Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie Recipe's

Chocolate Lady Fingers

½ c flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Dash of salt
2 eggs, separated
4 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 2 cookie sheets and line with parchment paper, grease parchment.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and 1 Tbsp sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and pale colored.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites and remaining 3 Tbsp sugar with clean beaters on high speed until stiff, but not dry (2 -3 minutes).
Fold egg yolks into egg whites, then fold in reserved flour mixture.
Using a rubber spatula, transfer batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a large ½ inch round decorating tip, filling the bag half full at a time.
Pipe batter into 18 to 22 strips, each about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, spaced 1 ½ inch apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Yield = 18 to 22

Recipe form Natalie Haughton

Mom’s Molasses Ginger Cookies

2 c flour
1 ¼ c white sugar, divided
2 tsp baking soda
½ c soft butter
½ tsp salt
¼ c shortening
½ tsp ginger
1 lg egg
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ c molasses
¼ tsp cloves

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat 1 cup sugar, butter and shortening together.
Add egg and molasses; beat until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Refrigerate the dough at least 30 minutes.
Roll dough into 1” balls and roll in the remaining ¼ cup of sugar.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes.

Yield = about 4 dozen

Recipe from Lyle Koons, Andover, KS

Honey Drops

1 c sugar
1 c honey
1 c shortening
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp almond flavoring
½ c chopped walnuts
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
¼ c chopped orange peel
~ 3 c flour

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix all ingredients, except the flour.
Add enough flour so that the mixture can be rolled into balls and place on a cookie sheet without running.
After placing rolled balls on cookie sheet, bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
Test bake 1 or 2 cookies to check for consistency.

Yield = about 12 dozen drops

Recipe from FDR, Jr. who raised Hereford cattle in the 50’s.

Saddle Snaps

1 c white sugar
¾ c butter, softened
1 lrg egg, beaten
4-6 Tbls molasses
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ginger
2 Tbls Crown Royal
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together sugar and butter.
Beat in egg, molasses & Crown Royal; mix well.
Thoroughly blend all dry ingredients.
Beat into creamed mixture.
Mold into walnut-sized balls.
Roll in granulated sugar, but DO NOT flatten.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Yield = 60 cookies.

My favorite for throwing in the saddle bags when checking cows and riding in the mountain range.

Original Snap Recipe from Eva Ping, Paris, IL.

Keeping Hamburger Interesting

The following are recipe's for ground beef. Ground beef can be used for a host of delicious dishes and appetizers.  Go beyond the burger and the helper. All of these recipe's are from people I have met through my travels across this great country and they are all (or were) directly involved in the cattle industry.  They are family farmers and ranchers just I am; people who know beef!

Mexican Casserole

1 ½ lb ground beef
1 medium onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c evaporated milk
1 small can chopped green chilies
10 – 12 tortillas
1 ½ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of garlic salt
1 ½ c American cheese

Preheat oven at 400.
Brown meat with salt, pepper, garlic salt and chopped onion.
Drain fat from meat.
Mix soup with milk and chilies in saucepan.
Place tortillas on cookie sheet in warm oven, just long enough to warm, then dip in soup mixture.
Line 9 x 13 inch baking dish with tortillas.
Mix soup and meat mixtures.
Alternate meat mixture with the tortillas.
Top with meat mixture, then grated cheese.
Bake about 30 minutes.

Recipe from Frances Henard, New Mexico.

 Meat Pie

Pie Shell/Crust

1 lb ground beef
½ c bread crumbs
½ (8 oz) can tomato sauce
½ c onion, chopped
¼ c green pepper, chopped

Mix and pat into pie shell.


1 ½ c minute rice
1 c water
1 ½ cans tomato sauce
1 c grated cheddar cheese
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all but ½ cup of the cheese.
Spoon the mixture into the shell.
Bake for 25 minutes covered with foil.
Remove foil and add ½ cup cheese.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more.

Recipe from Sherry Colyer, Idaho

Lanea’s Favorite Skillet Dish

3 strips bacon
1 lb ground beef
1 c sliced onion
1 (1lb) can stewed tomatoes
½ c water
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 c green pepper strips
2 c coarsely chopped cabbage
1 c chopped celery

Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp.
Remove and drain on paper towels; crumble.
Saute beef and onion in 2 Tbsp bacon fat until meat is well browned.
Add tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, potatoes, green pepper, cabbage, celery and bacon.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat.
Cover and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetable are tender.

Recipe from Lanea Gunderson, Montana.

Meat-Potato Quiche

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 c coarsely shredded raw potatoes
1 c grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese
¾ to 1 ½ c browned hamburger
¼ c chopped onion
1 c evaporated milk
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 425.
In 9 inch pie pan, stir together vegetable oil and potatoes.
Press evenly into pie crust shape.
Bake for 15 minutes, just until brown.
Remove from oven.

Layer on cheese, hamburger and onion.
In bowl, beat milk, salt, eggs and pepper.
Pour over other ingredients.
Sprinkle with parsley flakes.
Return to oven and bake about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Inserted knife blade, 1 inch from edge, should come out clean.
Allow to cool 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Recipe from Lanea Gunderson, Montana.

Zesty Cocktail Meatballs


1 lb ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1 c soft bread crumbs (about 2 slices)
¼ c milk
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375.
In large mixing bowl, combine beaten egg, bread crumbs, milk, chopped onion and salt.
Add meat and mix well.
Shape into 8 dozen 1 inch balls.
Place the meatballs in a 15 ½ x 10 ½ x 2 ¼ inch baking pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


1 (10 oz) jar grape jelly
1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce

Melt grape jelly and chili sauce in a saucepan.
Add meatballs and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until meatballs are heated through (if you stored for later.)
• Only simmer for 5 – 10 minutes if meatballs were prepared at the same time.

Recipe from Jerry Nicholson, Washington

Hot Hamburger Dip

1 lb hamburger
½ c chopped onion
1/3 tsp garlic powder
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
¼ c catsup
¾ tsp oregano
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/3 c Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground beef, onion and garlic powder.
Drain off the extra fat.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Serve with choice of dipping agents.
Yields approximately 24 servings.

Recipe from Buell Jackson, Iowa.

Bread Recipe's

Banana Nut Bread

1 c shortening
2 c sugar
4 eggs
2 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
5 medium bananas, mashed
3 tsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix shortening and sugar until creamy.
Add eggs, 2 at a time, mixing well.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda together.
Combine creamed mixture, dry ingredients, bananas and buttermilk, using 1/3 at a time.
Add vanilla and nuts; mix well.
Bake in 2 greased 9 x 5 loaf pans for approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

Recipe from Carlitta Harvey, New Mexico.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cake & Pie Recipes

Having traveled the country as a National Director for the American Junior Hereford Association and also through opportunities in Farm Bureau, I have had the pleasure of sampling a multitude of food.  I felt it was time to take a break from the regular blog posts and share some of my favorite recipes for a variety of foods.  Since it is closing in on Christmas, I always find myself in the kitchen periodically dabbling with desserts, so as I whip up my favorites, I'll try to share them with y'all to enjoy as well. Feel free to let me know how you like them.

WARNING: These should NOT be utilized in any weight loss program!


Chocolate Ice Water Cake

¾ c butter
2 ¼ c sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
3 eggs
3 (1 oz) sq unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 c sifted cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ c ice water

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add eggs; mix well.
Add melted chocolate.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt.
Add dry ingredients alternately with ice water.
Bake in three 8 inch round baking pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pans.
Frost with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

2 sq unsweetened chocolate
1 (3 oz) pkg softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp milk
2 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 ½ to 2 ¾ c powdered sugar

Melt chocolate; cool.
Beat together cream cheese and 2 Tbsp milk.
Add powdered sugar; mix well.
Beat in melted chocolate, another 2 Tbsp milk and vanilla.
Add enough additional powdered sugar (2 ½ to 2 ¾ cups total) to make spread consistent.
Will frost center and sides of two cake layers.

Recipe from Lois Schlickau, Kansas

This recipe won the Hershey Chocolate Award and Sweepstakes at the Kansas State Fair in the open division years ago.

Applesauce Cake

1 c butter
2 c sugar
2 c applesauce
1 c pecans, broken
1 c raisins
3 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 ¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ sm jar apricot jelly
2 Tblsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 325.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add applesauce, raisins and pecans which have been dredged in ¼ cup measured flour.
Sift all dry ingredients together; add to mixture.
Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 2 hours.

For icing, empty ½ small jar of apricot jelly into a saucepan.
Add vinegar.
Heat until just hot.
After poking holes in the top of the cake, pour the hot apricot jelly over the cake.

Recipe from Donna Huizenga, Henderson, IL.

