A sense of how bad the weather is in Western NEb and Wyoming

A weekly letter from a friend who lives in Western NEb and farms  Karen Writes:

Wreathed in smoke the sun rises as hard as polished brass, the customary fairy tale pinks and sherbet oranges replaced by molten gold, the new day smelted into being amid a pall of ashy greys and ghostly whites.  The high plains are on fire, baked, literally and figuratively, by flame and unremitting heat.

 

Temperatures above 100 degrees are common and rains scarce. Irrigation well-motors strain under the load, some surging as the water table drops, others clattering to a stop…beset by mechanical problems.  One of our wells has succumbed to old age and is scheduled to be ‘pulled’ on Monday. Meanwhile the crop withers…and Dale frets.

 

Unrelenting wind has become an member of the family, and, like  a sharp-tongued mother-in-law, or a nere-do-well brother, hasn’t a single redeeming quality. It parches the lips, turns skin to leather, and sucks the life out of everything it touches. Pastures have turned to dirt and fields to dust; meteorologists say the heat is bred in the furnace of the desert southwest and carried to our area by the jet stream….but all we know is that it’s shriveled our hopes for a good crop to a hard kernel of fear… fear of not having sufficient irrigation water to finish the season.

 

On a brighter note our house has a new set of clothes.

 

I saved a piece of the original cedar siding;  battered and weather beaten it’s seen 106 years of weather, good bad and otherwise. One day, as the carpenters loosened  the old boards during a 40 mile-per-hour wind, dirt sifted into the dining room, leaving a layer of  dust which had been trapped inside the old walls for who knows how long. Was it from the dirty thirties…those years of no rain and less money? Or was it deposited by the spring winds of the forties when women took to the fields, replacing men who had marched off to war?  Or maybe it was fifties dirt…those halcyon years of my childhood when this old farmhouse was the center of my world…and, if truth be told, still is

 

Once the trim is painted this old house will shine like new.

 

Last week a friend forwarded an email she had received with the tag-line ‘drought in eastern Wyoming-need prayer.’   Drought seen through another woman’s eyes, the words bear repeating…..

 

“Things are tragically dry. There have been probably 3000 head of cattle going out of converse county each week for the last couple of weeks. I know of 5000 head that left Platte County earlier. One of my neighbors sold three semi-loads of cows and calves because there is absolutely nothing growing. In fact, Les Thompson (former HP, local bee expert) has lost all the bees he had out at Lovitts because they starved to death. I am feeding my bees sugar water every other day to keep them going. They are not making any reserves for winter. We are feeding the cows every other day until our leftover hay runs out. The cows are looking thinner than we’ve ever had them, but we usually keep them fairly plump. Even calves are eating hay as we feed it out.  It’s a different year.

 

We have absolutely no wild flowers, no grass, or even the usual weeds. We had a fire a couple of weeks ago that started from an old coal mine seam, back in the trees. The seam started about 6 years ago when we had that big Lost Springs fire of 15,000 acres. It has been simmering underground since then. This year is so dry that the fire started by coming up through the roots of a tree. Until now the trees have had enough moisture not to burn. The dry results are what you also see south of Douglas right now.

 

So that’s how things are out our way. Hope things are well for you…..Terry”

 

I never met Terry, the ranch-woman who penned this tale of drought, but I know her sorrow over what is happening to the land, and our way of life.

 

I thought I knew drought, but I never imagined anything like this.

 

As Always,

 

Karen   

Time to suppport producers Read and act accordingly Thanks

The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

H-232 Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Eric Cantor

Majority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

H-329 Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515



Proposal to implement an Organic Research and Promotion Program – Organic Check-off

 

Vote Yes on a technical regulatory fix that allows organic farmers to withdraw their check-off dollars from supporting conventional agriculture

And

Vote NO on regulation to support the path to establish an Organic Research and Promotion Program

 

We support a technical correction of the law that will allow split operations that produce “any agricultural commodity that is certified as “organic” or “100% organic” to be able to exempt their organically certified product from paying into any existing check-off programs.  This technical fix will stop organic dollars from being used to promote non-organic products and allow that money to be used by producers and processors to promote and support organic production.

