May 25, 2013

Hines Farm - FRESH RHUBARB PIE Video

Rainy days are a good time to have some fun cooking. 
Eileen picked some fresh Rhubarb from the garden and I chopped it.
Monte & Eileen

Now it's time to make FRESH RHUBARB PIE

See how to bake a delicious rhubarb pie from scratch—with just five ingredients. The key is a high baking temperature to start, and then finishing the baking at a lower temperature. It softens the fresh rhubarb without making it mushy. It's fantastic.

5 Star All-Recipes

Get the recipe @

Original recipe makes 1 9-inch pie
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust.
Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Rhubarb Pies Baking

Rhubarb Pies Cooling!

Sampled with some ice cream - gooooooooooooooood!!!

Link: How to Make Fresh Rhubarb Pie - YouTube

Earlier I cooked Ham Egg Cheese Omelets with Roast Beef Hash (Fresh cooked Onions, Potatoes, and Roast Beef)

Frackalypse - by Mark Fiore for DeSmogBlog - YouTube

Published on May 21, 2013

Gas fracking companies revealed in a private PR conference that they're using military psychological warfare tactics (Psyops) on U.S. soil, and described citizens concerned about fracking's threat to health, water and the climate as "an insurgency."

With apologies to Francis Ford Coppola, welcome to Frackalypse Now. For more information, visit

Love it :-) !!! Monte

Related Links:
Frackalypse - by Mark Fiore for DeSmogBlog - YouTube

May 23, 2013

Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO's - Full Movie - YouTube

Published on May 23, 2013

The world's leading Scientists, Physicians, Attorneys, Politicians and Environmental Activists expose the corruption and dangers surrounding the widespread use of Genetically Modified Organisms in the new feature length documentary, "Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs".

Senior Executive Producer / Writer / Director: Gary Null PhD
Executive Producer/Writer/Co-Director: Richard Polonetsky
Producers: Paola Bossola, Richard Gale, James Spruill, Patrick Thompson, Valerie Van Cleve
Editors: James Spruill, Patrick Thompson, Richie Williamson, Nick Palm
Music: Kevin MacLeod (, Armando Guarnera
Graphics: Jay Graygor
Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO's - Full Movie - YouTube

Monsanto stock will be dropping...

Monsanto stock will be dropping...

Our voices will be heard!

Make sure to join the March Against Monsanto on 5/25/13

RSVP and info here:

What is Precision Hawk? - AG DRONES !!!! WOW! YouTube

Autonomous UAV
+Lightweight (3 pounds),
+Small (3 feet from nose to tail),
+Silent (runs on electric motors),
+Extremely easy to use
+User-Friendly Mission Planning Software

Published on May 7, 2013

Watch and learn more about Precision Hawk as Ernest Earon (Chief Executive Officer) and Patrick Lohman (Chief Operating Officer) talk more about the company and the services it provides.

Related Links:

What is Precision Hawk? - YouTube
Tech Shorts: Ag Drones, App Upgrades and More

Gut punch: Monsanto could be destroying your microbiome | Grist

By Tom Laskawy

First the bad news: The“safest” herbicide in the history of science may be harming us in ways we’re just beginning to understand. And now for the really bad news: Because too much is never enough, the Environmental Protection Agency just raised the allowable limits for how much of that chemical can remain on the food we eat, and the crops we feed to animals — many of which end up on our plates as well. If you haven’t guessed its identity yet, it’s Monsanto’s Roundup, a powerful weed killer.

The EPA and Monsanto are apparently hoping that no one notices the recent rule change — or, if we do notice, that we respond with a collective shrug. But that, my friends, would be a mistake. While Roundup may truly be the “safest” pesticide ever invented, that isn’t quite the same as “safe.” It just may be that Roundup represents a hitherto unrecognized threat to our health — not because of what it does to our bodies, but because of what it does to our “internal ecology,” a.k.a. our “microbiome.”

As Michael Pollan deftly cataloged in his must-read cover story in the most recent New York Times magazine, scientists are just beginning to explore the inner reaches of our bodies to understand how our microbiome affects our health. Nonetheless, there are some growing signs that Roundup might be the last thing you want in there.

Monsanto would, of course, disagree. The common claim is that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is less toxic than aspirin. How can one of the most effective broad-spectrum herbicides in the history of humankind be less toxic than aspirin?

I’m glad you asked. For two reasons. First, because glyphosate isn’t well absorbed by our digestive tract: 98 percent of it passes right through us. And second, because its “mode of action” involves a biochemical process that is specific to plants. (For the budding chemists among you, it disrupts the metabolic process known as “the shikimate pathway,” which humans do not have.)