Choco-Scotch Marble Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant butterscotch pudding
4 eggs
1 c sour cream
1/3 c vegetable oil
½ c butterscotch chips
1 (1 oz) sq unsweetened chocolate, melted


1 ½ c butterscotch chips, melted
1 sq unsweetened chocolate, melted
5-6 Tblsp half & half
2 Tblsp finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream and oil; beat on low speed for 2 minutes.
Divide batter in half.
Stir butterscotch chips into half and chocolate into other half.
Spoon half of butterscotch batter into greased 10 inch fluted tube pan and top with half of chocolate batter.
Repeat layers.
Cut through batter with knife to swirl.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Combine butterscotch chips and chocolate.
Beat in enough cream until smooth.
Spread over top of cake.
Sprinkle over top with pecans.

Recipe from Sara Watson Pfeiffer, Peoria, AZ.

Rum Cake

1 c butter
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 c milk
3 ½ c sugar
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp rum flavoring or 2 Tbsp dark rum
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix butter, sugar and 4 eggs thoroughly.
Add flour (that has been sifted with salt and baking powder) alternately with milk.
Mix well.
Add rum.
Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan.
Bake for 1 hour.


1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
½ c water
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp dark rum or 1 tsp rum flavoring

Mix brown and white sugar with water and salt; boil well.
Add rum and pour ½ of the icing over the hot cake in the pan.
Let cake cool and remove from the pan.
Turn cake upside down on a plate and pour the other ½ of the icing over the cake.

Recipe from Carlitta Harvey, New Mexico.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Misunderstandings By #profood Part 2

Let me start by appologizing for not getting this posted sooner.  Fall is a crazy time on the ranch and the calendar is filled with meetings.  The livestock and previous commitments come before blogging. Sorry

This part pertains to an area that I feel is not realized or truly understood by many in the #profood community. It involves the relationship between geographic location and the ability to produce commodities. I shall preface this part by saying I fully support those that are growing organic and natural products, it will take a variety of production methods to meet the growing consumption needs of the world.

First, the ability to grow crops and livestock is dependant upon geographic location. Most crops are limited in the areas that they will grow. Elevation, length of growing season, soil type and availability of water are just some of the limiting factors. For example: peanuts grow very well in Georgia, but are not found in Montana; Pears grow extremely well in portions of Oregon, but do not do well Arizona. Similarly, there are certain breeds of livestock that perform better in particular areas of the country; Brahman thrive in Texas, but not in North Dakota; Angus perform well in Michigan, but not in Florida.

Second, geographic region also is a major factor in determining the success of raising organic crops. Recently, a report has been tweeted that makes the statement that organic crops are equal to conventional and in some cases, greater in terms of yield. Some in the #profood community would have you believe that this report pertains to “all” types of crops being grown. It should be pointed out, however, that the study this report cites was on corn and soybeans. It should also be noted that the author also made the following points: 1) equal to and/or greater yields were not realized until after year 4 or 5 and 2) he noted that other crops (ie row crops) probably would not share the same results due to the higher susceptibility to insects and fungus. It should also be noted that this study was done in a specific region and should not be applied across the country. There are definitely areas of the country that favor organic production for some specific varieties. However, to assume that all crops can be grown organically, in all locations, at a level that will meet demand is in error.

Finally, the recent promotion of eating local, and the concept of eating food within a 100 mile radius is noble, but in the case of metropolitan areas, unreasonable. Variety of food is limited by geography, as is the ability to produce an organic crop. In addition, the amount of acres necessary to produce enough “local” food, for city of 100,000 for 12 months is simply unreasonable. Further, it must be taken into consideration that at least half of the United States has a growing season of 120-150 days or less. Production in these areas would need to be doubled at a minimum in order to have enough produce to preserve for the rest of the year.

In conclusion, it is wonderful for people to support local producers of fruits, vegetables, milk and meat. The more direct sales that occur, increase the profitability for the farmer, and certainly provide a “farm fresh” product for the consumer. Consumers have a wonderful opportunity to actually see the face that grows their food, and it is not the person at the check out counter, as well as learn how their food was grown. However, the ability of our country to supply our own people with enough locally grown, organic food is impractical at best, let alone be able to profitably produce organically in all regions of the country. The environment simply places too many restrictions upon production naturally, and this does not take into account the economic factors, but that is the next part to be addressed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why I Support Michele Payn-Knoper for Twitter User of the Year

This post is a break from the norm for me, but probably one of the most important.

I would like to recognize Michele Payn-Knoper for her stellar achievement of showing family farmers and ranchers, across the country, how to share their story with the public. She had a vision to create a forum to connect food producers with food consumers and has seen it blossom and grow into something wonderful, #agchat.

I personally would like to thank Michele for her efforts, knowledge and guidance. She is an inspiration to all of us in agriculture. Please join me in showing support for Michele by voting @mpaynknoper for “Twitter User of the Year.” Of all of those being nominated, I feel Michelle is especially deserving for giving a powerful voice to ag, and engaging conversations that are positive and productive.

It is not often that we encounter individuals that have such passion and desire to see a community of people succeed. Under her guidance, the agricultural community has learned how to effectively voice their stories, tell what they do, how they do it and why with sincerity and openness. Thank you Michele, for opening a door for us and showing us a tremendous opportunity; we are very appreciative of your effort and energy.

Please help us make Michele Payn-Knoper Mashable’s Twitter User of the Year. This award is based on the viral nature of social media and requires daily voting through November 15th to win the nomination.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Catalysts of Misunderstanding by Profood?

Part 1 of a series.

Recent conversations on twitter among #profood people have brought to attention several issues which seem to escape their understanding or ability to understand from a production ag perspective. I use the term production ag very generally. In my opinion someone is production ag if they derive more than 75% of their annual income from ag production and includes all management styles: conventional, traditional, organic, natural, grass fed, etc. Posts over the past week seem to be trying to portray that #agchat people are “against change,” “anti-environment,” “big ag,” “corporate ag” and a multitude of other labels inferring a lack interest in food safety and sustainability. I hope to take a shot at explaining what I believe are some of the issues that are being misunderstood by the #profood community and why when some issues are brought up, it leads to those in the #agchat community becoming cautious and protective.

1. Understanding the importance of economic sustainability

First, many of the farms and ranches in the United States are multi-generational, some currently in their 5th, 6th, and 7th generation of ownership and management. It is critical that the current generation be able to maintain the productive viability and economic viability in order to keep these farms and ranches in a condition to pass on to future generations. Farms and ranches are continuously adopting new management techniques and technology to maintain the health and longevity of their land. Also, the vast majority of family farmers and ranchers derive their entire income from their operations. However, over the past 30 years the trend is showing more that at least one spouse is working “off farm” in order to “keep the farm.”

Second, few farmers and ranchers have retirement plans, IRA’s or 401K’s, let alone extensive health insurance plans. Their land, cattle, equipment and other assets are what they depend on to carry them through to the end. Any net income at the end of an operating year is typically used to pay off operation loans and whatever is left is reinvested in the operation through repairs, improvements and upgrades. This is predominately why those of us in production ag are so concerned over Estate Taxes. Considering land and asset values we are “rich,” but when it comes to dollars in the bank, most of us are just getting by. Being presented with the scenario of having to split off portions of our farms and ranches in order to pay inheritance taxes makes us sick to our stomachs. Our farms and ranches are living entities and part of us, and we want to be able to keep the body whole for future generations.

It should be understandable that anytime new legislation, regulation or change is brought up that potentially threatens the economic sustainability of a farm or ranch is sparks emotional response. Our farms and ranches, crops and livestock are our lives, often times seeing more personal attention than our actual families. Therefore, comments and accusations pertaining to our livelihood are taken personally.

The bottom line is that we all manage our farms and ranches to promote sustainability of production and economic viability. These two concepts are inseparable. We are continuing to learn and adapt our management practices to positively influence the health of the land as well as provide for our families and future generations. In an ideal world we would like to guarantee that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be able to make a living doing what we do, on the same land.

Part 2: Understanding “skepticism” on transitioning food supply to entirely organic and/or locally produced

(Coming as soon as I have another break in the ranch work.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Harris Ranch vs. Cal Poly - The Rest of the Story

To borrow the phrase from my distant relative, here is the “rest of the story,” regarding Harris Ranch, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Michael Pollan.

Recent posts on twitter and in the media have demonstrated an obvious misunderstanding and inaccurate portrayal of the circumstances surrounding Michael Pollans visit to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Some members of the “profood” movement and writers in the media are accusing Harris Ranch of being “Big Ag” controlling what is taught at Cal Poly through the threat of withdrawing funding to protect its own interest. Further, they are taking the position that colleges and universities should not accept financial contributions from industry as it “contaminates” or “slants” the education of the students.