This is all that is needed to stop organic farmers from being unfairly taxed by conventional check-off programs.

We support the first section of the regulatory language proposed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) that provides that correction:

“(e) EXEMPTION OF CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCTS FROM ASSESSMENTS-

“(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any provision of a commodity promotion law, a person that produces, handles or markets organic products shall be exempt from the payment of an assessment under a commodity promotion law with respect to any agricultural commodity that is certified as “organic” or “100 percent organic” (as defined in Part 205 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

“(2) SPLIT OPERATIONS- The exemption described in paragraph (e)(1) shall apply regardless of whether the agricultural commodity subject to the exemption is produced, handled or marketed by a person that also produces, handles or markets conventional or nonorganic agricultural products, including conventional or nonorganic agricultural products of the same agricultural commodity as that for which the exemption is claimed.

“(3) APPROVAL.—The Secretary shall approve the exemption of a person under subsection (e) if the person maintains a valid organic certificate issued under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.).

 

OTA’s regulatory language and proposal for An Organic Research and Promotion Program is “Not Ready For Prime Time.”

 

We do not support extending authority or steps that would ultimately lead to a federal, USDA mandated, ‘Organic Research and Promotion Program’ with a governing committee appointed by the Agriculture Secretary.  OTA’s proposed program is following the same path of the conventional advertising, research and promotion orders with their many short-comings and pitfalls.

 

  • We oppose the rapid movement to legislation that will enable an Organic Check-off Program to be established and advocate for a community wide discussion of the many different models available for assessing, governing and disbursement of check-off funds.
  • OTA does not necessarily represent the interest of farmers, growers, producers or ranchers.
  • We believe that the strategies, tactics and attitude adopted by OTA in its  process of consulting the organic community about an Organic Check-off Program confirms that OTA will lead the community down a predetermined path where governance of the program and control of disbursement of funds will be invested in the processors and manufacturers, rather than the producers.
  • We believe that the advantages of pooling check-off funds within the federal program will be outweighed by the restrictive guidelines, heavy bureaucracy, lack of accountability and cost of administration, a history of using check-off funds inappropriately and poor representation of farmer priorities in granting of research dollars. The investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the Research and Promotion Check-Off Programs highlighted the failing of the existing programs and confirmed farmers’ distrust of those programs.
  • We believe that the success of the Federal Research and Promotion Orders have often been judged by consumer recognition of advertising slogans rather than its impact on sales of dairy product and effect on farm families across the country through relevant research and promotion programs.
  • We believe that existing check off programs have not been shown to keep family farm producers in business.  We continue to see declining farm numbers and increasing concentration in agriculture while these commodity research and promotion programs are in effect.  Got Milk?’ – ‘The Incredible Edible Egg’ – “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner’ and ‘Pork, The Other White Meat’, to name a few, may be nice sounding promotional terms but producers legitimately ask, “Who got the benefit those slogans may have created?” 
    • Between 1992 and 2004, U.S. farms with hogs declined from over 240,000 to fewer than 70,000.  Currently 20 pork entities produce 50 percent of all the hogs in the U.S.  Very few independent hog producers remain in business and the market is dominated by the integrated meatpackers.  The pork checkoff  fund will generate $72 million in 2012. (Source:  USDA)
    • The wheat checkoff was designed to increase wheat exports.  Current wheat exports are in fact below the 10-year average, with the wheat check off having been in place since 1980. (2011/2012 crop year exports are projected to be 27.9 million metric tonnes vs. the 10 year average of 28.3 million metric tonnes.) (Source: Wheat Growers Association)
    • “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner,” campaign.  This advertising effort is funded by a $1.00 per head checkoff assessed every time a live animal changes hands. This checkoff program has been in effect since 1989 and millions of dollars have been “checked off” and millions spent on very creative advertising.  What has happened to beef per capita consumption during the time of the campaign?  Beef per capita consumption has declined from 88 pounds per person to less than 60 pounds today (USDA, ERS beef per capita consumption, boneless equivalent weight basis). 
    • Since the start of the ‘Got Milk’ campaign in October 1993, the consumption of fluid milk has dropped year by year( per capita US consumption of fluid milk in 1993 was 24.37 gallons, in 2010 it was 20.69 gallons) , as have the number of dairy farms (1993 there were 124,945 dairy farms but only 51,481 in 2011). (Source USDA AMS)
    • The “Incredible Edible Egg” campaign was started in 1977. Since then, consumption of eggs has declined. In 1987, there were around 2,500 operations with flocks of 75,000 hens or more. In 2012, there are 179 egg producing companies with flocks of 75,000 hens or more.
  • If farmers are not assessed they would inevitably be paying into the program as the check-off cost would affect any potential pay price and they would have no effective voice on deciding research projects or disbursement of funds.

