Buzzard's Beat

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indiana Animal Care Board - easy as 1,2,3

The latest news on state approved Animal Care Board comes to us from Indiana where House Bill 1099 recenlty became established as a state law and ensures that the Indiana Board of Animal Health would be the sole regulator of animal care standards.  The news release below is from Hoosier Ag Today (HAT) with Gary Truitt.

Indiana Sets the Standard on Animal Care - 03/29/2010
by Gary Truitt

In Ohio, Michigan, and several other states, the issue of who should set the standards for animal care is a controversial battle between farmers and radical animal rights groups. But in Indiana the issue has been settled without a fight and may set the slandered for the rest of the nation. House Bill 1099 established in state law that the Indiana Board of Animal Health would be the sole regulator of animal care standards. As Bob Kraft with Indiana Farm Bureau explains, this bill sailed through the recent legislative session, “There was not a single dissenting vote in either the House or the Senate, no amendments were offered, and it has already been signed into law by the Governor.” Kraft says the reason this measure was so easy to pass in Indiana is the respect both sides have for the BOAH.

Another reason the measure had such an easy time was good communication and support by all of Indiana‘s livestock groups and by Farm Bureau, “There was clear communication and cooperation, and everyone agreed on the wording of the bill and its goals.” Lt. Governor Becky Skillman told HAT another factor was the strong support agriculture has from the administration, “Agriculture in other states does not enjoy the kind of support we have here in Indiana. We wanted to be proactive on the issue of animal care.”

Kraft says many other states are looking at the Indiana language as a model for their states, “Since the passage of the measure I have been contacted by Farm Bureaus in other states. They are looking at using our language as a model for their situations.” So, while the battle rages in Ohio, this particular issue will not be an issue in Indiana.

This is great news for agriculturalists across the nation.  I hope that other states will continue to follow the lead of Indiana and be proactive about who sets standards for animal care.

Until next time,

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Monsanto and Food For Thought

So you may know Food For Thought as the other blog I contribute to however, it's also the name of a kickin' YouTube video produced by Monsanto, that is spreading the word about America's Farmers. The video provides some awesome facts about food production in the U.S. in reference to how much is produced, how many people are fed by U.S. farmers and the hard facts about population growth in relation to food production. The facts in this video are superb talking points for anybody advocating for the agriculture industry - crops or animals. Take a look!

Until next time,

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Friday, March 26, 2010

What do dodos and livestock have in common?

Here is a fun piece of media I found on the HumaneWatch Facebook fan page - care of fan Sky Yearwood! Thanks so much Sky for posting this. Just more proof that HSUS has alterior motives than 'saving cats and dogs.'  Phooey!

Until next time,

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't Dis Cows for Climate Change

At the recent American Chemical Society National Meeting, a report from University of California-Davis, Clearing the Air: Livestock's Contribution to Climate Change, was presented and soundly refuted the claims of Livestock's Long Shadow, the controversial U.N. report that stated livestock production is responsible for 18% of GHG emissions annually. According to Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D, (pictured) presenter at the meeting, "giving cows and pigs a bum rap is not only scientifically inaccurate, but also distracts society from embracing effective solutions to global climate change." As it turns out, the actual percentage of GHG's contributed by livestock is a mere 2.8%. Mitloehner, associate professor at U.C. Davis, also stated that "producing and consuming less meat and milk will only contribute to more hunger in poor countries."

Clearing the Air has been receiving tons of great media attention and has been highlighted in articles in The Washington Times, The Register (UK), The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Des-Moines Register and has had postings on Yahoo! News online and broadcast reports on FOX news and BBC. To add to the good news, the U.N. admitted that the figures concerning livestock in Livestock's Long Shadow were exaggerated in comparison to transportation. Pierre Gerber, Policy Officer for the U.N's FAO, replied to Mitloehner's criticisms after Clearing the Air came out: "I must say honestly that he has a point - we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn't do the same thing with transport."
Click to read more about Clearing the Air.

This a great triumph for the agriculture industry -- people are paying attention to the facts about livestock production. Hopefully, The NY Times will follow suit and print an article highlighting the hard facts from Clearing the Air.

Until next time,

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Monday, March 22, 2010

You Can't Fix Stupid

I'm sorry folks -- I just couldn't help myself.  While reading this article by Rich Keller  from, I was in complete agreeance when he said, "You can't fix stupid."   A prime example is seen in Kirstie Alley and David Letterman who are blaming obesity on the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used in food production.
Dave: 'Everybody would like to lose weight …. I blame the American food producers because …. we get addicted to the food and the grease and we love it. Cake frosting, forget it, that’s all I eat.’

