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Climate Change | Water Shortage | Agriculture

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December 29  |  climate change, crops, Editorial, Farm, global warming, News, Opinion, Research, safe drinking water, water conservation, water preservation  |   Webmaster

While the pundits and partisan experts continue to argue over the validity of global warming, there is little doubt that climate change is a reality.  The rapidly increasing changes in our climate are impacting our water supply.

Scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have calculated how much of this essential resource the world risks losing to the effects of climate change.  Droughts will become more widespread and wildfires are expected to get bigger, longer and smokier by 2050. The growing world population and its increase in water consumption are also straining fresh water resources.  Water sources are melting and drying out.   

37 nations already make do with the bare minimum in water resources, according to experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a co-author of the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.  Massive investments in efficient water management are necessary to counter the effects of water scarcity.

 Agriculture is the world’s largest consumer of water

In times of rising food prices, the agricultural sector has become more interesting for investors. Asian companies, particularly in China, as well as their European counterparts are buying up large swaths of land in Africa to grow food products. They, too, have a vested interest in good harvests and are keen on investment in any aspect of agriculture that offers a significant opportunity to reduce its demand for water. However, technical solutions to save water in agriculture will play only a small role due to the high costs.

Changes in the world’s agriculture and eating habits need to be re-examined

Hunger follows on the heels of water scarcity

Agriculture must change in order to counter dwindling water resources. Climate researchers warn of an increased risk of hunger, in particular in poorer countries, with farmers trying to adapt to cycles of recurring drought and extreme, torrential rains.  One way to counter these extremes is through organic farming, which strengthens the capacity of the soil to absorb water, to enrich it and later deliver it again to the plants.

Organic farming could also limit the spread of diseases and pests without farmers having to resort to pesticides.  Crop rotation and diversity would make it more difficult for diseases and crop destroyers to infest cultivated areas.  This was common practice for many generations before industrial farming began.

In addition, consumers will have to alter their habits in ways that include eating less meat and seeking out crops more attuned to local conditions.  In dry regions of the world, farmers could plant the cereal crop millet, which needs significantly less water than corn.

Another climate-friendly measure: growers and consumers should be located closer to one another to decrease theamount of shipments and transports.

Such changes would help feed a constantly growing global population.  Even today, the world produces enough food for 14 billion people.

We don’t need to produce more foodwhat we need is better quality and more diversity.

 

Source:  http://www.dw.de/climate-change-fuels-water-scarcity-and-hunger/a-17325128

 

 

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Antibiotic Farm Use

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June 30  |  antibiotics, Case Studies, Editorial, Farm, food safety, Immune System, Livestock, News, Nutrition, safe drinking water  |   Webmaster

The use and/or overuse of antibiotics on farms continues to generate controversy.  While opposite sides continue to argue their respective positions, we feel that it’s important to maintain a level-headed position and research and examine all of the facts. 

Without a doubt, antibiotics have improved the quality of life for all of us, including our livestock and food sources.   Can you imagine a world without anitbiotics?  Scary indeed!

We strongly agree with the agricultural community that a responsible antibiotic regimen is essential to maintaining a safe, healthy and efficient operation.  However, it’s also common knowledge that antibiotic use has surged during the past decade, which has many experts worried that we are creating a dangerous level of resistance to bacteria and viruses.

The prestigious journal Nature this week called for reining in the use of antibiotics in agriculture, adding to the growing chorus of scientists and public health advocates seeking reforms.  The editorial noted that the overuse of antibiotics in livestock raising is a global issue, in part because pathogens do not respect international borders — “As long as any one country pumps its pigs and poultry full of drugs, everyone is at risk.”

Following are links to the report and comments.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/journal-nature-farmers-should-rein-in-antibiotic-use-worldwide/

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7404/full/486440a.html

While the debate rages on, and various special interest groups lobby all levels of government, please don’t blame the farmers! They are all working hard to ensure that we all have safe, healthy food to feed our families, and also incurring a lot of extra expense in doing so. 

We would like to remind you that one of the many benefits of using our Oxy Blast products is the reduced dependency on antibiotics.  Why?  Because they help antibiotics work more effectively and efficiently!  This has proven to be an economical option for many of our clients.

We invite you to watch our short movie presentation at www.oxyblast.org/movie, introducing our products and services.