 

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM Inc.)

For more information contact: 

Oren Holle, OFARM President (Tel. 785.337.2442) or John Bobbe, OFARM Executive Director (Tel. 920-825-1369)

 

Federation Of Organic Dairy Farmers (FOOD Farmers) umbrella organization for Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (WODPA), Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (MODPA) and Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA) for Organic Dairy

 

For more information contact: Mike Williams OPINS Co-op 4025 835 4800

List of Supporting Organizations

Make the call and make a difference


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Midwestern Farmers Needed

We are looking for a few good farmers in the Midwest to stand-up over the growing of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the region’s federal wildlife refuges. The Fish and Wildlife Service claims GE seed is the only seed farmers can obtain.

The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and Beyond Pesticides, has been joined by Cornucopia. Individual farmers are also needed for the legal effort. The potential for trespass of novel genes from GE crops and the growing epidemic of “superweeds” are among the threats posed by the federal wildlife refuge practices.

Any Midwestern organic farmer concerned by this prospect is urged to email or call 608-625-2042 by July 15 to add their personal voice to the lawsuit. Attorneys from CFS will record their concerns and act on their behalf.

OOPs another Corporations was caught killing the gmo IS BETTER campaign

Syngenta Corporation faces Criminal Charges for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GM Corn

By Ethan A. Huff

Biotechnology giant Syngenta has officially been outed for deliberately hiding data that proves the company’s genetically-modified (GM) Bt 176 corn is directly responsible for killing livestock. Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji writing for QW Magazine explains that Syngenta is now facing criminal charges for willfully concealing the results of an internal, company-run study on Bt 176 corn from 1996 that was abruptly ended when four cows died after just two days of consuming the “Frankencorn.”

Gottfried Gloeckner, a German farmer from Woelfersheim, originally filed the suit roughly a decade after dozens of his own dairy cows died from exposure to Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn. Gloeckner first began feeding his cattle Bt 176 corn as part of their diet back in 1997 when Syngenta gained government approval to run field trials of the crop on Gloeckner’s property. And by 2000, Bt 176 corn was the only thing Gloeckner was feeding his cows.

As this transition from natural feed to GM feed was taking place, however, Gloeckner noticed that his cows were increasingly developing serious illnesses, many of which resulted in the animals’ rapid death. By 2001, five of Gloeckner’s cows had died, and another seven died by 2002, upon which Gloeckner decided to remove all GMOs from his livestock feed. But most of Gloeckner’s remaining cows ended up suffering intestinal damage, decreased milk production, and other ailments that resulted in their having to be put down as well.

Syngenta lied about dangers of Bt 176 corn in 2007 civil court case

 At the time, Syngenta partially compensated Gloeckner for the loss of his 65-head herd as a result of Bt 176 corn. But the company ultimately refused to admit that Bt 176 corn was definitively responsible for the harm caused, a sentiment that the German and EU governments also appeared to embrace in their refusal to investigate the situation. So for years, Gloeckner has remained burdened with insurmountable debt from his losses, and with no legal remedy at his disposal.

