Monday, December 27, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

What a wonderful time at Christmas for family to all get together once again.  I personally enjoyed, second only to seeing my grandchildren, to hear and see the younger adult generation grow.  As one of the older ones now, I am interested in how these young adults plan on keeping this country free and prosperous.  Only a few of these young adults realize the extent of their effects on our country.  EACH one carries a vote.

The Senate Bill HR 2751 , which soon is expected to be signed by our screw-ball president, no caps because none deserved, will be forced on us very soon.  This bill favors big Agribusiness, which includes the vehement sized Chemical conglomerates, and is designed to force all Americans to purchase their food from where the government sees fit.  Isn't that great.  Once again, our congressmen , whom we elected, that's right you and I who voted them into office must take some of the blame, have taken the bribe of big money and ignored the ones who put them in office.  And once again, we give up yet another one of the few freedoms we had left.  As Americans we are going to have to wake up and quit giving away our freedoms.  When are we going to say NO MORE.  Most of us responsible parents would never allow our children, that is those of us who really care, to abuse us or our sentiments the way our elected officials do almost in every session of congress.  These politicians work for us.  They are our employees.  They are suppose to do what we direct them to do. 

This congress can not even enforce the laws and bills they had in place already.  And yet we allow them to stay in office, vote in more regulation, giving them more opportunity to choose and pick which laws to enforce or should I say which ones pay THEM the most. 

I encourage conversation with all these young adults to help save our country.  I speak primarily on food and farming issues only but this type of political abuse is rampant in many other areas as well.  Many of our customers have come to us to buy food because they have experienced first hand the dangerous effects modern agribusiness has had on the health of their family.  In most cases, when John and Sally Public are given the chance to view our modern poisonous, heartless, degrading, and despicable system of food production from Agribusiness in this country, they begin a search for an alternative.  Many, many times these parents have followed the long and treacherous gamut of fix-a-flat doctors prescribing an endless list of chemical drugs, trying to cover up these repeated offenses we commit by feeding our children fake food.  Hypocrates of hundreds of years ago said "Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food".  Our freedoms have been taken away from us one vote at a time.  Lets take it back, one vote at a time as well.  Your grand children's and my grand children's life depends on it.     

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ionophores

Our government has made an official announcement.  For the year 2009 we have used almost 29 million pounds of antibiotics in our animals.  Most of these animals wind up as food.  Therefore, my guess is that much of this antibiotic use has been run through our fellow Americans.  Which by the way, my grandchildren are part of that group as well.  For some, this seams to be of no consequence.  The many reasons why this is a disgrace is obvious to anyone with a conscience.  We have well over 1000 animals on the ranch.  I used an antibiotic one time this year, and the animal died anyway.  It was in the form of an injection.  Most of the usage referred to in the government announcement was in the form of an ionophore.  This is now a very common practice of feeding livestock an antibiotic in the solid form mixed in with their grain.  This solidified antibiotic is referred to as an ionophore.  Most all feed stores sell standard feeds with these ionophores.  Years ago, before I became concerned about who was eating my meats, I used these ionophores by the ton.

The use of these harmful drugs in masses comes about because of the way we choose to manage our livestock operations.  What I'm saying is we can stop this abusive, inconsiderate sloppy management practice of mass medication by simply improving our livestock management skills.  When I was using those old methods I thought it was necessary and that it was OK because many other ranchers used ionophores as well.  Using ionophores as a weight gain tool is unconscionable.  Even if you don't have a concern about who eats your meats once they leave your farm, this use of mass feeding antibiotics reduces its effectiveness.  This is because of resistance built up in the very bugs we fight.  This makes it even more difficult for those of us on the ranch who use antibiotics only conservatively to have a high degree of success.  I see this as a very selfish attitude.  I hope it is more of a lack of education.   

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Changing Times

Just got back from the Acres 2010 Annual Convention in Indianapolis.  I am seeing a major sweeping change among small and maybe not so small producers all across this country.  Two basic issues are changing the way some in agriculture are farming.  One is driven by the poor quality of food our current agribusiness promotes and its indifference to the harm it brings.  The other is the growing interest in changing a broken agriculture system that makes money for everyone except the farmer.  When one looks closely it is quite easy to see that these are one and the same issues.

As usual I spoke on improved grazing and the elimination of inputs in the form of hay equipment, tractors, chemical fertilizers and all pesticides, GMO grains and most all other consumptive costs that steal both quality and profits from our farmers.  I also spoke on the absolute necessity for biodiversity.  This not only includes different species and varieties of forages but also the importance of having many different species of grazing animals on the farm for better utilization of what the farm grows.  Our animals have the availability of almost 200 different plants to select from throughout the year.  Our beef cows, dairy cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, laying hens, etc., have a better chance of improving our utilization of forages grown on our farm than the traditional mono-cultured practices of today promoting only one type of animal per farm. 

I spoke to many small farmers at the convention that are currently working on this exact system.  I am seeing young farm families getting very excited about creating a good future for their families.  Many women are taking my wife Dawnnell's recommendation and they are the force for their addition of the farm family dairy.  The young wives and mothers are instrumental if not paramount in the success of a multi-species farm.  These small dairies can be the nucleus of a quality farm.  Not only does the dairy provide milk for the household but provides immediate income from the sale of milk, cheese, or butter to customers who see the absolute necessity of improving their diets. A calf every year is free for increasing the herd as demand comes or provides income from the sale of meat. Then comes the hogs to help balance this supply and demand.  With litters of 8 to 10 on average these grazing hogs will prove to be one of the best money makers on the farm.  Sheep and goats not only provide revenue from the sale of meat and or milk but improve the flora and fauna of the entire farm and eat weeds and other forages not readily consumed by the cow.  Laying hens and pastured broilers give the quickest return on investment and are in the greatest demand from valued customers.  The beef herd being the slowest to return the investment dollar are important for tremendous landscaping across the farm improving soils and organic matter.

These family farm systems are growing at a rapid pace.  And the expertise among these new farmers is exponential.  The idea of commodity farming and toiling day after day, year after year, so the feed or fertilizer dealer can make large incomes while farmers and their soils go bankrupt is absurd.  Access to good food is rapidly becoming limited.  There will be a time, if not already, when these good farmers and what they produce will be a priority to the households not fortunate enough to own their own farms in which to produce life saving foods.  If I lived in the city I would be securing, for the good of my family, a good relationship with my farmer to insure the health of my family for times to come.      

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Winter Grazing

Moved the main cow herd into a one of the five grazing cells on the ranch.  There are about 20 different paddocks in that cell to graze through.  By estimation I expect to get to about January 5th before going into the next cell.  Most of that grass height and density looks about like 4000 to 5000 pounds to the acre.  Because of the lack of rain during the summer and fall the next 2 cells appear to be less dense and lower in height which will definitely reduce total forage availability.  All of this talk and calculation of forage is primarily a plan to reduce if not eliminate all winter hay feeding.  Some may not see the importance of this.  This cow herd using the old traditional winter hay feeding system could rack up a feed bill in excess of $40,000, and sometimes a lot more depending upon the winter severity.  It is well worth my time to work on this part of my grazing plan.

I invite you all to visit the ACRES USA convention next week in Indianapolis.  I will be giving talks on Holistic Systems.  You can also pick up a copy of my new book, Ranching Full Time on Three Hours a Day.  I urge you to keep those livestock moving to a new paddock each day, all winter long