By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 27, 2012
Although they didn’t grow up farming, Chuck and Lou Ann Neely have raised and direct-marketed beef in Highland County for years – “before it was in anyone’s mindset,” explains Lou Ann, who farms full time. Eschewing grain completely for the past two years, the Neelys have now established a grassfed, grass-finished Animal Welfare Approved protocol for their beef cattle that results in tender, high quality beef – earning them a loyal customer following.
Katharine – or Katie – Short started Farm Girl Natural Foods in 2004. Originally beginning with sheep, she has since refocused her efforts on raising AWA pigs and beef cattle, and currently sells to a variety of local markets, restaurants and buying clubs. The farm has expanded to include co-workers Will, Ashley, and Amber. Katie now divides her attention between raising a few cattle, a plethora of pigs, and managing a rapidly expanding garden – as well as raising two children of her own.
Like his father before him, Jeff Rosenkrans raises beef cattle on the grasses of Rosenkrans Farms in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. The farm sits in a unique micro-climate along the banks of Lake Cayuga where the mist of the lake and nutrient-rich soil combine to provide lush, nutritious grazing land for Jeff’s cattle.
Judith Genova and Allan Freedman raise their AWA-certified sheep, pigs, and laying hens on B & Y Farms in Spencer, NY. Having lived on the property since 1987, Judith and Allan started farming for a living in 2007.
While Julie is proud of the success of her system, she’s the first to admit that it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. “I spent a lot of the first seven years hating working with the rabbits,” she explains. “It wasn’t returning a profit and I felt that I had no resources to support me. But the rabbits have given me so many other things, and working with them has been such a creative outlet for me. The uniqueness of the system I have developed, and the challenges I have had to overcome, have taught me so much over the years.”
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 24, 2012
Cynthia and Rich Larson have lived and worked on their 320-acre farm in Wells, Vermont, since 1977. After meeting at the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, they were drawn to the state’s beauty and affordable farm land to establish a dairy. While they began the dairy using the conventional farming methods that Rich was familiar with from his upbringing on a family farm, their personal observations encouraged them to transition to a farming system that prioritizes the needs of their animals and their land.
| September 19, 2012
New peer-reviewed research suggests that eating genetically modified (GM) maize – and drinking water containing permitted levels of RoundUp herbicide – may cause tumors, premature death and other serious health problems.
Published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, the study is the first to examine the potential long-term effects of exposure to GM food and the world’s best-selling herbicide, RoundUp. Researchers at the University of Caen fed groups of male and female rats a diet of Monsanto’s GM maize and water containing glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) at levels permitted in the U.S. water supply over a two-year period. The researchers claim that rats fed a GM diet, and exposed to RoundUp in their water, developed tumors and damage to their livers and kidneys and died much earlier than those fed a normal diet. Groups of rats were fed RoundUp resistant GM maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in their water). According to the research, around 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females exposed to GM maize and RoundUp died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 12, 2012
Sara and Brett Budde raise an AWA-certified flock of sheep and herd of pigs at Majestic Farm in Mountain Dale, NY. Both Brett and Sara have a background in arts and music; however, they developed a love for farming when they moved to Sullivan County.
Molly Nakahara, Paul Glowaski and Cooper Funk first met as members of the 2006 apprenticeship class at University of California Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. They quickly learned that they all shared a common vision and began talking about what they called “Dream Farm” – a farm that would not only feed people sustainably, but also provide education and training.
| September 10, 2012
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)’s recent decision to lift the federal regulation protecting wolves in Wyoming – and allow hunters and ranchers to shoot wolves on sight across 90 percent of the state – has reignited the decades-old conflict between wildlife conservation objectives and the ranching industry.
Native predator species, such as coyotes, bears, wolves and mountain lions, are critical to the functioning of ecosystems, helping to keep nature in balance. But as livestock farms and ranches have expanded, problems have often occurred where large predators come into direct contact with farmed animals, such as sheep and cattle. The FWS’s decision will allow anyone to shoot wolves on sight across most of Wyoming, although wolves will still remain off-limits inside the state’s national wildlife refuges and national parks, such as the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Wind River Indian Reservation.
But therein lays the crux of the problem: Most people still see “conservation” and “ranching” as two very separate – and often incompatible – objectives. In the pursuit of maximizing food production, we have done our utmost to eradicate the threat posed by nature to modern farming systems. At the same time, growing recognition of the damage that human activity is inflicting on the environment has fueled campaigns to protect and conserve threatened species and wildlife habitats.