STEWARDS OF THE LAND.....

STEWARDS OF THE LAND.....
.....A view from "down the lane" ....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes, Eating Beef IS Healthy.....Get the Facts!

Yes, yes, yes.....the NEWS is GOOD! Beef IS healthy! Check out the FACTS....

Even hamburger can be a good dietary choice....just watch out for the side dishes. If you select 95% lean ground beef, a 3-oz. serving has only 139 calories and 2.4 grams of saturated fat and 5.1 grams of total fat. A 3-oz. serving of Bottom Round (either roast or steak) also has 139 calories and only 1.7 grams of saturated fat and 4.9 grams of total fat. A 3-oz. serving from the Eye of the Round (either roast or steak) is 144 calories with 1.4 grams of saturated fat and 4.0 grams of total fat.

In addition, there are 29 cuts of beef which are considered lean and can contribute to valuable nutrition. Most people do not realize that beef is a "nutrient-dense" food. That means that a 3-oz. serving contains many, many vitamins and minerals, including trace minerals that are hard to find in other foods.

So, a 3-oz. serving of lean beef represents LESS than 10% of the calories for a 2,000 calorie/day diet, but serves up huge quantities of PROTEIN, ZINC, B12, SELENIUM, AND PHOSPHORUS. It's also an excellent source of NIACIN, IRON, B6, AND RIBOFLAVIN. All of these elements are vital to good health and nutrition and the LACK of them has been linked to cognitive and learning problems or delays in children, malnutrition and iron-deficiencies in teens, children, and women, and even help in the prevention of some forms of cancer (including breast cancer), as well as obesity.

When compared to chicken, Beef is a HEALTHY and EQUAL choice! Yes, eating BEEF is healthy. Compared to a 3-oz. portion of skinless chicken thigh, all 29 lean cuts of beef have LESS TOTAL FAT AND LESS SATURATED FAT.

Also, a 3-oz. serving of lean beef has 8x MORE B12, 6x MORE ZINC, and 3x MORE IRON than the same size serving of skinless chicken breast. As mentioned before, BEEF is a nutrient-dense food and represents a great choice in healthy eating. Its reputation has been tarnished, but the FACTS are CLEAR: Beef is BACK and BEEF is HEALTHY.

For more on preparing beef, check out: www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com, also www.culinary.net.
or google for great recipes. Also, check back with WHATSTHEBEEFFROMSOUPTONUTS.blogspot.com
I will continue to post nutritional information as well as environmental information and the positive aspects of beef and cattle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sustainability in Agriculture.....some facts about cattle and farming

Sustainability Fun Facts

In the United States, 98 percent of farms are family farms.


Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture decreased 4.2 percent from 2001 to
2006.


From 1990 to 2005, overall methane emissions decreased 11.5 percent.


Most large feedlot owners have a dedicated environmental engineer either on
staff or on contract who ensures the operation is in compliance with strict
government regulations.


This year, 46,000 upland acres of private land, mostly on working farms and
ranches, were restored to benefit the grizzly bear.

U.S. consumers spend a smaller percent of their disposable income on
groceries than consumers any where else in the world.

This year, 120,000 acres of private land, mostly on working farms and
ranches, were restored to benefit the bald eagle.

In the Eastern and Central United States, wildlife is almost entirely
dependent on ranch, farm and other private lands; so, ranchers play an
important role in the survival of native species.


Grazing cattle can minimize the invasion of non-native plant species.


Farmers’ and ranchers’ landowner agreements restored or enhanced 445,000
acres and 885 river miles of habitat for fish and wildlife.

Today's American farmer feeds about 144 people worldwide.

Today versus 1960: 1.8 million less farms are feeding a U.S. population that
has increased 61 percent.

Controlling dust has been a priority land-management practice on cattle
operations for generations.


Agricultural productivity in the United States has more than doubled in the
past 50 years.


Grazing cattle reduces the risk of wildfires by decreasing the amount of
flammable material on the land.


Because 85 percent of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops,
grazing animals more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food.


Rangelands and pastures provide forage and habitat for numerous wildlife
species, including 20 million deer, 500,000 pronghorn antelope, 400,000 elk
and 55,000 feral horses and burros.


Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting the forages
humans cannot consume into a nutrient-dense food.

Last year, more than 2,000 ranchers and farmers entered into landowner
agreements with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

About a billion acres, or 55 percent of the total land surface in the United
States, is rangeland, pasture and forages.


Calculate your personal greenhouse gas emissions using EPA’s calculator:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html.


EPA’s Clean Water Act sets forth requirements for protecting our nation’s
water resources. Animal manures are a valuable fertilizer and soil
conditioner.


Beef producers consider the rate of growth and consumption of plants in a
given area when deciding how to rotate cattle to new pastures.


Cattle grazing plays an important role in maintaining the wetland habitat
necessary for some endangered species.


The United States has 16 million more acres of forestland than it did in
1920.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cattle and the Environment: A Source of Energy?

As the world's demand for alternative energy sources increase, there is potential "right under our noses!" Yes, from the world of animals and from their excrement.....Manure, which produces methane, can potentially become a great resource.

Cattle, which have been rudely and wrongly accused of having a negative impact on the environment, are a wonderful and powerful resource. Cattle work with the environment!

There are two reasons for pursuing the development of methane energy: 1) methane is plentiful, and 2) energy demands are only going to increase.

So, rather than look at methane production as a problem, it might well be part of the solution!

Methane is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gasses that can be attributed to man’s activity. Carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to contribute 75% to global warming effects. Methane is a distant second at 15%, and this relatively small number even accounts for the fact that methane gas is twenty times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

Research indicates that if you must use some other carbon source for energy, you still generate carbon dioxide as well as release the wasted methane from the manure pile. The result in the end has the effect of trapping this methane and burning it, which converts one greenhouse gas into another greenhouse gas (but reduces the greenhouse effect of the gas by perhaps twenty times).

There is plenty of energy potential in using manure. Of the millions of tons of methane that is generated each year, about one/fourth comes from domestic animals. While it would be inconvenient to collect the gas generated by enteric fermentation, it would certainly be feasible to collect and use the methane generated each year from the anaerobic fermentation of domestic animal manure.

There are companies, eg: S.C. Johnson and BMW, that are already using methane from landfill sites to generate power for their plants. The next step is to encourage the development and construction of digesters and processors, using animal manure. What a turn-around.....the cow has always been one of nature's greatest and most efficient recyclers. Like the buffalo, it is efficient and works in concert WITH nature -- a fact that has been quite overlooked by many who do not understand the facts -- and now it might well provide the world with a feasible, reliable, renewable resource.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The MYTHS about "cow burps" continue......

Cattle Are NOT the REAL threat when it comes to METHANE...

Why does the MYTH continue? Why do people -- whose obvious agenda is to denigrate cattle because they are vegetarian and hate agriculturalists -- continue reporting what is not the clear truth?

There's a report out by the EPA that has been overlooked or ignored by the media......

The FACT IS: CATTLE are not the big contributors to methane and global warming that some would have you believe.

Since the release of a United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report in 2006, people talk about carbon footprints and the green house gases generated by livestock, particularly cows. That report claims that globally, raising livestock generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide and somehow equates to the use of fossil fuels, eg: driving cars and trucks. This story has appeared over and over again in the media.
It's not ACCURATE....there is MORE to the story -- as put out by the EPA:

A second study released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SHOULD have received media attention, but didn't. The EPA report, entitled "U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks", actually calculated the numbers and has determined that 80 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of FOSSIL FUELS. ONLY 2.3 percent comes from food animal production.