But the situation changed in 2009 when Gloeckner discovered Syngenta’s 1996 study, which prompted him to initiate legal action against the company. He has since been joined by Bundnis Aktion Gen-Klage, a German activist group, and Urs Hans, a “farmer turned activist,” both of which are also in hot pursuit of justice against Syngenta.

The revelation of Bt 176 corn’s extreme toxicity in cattle proves that Syngenta has been lying for years about the crop’s supposed safety. The company falsely testified in a civil court case back in 2007 that Bt 176 corn was safe, which resulted in the dismissal of charges against the company that Bt 176 corn was responsible for cattle deaths. Now, suspicions that Syngenta was indeed withholding crucial information about Bt 176 corn have been confirmed by Syngenta’s own study.

Syngenta also appears to have manufactured a phony study on sheep several years later in an attempt to whitewash the findings of the 1996 study. A 2008 report from GM-Free Cymru explains that the study, which was conducted in Italy between 2002 and 2005, was a poor attempt at making Bt 176 corn appear harmless and identical to natural varieties of corn. Not only was data obviously manipulated in that particular study, but sample sizes were too small, and the amount of GM materials added to animal feed was miniscule and unrealistic
 

 This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/syngenta-corporation-faces-criminal-charges-covering-livestock-deaths-gm-corn-1340811738. All rights are reserved.

While congress is in Summer recess lets do our work

When you speak with your US Congress representative this next few weeks you might talk about this

Monsanto is using its money and influence to push Congress to attach a rider to the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would effectively end judicial review of approvals of new genetically engineered crops.

If this rider (Sec. 733) isn’t removed, organic and non-GMO farmers will lose their access to the court system and they’ll have no recourse when the U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally approves new genetically engineered crops that threaten to contaminate their fields and seed supplies.

Monsanto’s sneak attack is a response to successful lawsuits brought by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of organic and non-GMO farmers and seed growers that have attempted to block planting of genetically engineered sugar beets and alfalfa while the USDA conducted a court-ordered review of the dangers of contamination.

A vote to remove Monsanto’s rider from the Agriculture Appropriations bill was expected this week, but now has been delayed until after Congress returns from their July 4th recess. Let’s use this time to spread the word and send tens of thousands of letters to Congress!

While congress is in Summer recess lets do our work

When you speak with your US Congress representative this next few weeks you might talk about this

Monsanto is using its money and influence to push Congress to attach a rider to the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would effectively end judicial review of approvals of new genetically engineered crops.

If this rider (Sec. 733) isn’t removed, organic and non-GMO farmers will lose their access to the court system and they’ll have no recourse when the U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally approves new genetically engineered crops that threaten to contaminate their fields and seed supplies.

Monsanto’s sneak attack is a response to successful lawsuits brought by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of organic and non-GMO farmers and seed growers that have attempted to block planting of genetically engineered sugar beets and alfalfa while the USDA conducted a court-ordered review of the dangers of contamination.

A vote to remove Monsanto’s rider from the Agriculture Appropriations bill was expected this week, but now has been delayed until after Congress returns from their July 4th recess. Let’s use this time to spread the word and send tens of thousands of letters to Congress!

While congress is in Summer recess lets do our work

When you speak with your US Congress representative this next few weeks you might talk about this

Monsanto is using its money and influence to push Congress to attach a rider to the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would effectively end judicial review of approvals of new genetically engineered crops.

If this rider (Sec. 733) isn’t removed, organic and non-GMO farmers will lose their access to the court system and they’ll have no recourse when the U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally approves new genetically engineered crops that threaten to contaminate their fields and seed supplies.

Monsanto’s sneak attack is a response to successful lawsuits brought by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of organic and non-GMO farmers and seed growers that have attempted to block planting of genetically engineered sugar beets and alfalfa while the USDA conducted a court-ordered review of the dangers of contamination.

A vote to remove Monsanto’s rider from the Agriculture Appropriations bill was expected this week, but now has been delayed until after Congress returns from their July 4th recess. Let’s use this time to spread the word and send tens of thousands of letters to Congress!