First, the letter from David Woods and Mike Smith, from Harris Ranch (both Cal Poly alumni) was not the only letter sent Cal Poly in regards to Michael Pollan. There were a multitude of others, including myself, all Cal Poly alumni, that wrote to the school voicing our concern over the quality of education being offered, recent actions by the school to close and reduce agriculture units and the trend of abandoning courses in traditional ag. The invitation to Michael Pollan, to lecture without any alternative views being offered was the “final straw.” Those of us that are alumni of Cal Poly share a genuine concern for the direction the school is moving in terms of its agricultural education and Michael Pollan’s visit was the action that triggered the energetic response. Pollan’s visit was the “icing on the cake” that represents a trend in the educational direction of agricultural education at Cal Poly; it was the correlation of what Pollan represents and changes in what is being taught that served as the catalyst.

Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo has removed many ag units from the central campus and placed them off campus, eliminated them completely or greatly reduced them in their size. The feedlot, feedmill and meat processing unit were leveled and dorms were built in their place. The sheep unit was leveled for a baseball field. The swine unit has been reduced to three pigs and is now housing turtles, yes, turtles. And, the state of the art dairy unit has been reduced to a mere thirty cows. A campus store that once offered campus grown products, products grown and produced by students on campus facilities, now only offers popular brands and labels. Additionally, courses at Cal Poly have steadily been trending away from teaching traditional and conventional agriculture to focus on organic and “sustainable” ag, a common message of traditional ag is “bad” and access to the respective units related to animals and crop production has been diminished if not entirely eliminated.

As an alumnus, I fully support the school offering a diverse cross section of view points and do find value in teaching alternative methods of production agriculture. However, our ability to provide enough food for our country and world that is safe, wholesome, high in quality and affordable is dependent upon traditional agriculture. Recent models of “sustainable,” organic and urban farms cannot provide a supply that meets current, let alone future food demand. Recent erroneous claims in the media, movies and journals claiming that modern agriculture is responsible for everything from global warming, soil sterilization, poisoning of people and causing obesity only make it more imperative that colleges and universities teach fact and science and demonstrate class room methodology practically in the field.

It is because of healthy ag programs and research at colleges and universities that we are able to expand our understanding of how to produce food more efficiently and environmentally friendly. To simply abandon traditional practices is absurd. The face of production agriculture has entirely transformed over the past 20 years and to the benefit of the environment and the consumer. References, by the ignorant, are outdated and unfounded. Modern production agriculture utilizes conservation tillage, alternative biological compounds, plants and insects to reduce the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides where the geographic location allows and has taken food safety to all time highs. To reject scientific and technological progress and embrace only organic production, hobby farms and urban gardens is irresponsible and short-sighted.

Further, as a past high school ag teacher, I saw several years worth of new ag teachers entering the field lacking sufficient hands-on experience to help them in effectively educating students. In speaking to them, they shared that the lack of experience was directly tied to their limited access to production agriculture while attending college. All of them wished that they had time in college to implement and practice what they learned in class out in the “field.” That is the value of having units on college campuses that are in working order and accurately reflect operations in the real world.

Additionally, many graduates from colleges and universities, seeking employment in production agriculture, are ill-prepared for the tasks and responsibilities that they face. This is due in large part to the lack and/or reduction of applied application that the students receive at the institutions of higher learning. More colleges are restricting students in the number of credits they may take during their educational stay, in order to move more students through the system more quickly. Ironic that production agriculture has shifted from quantity produced to focus on quality of product and the institutions supplying the workforce have gone from quality of education to quantity of students graduated. This transition has limited the ability of students to pursue the education that they need in order to be successful in whatever field they choose to engage. Simply put, degrees in agricultural fields cannot be successfully achieved without being able to apply classroom knowledge in the field. Ag units on campuses are the equivalent to science and writing labs for science and language majors.

Secondly, the suggestion that colleges and universities should not accept donations from private industry is ludicrous at best, especially given the current economic situation. It is through industry that Cal Poly was able to build a state of the art Dairy Unit, Poultry Unit and Feedmill. Harris Ranch is planning on being the major contributor in the construction of a new Processing Facility. Without private donations and contributions, from alumni and industry, these facilities would never have been constructed and studies in the field on agriculture would never be conducted.

Finally, Harris Ranch is a family owned business, a large and successful business yes, but family owned just the same. It is irritating to see the condemnation of successful family businesses in agriculture by elitist, self-serving, egotists that only bring shame on the “pro-food” movement. I know many of the individuals that are “pro-food” and self labeled “foodies” that understand the importance of having a diverse agricultural landscape that includes traditional, organic and niche market production in order to meet the demands of our country and our world.

Harris Ranch should be praised for their efforts in creatively addressing air and water quality issues; creating a marketing program that allows other family ranchers the opportunity to have a reliable market for their cattle and receive a premium; developing one of the first branded products available to consumers; creating one of the first traceability programs; successfully marketing their product directly to a self owned restaurant; and continuing to financially support higher education.

Just as it is important for parents to be involved in parent associations and school boards at the elementary and high school level, it is essential for the alumni of colleges and universities, involved in their fields of study, to give back and provide input, insight and financial support. Education thrives and succeeds with vibrant grass root involvement, but withers and dies when it is overrun by the government and self-serving activist movements. It is well past time for people to embrace common sense and recognize the importance of a diversified, quality education to the continued production of a readily available, safe, healthy and affordable food supply.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Klamath Dam Situation Is All Wet

Seeing as the Klamath Dam situation has been running in nearly news publication, I felt it was important to give my perspective as an actual resident that lives in a watershed that is part of the Klamath Basin. Our farm and ranch are in the Scott River Watershed which is a tributary to the Klamath, downstream of the dams. We were not invited to participate in the negotiations, even though we know that water from the Scott River will be included in the mitigation process resulting from the final decision. The Klamath Basin Total Maximum Daily Load that is currently being written by the North Coast Water Quality Control Board includes the Scott, Shasta and Trinity and clearly indicates that water from these rivers will be used to mitigate water quality issues in the Klamath.

Before the dams were built, the Klamath River flooded in the winter and spring and ran hot and low, dry in some years, during the summer and fall months. It originates in volcanic soils, with naturally occurring phosphorus content and higher water temperatures. As it flowed towards the Pacific Ocean, the Shasta, Scott and Trinity rivers entered the system and provided colder and cleaner water. However, during the summer months, these rivers also ran low and warm and sometimes, in summer months, dried up.  Historical journals from the 1800's indicate that the water in the Klamath was not even fit for survey parties horses to drink during the summer months.

Once the four dams were built, flows were managed, providing clean, green power to more than 75,000 people in Southern Oregon and Northern California. The Klamath began to run for the entire year, although lower in the late summer and fall, it has not “dried up.” Irrigation water was provided to family farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin who were promised that water in Federal contracts tied to the land that they homesteaded. Additionally, new enterprises were started along the Klamath, including rafting, fishing and rental cabins, not to mention an increase in property values due to the water front advantage.

Now, with the listing of the Coho salmon as threatened, several groups have pushed to have the dams removed to allow for fish passage and sued to have Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL’s) established and mitigated for on the Klamath.

The current situation looks like this:

1. Upper basin farmers and ranchers are split in their support of dam removal, as some have received “guarantees” post removal and others, who are not project irrigators, have not received any guarantees.

2. Mid basin farmers and ranchers are opposed to dam removal, fearing their water rights will be threatened in an effort to mitigate the poor water quality resulting in removal.

3. Tribes are split in their support of dam removal. Some are focusing only returning the river to its original state, while others recognize that the river is actually healthier now, than it was pre-dams.

4. Fishermen are split in their support for dam removal as well. Ultimately, and understandably, they want fish populations to improve to allow them to earn a living.

5. PacifiCorp needed to relicense their operating permits for running the power generation plants, which opened up the utility to demands from a multitude of interests. Under coercion, PacifiCorp decided that removing dams would be cheaper for them and their ratepayers than trying to engineer projects that would be more fish friendly, and allow passage.

6. Power consumers in Northern California have seen a 30% + increase in their rates since Pacific Corp began preparing to pay for removal. This has been especially felt by the agricultural community that utilizes pumps for irrigation in a year that has seen the value of all commodities drop.

Complete removal of the four dams in the Klamath River is a case of radical environmental groups using the Endangered Species Act, along with the Clean Water Act, to extort and coerce in order to undue progress. It will send a dangerous message and potentially set a dangerous precedent, threatening infrastructure, private property rights and affordable power. We are in a time where more water storage is needed, green power is preferred and cost effective power is needed.