I almost can't believe that he's serious - but then I read on.

Kirstie: ‘That’s what I’m working on now, is getting all the chemicals out of my life, out of all the foods, the pesticides, the insecticides, the herbicides, fungicides, all the antibiotics, all the hormones that are in food. It really is what’s making us fat because I’ve always eaten a lot and I wasn’t fat,’
Pick up a freakin' science book or agricultural magazine for cripes sake!  This is just another example of why we need to strive to reach the public on a face-to-face level and show them the truths of food production.  How many people will take Kirstie's words and believe them?  If three viewers believed her, that's three people too many.

Keep working and advocating,

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Act Now or Surrender to HSUS

From Troy Hadrick's Advocates for Agriculture -- verbatim.

HSUS supports bill to re-define animal cruelty
John Maday Monday, March 08, 2010
U.S. Representatives Diane Watson (D-Calif.) and Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 4733, the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” last week. The bill would set federal standards regulating housing and animal treatment on operations that supply food to government purchases such as the School Lunch program. The Humane Society of the United States immediately issued a release praising the proposed bill.

Such a law would, in practice, apply to virtually all livestock operations, since the USDA purchased food from packers and processors, not from farms. Without full traceability of every product back to its farm or ranch of origin, packers would need to require compliance from all their suppliers to continue selling meat or dairy products to the government.

The HSUS release is available online. Link to Article

Troy's Comments:
I didn’t get this post last week when I was on the road, but I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of this bill. Anyone who follows the HSUS knows that they would love to get federal legislation passed that would accomplish what they have been trying to do on a state-by-state basis. What is probably the most irritating part of this is the title of the bill itself. It implies that unless you change your management practices that you are being cruel to your farm animals. We know that’s not true. Please take a moment to contact your elected officials in Washington DC and visit with them about this bill.
I agree with Troy and strongly encourage anyone who appreciates the livestock industry and the values we embody to contact your representative and voice your opinion on this issue.
Until next time,

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Beef: It's All Goooooood

Is grass-fed beef better than grain-fed beef?  Is organic better than conventional?  These are common questions the beef industry faces on a daily basis.  A lot of people will tell you one way; the rest the other.  However, the point is not which is better but that all methods of  beef production yield the same product: safe, wholesome and nutritious beef.  That's the subject of this weeks KLA Become an Agvocate Tip of the Week:

Myth: Organic or natural beef is safer than conventionally produced beef.
Fact: All beef, regardless of production method, is safe, wholesome and nutritious. The beef industry provides consumers with healthy choices including conventional, natural, organic and grass-fed.
So, the next time somebody asks you, "Which beef is better?", you can tell them it's all fantastic and that there's a beef product that fits their needs, diets and lifestyles at their nearest supermarket meat counter.

Until next time,

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

No Comment? - Not from an agriculturalist

"Don't let another anti-ag article go by without trying to correct it" - these were words shared with the K-State Collegiate Cattlewomen chapter at a media training session put on by the Kansas Beef Council and Kansas Livestock Association.  Kevin Thielen and Scarlett Hagins conducted the session and made several key points about being an advocate for the agriculture industry through social media and media interviews.
  1.   Don't let another article bashing your industry go un-noticed -- speak out and stand up
  2.   Use personal stories and humor
  3.   Never repeat any part of a reporter's question that is negative -- if you do, the consumer has just heard a negative comment about agriculture from the reporter AND heard you repeat it. That's twice
  4.   Utilize facebook, blogs and twitter to reach your audience.  Direct people to agricultural articles, show people how to comment on anti-ag propaganda, blog about your personal agricultural experience
  5. Stay on top of current events - read the paper, subscribe to a daily ag newsletter through email, watch the news at night. 
  6. Have two or three strong talking points about your subject and repeat them - the more the consumer hears them, the better.
  7. NEVER, EVER say 'no comment' or 'off the record'  -- the first admits guilt and the second is nonexistent.
By applying these rules in our everyday advocacy strategies, we prepare ourself for an unexpected interview or question.  Being prepared is the first step to being proactive.