Although the EPA report clearly shows that the FAO statistics are unsubstantiated and should be re-evaluated, the media and other online sources have directed Americans to reduce their meat consumption in order to save the planet.

The fact of the matter is, that cows -- like the American bison/buffalo -- is environmentally friendly and aids in the seed dispersement and balance of nature. Their hooves act to stir the soil, move and transplant grass seed. They do not overgraze, by nature; they roam naturally and continually. They are also creatures of habit, crossing streams in a line, not damaging the banks like many people assume. MOREOVER, according to recent studies, GRASS-FED BEEF ARE BELIEVED TO HELP REVERSE THE GREEHNOUSE EFFECTS. Pastures and grasslands store carbon, vs. releasing it into the atmosphere!

More than 85% of all grazing lands are not suited for crop production, according to the USDA. Grazing rangelands is an environmentally SOUND management tool; it converts dry matter, that could be called FIRE HAZARDS, into a food source; ruminants can convert the roughage easily into muscle/meat. According to one Oregon range manager, "Without controlled grazing, the forage on public lands will become wolfy (Not succulent), [and] big game will move to private lands." Moreover, grazing protects the environment by "building soils, protecting water and riparian areas, and enhancing habitat." In Canada, ranchers and farmers are PAID to take cattle, sheep, and goats into the mountains to help protect from major wildfires.

In addition:
More than 75% of ALL WILDLIFE IN the continental U.S. (excluding Alaska) is supported by PRIVATE, NOT PUBLIC land. Private land, eg: ranches and farmlands, provide habitat, water, wetlands, and food for big game and waterfowl. In the eastern U.S., that figure increases considerably; almost all wildlife is dependent on private lands. Most of the spawning and rearing habitat for migrating fish occur on PRIVATE ranch lands.

From 1960 – 1990, it was estimated by BLM that public lands (rangelands) had seen a marked improvement in habitat and herd restoration: elk populations had increased by nearly 800%, big horn sheep by 435%; antelope, by 112%, moose by 500%; and deer by 33%.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Staking out Beef: Know Your Steaks, their values, their cuts

If you're learning about cooking beef, it's important to STAKE out the proper information about STEAKS, in general. Steaks come in all shapes and sizes and from low price to higher-priced. Lean beef is as healthy as skinless chicken breasts, so there is no reason to avoid all beef steaks! Here is some basic information about steaks. Do check out recipes and study the steaks listed so that you capitalize on flavor and tenderness while preparing easy and great menus.

Much of the appreciation for beef comes through the cuts you select . Most important to remember? A steak is not just a steak!

There are a number of types:

The most tender cuts of beef come from the rib, short loin, and the sirloin. Steaks from the chuck, plate, and flank are tougher, although wonderfully tasty. Cuts from the brisket, shank, and round are by far the toughest and leanest of all beef cuts, which make them perfect for slow-cooking dishes. Cooking methods for these cuts include braising, roasting, stewing, but not grilling. One important note about the tougher or leaner cuts of beef: lean steaks don't have much protection against overcooking, but lend themselves to dishes that use marinades.

Getting to know the cuts of beef are important if you want to be able to select the right cuts. The rib-eye or rib steak comes in boneless or bone-in cuts: Spencer steak, Market steak, Delmonico steak are boneless. The rib steak (a favorite among steak eaters!) is a bone-in steak. These steaks are generally tender and juicy. From the sirloin comes a number of favorite cuts: from the Top sirloin comes a London broil, center cut sirloin, top sirloin butt steak. While flavorful, this cut can vary in tenderness; the Top sirloin is the most desirable. These cuts are usually at least 1 1/2 inches thick and many people like to marinade these cuts. Also from the sirloin comes the Tri-tip, a favorite in the west, but harder to find in the east. These are smaller, leaner steaks, and it's important to slice the meat thinly ACROSS the grain for maximum tenderness. Great for serving guests, the Tri-tip is featured at many barbeques and should be kept fairly thick.

From the Chuck (or shoulder), this boneless steak has good flavor, though it may carry a fair amount of fat and/or gristle. Again, these steaks should be sliced thinly when serving and many cooks prefer to cook these as pot roasts. The Top blade steak, another cut from the chuck, is quite tender and moderately priced, making it a good choice for the value. There is a line of gristle that can be cut out and this steak is great to marinade.

From the Short Loin (or back) comes the tenderloin steaks that people pay high prices for in restaurants or supermarkets: these are tender and flavorful. Included in these cuts are the filet mignon, the filet steak, tournedos, and filet de boeuf. Also from this cut comes the T-bone and the Porterhouse, characterized by a T-shaped bone; the Porterhouse has a larger tenderloin "section". Both are popular restaurant selections. Finally, from this cut comes the Top loin steak, including such selections as the strip steak, New York strip steak, boneless club, and others -- all boneless. Bone-in selections include the New York strip loin, club sirloin steak, and the Delmonico steak. All of these cuts feature marbling, which is the element that gives beef its greatest flavor and tenderness.

There are a number of other cuts, as well, from the Flank & Plate (or underbelly), which tend to be leaner but well-flavored. Great cuts for marinades or quick grilling. These include the London broil, the flank steak, the hanging tenderloin, and the skirt steak, or Philadelphia steak. These steaks are often used in fajitas or sliced in cold salads, etc.

In my next post, I'll share some information about cooking steak, about marinades, and more about beef nutrition!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lean Beef: A Nutrition Powerhouse, Part II

Think of eating lean beef as taking a multi-vitamin. It's that complex and it's that healing. It's been given such a bad rap that it is unfortunate, for there are many people in the U.S. who are getting insufficient amounts of healthful minerals, vitamins, protein, and iron. Few other sources of protein offer such a compound of positive nutrition -- and in the fight for good health and diet, lean beef is and can be an important element.

Without a doubt, lean beef is an effective way to energize and feed the body. In the American diet, beef remains number one in providing protein, zinc and vitamin B12. It is number two in providing vitamin B6, which is more and more being studied for its positive effects in the battle against breast cancer.

Beef also provides 38% of the RDA for Zinc; 37% of the RDA for Vitamin B12, 26% for Selenium, and 20% for Phosphorus. And eating lean beef is a substantial source of Iron and Niacin, providing 14% of the RDA for Iron and 17% of the RDA for Niacin.

In addition, the iron in beef is heme iron, which is more readily absolrbed by the body than iron derived from other foods, particularly plant sources. Heme iron also enhances the absorption of iron from these other sources, so it works in two ways.

Lean beef is considered nutrient dense, meaning that eating beef is a great way to make calories count. A 3 oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie diet, and clocks in at around 180 calories. The same serving of roasted chicken, without skin, has 162 carolories.

Beef's protein is found to be more satisfying than carbohydrates, which augment dieting and good health, and can boost muscle and athletic performance. The zinc in beef is important in the cognitive performance in children. Iron deficiency has been found to be significant in young children in this country and is associated with cognitive delays in children. Vitamin B12 assists in the formation of red blood cells, and is being looked at in the fight against Alzheimer's. Niacin helps promote energy and promotes healthy skin, nerves, and digestive system. Vitamin B6 is important in maintaining the immune system.

