Thought of the Week

I love chores,
I hate chores,
I tolerate chores,
I share my chores.
But love them or hate them,
it doesn’t really matter because,
the chores will always be there.

-Ryan Taylor, Write and North Dakota Rancher

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Thoughts on GMOs

The following was written by Larry Cochran, President of Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG).

 Most people don’t even know what GMO stands for, (it stands for genetically modified organisms), but for me it’s just another way of speeding up the breeding process.  I have a boss, Mother Nature, who does her own form of GMO breeding.  Whether it’s new races of diseases or insects that have evolved, she’s always changing the rules.  If we in agriculture want to be able to feed the world’s population, we have to be able to grow more food on less land, and I believe GMOs can help us do that.

As stated in our WAWG resolutions, “We are confident that biotechnology will deliver significant consumer and producer benefits, and we support continued biotechnology research, and product and market development.  We invite valued and interested customers to join with us in a working partnership to explore the emerging biotechnology industry.”

The decision to plant biotech (GMO) crops is a choice every farmer has to make for themselves.  We support and will work to ensure the ability of wheat producers to make planting and marketing choices based on their own economic, agronomic and market factors.

WheatLife magazine, February, 2015

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NPR Responds to Gluten-Free Diets

Last month, National Public Radio’s food blog “The Salt,” posted an article highlighting the negative externalities, citing that those who have joined the gluten -free diet craze are causing for those with celiac disease who much avoid gluten regardless of preference.

NWF (National Wheat Foundation) responded to the issue on their blog.  The “Word on Wheat,” agree that the fad diet has created a stigma for both the wheat industry and the one percent of the population who suffer  from celiac disease.  The misinformation that has been spread about gluten has led to negative connotations about the healthfulness of wheat and wheat products.  In fact, modern nutritional science has proven that wheat provides essential nutrients for a person’s diet, and is healthier than gluten-free meal options, which often add more fat, sugar and sodium to make up for the lack of consistency and taste which wheat provides.

Washington Association of Wheat Growers, January, 2015

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Thought of the Week

We’re on the downhill slide of winter!

-Gail Vanderpool, Alaskan


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Recognizing Those Who Are Feeding the World – The World Food Prize

In 1970, Dr. Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a lifetime dedicated to improving agricultural technologies and capabilities around the world. He is credited with starting the “Green Revolution” by introducing new wheat varieties and crop management practices that have saved millions of lives in the poorest, hungriest countries.

In 1986, Dr. Borlaug founded the World Food Prize, given annually in mid-October, to inspire people to attain the highest levels of achievement in improving the quantity, quality, and availability of food in the world. Dr. Borlaug built his organization with the philosophy that confronting hunger and poverty can bring people together across even the widest political, religious, ethic, or diplomatic divides.

Dr. Normal Borlaug Photo source

Dr. Normal Borlaug
Photo source

The World Food Prize has been awarded to individuals from around the world, and in many different areas, including soils, plant and animal science, rural development, water and environment, public policy, and more.  The winners of the World Food Prize are leading the way toward sustainable food systems for the current 7 billion and the projected 9 billion people in the world.

One would think that the altruistic mission of the World Food Prize in recognizing individuals who have made huge contributions to ending world hunger would make it free of controversy.  However, the organization has repeatedly been criticized for awarding the prize to scientists from biotechnology companies such as Syngenta and Monsanto.

Frank Cordaro, who organized an “Occupy World Food Prize” protest said the prize was “all part of the very same system of the corporate elite…the system that gives the 1% all the power and corporate agriculture is built on that system.”

He believes that the prize is skewed to the big biotech companies, even though a brief look at the recipients over the years shows a huge variety of recipients, including heads of NGO’s like Heifer International and Bread for the World, U.S. Senators who have helped lead worldwide efforts to feed schoolchildren, and individuals who have pioneered micro-lending, micro-irrigation, and many other incredible improvements to agriculture and poverty.

The World Must Be Fed Photo Source

The World Must Be Fed
Photo Source

It is unfortunate that the mere mention of “biotechnology” brings such a knee-jerk reaction from people and organizations who oppose the development of GMO crops. It is also unfortunate that such prestigious foundations are accused of catering to big agricultural companies when even the most shallow research shows otherwise.

Recipients of the prize are focused on ensuring that the world is able to meet the demand for food, which is forecasted to increase by 60% by 2050.  Chronic hunger is a fact of life for an eight of the world’s population. The 34 recipients of the World Food Prize have done more to feed the world than the entire anti-GMO movement and their hangers-on ever will.

2014 Recipient Dr. Rajaram working with women in India. Photo source

2014 Recipient Dr. Rajaram working with women in India.
Photo source

Increasing food production enough to feed an exploding world population will be impossible without the hard work of the men and women who have been awarded the World Food Prize, and the thousands of others like them who spend their days striving to feed the world’s hungry. Biotechnology and genetically-modified foods will play an increasingly large role in future food production, and the scientists who are developing these crops will be worthy to receive the world’s highest recognition, the World Food Prize, for their work.

For more information on the World Food Prize, visit their website by clicking HERE.