It is estimated that it will cost $300 million dollars to mitigate water quality issues up to the time that the dams are removed. It is also estimated that it will cost $750 million dollars to remove the dams, followed by an estimated $500 million dollars to mitigate quality issues after the dams have been removed. This adds up to an estimated $1.5 Billion dollar price tag, not including losses to property values, agricultural production, loss in tourism and county tax revenue.

Common sense would direct us to modify the dams to allow for fish passage, maintain green power generation capabilities, and provide water to farmers and ranchers. What has happened to balance and moderation?

If the direction that extreme environmental groups and agencies at the State and Federal level are headed, unchecked by any sense of reason or oversight, is not changed, we shall surely find ourselves in a hole we are unable to climb out of.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Endangered Species Act: Are We In Need Of Protection Now?

The Endangered Species Act is in dire need of reform. Hopefully, the recent coverage by Fox News and Sean Hannity, of the Water Crisis in California’s Central Valley will bring about the attention needed to wake up Washington and bring about necessary change.

Being from Siskiyou County, located on the northern border with Oregon, I have seen the devastation resulting from an antiquated act. Regulations resulting from the listing of species, without consideration of social and economic impacts have been devastating to rural economies and California business. Resulting listings also trigger additional regulations through various state resource agencies. Even though environmental impact studies are required to be conducted prior to regulations and restrictions being imposed, socio-economic impacts are rarely addressed and beneficial uses are regularly weighted towards single species. Failure to adequately address the socio-economic impacts of regulations and assessing all beneficial uses then results in economic hardship on land owners and rural economies and often has negative impacts on other species due to a lack of foresight and holistic approaches.

There was the listing of the Northern Spotted Owl that all but eliminated the logging industry and resulted in mass closure of mills throughout Northern California. This resulted in the loss of revenue for rural counties and schools that received funds from the receipts of timber sales, a loss of local jobs, and a reduction in family owned businesses in rural towns. The irony behind the listing was that the scientists that conducted the population surveys looked for the owls in “old growth forest” where the “literature” said they would be found. In reality, the owls also reside in new growth pine forests, non-conifer forests and structures, such as barns. Subsequent surveys in the owl’s actual habitat indicate a healthy population, but delisting has not occurred.

Then there was the listing of the fall run Chinook salmon and Coho salmon. Further restrictions and regulations were placed upon forest management, farming and ranching. Most of the mitigation measures, to minimize negative impact on salmonids, were reasonable: fish screens, permanent rock weir dams, creation of cold water pools, bank stabilization and riparian habitat enhancement. However, the encroachment on water rights and private property rights is inexcusable. With the listing of salmonids, came an assumption of guilt on all private land owners. Failure to recognize the impacts of natural precipitation, predation and ocean conditions placed all responsibility for recovery on the private sector with little to no mitigation for impacts not associated with private landowners.

Now we are seeing the impact of the listing of the Delta smelt, water being taken from farmers in the Central Valley. Pumps at the Jone’s Pumping Station and the Federal Fish Collection facility are operating, sending a nearly full canal flowing through the very area that has lost use of the water. Ironically, there are few, if any, Delta smelt even being collected at the Federal Facility, as they are not in the south Delta, and several municipalities are still being allowed to send their minimally treated sewage directly into the Delta. Further, the “two-gate” project, which would minimize the smelt’s ability to enter the take-out to the pumps, has been stalled by the government yet again, why?

Certainly, some past practices from the early 1900’s through the 1970’s were not exactly “environmentally friendly.” However, science and technology have changed practices and management styles to be beneficial to both resource managers and the environment. It is in the best interest of resource managers to ensure that the land is healthier and able to support future generations. Yet, the Endangered Species Act and a host of state agencies are now ignoring the benefits of modern resource management and the symbiotic relationship and dependency that exist between forest managers, famers, ranchers and the environment. Short sighted implementation of regulations that place onerous financial burden, force public policy on private land, tread on liberty, take private property, encourage development and negatively impact habitat and unintended species continue to plague the west. Is it any wonder that species do not recover and that California has become a business killer?

Curtailing logging has led to the highest density of forests in the history of the Pacific Northwest, resulting in elevated evapo-transpiration rates. Couple that with low snow pack and drought level precipitation and you have less available total surface flow available for fish, wildlife, municipalities and agriculture. Additionally, we have seen a higher number of catastrophic wildfires costing states and the federal government (tax payers) millions upon millions of dollars. Would it not be beneficial to harvest timber, generate local revenue, increase potential flows and save money from fighting fires?

Current recovery strategies are at odds with each other. One plan calls for creating Coho habitat which negatively impacts Chinook. Another plan calls for all banks to be stabilized and eliminate erosion, which negatively impacts the habitat for bank swallows. Yet another plan only allows for prescribed burning during the time of year with the highest risk of fire. Short sighted planning must be stopped. The government and agencies are only causing more problems than they are solving. Environmental extremists have pushed the envelope too far. It is time for reason to return to regulation.

Common sense tells us there is a need for balance. Allow logging to resume utilizing modern practices, increase available surface flows, improve available habitat and provide the necessary water to farmers and ranchers. Build more water storage facilities, do not remove them. Modify existing structures to accommodate for fishery needs, green power and irrigation, do not take them out. Acknowledge that agriculture, including timber, is potentially the biggest positive contributor and enhancer to salmon and wildlife habitat when allowed to operate with modern technology and management practices. Continued regulation and restriction will only exacerbate the existing problems. The Endangered Species Act must be reformed to recognize the value of timber operations, farms, ranches and local economies in BALANCE with nature.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Responsibility: Producer & Consumer

This post is in response to a blog posted by @zacharyadamcohen


We have had several civil discussions over the past few months finding areas that we agree and other areas which we agree to disagree. This post is in no way an attack on him, nor do I want any of my followers to be rude or attack him because you may disagree with his statements. I post this response with respect and in answer for his request for farmers and ranchers to respond.


I respectfully disagree with your assessment that farmers are to blame for the publics decisions on what to eat, how much to eat and what type of lifestyle to lead that leads to obesity. It is a philosophical difference between your ideology and mine.

I believe that as individuals we are responsible for all of our actions and the decisions that we make on that which we have control. We have control (minus the good Lord above, Mother Nature and government interference) over what happens on our farms, ranches, homes and personal lives, not the farm next door, the chef at the restaurant in town, or the consumer living across the state or country.

I am responsible for producing a safe product for the next person in the food chain, whether that is the horse owner, cattleman or dairy that buys my hay or grain, the commercial cattleman that buys my replacement heifers or bulls, or the people down the road that buy a steer to put in their freezer.

If that horse owner feeds a ration that leads to their horse colicing, or the dairy feeds an imbalanced ration that causes their cows to bloat, that is their responsibility, not mine. If the commercial cattleman, that bought replacement heifers from me, breeds them to a bull with excessive birth weight EPD’s, thus ending up having to pull the calves, that was his decision, and his responsibility, not mine. If the cattleman that bought a bull from me takes him home and puts him in a pen with other bulls, he runs the risk of getting him hurt. If that bull gets injured, that is his responsibility, not mine. Once the family that bought the steer from me to eat, they decide how to cook it, what seasoning to use, what portions to eat, not me. All of the “consumers” listed above make decisions based on their own knowledge and the information that they chose to access and are responsible for the resulting outcomes of their actions.

As a farmer I made an educated decision on what crops to grow based on the region that I live in. That includes my elevation, the length of the growing season and availability of water. I then take annual soil samples each spring to assess the nutrient levels of the soil and determine if any nutrients need to be added for the upcoming year. Moisture meters help me determine how often and how much water to apply. All my decisions are made using the best available information in order to produce a healthy crop that is safe to consume and keeps the soil healthy.

As a rancher, I made an educated decision on what type of cattle operation to run and what breeds to utilize, based on region as well. Having irrigated pasture, and limited acres, I decided to be a seed stock producer and optimize my production by producing a product for commercial cattlemen, bulls and heifers. I also elected to raise Angus and Hereford cattle, as we live at a higher elevation, with cold winters and both tend to be more efficient in those climates than European breeds. Pasture rotation is based on quality and condition of forage and helps increase the health of the pastures and enhances habitat for native wildlife. Regular conversations with our local veterinarian determine the health and nutritional plans that I utilize. Supplements of minerals, protein and carbohydrates are provided as needed by the cattle, depending upon the stage of the production. Once again, I make educated decisions that allow me to provide a safe and healthy product that is also beneficial to the environment.

Every decision that I make is based on my knowledge and research that I do so as to arrive at an outcome that is desired. If the outcome is not positive, I gather more knowledge and do more research to modify my management to arrive at an outcome that yields a high quality, safe product at a profit.

The public is just as responsible for gathering their own information to guide their own decisions and actions and are just as accountable for their own respective outcomes and modifying their behavior to change outcomes that are not desirable.