There's another common misperception about beef, and that is that majority of beef's fatty acids are bad fats, or saturated. In reality, beef contains various amounts of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Half the fatty acids in lean beef are monounsaturated, which is the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil.

Plus, about 1/3 of beef's total saturated fat is stearic acid, which has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels in humans.

Finally, the amount of fatty acids that can potentially raise blood cholesterol levels in lean beef is actually comparable to those levels in fish and chicken.

In conclusion, Calorie-for-calorie, beef is one of the best protein sources of essential B-complex vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12.

In addition:
• Riboflavin, niacin and thiamin are three key vitamins in
  beef that help keep you going by unleashing energy from
  the protein, carbohydrates and fats that you eat.

• Riboflavin also helps promote healthy skin, eyes and
  clear vision. To get the same amount of riboflavin found
in a 3 oz. serving of beef, you'd need to consume more
  than two 3 oz. chicken breasts.

• Thiamin also helps promote normal appetite and
  contributes to normal nervous system function.

• Vitamin B12, found only in animal food products, helps
  produce red blood cells. A 3 oz. serving of beef
  provides 37% of the Daily Value.

• Vitamin B6, along with B12, may play a role in preventing
stroke and heart disease. A 3 oz. serving of beef provides
15% of the Daily Value.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What SCIENCE Says About Beef Nutrition...the POWER OF PROTEIN, Part I

Sadly, consumers are missing out. Science is coming out with more information about beef's positive impact on health.

According to R. Wolfe in an article published in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION (2006), increasing one's daily high-quality protein intake may increase and improve muscle strength and metabolism. Evidence suggests that "Muscle metabolism may also play a role in the prevention of many chronic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis." Eating at least 15 grams of high-quality protein, like lean beef, can help maintain muscle mass and provide strength.

Moreover, in another research study, "Aging Does Not impair the Anabolic Response to a Protein-Rich Meal," (AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, 2007), beef can stimulate muscle growth in older Americans, muscle that will help them to avoid fractures and improve their strength as they age, by as much as 50%.

For those concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and increasing the benefits of exercise, again, beef has been found to improve exercise's effectiveness. A study, released in the JOURNAL OF NUTRITION, suggests that a "protein rich diet with reduced carbohydrates, combined with exercise, improved body composition during weight loss, reduced triglyceride levels and mainted higher HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind). Part of the reason for this is that beef contains high levels of the amino acid leucine, which works with insulin to promote muscle growth.

For the obese, beef my actually help to boost metabolism, speeding up weight loss. As suggested in clinical trials, as released in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION (2005), people on higher-protein diets (34% protein/46% carbohydrates/20% fat) lost MORE fat MASS and achieved nutritional benefits either equal to or greater than those on higher-carbohydrate diets (17% protein/64% carbohydrate/20%fat). The trials also concluded that a higher-protein diet is associated with a greater reduction in triglyceride concentrations and improved hemoglobin and vitamin B12 levels. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 25.4 grams of protein, which equals 51% of the RDA.

Also, higher protein diets are associated with LESS belly fat! A cross-sectional study revealed that those individuals who had the highest proportion of caloric intake from protein also had the LOWEST waist to hip ratio. The study was published in the 2005 JOURNAL OF NUTRITION.

There is more good news about beef nutrition, too. I will continue the discussion of WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT BEEF NUTRITION in my next blog.

The good news is out: Beef is BACK. Beef is Healthy. Beef is good for everyone, especially for those with weight issues or nutritional issues.....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WEST NILE VIRUS: Keeping up with Facts and Information on WNV

West Nile Virus is still a major issue in agricultural and rural areas, not only in California, but across the nation. It's also an issue for anyone who is in jeopardy of being stung by a mosquito! There are some facts that people should be aware of, even though treatment and prevention have taken some of the "sting" out of the disease!

In regards to humans, the worst case histories were tallied in 2004 and 2005:
In 2004, 779 people were infected, including 29 deaths; in 2005, 880 people and 19 deaths were reported. In 2006, 278 people were affected, with 7 deaths. In 2007, the numbers jumped again; there were 380 bitten by WNV and 21people died.

Thus far, for 2008, human cases have numbered:

YTD (year to date): 92 But, so far, ZERO ( 0 ) deaths have occurred in 2008
Counties Affected in CA: 13

There were 19 new WNV positive human cases reported in California last week from the following counties: Butte (1), Orange (7), Riverside (6), Sacramento (1), San Diego (1), and San Joaquin (3). There have been 0 WNV-related fatalities reported in California this year. 92 human cases from 13 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2008.
 
The history of horses affected by WNV in California parallel the same trend:

In 2004, 540 were hit with WNV. In 2005, there were 456 attacked. In 2006, the number dropped to 58, and in 2007, the number dropped further, to 28.

For 2008, horses affected included:
YTD: 5
Counties Affected in CA: 4

There has been 1 WNV-related horse euthanized or died in California this year from Riverside county. 5 horses from 4 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2008.
 
Dead birds that were identified as being hit by WNV, the history includes:

In 2004, 3,232 were found; in 2005, 3,046 were found; in 2006, 1,446 were found, and in 2007, 1,395 dead birds were found to be diseased.

For 2008, so far, dead birds reported with WNV:

YTD: 1,295
Counties Affected in CA: 35

There were 160 new WNV positive dead birds reported in California last week from the following counties: Butte (3), Calaveras (1), Contra Costa (6), Glenn (2), Los Angeles (36), Orange (35), Riverside (5), Sacramento (7), San Bernardino (24), San Diego (36), San Joaquin (1), Santa Clara (1), Sonoma (1), and Tehama (2). This is the first WNV positive dead bird from Sonoma County this year. This is the first indication of WNV from Calaveras and Tehama counties this year. 1,295 dead birds from 35 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2008.
 
Mosquito samples taken that revealed WNV included, historically:
In 2004, 1,136. In 2005, 1,242. In 2006, 832, and in 2007, 1,007.

So far, for 2008, mosquito samples collected totalled:
YTD: 1,101
Counties Affected in CA: 24

There were 195 new WNV positive mosquito samples reported in California last week from the following counties: Alameda (1), Butte (3), Contra Costa (7), Fresno (5), Imperial (6), Lake (1), Los Angeles (39), Orange (4), Placer (3), Riverside (5), Sacramento (45), San Bernardino (26), San Diego (1), San Joaquin (33), Stanislaus (5), Tulare (8), and Yolo (3). This is the first WNV positive mosquito sample from Alameda County this year. 1,101 mosquito samples from 24 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2008.
 
Sentinel chicken numbers hit by WNV, included the following from 2004-2007:
809
1,053
640
510
And, for 2008, the chickens reported carrying WNV included:
YTD: 109
Counties Affected in CA: 12

There were 46 new WNV positive sentinel chickens reported in California last week from the following counties: Los Angeles (16), Orange (3), Riverside (14), Sacramento (4), San Bernardino (7), San Joaquin (1), and Sutter (1). These are the first WNV positive sentinel chickens from Orange, San Joaquin, and Sutter counties this year. 109 sentinel chickens from 12 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2008.
 
Finally, from 2004-2007, Squirrels found to be carrying WNV totalled:
49
48
32
26
And, for 2008, squirrels found with WNV numbered:
YTD: 9
Counties Affected in CA: 3

There were 3 new WNV positive squirrels reported in California last week from the following counties: Contra Costa (2), and San Bernardino (1). 9 squirrels from 3 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2008.

