STEWARDS OF THE LAND.....

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

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.