Posts tagged farmers

Milk rally Saturday

No milk dumping, but farmers plan to rally Saturday, May 30, 2009, at the Manchester Livestock Auction over low milk prices. Manchester is about halfway between Dubuque and Waterloo on Highway 20 in northeast Iowa. The site is at 1624 22oth St.

 You can see the story here: http://tinyurl.com/md785t

 Speakers include:

Joel Morton – Farm Aid (hotline director)

Arden Tewksbury – Pro Ag Manager – will talk about Senate Bill S.889 and how it will solve the problems

John Crabtree – Center for Rural Affairs

Chris Peterson – Iowa Farmers Union

Joel Greeno – president American Raw Milk Producers

Francis Thicke – Dairy Farmer

Bryan Gotham – a New York Dairy Farmer

 For more information contact: Dave Knipper at 563-590-1596 or Jerry Harvey at 641-203-4063

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Buy Fresh Buy Local

The following came from the River Bend Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter about its membership drive:

 The River Bend Chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local is seeking members and supporters for its 2009 campaign and directory.  This new chapter was formed in 2008 when 34 growers and/or supporters in Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones Counties produced the River Bend Chapter’s first directory, designed to make connections between consumers and available supplies of locally produced fruits, vegetables and meats. 

 Copies of the 2008 directory can be obtained from members of the steering committee which include: Joe Wagner, Kris Doll, Steve Swinconos, Steph Chappell, Rose Rohr, Marilyn McCall, and Kris Doll in Jones County, Lori Schnoor in Jackson County, and Jim Keitel in Clinton County.  Directories can also be obtained from the Limestone Bluffs RC&D Office in Maquoketa (563-652-5104).

 Anyone interested in becoming a member as a producer, restaurant, market, or sponsor should contact a steering committee member above, or call 319-462-3196 Ext. 3 or 563-652-5104.  Membership fee is $40 and includes a listing in the 2009 directory for the River Bend Region.  Membership form must be received by May 15 in order for the listing to appear in the 2009 directory – 10,000 copies scheduled to be distributed in the six-county area in June.

 The Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign is built upon the premise that local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances.  In addition, when you buy local food it keeps your food purchase dollars circulating within the local economy and supports family farm producers. 

 River Bend Chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local is a partner of FoodRoutes Network (FRN), which provides technical support to non-profit organizations working to strengthen regional markets for locally grown foods.  Visit www.foodroutes.org to learn how FRN is reintroducing Americans to their food – the seeds from which it grows, the farmers who produce it, and the routes that carry it from the fields to their tables.  As a national nonprofit organization, FRN provides communications tools, networking, and resources to organizations working to rebuild local food systems across the country.

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Dairy farmers protest low milk prices at state Capitol

   Dairy farmers will rally Tuesday, April 14, 2009, outside the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines to protest low dairy prices. Dave Knipper, a salesman for Prairie State Select Sires, said the combination of high grain prices and low dairy prices have made this spring a historically low point for dairy farmers. Producers who milk a couple hundred cows are paying $15,000 to $20,000 monthly for feed, while getting only  $9.50 to $10 per hundredweight for their milk, about half of the $18-$20 of last year’s prices, Knipper said.  

 

   Dairy producers will gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the west entrance of the capitol grounds, near the monument of Abraham Lincoln and son Tad. Knipper said the farmers don’t plan to dump their milk, as some producers have done at past protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere. But they will speak about being unable to afford health insurance and address other concerns, including the record profits of some milk companies while farmers are getting paid less than the cost of producing milk, as well as the health scares associated with imported products, such as the tainted milk from China.

 

Dave Knipper can be reached at (563) 590-1596.

 

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Study says better to leave land unfarmed than plow to grow corn for ethanol

This study, critiquing corn-for-ethanol’s carbon footprint, came to me today from Duke University Office of News & Communications in North Carolina. Perhaps some Iowans would like to weigh in on the topic.

DURHAM, N.C. —  To avoid creating greenhouse gases, it makes more sense using  today’s technology to leave land unfarmed in conservation reserves than to plow it up for corn to make biofuel, according to a comprehensive Duke University-led study.

“Converting set-asides to corn-ethanol production is an inefficient and expensive greenhouse gas mitigation policy that should not be encouraged until ethanol-production technologies improve,” the study’s authors reported in the March edition of the research journal Ecological Applications.

Nevertheless, farmers and producers are already receiving federal subsidies to grow more corn for ethanol under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

“One of our take-home messages is that conservation programs are currently a cheaper and more efficient greenhouse gas policy for taxpayers than corn-ethanol production,” said biologist Robert Jackson, the Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the study.

Making ethanol from corn reduces atmospheric releases of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide because the CO2 emitted when the ethanol burns is “canceled out” by the carbon dioxide taken in by the next crop of growing plants, which use it in photosynthesis. That means equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere and “fixed” into plant tissues.

But the study notes that some CO2 not counterbalanced by plant carbon uptake gets released when corn is grown and processed for ethanol. Furthermore, ethanol contains only about 70 percent of gasoline’s energy.

