Like many pet lovers, it’s hard for me to resist a fuzzy little kitten or puppy dog playing. I was the official kitten rescuer on our farm and saved the lives of several by bottle feeding them. Many of my childhood memories center around animals – trying to persuade the Saint Bernard to pull me on a sled, hours in the hay mow with cats and fun with calves. I also remember going to local animal shelters and feeling terrible for the animals who had no home. So I “get” the attraction to campaigns run by the Humane Society of the United States – after all, who wants to see these cute little creatures suffer? (more…)

It’s rare I’ll give a shout out to Buckeyes, given my green and white Spartan blood. However, Election Day 2009 calls for a rallying cry for every Ohio resident who cares about agriculture, the rural economy, freedom of business choice, scienced-based information or maintaining low food prices.  My thoughts – live and unedited – about why Issue 2 deserves your YES vote. (more…)

When I was a little girl growing up on a family dairy farm, I clearly remember the pain associated with the death of an animal.  I also remember seeing animals butchered and being “grossed out.”  However, I knew the animals we raised served a purpose greater than being my pet- to provide nourishment to humans.  That’s a perspective shared by most farm kids, but is missing from the 98.5% of people not directly involved in production agriculture. (more…)

Michigan State University, founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, was the first land grant university in the United States. MSU’s agriculture program is highly respected around the world today and has graduated a number of major influencers in the agrifood system. The beautiful campus in East Lansing boasts hundreds of acres committed to farms, 45,000 plus students and a faculty dedicated to improving all facets of agriculture. (more…)

Florida was first on the radar screen for ballot initiatives.  HSUS, Farm Sanctuary and friends likely thought it wouldn’t really draw a lot of attention in a state without a major swine presence.   That alone tells you that these “animal protectionists” are not looking to “save” as many animals as possible.  However, they were right – the “pregnant pig” initiative flew under the radar screen of many ag groups.  When it subsequently passed, it set the stage for Arizona, Colorado and California. (more…)

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been at the Center for Food Integrity Food Summit.  In addition to hearing from executives from across the food chain with vastly varying opinions, consumer panels enlightened us and provided a glimpse into another world.

Several on the animal care consumer panel didn’t really believe that labels are meaningful; the generational differences were apparent with the levels of food label use.   This is consistent with recent Food and Drug Administration findings that consumer use decreased for most label components. “It declined approximately 3 percentage points for the Nutrition Facts panel, 11 percentage points for the ingredient list, and 10 percentage points for the panel’s information about calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Only the use of information about fiber and sugars did not decline over the 10-year period. Use of fiber information increased by 2 percentage points, while that for sugars held steady.” (more…)

Yesterday afternoon, pork producers around North America collectively shuddered with news of the latest video demonizing animal agriculture from PETA.  It’s important to understand that this hits below the belt for everyone in agriculture, whether you’re in the hog side or another sector. The video is shockingly graphic, grabs emotions and ends with a line referencing that any consumption of pork, ham, sausage or bacon supports the abuse of hogs like those portrayed in the video.  PETA also added words to the screen so viewers were sure to understand the extraordinarily derogatory language that was used. (more…)