Until next time,

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Food For Thought: Even the Quiet Can Be Advocates

I am the fourth generation in a rodeo/ranching/agricultural family and when I think about my great-grandpa, grandpa and even my father having a spare minute to set up a 'town hall meeting' with consumers about the truths of animal agriculture, it makes me giggle.  Partly because nobody in the Buzzard family is overly talkative but even more so because they were just too damn busy feeding and checking cattle, fixing fence, riding horses and roping calves.  My dad also has a job in town managing a seed company -- not a lot of time for advocacy on the side.  However, even Grandpa Buzzard (affectionately known as Papaw) and my father converse with their neighbors and customers about the most recent news on a regular basis.

My family story is the same as thousands and thousands of other agricultural families.  Hardworking men and women who feed our nation but still somehow have time to reach a few people at a time. 

My point here is not that producers don't have time to promote agriculture and therefore shouldn't.  My point is that if untalkative men can share the positive story of agriculture with 2-3 people a week, why can't college students take advantage of our large social networks and advocate on a much larger scale?  Food For Thought, a group of Kansas State students, is doing just that by working to bridge the gap between consumers and producers.  FFT just started up a blog comprised of various bloggers, including myself, from different agricultural backgrounds all with the same goal -- educating consumers about where their food comes from and how it is produced.  I encourage you to visit the blog and stay informed on current issues happening in agriculture.  You can also follow us on Facebook by becoming a fan of the FFT page.  Look for my posts on FFT's blog and also here on Buzzard's Beat as I plan to post different topics on both.

Until next time,

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ohio Tells H$U$ to Take a Hike

On November 3rd, 2009, Ohioans united and passed Issue 2, the establishment of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, overwhelmingly - proactively ebbing legislative efforts from HSUS to regulate the welfare standards for livestock in Ohio.

After Issue 2 passed, HSUS issued a statement stating  that HSUS will 'submit a ballot initiative next year in Ohio to pursue the abolishment of gestation and veal crates and battery cages.'  A few days ago Ohio Congressman Zack Space sent this letter to Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS

Dear Mr. Pacelle,

I was disappointed and troubled to hear of the recent decision by the Humane Society of the United States to move forward with attempts to further their political agenda and force it on the people of Ohio. This news proves that clearly you and your organization have not been listening.

HSUS was obviously not listening when residents across the state of Ohio spoke in one voice -- overwhelmingly supporting Issue 2 and ensuring that Ohioans regulate our own standards for animal care. HSUS was obviously not listening when a majority of Ohio's federal and state delegation endorsed the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board -- overwhelmingly denouncing the HSUS' efforts to undermine it. And HSUS was obviously not listening when farmers across the state of Ohio weighed in on this disastrous policy -- overwhelmingly opposing it.

In addition to a majority of Ohioans, Issue 2 also had great support among Ohio's legislators, Governor Strickland and groups representing animal interests, including The American Humane Association and the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association. It is unconscionable to me that an outside group would come into our state and claim that they know better.

The OLCSB was created just four months ago with a strong mandate by the people of Ohio, and it would be wrong for it to be hijacked by overzealous special interests based out of Washington, D.C. Our board will ensure that livestock and animals in Ohio are treated humanely and that our agricultural producers -- a major sector of Ohio's economy -- are not unfairly penalized with unacceptable regulations.

The experts that will make up the OLCSB are the best sources for determining Ohio's minimum standards of care for our animals, and not a liberal group whose real intentions are less about animal care and more about control over what we in Ohio eat.

Your attempts to dictate our state policies regarding animal care are misguided, and I will not stand for them. Ohio's standards of animal care should be determined by those who know the issue best and have a vested interest in the outcome -- Ohioans.

I joined the farmers of my district to support the passage of Issue 2, which passed with almost 64 percent of the vote on Nov. 3. Ohioans statewide have spoken. It is clear exactly where they stand on this issue.

Mr. Pacelle, Ohio has spoken. Why haven't you been listening?

I become extremely confident in and proud of our government when I see efforts like this, even if it is in Ohio and not Kansas.  It's legislators like Congressman Space that will aid producers and advocates in keeping animal agriculture running full steam ahead.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Agvocate Tip from the KLA

Once again, your weekly 'agvocacy' tip from the Kansas Livestock Association. Enjoy!
MYTH: Feeding grain to livestock displaces commodities that could be directly used as human food.

FACT: Most cattle eat grass the majority of their lives. Cattle have the unique ability to convert grass people cannot eat into nutritious human food. Most grain fed to cattle is of the feed variety, not intended for human consumption. Only about 20% of total U.S. grain production is used as livestock feed.
This is a common misconception throughout the consumer base - by sharing these truths, we are each doing our own little bit to preserve our industry and way of life.

Until next time,

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