We live in a country that is based upon personal Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sadly, some people make choices that do not result in positive outcomes and so they “blame” someone else for their misfortune without accepting any personal responsibility, but they had the Freedom to make that choice as an individual.

I do not have the right, or the ability to control how you live your life, what you buy at the store, how much you eat or how much you exercise. You have that right, you have that ability, and you have that responsibility. That is what makes living in the United States of America so special, we are FREE to choose.

Do I think it is unwise for people to smoke? Yes, but I support their right to make that choice.

Do I think it is unwise for parents to let their children watch TV and play video and computer games for hours on end? Yes, but I support their right to make that choice.

Do I think it is unwise for parents to feed their children regularly at fast food establishments and reward with candy bars? Yes, but I support their right to make that choice.

The bottom line is that some people make poor decisions. That is life. Thank God we live in a country where we can still make our own decisions, whether they are good or bad. However, people must stop blaming others for their own misfortune and start looking inside to resolve their own issues. My grandfather told me to look at my hand when I pointed at someone to pass blame and see that three fingers were still pointing at me. Responsibility and change starts with self. And, as President Ronald Reagan said, “All great change in America starts at the dinner table.”

Are there areas within the existing food system that can be improved? Certainly, but until we as a society start accepting responsibility for own choices, our own actions, the outcomes resulting from those actions and modify our own behaviors, those changes will never occur.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Help Keep the Family Together

The link at the end of this blog will now work for everyone, not just Californians.  Thank you for your support.

America’s family farms, ranches and businesses face a serious ultimatum upon the death of a parent or grandparent whose name is on the title. When we lose that loved one, we then have to make some very difficult decisions, particularly on how to meet the estate or inheritance tax for the property that is to be handed down to the next generation. This is not just an agricultural issue; this directly affects rural economies, environmental sustainability and food production.

H.R. 3524, The Family Farm Preservation Tax Act, would allow families to pass the farm or ranch, and assets, to the next generation, exempt from estate taxes. This bill was introduced by Representative Mike Thompson and Representative John Salazar and would also exclude land that is enrolled in a qualified conservation easement.

Some would suggest doing proper estate planning and securing ample life insurance would alleviate this problem, however, what they do not understand is the following. The tens of thousands of dollars, spent on legal bills and insurance could be spent reinvesting in the farm or ranch. Reinvestments that would make the land more efficient, beneficial to wildlife, and have the potential to expand and benefit the local economies by hiring employees and generating demand at local businesses.

Being able to keep the family farm or ranch in the family is also a major benefit for the environment. When farms and ranches are split up and sold off, often times it goes under development, eliminating valuable habitat and placing even more regulatory pressure on the portions of the ag land that remain in production.

Furthermore, as more and more agriculturally productive land is split off and sold to cover estate and inheritance taxes, less and less land is available to produce food. Couples the reduction in productive land, with regulatory restrictions and Mother Nature and you have a recipe for potential food shortages and higher food prices.

Please voice your support for agriculture, and family farmers and ranchers by going to the following link http://bit.ly/11ClwB , join Farm Team and send your support and or estate tax story to Washington D.C. Voice your support for H.R. 3524 and the American farmer and rancher.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Rancher's Perspective On Health Care

Why am I writing about Health Care? How does it relate to agriculture? Easy, farmers and ranchers need insurance, we pay into the existing system through taxes, our commodities are consumed and in some corners of the media, blamed for current health issues. Plus, I was listening to Bill Crystal on XM this morning while coming home from working cows. He gave and interesting analogy that I would like to expand upon in reference to our country’s current economic situation.

If you have a $250,000 mortgage on your home, only one wage earner, two children, payments on a car, and all of your water pipes beneath your home break what do you do? You tighten your belt, call a plumber and get your pipes fixed. Do you also remodel the living room, kitchen, master bath and garage? No. You wait on those other projects, and reduce your monthly expenses.

Now, the US deficit is projected to reach over $9 TRILLION in ten years. Why is there a rush to pass the Health Care Bill and Cap and Trade, or remodel the living room, kitchen, master bath and garage? Let us just fix the broken pipes, please, and reduce our spending.

Meaningful reform can certainly be accomplished in Health Care, and without adding to the National Debt. Here are five suggestions this farmer/rancher has for the folks in D.C. that could be dealt with one at a time and each under 10 pages in length. Heck, even Senator Conyers could handle that without staff and lawyers. Call me crazy, but to me it seems like Common Sense.


Collect all copies and shred them. Erase all electronic copies. Start over.

Cost: None, in fact paper is recyclable and money could be made. Also, think of the memory that would be freed up in servers, computers and memory sticks.


A state-regulated national market for health insurance would increase competition, offer more choices, and lower costs. People should be able to purchase policies across state lines, not be limited to buying within their own state. Additionally, eliminate denial of coverage to people that have preexisting medical conditions and/or have reached a “coverage cap.”

Cost: None


People should be able to invest in Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). These MSAs should be allowed to roll over from year to year and grow over time, just like and IRA. MSAs should also be added as a permanent part of tax law, and offered to all employees without restriction. Further, all deposits into MSAs should be tax deductable and all withdrawals from these accounts, for medical expenses, should be tax free.

Cost: None


A reasonable cap must be placed on medical malpractice lawsuits. Limitless damage awards increase insurance costs for doctors, who then pass them on to the patients. Today, physicians are practicing “defensive medicine,” which drives up health care costs through unnecessary treatments and in some cases, tests.

Cost: None


Modernizing hospital recordkeeping will lead to quicker, more accurate treatments, a reduction in medical errors, and lower overall costs. Eliminating patient information gaps would reduce “under-utilization” and “over-utilization.” For example, the patient who patient who forgets to refill a prescription in order to stay on treatment (“under-utilization”) and the patient who goes from doctor to doctor to get the same prescription for devious intent or the patient who has retest after retest due to lack of doctor communication (“over-utilization”).

Cost: None


The demand for medical care can be greatly reduced by promoting personal responsibility and education within a culture of wellness. All school districts should implement a tiered course of study beginning in the elementary and culminating at the high school level that includes child development, health, nutrition, food safety, and budgeting. Furthermore, in order to reduce the incidence of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, all students, throughout their school career, should be required to take a physical education class that includes regular physical exercise. Physical education classes should not be optional. Additionally, access to preventive services, including improved nutrition and breakthrough medications that keep people healthy must be increased to keep people out of the clinics and hospitals.

Cost: None

These five reforms would not cost a trillion dollars. They would increase competition, and lower cost of coverage. They would improve the wellness of our youth and reduce medical needs. Granted, I am just a farmer growing hay and pasture and a rancher raising cows and horses, but it seems pretty obvious to me.

MESSAGE TO WASHINGTON: Put your politics aside, wake up and start running the government like a business. Fix the broken pipes and get your finances in order. You do not have the option of declaring bankruptcy, or is that bill in committee?

I guess the way I see it can be summed up like this. If I have to haul my horse to a neighbor’s ranch to help move cows, and the trailer has a flat tire……I put on the spare. I do not go out and buy a new trailer.

So if you agree with what I have said, feel free to pass this on to your elected representatives.

Time is running short, the “Cash For Clunkers” has expired and we can no longer get $4,500 for the trailer on trade in….oh that’s right, trailers weren’t included. Guess the neighbor is just going to have to move those cows without me this time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Personal Comments on the Klamath TMDL

2824 South Highway 3

Etna, CA 96027

Katharine Carter
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
5550 Skylane Blvd, Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

RE: Comments Klamath River Total Maximum Daily Loads and Action Plan


Having worked on fish and water issues, plans and permits since 1992 I can honestly say this is the poorest compilation of relevant science, lacks clear objectives with purpose and has timelines that are unreasonable. There are too many individual areas of concern to address them all, so I shall limit this response to five general points.

First, the Klamath TMDL has gone from river specific to watershed. The Scott & Shasta already have working and approved TMDLs in place. Attributing additional limiting factors to these watersheds and incorporating them into the Klamath TMDL is simply wrong. We do not need another layer of permits, regulations and restrictions.

Second, the entire Klamath TMDL is unreasonable in nature. Per the North Coast Water Quality Control Boards own policy, you are to evaluate ALL beneficial uses and develop a plan than assesses and meets the needs of all uses, with out negatively impacting others. The Klamath TMDL clearly places its emphasis on cold water fisheries and ignores the impacts to agriculture and other beneficial uses.

Third, a full assessment on the economic impact of the Klamath TMDL was missing. In this case, it should be a cumulative economic impact, including the effect of all TMDLs and the Department of Fish and Games ITP. This will be the third and in some cases, the fourth or fifth permit or plan than private landowners will have to endure. Especially in the current economic situation, it must be noted that agriculture and timber can not sustain any more additional cost, whether it be in capital or in time.