However, Californians are not the only ones who should be aware of WNV. The disease has touched all parts of the nation.

As of August 19, 2008, 236 human cases had been reported nationwide this year in the following 28 states: Alabama (1), Arizona (5), Arkansas (5), California (73), Colorado (20), Connecticut (1), Idaho (8), Iowa (1), Louisiana (6), Michigan (1), Minnesota (10), Mississippi (33), Missouri (3), Nebraska (2), Nevada (2), New York (2), North Dakota (14), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (14), Tennessee (6), Texas (14), Utah (2), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (1) and Wyoming (1). Of the 236 individuals, 97 (41%) had neuroinvasive illness. Two fatalities have been reported in Arizona and Mississippi.

In August of 2007, 576 human cases had been reported nationwide. That means that the numbers of humans affected by WNV has dropped, which is good news, indeed.

One observation:
though WNV is an important issue, it is rarely discussed by those whose mission it is to disparage beef with raving reports and fear-mongoring in regards to Mad Cow disease, etc. -- which accounts for less than a handful of deaths worldwide over the last decade, and which is virtually non-existent in American-raised beef; all incidents have come with imported cows. Truly, American beef is a clean, safe, and very healthy meat choice.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Farms & Ranches in the U.S. - latest statistics

The number of farms in the United States in 2007 is estimated at 2.08 million, 0.6 percent fewer than in 2006. Total land in farms, at 930.9 million acres, decreased 1.5 million acres, or 0.16 percent, from 2006. The average farm size was 449 acres during 2007, an increase of three acres from the previous year.

The decline in the number of farms and land in farms reflects a continuing consolidation in farming operations and diversion of agricultural land to nonagricultural uses.

Farm numbers and land in farms are broken down into five economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these "sales classes" by summing their sales of agricultural products and government program payments. Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000, and $500,000.

Farm numbers declined in the $1,000 - $9,999 and the $10,000 - $99,999 sales classes. Farm numbers rose slightly in the three largest sales classes. The changes within the sales classes were a result of operations moving to larger sales classes by consolidation or expansion and rising incomes as result of strong commodity prices. Because of rising incomes, many farms and ranches near the top of their sales class in 2006 moved into the next higher sales class in 2007 without adding land or otherwise expanding their operations.

The largest percentage changes from 2006 occurred in the smallest and largest sales classes. Farm numbers declined 1.5 percent, to 1.14 million farms, in the $1,000 - $9,999 sales class. Meanwhile, farm numbers increased 4.4 percent, to 84,970 farms, in the $500,000 and over sales class. The number of farms with less than $100,000 in sales fell 1.2 percent from 2006 while the number of farms with $100,000 or more in sales rose 2.2 percent.
© 2008 IMI Global.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cattle Are NOT the REAL threat when it comes to METHANE...

There's a report out by the EPA that has been overlooked or ignored by the media......
CATTLE are not the big contributors to methane and global warming that some would have you believe.

Since the release of a United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report in 2006, people talk about carbon footprints and the green house gases generated by livestock, particularly cows. That report claims that globally, raising livestock generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide and somehow equates to the use of fossil fuels, eg: driving cars and trucks. This story has appeared over and over again in the media.

It's not ACCURATE....there is MORE to the story -- as put out by the EPA:

A second study released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SHOULD have received media attention, but didn't. The EPA report, entitled "U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks", actually calculated the numbers and has determined that 80 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of FOSSIL FUELS. ONLY 2.3 percent comes from food animal production.

Although the EPA report clearly shows that the FAO statistics are unsubstantiated and should be re-evaluated, the media and other online sources have directed Americans to reduce their meat consumption in order to save the planet.

The fact of the matter is, that cows -- like the American bison/buffalo -- is environmentally friendly and aids in the seed dispersement and balance of nature. Their hooves act to stir the soil, move and transplant grass seed. They do not overgraze, by nature; they roam naturally and continually. They are also creatures of habit, crossing streams in a line, not damaging the banks like many people assume. MOREOVER, according to recent studies, GRASS-FED BEEF ARE BELIEVED TO HELP REVERSE THE GREEHNOUSE EFFECTS. Pastures and grasslands store carbon, vs. releasing it into the atmosphere!

More than 85% of all grazing lands are not suited for crop production, according to the USDA. Grazing rangelands is an environmentally SOUND management tool; it converts dry matter, that could be called FIRE HAZARDS, into a food source; ruminants can convert the roughage easily into muscle/meat. According to one Oregon range manager, "Without controlled grazing, the forage on public lands will become wolfy (Not succulent), [and] big game will move to private lands." Moreover, grazing protects the environment by "building soils, protecting water and riparian areas, and enhancing habitat." In Canada, ranchers and farmers are PAID to take cattle, sheep, and goats into the mountains to help protect from major wildfires.

In addition:
More than 75% of ALL WILDLIFE IN the continental U.S. (excluding Alaska) is supported by PRIVATE, NOT PUBLIC land. Private land, eg: ranches and farmlands, provide habitat, water, wetlands, and food for big game and waterfowl. In the eastern U.S., that figure increases considerably; almost all wildlife is dependent on private lands. Most of the spawning and rearing habitat for migrating fish occur on PRIVATE ranch lands.

From 1960 – 1990, it was estimated by BLM that public lands (rangelands) had seen a marked improvement in habitat and herd restoration: elk populations had increased by nearly 800%, big horn sheep by 435%; antelope, by 112%, moose by 500%; and deer by 33%.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Reasons NOT to Assault a RANCH WOMAN

For those who think of Ranch Women as apron-wearing, boot-tottering, silver-wearing, snuff-snorting ladies, read on.........

Reasons not to assault a ranch woman!!!

Violence does not scare us. We ride 1,500 pound horses and stare down an alley full of mad, snot-slinging cows that weigh over 800 pounds. We've held down calves that outweigh you by four times.

Don't try to intimidate us. Most of our husbands stand a head and shoulders taller, outweigh us by 100 pounds and we aren't scared of them. Why would be we be frightened by someone who can't keep their pants up?

Every time we work cows, our husbands threaten us if we don't get out of the gate. They threaten us if we don't stay in the gate.

We are pretty much not impressed by threats. Plus, if you get much closer we may give you some threats of our own to consider and be able to back it up.

Don't wave that knife at me, boy. I castrate when we brand, throw the 'mountain oysters' on the fire AND eat them, dirt and all. You probably don't want to go there.

Don't threaten to steal my pickup. I work for a living, so I have insurance.

The chances of you being able to drive a standard are next to none and there is no spare. I've walked home from the back side of the ranch, I can walk from here.

You want my purse? Take my purse. It has little money in it because, as I mentioned, I work for a living.

You will find various receipts for feed and vet supplies, some dried up gum and the notice for my next teeth cleaning.

The only 'drugs' you will find is something that is either aspirin or a calf scours pill but its been in there so long I've forgotten which it is.

Don't threaten to hurt me. I may look old and fragile to you, but I can ride horseback for 12 hours, with nothing to eat or drink. I have been kicked, bucked off, run over and mucked out.

I've had worse things happen to me in the corrals than you have experienced in the little gang wars you've been through, and still cooked supper for a crew.