 

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Poultry News – India

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June 25  |  Case Studies, Latest News, Poultry  |   Webmaster

Poultry News – India

Poultry and Chicken Prices Add to Summer Sorrows

 

Poor Supply, Bad Weather Push up Chicken Prices                                                        19 June 2012,  India Today

INDIA – Thanks to rising cost of chicken feed and the scorching weather, which are affecting poultry production, the price of broiler chicken in retail markets has gone up by about 40-50 per cent in the national Capital over the past two months

Poultry experts said it is due to the supply crunch from Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab that the price has gone up. Traders at the Ghazipur-based chicken market claimed wholesale price of live broiler has increased from Rs.45-Rs.50 a kg to Rs.100-110 over the past two months. As a result, retail price of dressed chicken has gone up from Rs.120-Rs.140 per kg to Rs.180-Rs.190 a kg.

“Rising price of soy meal is one of the reasons, as it has led to higher cost of production. Poultry farmers have started feeling the pinch due to the rise in the price of chicken feed,” Ricky Thaper, former treasurer of the Poultry Federation of India (PFI), said.

However,Mr Thaper claimed the main reason is the prevailing high temperature which has further aggravated the situation. Another wholesale trader, said last month a lot of chicks died because of bad weather which has resulted in the sudden scarcity in Delhi and NCR areas. “Rise in temperature and humidity along with high power cost have contributed to the problem. Change in weather condition has raised prices.”

“The required temperature for poultry farming is between 24 and 30° Celsius. To maintain such a condition in the prevailing summer of 40°+ temperatures, farmers have to use fans, coolers and sprinklers. It increases power consumption leading to rise in the cost of poultry production,” he said.

The supply of chicken too has gone down by around 50 per cent in recent months. The searing summer heat has led to a sudden rise in chicken mortality rate, leading to reduced supply in the city. 

According to an estimate, the wholesale markets at Ghazipur and INA used to get around 200 trucks of chicken daily to cater to the demands of the city and NCR areas. But now the number has come down to almost half. Sources say that prices could only rise further in the coming days; a respite is expected only once the monsoon sets in and the temperature falls.

“Nowadays, we have been getting around 110-120 trucks. But the demand is showing no signs of coming down, rather, it has been increasing with the opening of new restaurants,” Mr Thaper added.

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This is serious news indeed and the entire poultry industry is struggling to regain its stability.

One lucky broiler chicken operator, however, is beating the odds.  How?

He is using Oxy Blast!

Look at these amazing results, in comparison to the rest of the industry:

150% increase in weight gain;  100% improvement in mortality rate;  $30 daily savings in antibiotics;     40% increase in net wholesale price;  200% overall increase in sales & profits with less cost!

 OXY BLAST WORKS!

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Oxy Blast follow up in India

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June 19  |  antibiotics, Farm, Immune System, Latest News, Poultry, Reports, Tests  |   Webmaster

Oxy Blast is revolutionizing India.  This just keeps getting better! 

I just got off the phone with our dealer in India with updated information.   No antibiotics have been used through this entire process.   The average cost for anitbiotics on this farm was $45.00 U.S. per day.  The complete Oxy Blast protocol has so far averaged only $15.00.

As of today we are down to .0003% mortality.  That is in just 7 Days – amazing!   And all at 1/3 of his previous cost using antibiotics and other hopeful solutions. The farmer is over-joyed and can’t wait to start our Oxy Blast protocol from the very beginning with the new batch of chicks arriving in a couple of days. 

Once word spreads, we will be inundated with requests from other chicken operations, especially with the Eid festival coming up soon, when the demand for chickens surges.  We will have to ramp up our dealership and distribution systems accordingly throughout all of India.

We’ll keep you updated 🙂

P.S.  How could you benefit from Oxy Blast ?

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Another Success Story

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June 18  |  antibiotics, Case Studies, food safety, Immune System, Latest News, Poultry  |   Webmaster

Chicken Farm Success Story in India

I recently went to India to train and work with our new Dealership and spent 16 days meeting with many people in many farms, industries, government, municipalities, universities and processing plants over 16 days. 

One of the challenges that we always face, is that people don’t like having to spend money on water for farms, let alone having the trust and confidence to spend it with the right people.  At the end of my visit, I felt that there was a huge market in India and that we needed to show them how we can help them to accomplish better operations through their water. 

One of the first farms I visited was a broiler chicken farm.  This gentleman worked very hard to set up his farm for success.  He had two houses (chicken barns) full of 13,700 birds. When we met, he had just finished spending a large amount of money on antibiotics; apparently a regular occurrence. Even though his antibiotics were costing him a lot more than the Oxy Blast protocol that I suggested, he was hesitant to consider my alternatives.  The reason he was sceptical, is that he did not know what results he would actually see. He already knew what results to expect with his antibiotics, but he did not know what the Oxy Blast protocol would do. When you don’t know what to expect, anything seems too expensive, since you can’t put a value to it; it’s only natural.  