Fourth, as written, the Klamath TMDL assumes that the dams will remain in place. However, the tone of the TMDL lends credence to removal. Therefore, the Klamath TMDL must also include the potential scenario of the dams being removed.

Fifth, the Boards additions to what qualifies as an acceptable Ranch Management Plan are unacceptable. Farmers and ranchers do not have the resources, or the time to meet the new criteria. The surveys, studies and monitoring described are unreasonable.

Overall, the Klamath TMDL presents the tone that the farmers, ranchers and timber managers are guilty before proven innocent. We are good stewards of the land and are benefiting the environment for both aquatic and terrestrial species. We have implemented conservation practices and are efficiently utilizing our resources in order to provide healthy and productive farms and ranches for future generations. Local agriculture and business cannot endure any more regulations, restrictions or limitations.

In conclusion, I have three suggestions.

1. The NCWQCB needs to remove all portions of the plan that involve any tributary that already has an approved TMDL in place.

2. The NCWQCB needs to sit down at the table with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and discuss in earnest, the entire Klamath TMDL, until the county is satisfied.

3. The NCWQCB must meet with the CDFG and come up with the desired ratio of spawners to out migrants that will indicate a healthy fishery.

The bottom line is that we all want a healthy fishery. Farmers and ranchers are experts at growing things. Tell us the ratio you want for the system we manage. We can directly effect what happens inland and we have over the past 15+ years, in a positive way. We cannot be held responsible for low numbers returning when we have spawned them and sent them out alive. Adding regulation upon permit upon restriction on the private land owner will not bring back more fish. Instead it will lead to more economic hardship, higher unemployment and more conversion of valuable habitat.

Thank you for the opportunity to present comments on this document.


Jeffrey N. Fowle

Rancher, Farmer, Agriculturist, Environmentalist

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Letter to Time Magazine on Bryan Walsh Food Article

The following was sent to the editor of Time Magazine at: letters@time.com

To Time Magazine,

The recent article by Bryan Walsh, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food,” August 20th, was a poor choice to serve as the cover article. Covers should be objective, factually based and lead to an educated and productive discussion to solve an issue or simply inform in an unbiased manner. Bryan Walsh’s article was none of these.

His attempt at journalism was obviously slanted, utilized biased science, and lacked truthful, well researched information. If he was attempting to mislead the public through misinformation and scare tactics, he was successful.

As it was written, it served no productive purpose in aiding in the growing and successful dialogue between family farmers and ranchers and the consumers, taking place in social media. Attempts by Walsh and others sharing his agenda and motives to paint American Agriculture with wide brush strokes of assumptions and accusations only hinder a productive outcome.

Family farmers and ranchers across the country encourage honest dialogue to educate the public and have them share in the process of solving challenges with an end objective being able to continue to provide the world with the safest and healthiest food supply.

I look forward to seeing another article by Mr. Walsh that points out, item by item, the misinformation that was printed and enlightens the public as to the facts and returns responsibility to the individual. If he needs help locating unbiased, real-life, real farm & ranch conditions and information, I would encourage him to contact one of the family famers and ranchers from across the nation on this list: http://www.dataforag.com/followfarmer.a5w. We will tell it as it is, what works and what does not. We utilize science and modern technology every day to provide you with an affordable, safe and wholesome product. Our only motive is to keep the environment clean and healthy, enhance wildlife habitat, encourage conservation, provide for future generations and feed people.


Jeffrey N. Fowle
Family Farmer & Rancher from CA

Time Article Gets It Wrong.....Again!

The recent Time article titled “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food” should have been called “More Mis-Information About American Agriculture,” by a one sided writer who was either too lazy to research his information or is another activist masquerading as a so-called journalist.

Here are 13 quick points to reflect on as they were inaccurate in the article at best.

Antibiotics are no longer fed as a mainstay of rations. Antibiotics are used to treat sick animals and maintain their health and welfare.

In 95% of cases, the farms and ranches were built before communities. Farm and ranch “aromas” are far from being “air pollution.” If you don’t like the smell, don’t build or move near a farm or ranch. Personally, when I smell a swine farm, dairy or beef feedlot, I am thankful that there is a business that is employing workers and feeding the world. Also, be forewarned, farms and ranches operate machinery at all hours of the day and night and might interupt your precious sleep.

Typical liberal journalism blaming agriculture for America’s obesity problem. Stop already! People are free to choose. People choose to eat what they do and choose to not exercise. Take personal responsibility for your own situation, stop passing the blame.

Farmers and ranchers apply the amount of fertilizer that will be utilized by the crop. Excess fertilizer application is not common practice. First it is not economically beneficial, and second, it is not environmentally friendly. Farmers and ranchers work very hard to manage the soil health so that future generations are able to utilize the land.

Modern technology and management practices implemented by American Agriculture have reduced erosion across the country. In fact, public policy that has removed livestock grazing from public lands has actually led to more catastrophic wildfires, leading to sterile ground and massive erosion events.

The attempt to link disease resistant bacteria in humans to antibiotic use in livestock is unfounded. No studies have directly linked this accusation.

Doug Gurian-Sherman’s quote is either out of context, or he shows that he needs to get back in the field. Modern farming techniques are more water and power efficient, reduce erosion, and are increasing the fertility. Farmers and ranchers are soil builders.

Back to fertilizer: Farmers and ranchers regularly test the soil for nutrient balance. It would be unethical to not replenish the soil with the necessary nutrients to maintain its health.

Government subsidies do need to be addressed. Once again, an example of government involvement resulting in inefficiency. However, those that are so adamantly against farm subsidies should also be just a strongly opposed to the current administrations involvement in banking, insurance, car companies and proposed health care program. Is it not ironic that Time / CNN support these other subsidies?

Saying that livestock production is “dependent” upon “cheap grain” is also inaccurate. Livestock production depends on affordable commodities. If consumers were willing and able to pay more for their food, producers could afford to pay more for commodities. It’s basic economics.

“It simply costs too much to be thin.” A grossly exaggerated statement at best. How much does it cost to get off your bottom side, put on a pair of shoes or boots and go for a run, bicycle ride or hike? How much does it cost to NOT buy junk food? Answer? NOTHING…..ITS FREE, HEALTHY and COMMON SENSE!!

News Flash to Robert Martin of the Pew Commission, antibiotics are not the “cornerstone” to production. They are not “widespread” or “overused.” Commonsense would indicate that humans need to stop over using antibiotics. It is ok to get sick once in while and recover WITHOUT the use of drugs. Your immune system will be stronger and you will be healthier.

“Sustainable” should NOT be confused with “Organic.” Sustainability encompasses many factors of production. Conventional and organic farms and ranches can be sustainable. Likewise, they can also both be unsustainable. Going “natural” or “organic” is not a magic bullet to instantly be “sustainable.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Siskiyou County Continues Williamson Act

By Dale Andreasen
Daily News
Thu Aug 13, 2009, 09:45 AM PDT

Yreka, Calif. -

Followed by resounding applause from the crowded chambers, board chair Michael Kobseff said. “As long as I’m a board member in Siskiyou County, I’m going to support the Williamson Act.”The remark was made during a spirited discussion at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting. Supervisors and others discussed what the county should do in face of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto last month of $28 million to fund the act that has helped preserve agricultural lands and open spaces in California since 1965.

Land owners who sign a Williamson Act contract get substantial breaks on their property taxes by agreeing to keep the land in agricultural production or as open space. The state has been subsidizing the counties for the loss in property tax through a subvention program.Siskiyou County had been receiving about $780,000 per year in subvention payments.

Last year it was cut to $700,000. This budget year it will be zero unless the program is restored by a lawsuit, by the Legislature, or by the governor. Farmers, ranchers and environmental groups support the program. Public Health and Community Development Department Director Terry Barber pointed out that seven contract applications are currently “in the pipeline” and she needed guidance as to how to move forward. Two of the applications are for amendments to existing contracts and five are new applications for an additional 1,446 acres to be put into the program.She informed the board that there are currently 419,000 acres, over 10 percent of the county, involved with Williamson Act contracts.

The supervisors unanimously voted to accept the new applications and give the applicants the option to withdraw or continue at a later date pending what happens to the Williamson Act funding. If an application were withdrawn, the unused portion of their $600 fee would be returned.After much discussion, the supervisors also voted unanimously to continue with the Williamson Act program whether it is funded or not.