You may whip me, son, but you'll be a tired, sore S.O.B. in the morning and yes, I will remember your face because I am used to knowing which calf belongs to which cow.

I'll also remember which direction you went and what you were wearing because I've tracked many a cow with less information than you've given me.


And though this is humorous, it's also based on experience and real life!!

So, walk softly when you approach a Ranch Woman.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

California's hills and forests are burning.....so where are the cows???

FIRE!! FIRE!!! There were preventative measures that could have been taken, used to be taken, that could have helped stem the fire danger this summer.

Cows could help prevent forest fires......grazing is a SOUND environmental management tool.

As to land as resource that could be BETTER utilized, especially on this HUNGRY PLANET, is the issue of rangeland.

More than 1.1 billion acres are listed as grazing land, roughly one half of the entire area of the U.S. Out of that 787 million acres are considered rangelands (and 82% of these rangelands are located in the 17 western states); 131 million acres are pasturelands; 157 million are grazed forest lands and 64 millions acres are croplands. More than 85% of all grazing lands are not suited for crop production, according to the USDA.

Grazing rangelands is an environmentally SOUND management tool; it converts dry matter, that could be called FIRE HAZARDS, into a food source; ruminants can convert the roughage easily into muscle/meat. According to one Oregon range manager, "Without controlled grazing, the forage on public lands will become wolfy (Not succulent), [and] big game will move to private lands." Moreover, grazing protects the environment by "building soils, protecting water and riparian areas, and enhancing habitat."

Cattle, or bovine, are ruminants, with four stomachs (like the bison/buffalo), thus they have the ability to convert forage and roughage, including discarded agricultural byproducts (eg: almond hulls, potato remnants, sugar beet pulp, corn stalks, grain screenings, oil seed residues, brewers’ grain and millers’ residues), then convert them into human food. They can use wheat and other grains that have been discarded because of early sprouting or adverse weather conditions.

They can also take dry matter in rangelands or on hillsides that are actually FIRE HAZARDS and convert them into muscle/meat. Grass-fed cattle live in regions NOT conducive to crop production, whether because of elevation, water-accessiblity, or climate/topography. In fact, of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the total U.S., about 470 million are listed as cropland; approximately 19% of that is used for feed grain production, thus there is NO LARGE DISPLACEMENT of acreage from production of human food into production of feed fo animals. More than 85% of all grazing lands in the U.S. are actually not suited to crop cultivation. Rather than consuming HUMAN food stuffs, almost 85% of the nutrients they consume comes from unusable sources or from areas not suitable for farming.

Note: Their hooves act to stir the soil, move and transplant grass seed. They do not overgraze, by nature; they roam naturally and continually. They are also creatures of habit, crossing streams in a line, not damaging the banks like many people assume. MOREOVER, according to recent studies, GRASS-FED BEEF ARE BELIEVED TO HELP REVERSE THE GREEHNOUSE EFFECTS. Pastures and grasslands store carbon, vs. releasing it into the atmosphere!

Unbelievably, in Canada, ranchers and farmers are PAID to take cattle, sheep, and goats into the mountains to help protect from major wildfires. Do they know something we don't?

Wouldn’t that be a great PROTECTION tool for OUR mountain and hill regions?????

Someone, call the FIRE DEPARTMENT!! California is burning and there are preventative measures we could take to help offset the dry/brittle grasslands that are now being devoured and destroyed.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Looking for NATURAL FIRE RETARDANTS??? Mooooooo....

That's right! COWS are great, natural recyclers and fire-fighters! Too bad they've been pushed OUT of the hills and rangelands where they might have HELPED California fight fire!!! That's right.........

Most Americans just didn't know that:
Cattle are sometimes found ranging in the hills and mountains. WANT TO SEE SOME NATURAL FIRE RETARDANTS AT WORK????? CHECK OUT WHERE CATTLE ROAM.....Contrary to the MYTHS about cattle, where cattle are found in the mountains, the meadows are green and lush, the dry matter that burns so easily, is reduced drastically.

Cattle enhance the environment by recycling, fighting fires and reducing erosion. Cattle also enhance the environment by grazing areas that are not suitable for building houses, or growing food crops. This adds up to about 1.2 billion acres (one-half the size of the United States, excluding Hawaii and Alaska). While grazing, cattle even work to REDUCE erosion and improve the grass. They aerate the soil with their hooves, allowing oxygen, water and other nutrients to enter the ground more easily, just like bison a hundred + years ago.

They also push needed seed into the ground and provide a natural fertilizer. Cattle serve as Natural and responsible and EFFECTIVE fire-fighters; their grazing helps prevent the spread of wildfires by reducing the length of grass. Plus, did you know the components from their blood are utilized to MANUFACTURE fire retardants, as well?????

Indeed, in Canada, farmers and ranchers are PAID to take cows, sheep, even goats into the mountains to graze so that they can reduce the dry, brittle matter that is easily burned. They keep the mountains lush, and because over-grazing is not allowed, they can be a TOOL of farmers and foresters.

Where are the cows now, though???? They've been kicked out of most hills and ranges where they once roamed or grazed. And in years like 2008, where everything is DRY, how wonderful it WOULD HAVE BEEN to have had the cows grazing earlier in the spring, thereby reducing tremendously the thousands and thousands of acres of land. TOO BAD, isn't it? Instead of using cows to help us out, the Forest Service and the Sierra Club and every other extreme environmental group, has THROWN cows out of the hills and have left the forests and hillsides RIPE for MAJOR fire!!!

Cattle are some of our BEST recyclers. They not only digest cellulose which is indigestible by humans, but they also eat non-edible by-products of food production such as potato skins, fruit pits, almond hulls and sugar beet pulp. This helps greatly reduce the amount of waste that goes into our nation’s landfills.

COWS ARE AMAZING ANIMALS and the Bad PRESS they've gotten in the last 5 years is a terrible and ridiculous mythology. There were once more than 65 MILLION bison that roamed the Great Plains. Cows are in the same family of animals and work in CONCERT with the environment. Where damage has been done 50 or more years ago, there has been tremendous recovery. RANCHERS and FARMERS love their animals and also love the environment where they live.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Questions and Answers regarding Beef and Its Safety

The assault on the U.S. beef industry is becoming almost ridiculous...it is and has been one of the safest food/meat products in the world. Far more people fall prey to seafood and chicken and other food sources than they do to beef, but the "horror" attached to the rare outbreaks of "mad cow" disease make it far more alarming than it is. Beef producers are working harder and harder to cultivate a balanced perspective on beef production and the fact that in America, very few animals are victim to such outbreaks.

As questions about beef and its safety arise, people need to go beyond the headlines. We all recognize the power of the media, but the power of influence it exerts is paramount in the 'war' against beef, its producers, and even agriculture, on the whole. It is a political battle.

I thought it would be helpful to go through the dozens of resources available on the safety of beef to answer some of the most common questions consumers ask. They include the following:

How are animal antibiotics used by beef producers? Are they used
preventatively?

Antibiotics, given through injections or in feed, are used to treat and control the spread of illnesses such as pneumonia, bacterial infections and diseases of the intestinal tract. Beef producers work with veterinarians and follow the Producer Guidelines for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials, which outline the correct use of antibiotics. Just like any medication, a recommended dosage is part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for antibiotics. Treating sick animals is important because healthy animals lead to safe and wholesome food.