Now, the actual safety and environmental effects of Roundup are the subject of some dispute. It gets into waterways and may affect aquatic plants. New research has implicated it in the catastrophic loss of amphibians. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture has evidence, which it downplays, that Roundup may damage soil through its impact on beneficial soil microbes and interfere with the growth of plants, including Roundup Ready varieties that have been genetically engineered to resist the herbicide. And there’s the controversial claimby a Purdue University plant pathologist that Roundup has caused an increase in miscarriage and infertility in livestock.

There are studies that show glyphosate is toxic to human placental cells, but you’re unlikely to run into high enough concentrations to show those effects — unless you’re a farmworker. A study of Berlin residents [PDF], meanwhile, found glyphosate levels in human urine that exceeded Germany’s safe drinking water limits [PDF].

While it’s true that glyphosate the chemical has been the subject of much scientific analysis, it’s also true that farmers don’t use pure glyphosate. They use Roundup on their fields — and Roundup is a product with other “inactive” chemical ingredients. And there isincreasing evidence that Roundup as a product is far more toxic than glyphosate on its own because the ingredients interact in troubling ways.

All of which is to say that there’s isn’t really a good health argument in favor of increasing Americans’ exposure to the chemical. There are, however, some pretty compelling reasons not to — and that’s where your microbiome comes into the picture. Even if we aren’t absorbing all the Roundup that’s on the food we eat, we are certainly exposing the residents of our digestive tract to it. And here’s the funny thing. While we don’t have the metabolic process that Roundup disrupts, many microbes do.

So, in short, we may be dousing our interior landscapes with a potent and effective intestinal flora herbicide. Oopsie.

Researchers are only now beginning to explore this idea. There is new research out of Germany that establishes that glyphosate kills many species of beneficial animal gut bacteria while not affecting more harmful gut bacteria, like E. coli and the bacteria that causes botulism, which is apparently at epidemic levels in cattle. And it’s not a stretch to say that it likely has a similar effect on the versions of those bacteria that have colonized us.

And, as Pollan explains, our gut bacteria play a core role in maintaining our health, although in ways that are not at all understood. The research is in its earliest days, but it’s possible that an unhealthy microbiome could contribute to obesity and other diseases, especially those caused by inflammation.

It’s all very speculative, but you can see where this is leading. While we’re just beginning to understand how our microbiome works and how it may prove essential to preventing all sorts of diseases, our governments are increasing the amounts of this anti-microbial herbicide Big Ag is allowed to leave on our food.

This is all happening at a time when we have almost no data on how much we’re exposed to this chemical in the first place. One reason that glyphosate has continued to fly under the mainstream toxic chemical radar is that it’s actually very difficult to test for. There are only a handful of labs that can do it and it’s an expensive process. In fact, the USDA’s pesticide monitoring program only tests a single crop, soybeans, for glyphosate residue. This is true even though it’s used on a huge variety of crops, both directly on the plants, in the case of Roundup Ready, and indirectly, through spraying on fields before planting non-resistant crops.

So why would the EPA allow more of this stuff in our food? The agency didn’t decide to do this entirely on its own, of course. It did so because Monsanto asked.

Here’s the thing: As farmers adopted Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds in droves — the majority of corn, soy, and cotton grown worldwide includes the company’s Roundup Ready trait — there has been an explosion in the use of the pesticide for which the trait is designed: You guessed it, Roundup.

In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that over 200 million pounds of the stuff are spread on fields and farms every year. That’s almost triple the amount used in 2001. (These numbers, by the way, are all estimates, since the USDA doesn’t precisely track glyphosate use because MONSANTO!)

There’s clearly more and more Roundup getting on our food. What else is Monsanto to do but get governments to bless this development? Both the E.U. and the U.S. have now complied. Stateside, the EPA has approved a significant increase on various grains, fruits, and vegetables, and upped the allowable limit on animal feed by a factor of 100.

Does that sound like a recipe for disaster to you? It probably should. It should also sound like yet another reason to buy organic food and either organic or pastured dairy and meat.

If it feels like Monsanto and its biotech brethren get to call the shots when it comes to toxic chemicals on our food, well, you’re right. On the other hand, the EPA is still accepting comments on these new glyphosate limits. Maybe if consumers make enough noise, the agency might reconsider.
Gut punch: Monsanto could be destroying your microbiome | Grist

Donating 23 Million to PBS gets you More than a Tote Bag... - YouTube

Published on May 23, 2013

If the Koch Brothers get their way - Public Broadcasting could become Private Broadcasting before you know it. When you donate 23 million to PBS you get more then a mug and a tote bag

QC Food Hub

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The Quad Cities Food Hub is part of a network of regional food systems in the state of Iowa.

A regional food system supports long-term connections between farmers and consumers while helping to meet the health, social, economic and environmental needs of communities within that region. Producers and markets are linked via efficient infrastructures that:
  • promote environmental health;
  • provide competitive advantages to producers, processors and retailers;
  • encourage identification with a region’s culture, history and ecology; and
  • share risks and rewards equitably among all partners in the system.