Despite his doubts, he still gave us the go ahead, but then retracted, because the Dealer gave him the price for his complete turn (42 days) and he thought that it was too expensive. I reminded him that we have qualified experts on staff, i.e. Veterinarians, Nutritionists, Water Physiologists, Filtration Experts and Farmers.  These are all seasoned professionals; just another major difference that sets us apart from other companies in our industry which adds further value to our product and service.  We are the experts at what we do.  When our customers follow our protocol, 99.9% of them keep buying the product and keep using it.

I did tell him what he “could see”; cleaner water and nipples not plugging up, lower death loss, better feed conversion, better weight gains, less leg and tendon problems, drier litter, increased water consumption, lowered medication cost, improved daily gains, and a natural de-worming effect. I know you are all waiting to find out what happened, so here it is.

On June 10th, my Indian Dealer and I talked about going back to this chicken farm and seeing if we can get the customer to try our product.  When he got there, the farm was 20 days into stress and the death loss was at 33 a day; it was over 5%, and at 33 a day, every day was going higher than 5%, because as the days passed, it was compounding. His birds were dying because of E-coli and Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD).

Day 1 June 11th – Death loss down by 1 bird, yes, I said 1 bird.   I got a call asking, “Are you sure this will work?”  Obviously the farmer and the new Dealer had doubts, while under stress.  We live in a fast-paced society and want something to work overnight; we want to see instant results. I told them that we cannot solve problems that have been there for over 20 days, in one night. I asked for 1 week to see if things turn around to their satisfaction. After 20 days, how deep do you think this infestation has gone and how much of a hold do you think it has on those chicks?

Day 2 June 12th – Death loss was down a little more (I cannot remember exactly what they said but it was not significant).  We talked a little more and kept with the stringent protocol. Also, I found out that the temperature was 42 C.  (wow, that is hot!), so we adjusted a couple of things to accommodate that.

Day 3 June 13th – Adjustments we made were starting to work. Death loss started to decrease in nice numbers; continued with the protocol.

Day 4 June 14th – Birds drinking more water, death loss down about 25%.  We are seeing definite results.  I called to speak with the Dealer who was with farmer.  The farmer is very happy, and the results are showing him that we know what we are doing. Birds are happier and he is on his way to having a recovery.  He asked how long to continue protocol and I said, “You are at 2.5% loss; we need to bring it down to 1% as soon as possible”.  The birds only have 18 days left and we need to get some weight on them to save the farmer from losses to his profits.

Day 6 June 16th –  Death loss is now down to 1.9%; which is fantastic in only 6 days, and the farmer is confident that it will continue to drop as time goes by.  In fact, he has commissioned the local Dealer to be in charge of ALL water and disinfecting protocols on his farm.  In 14 days, happy, healthy birds leave for the market with a happy, relieved farmer.  They then have only 3 days to clean up and prepare for the new batch of chicks to arrive.

The word got out about what we did on this farm. This brought phone calls from other farms and now we are hearing about death losses of 15-50% from farmers and operators who want to talk to us.  I developed a protocol for India suitable for every chicken house we go into. We are going to always assume the worst going in, so that we can be ahead of the potential problems. We have so many people calling the local Dealer that we are going to be on Skype every day now.

Now, we have done this on many farms with all different kinds of livestock and animals; helped them with their issues and ensure their success.  We have a good track record in all species as all our Dealers know.  We continue to help these farmers make more money and have a smoother running operation, especially since farming has taken a major blow in many parts of the world

A very big part of what I do is because I love helping people. I love it when someone can say thanks Zak you really helped us. That is such a good feeling; we hear it a lot and it is very gratifying.  What a great business we are all in!

 

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Mad Cow (BSE)

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April 30  |  Beef, Editorial, Farm, food safety, Latest News, Livestock, Opinion  |   Webmaster

There has been a lot of media attention on the recent discovery in California of a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is a progressive neurological  and eventually fatal disease of cattle; its symptoms are similar to a disease of sheep, called scrapie. BSE has been called “mad cow disease.”  Scientists say the disease is spread through feed that contains brain or spinal cord tissue from infected animals. People can get it from eating products containing such tissues, including head cheese. However, since 1997, feed made from mammals has been banned from cattle rations, and high-risk materials such as brains have been kept from the human food supply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This recent case is not typical. It was found in an older animal and  it was never destined to be part of the human food chain. The California cow tested positive for so-called atypical BSE, which the Agriculture Department said isn’t generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed. Such cases can occur spontaneously in older animals, according to the department.  There have been many criticisms about how the FDA handled the communication of this particular discovery, but the main point here is that the system worked.