At the same t wsing antibiotics as a widespread preventative measure is not only bad veterinary practice, it is simply too expensive. Ranchers try hard to keep their herds as antibiotic-free as possible. In fact, more and more ranchers avoid them unless absolutely necessary, and will tag those animals who have had to have anitbiotics administered.


Does using antibiotics in beef production have an effect on human health?

A recently published study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found little evidence that antibiotic use in animals poses a risk to human health. Additionally, federal law mandates that no meat sold in the United States may contain antibiotic residues that violate the FDA's
scientifically established standards. Antibiotics used in beef cattle actually undergo a rigorous and comprehensive scientific testing process before being given approval from the FDA. But, again, even ranchers are concerned about minimizing any potential for risk in their herds and avoid using antibiotics routinely or carelessly.

What are growth promoting hormones and why are they used?

Many more ranchers, in fact, are eliminating growth hormones from their herds, if only as a conscientious response to consumer demand, and this beef can be sought out at the market by asking or looking for labels that stress 'no-growth-hormones' used. However, at the same time,
growth hormones (also called growth promotants), which are found as small pellets about the size of a pencil eraser and implanted under the skin on the back of an animal's ear, release tiny amounts of hormones, safely dissolve as the animal grows. They are approved by the FDA, and have, for over 50 years, helped producers safely meet the increasing consumer demand for
lean beef. Typically, cattle raised with growth promotants can have up to 18 percent more lean muscle than other cattle, with an equal decrease in fat.


Do the growth promotants leave any hormones in the beef?

In multiple studies over the past decades, growth hormones have NOT been found to influence or increase to any significant degree, the amounts of estrogen found in beef. These studies have been conducted on cattle raised with and without growth promoting hormones

The amount of increased estrogen found is miniscule, i.e.: 1.9 versus 1.3 nanograms per serving.
What's little known is that the human body naturally produces far more estrogen than is found in commonly eaten foods, including beef. For instance, an adult woman produces about 253,000 times more estrogen every day than is found in a 3-ounce serving of beef. The FDA regularly tests for, and has never found, residues in meat that would indicate misuse of growth promoting products.

But, again, in response to consumer concerns, producers throughout the nation have responded by eliminating or reducing their use of growth hormones.

What producers hope Americans will realize, in fact, is that they are as concerned about safety and quality as the consumer. Cattle in this nation are raised in environmentally-friendly ways, including pasturing and grazing; that cattle have benefits to the environment, which the media seems blatant in overlooking or reviewing; that cattle contribute to good health, again, a concept that has been overlooked and avoided.

Mythology abounds in this country about beef and it is a sad commentary on both the media and the point of view it espouses and promotes and on consumers who do little individual research beyond headlines and the rants of those who have another agenda.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A FARMER'S LIFE LESSONS.......

Farmers have a knack for speaking the truth in straight-forward terms. Having been married now to a farmer/rancher for close to 40 years, I can relate to each of the following nuggets of simple truth. I wish politicians and liberals could have such a basic outlook on life. Too many of them seem to muddy the waters with all kinds of suppositions, hoping to impose their point of view on others. Right now, as things grow tough for everyone, BUT especially for ranchers/farmers as regulations and controls tighten around their necks, this list is a refreshing look at life.

Enjoy.......


An Old Farmer's Advice:

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older, you'll think back, ….

Monday, April 21, 2008

EARTH DAY is celebrated every day with Farmers and Ranchers!

Sustainability Fun Facts

In the United States, 98 percent of farms are family farms.

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture decreased 4.2 percent from 2001 to 2006.

From 1990 to 2005, overall methane emissions decreased 11.5 percent.

Most large feedlot owners have a dedicated environmental engineer either on staff or on contract who ensures the operation is in compliance with strict government regulations.

This year, 46,000 upland acres of private land, mostly on working farms and ranches, were restored to benefit the grizzly bear.

U.S. consumers spend a smaller percent of their disposable income on groceries than consumers any where else in the world.

This year, 120,000 acres of private land, mostly on working farms and ranches, were restored to benefit the bald eagle.

In the Eastern and Central United States, wildlife is almost entirely dependent on ranch, farm and other private lands; so, ranchers play an important role in the survival of native species.

Grazing cattle can minimize the invasion of non-native plant species.

Farmers’ and ranchers’ landowner agreements restored or enhanced 445,000 acres and 885 river miles of habitat for fish and wildlife.

Today's American farmer feeds about 144 people worldwide.

Today versus 1960: 1.8 million less farms are feeding a U.S. population that has increased 61 percent.

Controlling dust has been a priority land-management practice on cattle operations for generations.

Agricultural productivity in the United States has more than doubled in the past 50 years.

Grazing cattle reduces the risk of wildfires by decreasing the amount of flammable material on the land.

Because 85 percent of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops, grazing animals more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food.

Rangelands and pastures provide forage and habitat for numerous wildlife species, including 20 million deer, 500,000 pronghorn antelope, 400,000 elk and 55,000 feral horses and burros.

Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting the forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient-dense food.

Last year, more than 2,000 ranchers and farmers entered into landowner agreements with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

About a billion acres, or 55 percent of the total land surface in the United States, is rangeland, pasture and forages.

Calculate your personal greenhouse gas emissions using EPA’s calculator: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html.

EPA’s Clean Water Act sets forth requirements for protecting our nation’s water resources. Animal manures are a valuable fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Beef producers consider the rate of growth and consumption of plants in a given area when deciding how to rotate cattle to new pastures.

Cattle grazing plays an important role in maintaining the wetland habitat necessary for some endangered species.

The United States has 16 million more acres of forestland than it did in 1920.

Send this on to family and friends and see how much they REALLY know about farmers and ranchers and what they do for the environment!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Trying to Manage Your Weight??? Eat BEEF!

According to the Journal of Nutrition, 2007: Research has been showing that dietary protein "is more satiating than carbohydrates and fat!" The study, "Inadequate Dietary Protein Increases Hunger and Desire to Eat in Younger and Older Men," revealed that if protein intake is below the RDA (recommended dietary allowance), the result is an increase in hunger and an increased desire to eat.

Research also showed that exercise is "more effective when coupled with a moderately high-protein diet." The study revealed that "a protein-rich diet with reduced carboyhdrates, combined with exercise additively improved body composition during weight loss, reduced triglyceride levels and maintained higher HDL (the good kind!) cholesterol levels."

That means that a diet with protein can be helpful in protecting muscle while burning fat AND it can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. That's good news. BEEF contains significant amounts of the amino acid "leucine", which "works with insulin to promote muscle growth."

A 3-ounce serving of lean beef is not only lower in cholesterol than skinless chicken, it also supplies 25.4 grams of protein, which equals about 50 percent of RDA amounts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Beef is a "GREEN THING", too!!

Why is it that some people stomp their feet and swear that the beef industry is anti the environment? Please, the facts......

For example,

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has been honoring Environmental Stewardship for 17 (yes, SEVENTEEN) years, via the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). According to a report in the January 2008 issue of BEEF magazine, this year there were six regional winners. In the selection committee's words, "The six regional winners have made extensive efforts to work closely with their local communities and government agencies."

Let me review these six operations:
1. From Pennsylvania: Paul and Beth Wingard work the family farm, running 70 cow-calf pairs and 10 yearlings on 125 acres. The Wingards have worked with NRCS and the Fish and Wildlife Service; they participate in Pennsylvania Project Grass, Clarion County Graziers, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, local 4-H clubs, and have established partnerships with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Farm/Game Project.