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Lemon Chickpea Cake

Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are a surprisingly great addition to dessert! They make cakes and bars (like brownies) a moist, dense texture, and since they have such a mild flavor themselves, they don’t impart any weird flavor to the dessert! Plus, they add a ton of fiber and protein! Winning!

This lemon cake is delicious, and a perfect treat for spring and summer!

Lemon Chickpea Cake

1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4T lemon juice1/4C vegetable oil
2T grated lemon zest
2 eggs, divided into yolks and whites
2/3 C flour
1C sugar, divided in half
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease two 8-ince round cake pans.

In a blender or food processor, puree chickpeas with lemon juice, oil, and lemon zest. Add egg yolks and blend well. Pour into large bowl.

In medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2C sugar, baking powder and salt. Add to chickpea mixture and mix well. In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/2C sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

Fold the beaten egg whites into the chickpea mixture. Pour into prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans.

Cool completely, then frost with lemon glaze:

Lemon Glaze

2C powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract2T butter, softened
2T lemon juice
1tsp lemon zest

Mix all ingredients, and pour over cakes.

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Thought of the Week

Chores are the foundation of the day to build from.
First, get the chores done, and then tackle a bigger job
or some special project, or go to town or save the world.
I appreciate the foundation.
I can count on chores to give me a few hours of rote responsibility and do some thinking about the rest of the day.

-Ryan Taylor, Writer and North Dakota Rancher

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Growing Agriculture Graduates

Less than 7% of bachelor degree recipients in agriculture and natural resources are unemployed, the third lowest rate of 15 major degree programs. This fact has fueled growth in undergraduate enrollment in agricultural colleges and departments by 20 percent from 2006 to 2011 to roughly 145,000 students. High demand for student graduates is said to be the result of an expanding and increasingly global farm economy. At Washington State University (WSU), the overall average increase in undergraduate enrollment in agriculture at WSU is also up. Animal science enrollment leads the way with a 65 percent average increase over the last three years. Graduate student enrollment in crop and soil sciences has increased 15 percent.

-Wheat Life April 2013

University of Idaho 2014 Commencement Photo Source

University of Idaho 2014 Commencement
Photo Source

Despite the growth in ag student enrollment across the US, there is still a dearth of young workers in the agricultural sector. Demand for educated employees is high across all realms of agriculture, including research and development, technology, animal sciences, and production agriculture itself.

So, if you know someone headed to college who is undecided about what field to enter, tell them to consider a degree in the wide, wide world of agriculture! Their skills will be desperately needed, and they would be able to benefit the world global food economy!

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How to Train a Farm Spouse

Baxter Black is an American cowboy, poet, philosopher, and former large-animal veterinarian.  And a funny guy!

This funny little article was published in the March 2013 edition of Western Farmer-Stockman. I thought you would all enjoy it on this Valentine’s Day!

Spousal Training

Key to a successful marriage is spousal training. Many stories exist when a “cowboy type” (male or female) marries someone with an urban upbringing. Usually it is the mail heir to the ranch who goes to A&M, falls in love with a city girl and brings her home.

Mother and Dad get a feelin’ pretty quick whether the “tryout” is going to fit in the family. Maybe she’s funny or loves kids, rolls up her sleves and does he dishes, and really appears to care for their lovesick son. Or immediately realize they better get a pre-nuptial agreement to keep from losing the ranch! But most brides are willing to learn something new to please the groom.

Cary came home with a young horse. He was pretty shiny, but not too “civilized.” Cary haltered the nervous 3-year-old and began its training. By the fourth day Bad News was still not coming along as quickly as Cary had hoped. The horse had been introduced to the saddle, but you could say they weren’t best friends.

On Day 5 Cary asked his new bride of three weeks if she would come and hep him. He was keenly aware that she was unschooled in animal husbandry, but it would be a good chance for her to get a lesson in spousal training. He handed her a 12-foot training whip and climbed into Bad News’ saddle. He instructed, “I’m gonna ride this horse in a circle. If he balks or stops, you just show him the whip and cluck.”

“OK,” she said, but she was wondering what was a cluck? Then Bad News stopped. “Now,” said Cary quietly.

She laid that whip across Bad News’ butt like it was a Cat-o-Nine Tails and crowed like a rooster! Bad News went to buckin’ over the slip rail and through the irrigation pipes! Cary hung up and flipped over a corrugated culvert.

Cary could her his wife screaming! He thought, “She’s concerned about me.” Then he realized she was racing for the house, cursing him colorfully.

Today, 10 years later, he loves her still. They have three kids, she has a job in town, and the spousal training continues. He fixes breakfast, picks up his socks, runs the washer/dryer and dishwasher, and takes turns with the 3-year-old (child, not horse).

They’ve learned to compromise; she deigns to feed the stock when he is gone, but draws the line at holding horses under any condition. A nice compromise.




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Hartman Farms to be featured at the Smithsonian Institution

Our local newspaper, the Idaho Press-Tribune, printed an article recently with some exciting news about Hartman Farms, who we profiled last year.

The Smithsonian Institute chose the story of Hartman Farms to integrate into a special display at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. this summer. People from around the world will have the opportunity to learn about the Hartman’s and their farming legacy.

To read more about Farmer Jeff Hartman’s family history, click HERE to be taken to the IPT article.

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