Once again, we remind our readers to do their own research and examine all sides of the issue before forming their own opinion, instead of accepting the media hype and adding to the rumor mill, which tends to blow everything out of proportion.  Let’s not propagate more uninformed doomsday panic like we had with LFTB (aka “pink slime”).

For those interested, following are links to news stories, editorials, and opinions from various sides of the issue, to help you develop an informed and intelligent perspective.       – ed.


http://usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-26

http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/04/

http://www.cbsnews.com/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/24/

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FDA guidelines for antimicrobial use

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April 21  |  antibiotics, Beef, Dairy, Farm, food safety, Immune System, Latest News, Nutrition  |   Webmaster

FDA Publishes Guidances to Limit Use of Antimicrobials (antibiotics) in Livestock Production

Apr. 13, 2012 12:48pm

    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a series of three documents in the Federal Register today as part of an effort to alter the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. 

More About:

 

National Pork Board

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a series of three documents in the Federal Register today as part of an effort to alter the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals.

In a statement prior to today’s publication, FDA indicated that the issuance of three new documents will help veterinarians, farmers and animal producers use medically important antibiotics judiciously in food-producing animals by targeting their use to only address diseases and health problems. Under a new voluntary initiative, certain antibiotics would not be used for so-called “production” purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency in an animal. These antibiotics would still be available to prevent, control or treat illnesses in food-producing animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. There will be a three-year “phase in” period before these changes will become effective, but the exact dates of the phase-in period currently remain unspecified.

“It’s critical that we take action to protect public health,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians can care for animals while ensuring the medicines people need remain safe and effective. We are also reaching out to animal producers who operate on a smaller scale or in remote locations to help ensure the drugs they need to protect the health of their animals are still available.”

The three documents published in today’s Federal Register include:

·         A final guidance for the industry, Guidance 209, “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals,” that recommends phasing out the agricultural production use of medically important drugs and phasing in  veterinary oversight of therapeutic uses of these drugs.

·         A draft guidance, Draft Guidance 213, open for public comment, which will assist drug companies in voluntarily removing production uses of antibiotics from their FDA-approved product labels; adding, where appropriate, scientifically-supported disease prevention, control and treatment uses; and changing the marketing status to include veterinary oversight.

·         A draft proposed Veterinary Feed Directive regulation, open for public comment, that outlines ways that veterinarians can authorize the use of certain animal drugs in feed, which is important to make the needed veterinary oversight feasible and efficient.

FDA’s guidance documents do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidance documents are meant to describe the FDA’s current thinking on a topic. As the American Association of Swine Veterinarians pointed out in a news release, it should be noted that FDA intends to work with drug manufacturers to remove label indications for growth promotion and feed efficiency from products considered important for human health. Once these products are no longer labeled for production uses, it will be illegal for veterinarians or producers to utilize medicated feeds for these purposes.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is concerned that lost and restricted access to antimicrobial products expected to result from these steps likely will disproportionately affect small producers, have a negative effect on animal health, and increase the cost of producing food while not improving public health.  NPPC makes the point that this action is a move to address an increase in antibiotic-resistant illnesses in humans, which opponents of modern animal agriculture blame on the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production. 

However, numerous peer-reviewed risk assessments, including at least one by FDA, show a “negligible” risk to human health of antibiotics in food-animal production, according to NPPC.

Tom Talbot, a California beef producer, veterinarian and current chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, issued a statement that raises key points on this issue. “Antimicrobial resistance is a multifaceted, extremely complex issue that cannot be adequately addressed solely by focusing on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Prudent and responsible evaluation of this issue must consider animal, human and industrial use of antibiotics. While we appreciate the agency working with industry on the implementation of Guidance 209, we remain committed that a strong science foundation is critical before moving forward with this guidance,” he states.

John Clifford, DVM, USDA Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, says, “USDA worked with FDA to ensure that the voices of livestock producers across the country were taken into account, and we will continue to collaborate with the FDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association and livestock groups to ensure that the appropriate services are available to help make this transition.”

FDA is currently accepting comments on Draft Guidance 213 and on the Veterinary Feed Directive document. Submit comments on these documents by the date provided in the Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the Draft Guidance (July 12, 2012). Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments on the draft guidance to http://www.regulations.gov. Identify all comments with the docket number listed in the notice of availability that publishes in the Federal Register.

