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Thank You Consumers

Today (March 19) is National Ag Day, a day to celebrate the wonderful world of Agriculture.  As a farmer, I cannot imagine a day when I do not get my hands dirty or welcome a brand new calf into the world or discuss agriculture.

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No one on this planet could go a day without Agriculture. You are part of Agriculture from the food you eat to the clothes you wear. Agriculture is everywhere. Beyond the plate, farmers and ranchers produce items you use every day.

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On National Ag Day, we need to celebrate AGRICULTURE and the abundance, variety food choices that U.S. Farmers and Ranchers provide for the World. Whether your food choice is conventional, organic, all natural, local, gluten-free, vegetarian, or all animal protein; we need to be thankful for the affordable choices available to us as consumers in this nation. Despite the rising food costs in the grocery store, the U.S. still has the cheapest and more food choices for its citizens. Read More

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in food

 

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McDonald’s Top Pork Buyer

Agfact #29

McDonald’s, with its Sausage McMuffin, McRib sandwich and breakfast platters, is one of the nation’s largest buyer of pork products, consuming about 1% of the nation’s total production.

More Facts about Pork

  • The U.S. pork industry generates sales of about $21 billion a year, according to National Pork Producers Council.
  • 21 billion pounds of pork were processed from about 110 million hogs in 2011.
  • A total of 2.3 million metric tons of pork valued at more than $6.1 billion was exported in 2011.
 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Ag Facts

 

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Wheat, the First Biotech Crop

Agfact #27 

Wheat is the product of a cross between three different grass species which is reputed to have happened about 10,000 B.C.  Our forefathers quickly learned this wild grass was a good source of food for humans and animals.  New species of wheat developed because early farmers selected kernels from their best wheat plants to use as seeds for planting the following year’s crop. That way, only the best wheat qualities were passed from one generation to the next.

Today, the method to select the best quality of corn-soybean-wheat-canola seed is selected in a lab. Biotechnology is not evil as reported in the media.  Just keep in mind Bio means “living things” and technology means “the discover of scientific discovery used to solve problems”. In general terms, Biotechnology is just the use of scientific discovery about living things to solve a problem.

Like the B.C. farmers, Biotechnology today involves the process of Natural Selecting a desired trait or gene.  The difference in the method. Presently, a machine can take the genetic footprint of a seed and identify the desirable trait (example, a plant species that uses less water to produce grain). Personally, this is an amazing innovation.

Scientific Definition of Biotechnology

Food for Thought about Biotechnology

Biotechnology products in the United States are regulated more strictly than any other
agricultural or food product in history. The first biotech crop was available in 1996 but the research began many, many years before. In 1986, the government developed a framework of regulations for biotech crops to ensure it would be safe for humans to consume and the environment.

It is also noteworthy that a record 15.4 million farmers in 29 countries are using agricultural biotechnology.  The grand total of biotech crop acreage of 366 million acres. Ninety percent (14.4 million) of these are resource-poor farmers in developing countries. This fact is a great example of how a scientific discover of living things can solve a problem- feeding nutritional food to people in countries where starvation is a leading killer. 

Read more – Biotechnology 101

The Myth About Who Grows Biotech Crops

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Ag Facts

 

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Farmer’s Share

Agfact #23

For every dollar spent on food, the farmer receives 15.8 cents.

Ag fact provided by National Farmers Union

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Ag Facts

 

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Sweet Corn the Rock Star of the Garden

Unquestionably, the sweet corn is the Rock Star of the Garden. From the minute the first seed is planted, I can actually taste this juicy nutritional flavorful vegetable.


Perhaps you share my fond memories of sitting on the tailgate removing husks from the sweet corn, picking out the tiny silk strings, and investigating each ear for bugs or worms to be removed. All the time it takes to place the seed in the ground, nurturing its growth, and hand picking it in peak of ripeness to serve as savory vegetable for my family’s dining pleasure is well worth it. Read More about my family’s sweet corn adventure.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in food

 

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Dairy Goodness

Immigrants brought Dairy cows by ship from Europe to provided milk and meat for their families.  Realizing the first Thanksgiving probably did not include goodness from the dairy animals but as settlers came to America  so did dairy cows.