The vote was remarkable since both Barber and county counsel Tom Guarino pointed out that the current contracts are self-renewing and that a vote was not necessary.The only way the existing contracts would not be renewed would be if a vote were taken to discontinue the program, explained Barber.Senior county assessor Lauri Foster said there are about 400 Williamson Act contracts currently in effect.“In a nutshell, if we are looking at non-renewal, the tax liability of these property owners could double. Some would quadruple and some could be 10 times as much. It’s not simple, each parcel would have to be assessed separately,” she said.Planning Director Greg Plucker spoke during the discussion also.During a public comment period, Jim Morris of the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau asked the supervisors to honor the existing Williamson Act contracts. Otherwise, he said, the increased taxes would be burdensome.“But if these people were forced to subdivide their land, it could be worse for the county,” he added.

Lifelong Scott Valley property owner Mike Bryan also spoke in favor of honoring the contracts. Otherwise, he said he could make more money by subdividing his land. He asked the board to “do everything in your power to preserve open space.”

Jack Cowley, of the Siskiyou County and California Cattlemen’s Association, said he’s been involved with the Williamson Act for years. He said California is expecting a population increase of one million people.“Agricultural land is necessary to feed the people,” he said. “We have to have land to produce food.”

Supervisor Marcia Armstrong said it is important to recognize that Siskiyou County’s economy is agricultural, which, she said, generates twice as much revenue as tourism.“It’s really important that we support agriculture,” she said in an emotional statement.“I would like to believe that the funding will come back,” said Supervisor Ed Valenzuela, “but if it doesn’t, where do we get the $700,000 that we will miss out on?”All five supervisors voted to support agriculture and open spaces in the county and continue with the Williamson Act contracts whether the subvention money comes in from the state or not.

County Administrative Officer Brian McDermott had lunch with Assemblyman Jim Nielson Wednesday. McDermott said Nielson understands the position of the county and said “he will do everything he can to help restore [Williamson Act] funding.”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Wooden Bowl

The following was sent to me today, Sunday, by Barbara Saville and I felt it was appropriate to share. It is especially relevant to me with an observant and watchful 2 1/2 year old son.

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about father," said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life..'

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.You nee d to be able to throw something back sometimes.

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Williamson Act, What Is The Future?

The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, commonly referred to as the Williamson Act, allows local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. In return, landowners receive property tax assessments which are lower than normal because they are based upon farming and open space uses as opposed to full market value. Local governments have received annual subvention of forgone property tax revenues from the state via the Open Space Subvention Act of 1971, until now.

The Williamson Act was named for John Williamson, a 1960s-era assemblyman from Kern County that gives farmers a property tax subsidy if they pledge to keep their land in agriculture for periods of 10 to 20 years. It currently protects 16.4 million acres of farm and ranch land from development, or 17% of the total acreage of California.

Now it will now be up to cash-strapped counties to decide whether to continue Williamson Act contracts or cancel them. Many rural counties depend on the subvention funds for 10% or more of their annual budgets.

Cancellation would not mean immediate subdivision of farm and ranch lands, because current contracts would have to run their course before farmers could sell land to developers or do it themselves. On the sixth year of the contract, landowners may begin the paper filing process at their respective counties, with ground breaking and subdivision sales occurring in year nine.

Many farmers and ranchers have said the Williamson Act subsidy is the only thing that prevented them from subdividing and developing long ago, and with the current economic situation, with a particularly soft commodity market, it is likely many will sell out and either move to another state or keep their home with a couple acres to live out their lives.

If counties choose to non-renew, land owners may file a protest to lock in their current tax rate for at least three additional years. After that, taxes will be increased each year, based on an incremental scale, until the final year, at which time the taxes will be based on potential use value.

The governors actions could result in a devastating change to the agricultural landscape of the state, destroy the worlds 5th largest provider of food and agricultural commodities, and virtually eliminate an environmentally friendly industry….turning green into brown or black top.

While the governor did leave $1000 in the account for subventions, it is paramount that the California legislators restore funding to the program when they return to session. California agriculture and rural counties are facing literal collapse without immediate action.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Work, Urine Tests, Taxes & Welfare

A friend passed this along to me. Thank you Jen Gilbert.

Like most folks in this country, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck in my case, I am required to pass a random urine test (with which I have no problem). What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

So, here is my Question: Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ass - doing drugs, while I work. . . . Can you imagine how much money each state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

I guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Government Legislation and Impact on Agriculture

Recently I have been pondering how government legislation and regulation has impacted and will continue to impact production agriculture. It seems as though every day a new regulation, permit or fee is proposed at the state and federal level without proper insight, and understanding. It is well past time to put on the breaks and take a serious look at the role of government and its relationship with the individuals of this great country.

The role of government is to create equal opportunity for individuals to be successful, NOT create equal outcomes. Individuals and businesses should be rewarded for their individual effort, sweat, blood and tears. There will be those that succeed and those that fail, that is a fact of life. Those that are successful should not be penalized nor forced to aid those who are less fortunate. Individuals and businesses that have clear objectives, plan their work and then work their plan, tend to see successful outcomes. However, over the past 15 years or so we have seen a growing trend of the government, both state and federal, to change the rules and regulate production and management so as to try and ensure equal outcomes. This is wrong!

The individuals that are behind regulatory legislation and policy often may have book knowledge, but rarely have practical, commonsense, and production wisdom. They lack the insight to how regulations will actually impact individuals and businesses. Often, legislation and regulation is proposed and passed to achieve personal agendas, from narrow minded, self centered, egotists, focused on reshaping the face of American Agriculture and rural America to meet their own needs. Yes, the HSUS, PETA, Greenpeace and Earth First come to mind.

Without a major change in the current legislative and regulatory trend, OUR country faces some serious trouble. Increased regulatory burden on agricultural production will result in decreased domestic production with increased imports and decreased wildlife habitat with increased urban development. Production agriculture in the United States operates under the strictest regulations in the world and provides the people with the safest food. Do consumers really want to place their trust in food safety in a foreign country like Mexico or China? Additionally, American farmers and ranchers are in many cases the only real defense wildlife has between natural habitat and continuing urban sprawl. Where is the logic in imposing more regulations and fees on farmers and ranchers that are already voluntarily improving the environment, yet result in more ag land being sold off due to economic and regulatory hardship?

Regulations passed by state and federal governments should follow these principles:

1. Recognition of private property rights as the foundation for resource production;

2. Regulations are based on sound science which has been subject to replication and peer review;

3. A risk assessment analysis should be conducted prior to the promulgation of regulation;

4. An estimate of the costs and benefits associated with public and private sector compliance with the regulation must be conducted;

5. Regulations should allow for flexibility of rules and regulations to fit varying conditions;

6. Regulations should be subject to independent analysis and public review;

7. Alternatives to regulations must be considered, especially the provision of market-based incentives;

8. Regulations respect the practicalities of doing business in the industry being regulated;

9. The presumption of innocence as opposed to the current presumption of guilt should be strengthened;

10. Adoption of tools that measure the cumulative impact of regulations affecting production agriculture;

11. Measurement of cumulative impacts should be completed prior to regulation implementation.

Today it is common for legislation and regulations to be passed with a focus on one specie, or one issue, with blinders on, and results in negative impacts that could easily have been avoided if only cumulative impacts had been properly assessed. It’s time to put the brakes on and stop passing and implementing new legislation and regulations. Take a close look at those already in existence. What works and what does not? Eliminate those that are detrimental and negatively impacting production agriculture. Learn from the mistakes and follow the eleven principles before enacting more.

Regulations and legislation should start at the grass roots, local level, involving those that have the practical knowledge. Our forefathers created a constitution that limited the power of the federal government and empowered the people for a reason.

The government needs to STOP trying to ensure equal outcomes and get back to the basics. STOP enabling an already welfare dependant society. Put America first and guarantee the equal opportunity for individuals to succeed or fail based on their individual merits. Failure is healthy. The wise will learn from their mistakes and push on.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obamagic - by Emory Hanlon

The following is a letter to the editor from a friend of mine to our local paper. It relates food production to the proposed Health Care Reform very effectively.


Pioneer Press
Fort Jones, CA
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
page 7 col 1

To the Editor:

If the government suddenly decided that no one should go without food and passed a law that those who buy their own food must also buy for those who do not, or for those who have come into the country illegally, there would obviously be a shortage created. The increased need would require the production of more food.

But suppose that farmers and ranchers had price controls on what they could charge for their production. And that the government mandated that their prices were already too high and passed laws forcing them to sell for still less.

Now, imagine that those farmers and ranchers had a $500,000 debt for education and equipment on the first day they planted their acreage or bought their first feeder calves. Consider, also, that they had to carry enormous insurance policies for anyone getting ill from eating their products and then suing for all they're worth.

In such a hostile atmosphere the established food producers might hang on until they could sell out and retire, but there would be little incentive for anyone new to go into that line of work. Gradually, what food was produced wouldn't be enough to meet the needs of everyone and consumers would have to search for, and wait for, produce and meat to eat. Often it wouldn't be obtained in time to prevent starvation.