2. From Alabama: the Dee River Ranch is a family-owned operation that includes 10,000 acres. Approximately 2,500 have been set aside for forages and cattle; 4,000 have been entered in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP); 3,500 are planted in corn, wheat, and soybeans. Mike Dee and his sister work with NRCS and Alabama's Cooperative Extension System, and the Alabama Rural Medicine Program.

3. From Missouri: the Oak Knoll Ranch is a 100 head cow-calf operation on 360 owned acres and 120 leased acres. Leon and Helen Kreisler work with the Department of Conservation and NRCS, and became one of the organizing members of the Advanced Graziers Group. They are actively involved in preserving wildlife habitat.

4. From Oregon: the Roaring Springs Ranch is a cow-calf/stocker operation with more than 6,200 cows and calves, 150 horses, 2,500 acres of meadow hay and 1,200 acres of alfalfa. The ranch also leases land from BLM, the state and other private owners. The ranch "initiated and implemented the nationally recognized Catlow Valley Fishes Conservation Agreement," in addition to working with BLM on prescribed burn practices that have improved wildlife and watershed habitat.

5. From California: the Yolo Land & Cattle Co., a family-owned limited partnership, is a cow-calf/stocker operation on over 12,000 acres of deeded and leased land. The Stone family has implemented a vegetative managedment plan, rotational grazing, grazing on Conservation Reserve Program lands, and invasive weed control programs. They work with NRCS, U.C. Davis, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

6. From Kansas: the Alexander Ranch is 7,000 acre, custom grazing operation with 500-700 cow-calf pairs or 2,500 yearlings (on a rotational grazing program). The ranch works with NRCS and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and provides and maintains a broad wildlife and aquatic species habitat.

These are the stars, perhaps, of this stewardship program, BUT these operations are NOT unique. The average American truly has little concept of how many environmentally-sensitive and conscientious farmers/ranchers are working to preserve THEIR own habitat and lifestyle, not just to be 'globally' wise, but because it is in their blood, in their very nature as nurturers of life and land.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What SCIENCE Says About Beef!? Yes, there is more and more GOOD SCIENCE about BEEF!

It is so sad that so many people do not understand the importance of BALANCE in their diet.

Too many people, esp. women and children, fall short of balanced nutrition when they give up beef, and as a result, suffer from chronic anemia and low iron (4 million children are iron-deficient in U.S. and childhood iron deficiency is associated with behavioral and cognitive delays). What's more:
Research demonstrates that iron-deficient children have lower motor scores when tested in infancy, at age 5, and in early adolescence. Anemic new mothers who took iron supplements experienced a 25% reduction in depression and stress. Incredibly, 84% of children studied who suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also suffered from low iron stores; in fact, those with the greatest iron deficiency had the most severe ADHD symptoms. Iron and zinc-rich foods, eg: beef, are important first foods in infants, especially for breastfed infants. Finally, overweight toddlers, aged 1-3 years, NOT in daycare, seem to be at a greater risk for iron deficiency.

In addition:

More and more studies confirm that lean red meat does NOT increase cardiovascular risk factors; it can improve bone health and contribute to bone health, esp. in middle-aged and seniors; help COMBAT obesity in toddlers, children, and teens; improves cognitive ability; helps against postpartum depression in women; is a natural SOURCE of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that appears to have CANCER-fighting properties as well as positive effects on cardiovascular disease, body composition, insulin resistance, immune function, and bone health....

A review of 54 studies provides SUBSTANTIAL evidence that trimmed, lean red meat does not raise LDL or total blood cholesterol and does not increase cardiovascular risk factors.

And for those dieting, dietary protein is far more satisfying and capable of reducing anxiety in dieters than carbohydrates and fat.

More about these various studies can be found in the following periodicals: the JOURNAL OF NUTRITION, the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, the ASIA PACIFIC JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, the JOURNAL OF BONE AND MINERAL RESEARCH, in PEDIATRICS, and in NUTRITION.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The GOOD news about beef!? Yes, the GREAT news about eating meat!

fat,
Many people believe that they cannot eat beef; they believe that beef is BAD, or harmful and should be avoided. Sadly, they cling to this biased and unfounded thought, when it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even if they like the flavor or taste of meat, they avoid it.

Well, the good news is that this is a MYTH…one fallacy after another.

Even the FAT in beef is not all bad! How can that be true? Well, the beef industry is raising beef that is leaner and contains less visible fat than it did just 10 years ago. Also, it’s now been proven that HALF the fatty acids in beef are monounsaturated, the same heart-healthy kind of fat that is found in olive oil.

AND:

32% of the saturated fat in beef is stearic acid, which studies show has a neutralizing effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Beef is the BEST source of iron -- called heme-iron -- and the easiest to be absorbed into the body. It is far superior to spinach, so move over Popeye!

Beef is easy to digest and aids in the healing of the body.

MORE GOOD NEWS:

There are at least 29 cuts of beef classified as lean or extra lean, according to USDA labeling guidelines, and these cuts contain 6.2 grams of total fat and 2.3 grams of saturated fatty acids per 3-ounce serving.

So? If that’s what you’re looking for, look for these cuts of meat: eye of the round, top round, round tip, top sirloin, bottom round, top loin, tenderloin and flank steak.

AND THERE’S EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS!

Beef contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid that recently has sparked a lot of interest in the scientific community, due to its numerous potential health benefits. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid found naturally in beef and dairy products. Animal studies have shown it to have many benefits.

THESE INCLUDE:
CLA has been found to be more powerful than any other fatty acid in preventing the formation and slowing the growth of cancerous tumors.

CLA can help to decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass.

CLA appears to help normalize blood glucose levels and can help prevent diabetes.

CLA is believed to contribute to a healthy heart by helping to lower
serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

CLA stimulates the immune system and is believed to have positive effects on bone health.

AND, HERE’S A BIT MORE GOOD NEWS FOR GOOD NUTRITION!

Every body needs ZINC. It plays an essential role in: growth and development; maintaining the immune system; healing of wounds; even in taste perception and appetite control.

There's much more to say about BEEF'S benefits, too.....in comparison to other meats, it contains trace minerals, including selinium. All GOOD things for your body!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cattle: Good for the Environment...Surprise, surprise...

What's all this that cattle and good stewardship do NOT go hand in hand?? Wow, please, get off the train if that's what you believe. Cattle ARE good for the environment, when they are raised in balance with the nature around them.

First of all, cattle are a bovine species, meaning they are related to bison/buffalo. As they graze (and YES, most cattle are raised for at least 12 months ON grass/hay, not confined or fed just grain, etc...), their hooves act to stir the soil, moving and transplanting grass seed. They do not overgraze, either, by nature; they roam naturally and continually. They are also creatures of habit, crossing streams in a line, not damaging the banks like many people assume. Because of their four stomachs, they can also graze on less than desirable grasses and dry matter, which is an important element of fire protection. MOREOVER, according to recent studies, GRASS-FED BEEF ARE BELIEVED TO HELP REVERSE THE GREEHNOUSE EFFECTS. Pastures and grasslands store carbon, vs. releasing it into the atmosphere!