At the turn of the century, cities grew and the demand for mass production of milk and other dairy products sparked innovation.  Significant inventions such as commercial milk bottles, milking machines, tuberculin tests for cattle, pasteurization equipment, refrigerated milk tank cars, and automatic bottling machines contributed towards making milk a healthful and commercially viable product.

It is important to remember that whole milk from dairy cows, sheep, or goats is the raw product to produce all other dairy products:  cheese, whipping cream, butter, and ice cream. It is no secret that dairy products especially milk are vital to the development of strong bones and reduce the risk for developing rickets and osteoporosis.  Rule of thumb:  It takes 3 cups of cooked broccoli to equal the calcium in 1 cup of milk, 1 oz of cheese contains 8 grams of protein, and 8 oz serving of low fat yogurt contains the same potassium as banana.

Presently, Thanksgiving menus will include some type of dairy product from milk in the glass to whipping cream on desserts.  In 2010, U.S. Dairy farms produced 192.8 billion pounds of milk valuing at $31.4 billion.  Wisconsin and California have always battled for bragging rights as top producing state. California “Happy Cows” moved ahead in 1993 in total fluid milk, butter, ice cream, and nonfat dairy production.  However, Wisconsin remains number one producer of cheese.

The collection of milk would not be possible without hardworking farmers-Thank You- who enter a new level of commitment by milking two to three times a day.  While the total dollars brought into our nation’s economy seems like a large sum, it is must be noted that the price the farmer receives for milk in recent years have been so low that some have said they are paying for milk to be hauled off the farm for processing instead of being paid for the raw product.  Did you know that when you purchase 1 gallon of Milk at $4.39 the Farmer’s Share is $1.71?

Dairy Trivia:

  • The average cow produces enought milk each day to fill six one-gallon jugs, about 55 pounds of milk
  • It takes more than 21lbs of whole milk to make 1lb of butter
  • Dairy farms are located in all 50 States
  • It takes 12lbs of whole milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream

Visit Midwest Dairy Farmers for great videos

Sources:

Ag Marketing Resource Center

Midwest Dairy Association (photos, videos, and other great info)

National Ag Library

National Farmers Union

Unversity of Illinois Extension

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in food

 

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Sweet Potato, the vegetable of choice for George Washington and Columbus

The Sweet Potato was brought to America by Columbus and his shipmates.  This vegetable became a resourceful food source in the colonial times.  On his Virginia farm, George Washington grew sweet potatoes.  Later, George Washington Carver derived over 100 different products from this sweet wonder.  In World War I the sweet potato flour was used in baked goods to stretch wheat flour.

Sweet Potatoes are actually not a relative of the Potato or Yam.  It has more starch than potato and has many similar characteristics as the yam.  In the United States the Sweet Potato is often marketed as Yam.  As result, USDA has required the “sweet potato” yam to be properly labeled.  A true yam is a starchy edible tuber that is generally imported from the Caribbean.

The Sweet Potato plant is a tropical orange-colored root vegetable the thrive in long, hot summer of the South.  It can be grown anywhere that has 150 frost-free days. On large farms, growers plant transplant in-depth of 3 inches at the end of May to early June.  The transplant requires much need rain in the first 40 days.  The ideal growing condition for the sweet potato is even rain to optimize yields.  Although it grows on a vine, the edible part of the sweet potato is the root.  Since the sweet potato is very susceptible to damage at harvest, the majority are harvested by hand-See Picture below by the North Caroline Sweet Potato Growers.

The USDA reports that the 2010 Sweet Potato Crop totaled 23.8 million Cwt and valued $478.3 million.  North Carolina leads as the top producing state at 9.7 million cwt followed by California, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  Internationally, China is the number one producer accounting for 81 percent of the global market.

The Sweet Potato is naturally rich in  Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, Fiber, and Antioxidants with a low-calorie count.  A medium sweet potato (2 inch diameter and 5 inches in length) is 100 calories with out the fixings.

Sweet Potato Harvesting

Sources:

Ag Marketing Resource Center

North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in food

 

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