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LFTB

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April 21  |  Beef, Editorial, food safety, Latest News, Nutrition, Opinion, Research  |   Webmaster

Lean Finely Textured Beef vs. Pink Slime

 

So, what’s all the fuss about “Pink Slime”?  Lean Finely Textured Beef has been used as an additive to ground beef for years, without so much as a whimper or whisper from the politicians, watchdogs, or general public.   Unfortunately, an opinionated poorly-researched blog went viral and the media got hold of it, combined with even more misinformation, escalated this non-story into a major headline that lasted for days.  In the old days, exaggerated, persistent gossip and innuendo (“nudge, nudge, wink, wink”) could eventually lead a person or company to ruin and disrepute.  Nowadays, we have the power of the internet and social media to spread gossip and opinionated misinformation as if they were on super steroids. 

Here is a well-balanced article from a beef industry advocate.  We hope that you enjoy this and the additional links at the bottom of the page.  Your comments are always welcome and we encourage all of you to do your own research and investigation before jumping on the “Doomsday Bandwagon”.   – ed.

 

Make Room For A Bigger, Badder Foe

by Troy Marshall in My View From The Country

Apr. 20, 2012 9:25am

Anti-modern, anti-capitalist, anti-technology groups are quickly becoming the largest threat to animal production.

Boxed-beef prices rallied substantially early this week, bringing some stability back to the beef markets as the peak grilling season gets underway. Analysts say the rally was confirmation that the media-fueled frenzy over lean finely textured beef (LFTB) is waning.  

I haven’t seen any official estimates of what this PR disaster cost the industry, but we do know that hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars were sucked out of the system in the last few weeks. This wasn’t an accident, either; it was a well conceived and orchestrated campaign that utilized an unwitting media to whip the firestorm.   In fact, the campaign’s success probably greatly exceeded the wildest expectations of a faction that’s quickly becoming one of the most threatening alliances against agriculture. This faction encompasses a passel of anti-modern, anti-capitalist, anti-technology groups masterful at creating buzzwords and narratives that obscure their true agenda while rallying well-intentioned consumers and voters to their side.  

The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) used to be the master of this strategy; that is, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars from people who actually believe their contributions support animal shelters and help abused animals. Instead, they fund a war chest to battle livestock production.   The animal welfare movement also is masterful at using groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to paint an extreme view. That way, a more mainstream group like HSUS can appear more center-based when it pushes for radical policy.  

The anti-market, anti-modern folks do it a little differently, however. They believe in government control of the marketplace, and replacing the market and industry institutions they view as supportive of the industry. To do this, they understand they must affect policy, which entails shaping public opinion. They do this by using the media and populist rhetoric to create “moral” perceptions in order to shape policy that is continually evolving in their direction.   Stepping back, one has to admire their success. They’ve used words like “pink slime” and “factory farming” masterfully.  

• The fact is that most people aren’t opposed to a product like LFTB, which reduces costs to consumers, raises prices for producers, and improves the safety and healthfulness of beef; but everyone can hate the concept of “pink slime.”  

• In addition, nearly everyone can line up to oppose factory farming and multinational large-scale food production entities. Most of these same people, however, don’t understand that these groups define a “factory farm” as any entity large enough to be economically viable, or that uses modern technology to produce a higher-quality product more efficiently.  

These groups champion the little guy, and even get some producers to stand with them. They also castigate the government and government involvement on issues they believe will increase the competitiveness of the industry while, at the same time, pleading for government intervention, rather than letting the marketplace function.   It’s the same concept that the Occupy Wall Street movement employs, which is to create an enemy that is perceived to be a dramatic minority or that is part of the “establishment.”  

In fact, these anti-meat groups are successful enough that their message is almost becoming mainstream in the minds of consumers in regard to animal production. Packers are held up to be inherently evil; confined animal feeding units are immoral; and large-scale production is wrong, as is the implementation of modern technologies in food production.   These groups will ally themselves with any group that opposes animal production; yet, they’re not perceived as affiliated with those groups, which increases their credibility. They’ve even been successful in attracting to their cause some producers who don’t understand that they are working for their own demise.

It’s for these reasons that these anti-modern, anti-capitalist, anti-technology groups are quickly becoming the largest threat to animal production.

As a fulltime rancher, Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how various consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

Click here for the original article  http://beefmagazine.com/blog/make-room-bigger-badder-foe

Following are links from various sources covering differing viewpoints …

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/03/28/chris-selley-pink-slime-is-benign/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/pink-slime-outrage-goes-viral

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Pink+Slime+controversy

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/

http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/Science-must-guide-ag-policy

 

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