The government, in all its wisdom would then make rules as to who gets priority for the food that is available. For instance, less food would go to geezers and geezerettes, especially if they're already past the biblical "three score and ten" years of life. It is not "cost effective" to provide much food for older people, since they don't work hard and are soon going to move from the topside of the grass to the underside. Food would simply have to be rationed to those who contribute the most to society. When people who are in their sunset years check out earlier than expected because of food shortages, it relieves the pressure on social Security and Medicare, and even reduces carbon dioxide "pollution" from their breathing. So, for the government, it's a win-win situation. But for seniors, and anyone who ever expects to become one, it would be a lose-lose matter.

Now, where you see "farmer" and "rancher" substitute "doctor" or health care provider." And replace "food" with "health care," and you have the medical health plan illusion of Barack Hussein Obamagic.

Emory Hanlon,
Lake Shastina

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ag Related California Legislation

The following bills are of sigificant importance to California Agriculture.

AB 243 (Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara) passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee 7–0 on Tuesday.

This bill would require the courts to prohibit anyone convicted of certain crimes against animals from owning an animal for five or ten years, depending on the severity of the crime. Assembly Member Nava took amendments in the committee allowing livestock or poultry owners the ability to petition the court for an exemption from this prohibition as long as they can show that the prohibition would impose an economic hardship on their livelihood and that they can properly care for the animals they own. The amendments also place the burden of proving that livestock or poultry owners do not meet the standards set forth for an exemption on the prosecutor. These amendments provide the proper protections for livestock and poultry owners convicted of minor crimes against animals, to prevent them from losing their businesses. Certainly, the amendments make the bill more ag friendly, but many questions still remain as to the overall impact. The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee. This bill requires close monitoring.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee placed SB 250 (Dean Florez, D-Shafter) on its suspense file this week.

Senator Florez did not present on the bill, however the committee gave opponents the opportunity to provide testimony against the bill, prior to its being placed on suspense. Senator Florez has still not amended the bill to exempt dogs used by hunters, farmers, and ranchers, despite his promise to Senator Wolk. This bill currently requires all dogs and cats in California to be spayed or neutered, unless the owner obtains an “intact” permit for the dog, or keeps the cat indoors at all times. If the dog owner has been cited for certain pet related violations, they are ineligible to obtain an intact permit. Included in the list of violations, is allowing a dog to run at large. Oppose this bill until an exemption for working dogs used on California’s farms and ranches is included. The Assembly Appropriations Committee will likely take up its suspense file the week of August 24th.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 448 (Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica) out of committee with a unanimous vote of 16–0 on Wednesday.

This bill would create a California Safe Harbor Agreement program providing landowners, who choose to participate, incidental take coverage for species listed under the California Endangered Species Act when they expand or improve habitat for these species. The bill was amended last week to add language protecting the confidentiality of proprietary business information of participants and protecting participants from potential liability if individuals are injured on the property while completing surveys or other requirements of the program. These amendments allow for support of SB 448. The bill now moves to the Assembly Floor.

Friday, July 17, 2009

U.S. in Tight Spot on Trade - WSJ.com

U.S. in Tight Spot on Trade - WSJ.com:

JULY 17, 2009


WASHINGTON -- In a bid to revive support for free trade within the U.S., the Obama administration plans to press foreign nations to increase imports of U.S. agriculture and manufacturing -- but not to push so hard as to ignite a protectionist backlash.
Bloomberg News Ron Kirk

'In order to save trade, we've got to deal more honestly with those who feel like [trade's] benefits haven't been manifested for them,' U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in an interview Tuesday. 'We've got to be serious about enforcement."

Thursday, Mr. Kirk plans to travel to Mon Valley Works, a steelmaking complex in Braddock, Pa., to tell steelworkers that the U.S. will begin regular reviews of countries whose regulations and other practices limit American exports of agriculture and manufactured goods. In agriculture, for instance, the U.S. would target health-based import restrictions that Washington considers bogus -- such as bans of American pork products by Russia, China and other nations in reaction to the outbreak of H1N1 influenza.

The U.S. effort would rely largely on trying to embarrass countries into changing policies, rather than directly threatening tariffs or other commercial penalties. The U.S. could decide to refer some of the disputes to the World Trade Organization, but getting cases decided there can take years.

"One of the legitimate complaints levied against our trade policy is people feel like we just let our partners run roughshod over us," Mr. Kirk said, at the cost of U.S. jobs. "I don't think it's too much to ask of our trading partners that you live by the rules that you agreed to."

Complete article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124771359831849441.html

The administration needs to get its head screwed on right and work towards FAIR TRADE, especially for US agricultural products. Domestic producers are struggling to compete with imported goods that can be produced with fewer restrictions, cheaper labor, and more subsidies.

Add on top of the confusing administration trade policy is the lurking Food Safety bill that will potentially place more unecessary financial burden on family farmers and ranchers, further placing them at a disadvantage to foreign products.

Communicate your concerns to Washington D.C. Request a clear & fair trade policy that benefits US family farmers and ranchers. It's time to stop bending to foreign pressure and stand up for America first.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Economics 101

A good friend of mine posted the following story on FB. It's so simple & true! Everyone in the country needs to read this. Welfare dependent societies, as ours is, are destined to fail. We need MAJOR government reform! Thanks Ned, for posting it.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Return Letter to Parelli, Regarding HSUS Partnership

With all due respect, I have been to their offices in Washington, D.C. and have personally met with Paul Schapiro, Director of Factory Farming Campaign, at both his office and the National Press Club. I have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

The HSUS has gone beyond simply working for the humane treatment of animals, and has become an animal rights organization that is vigorously working to pass legislation that is detrimental to family ranchers in California and across the nation. Their efforts to pass Proposition 2 in California is a prime example. I am one of those family ranchers that is also a Parelli student.

HSUS's campaign against livestock production threatens family ranchers across the nation and encourages society to choose a vegetarian life style.

Direct From HSUS:

"Each one of us can help prevent animals from suffering in factory farms simply by choosing vegetarian options. It's never been easier to replace animal products with readily available vegetarian alternatives." HSUS.org

"Visit the HSUS Guide to Vegetarian Eating for more information on how you can help farm animals when you eat, including delicious recipes, tips on incorporating more animal-free meals into your diet, shopping list suggestions, and much more. And for more information on the lives of farm animals and other ways you can help them, visit www.FarmAnimalWelfare.org." HSUS.org

"The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration."-Michael W. Fox, HSUS Senior Scholar"We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding."-Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President & CEO"My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture."-J.P. Goodwin, HSUS Grassroots Coordinator

While HSUS may use the term "factory farming," to gain support, their impact is and has been tremendously detrimental to family ranchers and farmers.

Certainly, Keith Dane, Director of Equine Protection, may be a Parelli student. However, instead of working to improve the conditions of horse processing, he worked to abolish it, and is now actively engaged to make it illegal to transport horses to processing facilities, rather than work to ensure improved transportation techniques.

Here in the west, horse rescue facilities are overcrowded, people are turning their horses loose in the dessert, and even turning them out in strangers fields. I have been personally aware of this. Without a horse market, there is no place for horse owners to get rid of their horses, whether it is because of finances or age.

Is it really more humane to have domestic horses starve in the wild, get hit by vehicles on remote highways, and place pressure on wild herds. How would you feel if someone dumped their horse on your private property and your horses were injured or incurred a disease?

I am VERY aware of what HSUS has done, is doing and is planning on doing. I am not "influenced" by propaganda, or rumor. I have experienced personally, the aftermath of HSUS and am working to fight their agenda on a daily basis, while trying to earn a living to provide for my family.

Yes, I do care about the future of Parelli and am deeply troubled by the partnership with HSUS.

However, I care more for the future of family farmers and ranchers that are feeding the world, conserving natural resources, enhancing the environment and continually being challenged and attacked by the HSUS.

I would strongly encourage you to look beyond your relationship with Mr. Dane, and discover how HSUS is effecting livestock and family farmers and ranchers.

I look forward to your response.


Jeff Fowle

About Me

My photo
Jeff Fowle is a fourth generation family farmer and rancher from Etna, California. He and his wife Erin and son Kyle raise registered Angus cattle, Percheron draft horses, warmbloods, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay. They also start and train horses for riding, jumping, and driving. Their family run ranch has incorporated many environmentally beneficial and water efficient technologies and management strategies. Jeff attended college at Colorado State University for two years and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for four and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Following college, he worked in Washington State for a year as a herdsman for BB Cattle Company and then returned to Etna, California in 1995 to own and operate KK Bar Ranch and Siskiyou Percherons. The latter was started by his grandfather, Clarence Dudley, who devoted much of his time to the Percheron Horse Association of America, specifically to developing their youth education program.