that’s a lot!

Now they mostly they hang around, grazing in the pasture, dozing, napping, and waiting to be fed their really expensive Equine Senior grain.  They’re definitely showing their age – they’re getting stiff in their joints, so we also give them a glucosamine supplement each day along with their grain.  They’re under the care of our good veterinarian, Dr. Matt.

Springtime makes them feel young, and every so often, I’ll see them kick up their heels, gallop around and snort a bit, just to shake things up.  Doing this, though, wears them out for the rest of the day!

The old dears.

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New and Improved Farm Stats

These updated farm production statistics were printed in the Idaho Farm Bureau Quarterly, Fall 2015 issue. They give a very clear picture of just how more efficient and bountiful modern agriculture has become due to new technology, including water-saving irrigation, bioengineered seeds, and farming methodology.

*Total US Crop yield (in tons per acre) has increased more than 360 percent since 1950!

*One U.S. farm feeds 168 people, compared to less than 100 people in 1975

*Of these 168 people, approximately a third live in another country, compared to less than a quarter in 1975.

*This is done on only 2.1 million farms around America, compared to 6.8 million farms in 1935

*In only 35 more years, the world’s farmers will need to find ways to produce 60% MORE food than what is now produced, in order to feed the approximately 9 billion people who will live on the planet at that time!

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Photo source

 

Thank farmers! Support farmers!

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Thought of the Week

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare.  
It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

-Seneca

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Beef Producers are the Good Guys

A little infomercial for our good cattlemen.  This, from the fabulous Ag. Pavilion at the Western Idaho Fair, last summer, put on by Food Producers of Idaho.

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Posted in Ag exports, Ag Production, Beef, Education, Farm Families, Feeding the World, For Kids, Livestock Production, Ranchers | Leave a comment

Farmer Update – Dan Schneider

You may remember Dan’s farmer profile which we posted in March, 2014.  He wrote a nice update for me. Dan always looks forward with anticipation to the new farming season.  Here you go –

Hi Robin,

Everything is going pretty well on Garfield Farm.  Farming is not without its difficulties right now, but we are ready for the challenge.  It seems that oftentimes there are opportunities in the cracks of these challenges, and I feel it is our job to try tand find these opportunities.  Water is the crown jewel we have here to help generate these opportunities.

World stocks of wheat and corn are high right now and this seems to supress all farm -gate values when grains are not strong.  It plays a part in our forage and row crop values, even into our tree-fruit industry, with the exception of organic.  The west-coast port slowdown has cansued a major negative ripple effect for us all.  Way too much power held by the longshorement union!  This, in combination with a weak yen, yaun and really all foreign currencies has made it difficult to remain competitive, especially for our friends in Japan that have been loyal customers of ours!

I am ready, and always look forward to Spring!

Warm regards,

Dan

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This Week’s Buzz Words

Up all night

Labor

Placenta

Amniotic Sac

Colostrum

Nursing

Meconium

Babies

Twins

Triplets

Quadruplets

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Thought of the Week

I like a mongrel myself,
whether man or beast.
They’re the best for everyday.

-Geo. Bernard Shaw

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