The savior may be fake, but the money is real

By Joel McNair

The headline above Timothy Egan’s column in the June 21 edition of The New York Times assured that “Fake Meat Will Save Us”. I was very relieved, as it seems that we do need saving, and the idea of a fake savior is appropriate for the age, I guess.

Seriously, this was just another example of a well-known intellectual — Egan is an award-winning environmental and political writer — falling into the trap of employing trendy, but bad, information and faulty logic in reaching a popular “big picture” technological solution that makes absolutely no sense. Continue reading “The savior may be fake, but the money is real”

The fallacy of ‘feeding the world’

Allen Williams

Most grain isn’t going to people

by Allen Williams
When you ask American farmers what they are doing on their farms, they will often tell you they are “feeding the world”.

This is stated with considerable pride. We feel we are doing the world a huge favor through the sacrifices we make as farmers. We are continuously told that by some not-too-distant date there will be 10 billion mouths to feed, so we have to ramp up production even more. Continue reading “The fallacy of ‘feeding the world’”

Price alone won’t solve our problems

By Joel McNair

Many dairy farmers believe that low milk prices are the biggest danger to their livelihoods. For more than a few, the thought is that the best solution would be a Canadian-style supply management program to boost milk prices and keep them at profitable levels.

I don’t buy all of the arguments for quotas and such, and there is no reason to believe that our elected representatives will ever enact anything approaching Canada’s system. Continue reading “Price alone won’t solve our problems”

What to tell environmentalists about cows

Latest research shows that good grazing is good for the planet

By Allen Williams and Russ Conser

Somewhere along the road, cattle got a bad rap. Just when the fear that eating animal fats will kill you appears to be fading, concern is growing that cattle are intrinsically bad for the planet.

So, it’s refreshing to see some countering truth peek through the clouds of fear in a brand new scientific paper from Michigan State University, “Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems” (Stanley, et. al., 2018). Continue reading “What to tell environmentalists about cows”

Doing what it takes to build soil health

Breitkreutzes up their game with covers and grazing

Redwood Falls, Minnesota — Most cash grain growers in the Upper Midwest run big equipment across thousands of acres of GMO corn and soybeans and maybe — just maybe — feed out some of those crops to feedlot cattle or confinement hogs. Often it doesn’t get much more complex than that.

Things aren’t quite that simple at Stoney Creek Farm. Over the past 20 years, Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz have converted a conventional crops and cattle farm into a multi-faceted enterprise that is one part experiment, two parts flexibility, and several parts complex. Continue reading “Doing what it takes to build soil health”

What are fatty acids, and why are they important?

Allen Williams

by Allen Williams, Ph.D.
Meat and milk consumers are becoming increasingly interested in fatty acids and are asking lots of questions about what they are and why they are important. With that in mind, I’ll offer a relatively straightforward explanation that might help your understanding of fatty acids and better enable you to answer such questions.

Fatty acids are simply the building blocks for the fats in our body and in all our foods. When we eat fats, they are broken down into fatty acids that are then used by the body to perform numerous vital functions. Chemically, a fatty acid is comprised of a long hydrocarbon chain that can have hydrogen atoms attached. It is capped by a carboxyl group (COOH) that makes these molecules acids. Continue reading “What are fatty acids, and why are they important?”