“So we actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions only 20 percent when we substitute one liter of ethanol for one liter of gasoline,” said Gervasio Piñeiro, the study’s first author, who is a Buenos Aires, Argentina-based scientist and postdoctoral research associate in Jackson’s Duke laboratory.

Also, by the researchers’ accounting, the carbon benefits of using ethanol only begin to show up years after corn growing begins. “Depending on prior land use” they wrote in their report, “our analysis shows that carbon releases from the soil after planting corn for ethanol may in some cases completely offset carbon gains attributed to biofuel generation for at least 50 years.”

The report said that “cellulosic” species — such as switchgrass — are a better option for curbing emissions than corn because they don’t require annual replowing and planting. In contrast, a single planting of cellulosic species will continue growing and producing for years while trapping more carbon in the soil.

“Until cellulosic ethanol production is feasible, or corn-ethanol technology improves, corn-ethanol subsidies are a poor investment economically and environmentally,” Jackson added.

However, the report noted that a cost-effective technology to convert cellulosics to ethanol may be years away. So the Duke team contrasted today’s production practices for corn-based ethanol with what will be possible after the year 2023 for cellulosic-based ethanol.

By analyzing 142 different soil studies, the researchers found that conventional corn farming can remove 30 to 50 percent of the carbon stored in the soil.  In contrast, cellulosic ethanol production entails mowing plants as they grow — often on land that is already in conservation reserve. That, their analysis found, can ultimately increase soil carbon levels between 30 to 50 percent instead of reducing them.

“It’s like hay baling,” Piñeiro said. “You plant it once and it stays there for 20 years. And it takes much less energy and carbon dioxide emissions to produce that than to produce corn.”

As part of its analysis, the Duke team calculated how corn-for-ethanol and cellulosic-for-ethanol production — both now and in the future — would compare with agricultural set-asides. Those comparisons were expressed in economic terms with a standard financial accounting tool called “net present value.”

For now, setting aside acreage and letting it return to native vegetation was rated the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, outweighing the results of corn-ethanol production over the first 48 years. However, “once commercially available, cellulosic ethanol produced in set-aside grasslands should provide the most efficient tool for greenhouse gas reduction of any scenario we examined,” the report added.

The worst strategy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is to plant corn-for-ethanol on land that was previously designated as set aside — a practice included in current federal efforts to ramp up biofuel production, the study found. “You will lose a lot of soil carbon, which will escape into the atmosphere as CO2,” said Piñeiro.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Global Change at Duke University and by the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnologíca of Argentina.
 
Other researchers in the study included Brian Murray, the director for economic analysis at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and a Nicholas School research professor; Justin Baker, a researcher with Murray and Jackson; and Esteban Jobbagy, a professor at the University of San Luis in Argentina who received his Ph.D. at Duke.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Poisoned Fruit

Following is an excerpt of a new report by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food.

The Poisoned Fruit of American Trade Policy

Produce Imports Overwhelm American Farmers and Consumers

Americans are consuming more imported fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen and canned produce, and fruit juice than ever before.  An examination of U.S. consumption of produce that is commonly eaten as well as grown in America found that over the past 15 years Americans’ consumption of imported fresh fruits and vegetables doubled, but border inspection has not kept pace with rising imports, and less than one percent of the imported produce is inspected by the federal government. 

 

Food & Water Watch studied fifty common fruit and vegetable products like fresh apples, frozen broccoli, fresh tomatoes, orange juice and frozen potatoes and found that:

Imports made up one out of ten fresh fruits and one out of nine fresh vegetables Americans ate in 1993 (10.1 and 11.7 percent, respectively) but by 2007 the import consumption share doubled to more than one out of five fresh fruits and fresh vegetables (22.3 percent of fresh fruit and 23.9 percent of fresh vegetables). 

The share of imported processed (canned or frozen) produce tripled, from 5.2 percent of frozen packages or cans in 1993 to 15.9 percent in 2007. 

The share of imported fruit juice (orange, apple and grape) grew by 61 percent, from about a third of American consumption (30.8 percent) in 1993 to about half of consumption (49.5 percent) in 2007. 

On average, each American consumed 20 pounds of imported fresh fruit, 31 pounds of imported fresh vegetables and 24 pounds of imported processed produce and drank three gallons of imported juice in 2007.

Imports of fresh fruits (except bananas), fresh vegetables and processed produce essentially tripled, rising from 10 billion pounds in 1990 to 30 billion pounds in 2007.

Imported produce was more than three times more likely to contain the illness-causing bacteria Salmonella and Shigella than domestic produce, according to the latest FDA survey of imported and domestic produce.

Imported fruit is four times more likely to have illegal levels of pesticides and imported vegetables are twice as likely to have illegal levels of pesticide residues as domestic fruits and vegetables.

The hidden dangers on imported fruits and vegetables can enter U.S. supermarkets because the FDA inspects only the tiniest fraction of imported produce. Less than one percent of imported fresh produce shipments were inspected at the border in recent years.

To see the full report, go to: www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/imports/the-poisoned-fruit-of-american-trade-policy

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