Because they are vegetarian, and feed on grasses, their meat and fat contain HEART-HEALTHY omega-3 fatty acids, plus CLAs. Those animals that are fed grain, are not traditionally fed that until the last 30-60 days and that is if they are shipped to a feedlot. For those who desire tender meat, this is a requirement. If consumers don't mind tougher meat, purely grass-fed will be a mite tougher.

The mythology surrounding the raising of beef in this country is actually enough to raise the ire of most ranchers/farmers. What was "exposed" recently at the Chino slaughterhouse is so sad, BUT farmers/ranchers, like most people, were not happy about such conditions, either! Older cattle should not be processed at all; on the other hand, there is little to link those animals to diseases like BSE (Mad Cow). And it is certainly not grounds for the assumption that beef is unhealthy or 'disease-ridden.'

In fact, MORE people die from eating peanuts, shellfish, even chicken and other meats than from beef! But such is the desire for some people/activists to eliminate ranchers from the West that consumers NEED to be aware of the attack that is constantly being made against them. This is more than a health issue that people such as these want to rid the U.S. of beef; it is a political move and it carries a HUGE agenda.....who should 'own' the open spaces is a question that consumers would do well to analyze.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Some interesting Agriculture Facts....about California and the Nation....giving to the world!

So many in California do not recognize the contributions agriculture makes to the state's economy, the nation's economy, or the world's economy. Alone, the great Central Valley of California is one of the most productive agricultural regions IN THE WORLD. How sad that so much of it is rolling under the miles of asphalt, highways, and homes--construction that doesn't seem to stop! Over 400 miles long, the valley boasts rich soil that grows virtually anything.

Here are some facts you may not know.....check them out:

California's LARGEST industry is agriculture, which includes fruit, vegetables, dairy, and wine.
The agribusiness is more than TWICE the size of the state's second industry, aerospace. Its revenue topped $26 BILLION in 2004.

If California were a COUNTRY, it would rank 6th in the world in agricultural production. In 2003, cash receipts topped $27 BILLION, followed by Texas with $15.3 billion.

Cattle and calves are #6 in the top 20 agricultural commodities produced in California. Ranchers own and/or manage approximately 38 million acres of privately and publicly owned rangelands in California and most of these ranches are family owned and operated; many have been in the same family for four or five generations. In California, there are approximately 14,000 beef cattle operations.

In addition, the beef industry is the #1 agricultural industry in the US and constitutes the largest segment of production. Receipts totalled $98.3 BILLION in 2003, which translates to 1.4 MILLION jobs across the nation (directly associated with beef production).

California is the leading milk-producing state in the union; in 2005, it produced over 37 BILLION pounds. Yet, there are fewer than 3000 dairy farms in the state.

California is the #2 cheese-producing state in the union, accounting for about 25% of the cheese produced in the nation. In 2005, that accounted for 2.14 BILLION pounds of cheese! Almost 50% of California's cow's milk goes into cheese making.

California produces more than HALF of the country's fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It is the #1 DAIRY state, the #2 COTTON state, and produces 50% of the nation's flowers and nursery products.
Virtually all the artichokes in the nation are grown in California; 75% of those are grown in Monterey County. Check out the annual Castroville Artichoke Festival each May, now in its 48th year!

The US is the WORLD'S #1 producer of almonds, passing up Spain in 1977, and almost all of America's almond orchards are in California's Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

Almost 95% of the dates produced in the US are grown in the Coachella Valley.

The center of the fig-growing industry is centered in Fresno, California, and it represents 20% of the world's figs.

California is the only state in the union to produce olives commercially. Black olives are the most common variety.

California is also the only state to raise pomegranates.

California produces almost 100% of the nation's PRUNES (actually plums that have been dried), and this equals to about 70$ of the WORLD'S prune production.

Raisins are raised almost exclusively in and around Fresno, California, and the US is the WORLD'S #1 producer of raisins.

California also produces 99% of the nation's commercially-grown English walnuts.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

As a CattleWoman, my priority is 'myth-busting!'

As an active CattleWoman, rancher's wife, teacher, and writer, I know the anti-beef campaign in this country is real and being waged in earnest, and it's not based on truth. Therefore, education has to be number one for cattle people like us, esp. in regions where people are so removed from the source of their food. Do people REALLY believe some of this stuff? YES. So, it's naive of us, as ranchers and producers, to think that consumers will not listen to this ridiculous rant.

Unfortunately, we've seen the pendulum swinging against us before. We thought with the upswing in beef restaurants, etc., that maybe the 'fight' was won, but I don't think agriculturalists will ever be done educating the public. It's an image that we want to combat, too, so that consumers and public alike have an accurate picture of us.....

The good news is that most consumers simply want the truth and they want enough information that they can make informed decisions!

One of my recent decisions, personally, has been to find ways to share the truth -- without being overbearing. In order to win hearts and minds, we have to SHARE what we know, not beat people up over it (even if that's what we'd LIKE to do sometimes !).....letters to the editor, blogs, responses to articles that are not based on sound information....these are things any farmer or rancher can do. Also, getting involved in good, sound programs, like Ag in the Classroom, and others that promote health, etc., are also ways to help educate. There are enough scientists and nutritionists who have no bias and are therefore interested in the increased GOOD NEWS about beef, that we need to draw them out of the closets, too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What IS the beef?

I've just gotta ask the question! What IS the beef?????

As a cattle rancher's wife of 36+ years, I've heard everything that can possibly be said about beef.....and all its evils! Yikes......it's amazing. And it's pretty bizarre, especially when one examines what the beef industry is really like.

Ranchers are NOT the boogey men some people want to paint. Take our ranch for instance: we are a fourth, moving into the fifth, generation on this same place. We take pride in our environment and the contributions we make to the world's food plate. We have provided an incredible wildlife reserve (for well over 25 years) along the slough, which runs through the majority of our ranch. We have continually taken care of the streams and river running through the property. Ironically, however, we are not the ODD rancher. All the agriculturalists around us feel and monitor their land in the same way.

I just wish consumers and the general public would stop buying into the myths that seem to live larger than life! Most do not know, for instance:

75% of ALL waterfowl and birds are protected - NOT BY THE GOVERNMENT or public lands - but by PRIVATE ranches and landholders.

Cattle are VEGETARIANS and in the United States, any bone meal products are outlawed and never fed to beef cattle.

In fact, they are great RECYCLERS. I wish those worried about the environment would see that cattle can actually transform dry matter/brush, etc., into a great and valuable food item. Indeed, if cattle and sheep were used to graze some of the ignored and overgrown hillsides and ranges, they would protect those areas from wildfire. Even the tribes who lived in these regions before white contact, perpetuated fire to protect the land from overgrowth. Now, with fire restrictions that have put us in the danger zone for extreme wildfire, it would be a positive step to use animals to curtail that heavy growth. Deer and other wildlife will not eat such heavy brush; they leave it and eat only the new growth. Cattle, on the other hand, consume all matter of 'debris' and dry material.

Where cattle roam, in these higher elevations and in regions not tillable, grains that are thought to be superior to animals for food production, cannot grow. What cattle do, then, is transform land that cannot be used in other ways, into a vital food product.

Cattle do not ADD any more to the environmental problem of global warming than the herds of buffalo (also BOVINE) that roamed in the millions for hundreds of thousands of years. What a ridiculous claim! Human activity may very well tilt the balance, but methane from cows is NOT the issue in global warming......