The Regional Food Systems Working Group supports education, conducts research and facilitates partnerships to increase investment and support of community-based, economically sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible regional food enterprises. Representatives from more than 25 groups meet quarterly in central Iowa to discuss and coordinate efforts to build more vibrant regional food systems.

For more information:

The Quad Cities Food Hub Market Store
Davenport Freight House
421 W. River Dr.
Davenport, Iowa 52801

Tuesday – Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm
Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 2 pm


The store features local as well as regional and other natural and health foods. The Food Hub carries regional items you can’t find anywhere else in the Quad Cities. Stop in and check us out. Our inventory grows weekly.

The Great Tree of Life |

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The Great Tree of Life |

Harvesting Giant Miscanthus Video

Published on May 23, 2013

2nd year Miscanthus giganteus Mulching with Kuhn ws 320 bio and New Holland t6080

Kuhn ws 320 bio in 2e jaars Miscanthus - YouTube

May 22, 2013

Daniel Dennett: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking

Published on May 22, 2013

Professor Dennett comes to Google to talk about his new book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. Dennett deploys his thinking tools to gain traction on these thorny issues while offering readers insight into how and why each tool was built. Alongside well-known favorites like Occam's Razor and reductio ad absurdum lie thrilling descriptions of Dennett's own creations: Trapped in the Robot Control Room, Beware of the Prime Mammal, and The Wandering Two-Bitser. Ranging across disciplines as diverse as psychology, biology, computer science, and physics, Dennett's tools embrace in equal measure light-heartedness and accessibility as they welcome uninitiated and seasoned readers alike. As always, his goal remains to teach you how to "think reliably and even gracefully about really hard questions." About the Author: Daniel C. Dennett is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and the author of numerous books including Breaking the Spell, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and Consciousness Explained.

Links: - Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking [Hardcover]Daniel C. Dennett (Author) AmzonDaniel Dennett: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking - YouTube

Video: Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter -

Video: Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter -
In this video, you’ll see how to make melt-in-your-mouth grilled steak with a delicious garlic and butter sauce. This five-star grilled steak recipe features two kinds of garlic: minced cloves and garlic powder. The butter sauce really makes the steak, so don’t skimp! Watch the video, then get Solana’s recipe for Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter.

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter


Submitted By: Solana
Photo By: CookinBug

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 8

"What's better than a sirloin steak cooked to perfection on the grill? A sirloin steak cooked to perfection on the grill and then brushed with this yummy butter sauce laced with lots of garlic!"

1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds beef top sirloin steaks
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat with garlic powder and minced garlic. Set aside.
3. Sprinkle both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.
4. Grill steaks 4 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. When done, transfer to warmed plates. Brush tops liberally with garlic butter, and allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

You Need Phosphorous to Live—and We're Running Out | Mother Jones

Industrial farming has played a part in sucking this critical element out of our soil.
—By Tom Philpott March/April 2013 Issue 46

Illustration: Koren Shadmi

Western Sahara, a sparsely populated slice of desert on Africa's northwestern coast, doesn't get much ink as a potential crisis point in the global food system. You've probably never heard of the long-standing independence movement in the Morocco-controlled territory—or that the area harbors vast stores of an element critical to contemporary agriculture.

Morocco, it is thought, holds up to 85 percent (PDF) of the globe's known phosphate rock reserve—and a lot of it lies in Western Sahara. Morocco's royal family thus controls what Jeremy Grantham, cofounder of the prominent Boston-based global investment firm Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co., called the "most important quasi-monopoly in economic history."
Our P use "must be drastically reduced in the next 20-40 years or we will begin to starve."

Who cares about phosphorus? For starters, every living thing on Earth—including humans—since all the crops we eat depend on it to produce healthy cells. Until the mid-20th century, farmers maintained phosphorus levels in soil by composting plant waste or spreading phosphorus-rich manure. Then new mining and refining techniques gave rise to the modern phosphorus fertilizer industry—and farmers, particularly in the rich temperate zones of Europe and North America, quickly became hooked on quick, cheap, and easy phosphorus. Now the rest of the world is scrambling to catch up, and annual phosphorus demand is rising nearly twice as fast as the population.

Our addiction to cheap P (as it's known in the periodic table) is risky for two reasons. The first, better-known one is that not all the phosphorus that farmers put on their land is absorbed by crops. A lot leaches into water, ending up in lakes and rivers, where it causes algal blooms—which, as they decompose and suck up oxygen, create dead zones.

But the scarier reason is that, like any mined material, phosphate rock is a finite resource, and there's fierce debate about just how long our supply can last. "Peak phosphorus" doesn't get a lot of buzz, but it should. In a recent essay in Nature, Grantham, who also runs an environmental foundation, put the case bluntly: Our P use "must be drastically reduced in the next 20-40 years or we will begin to starve."

Grantham isn't alone. A group of Australian and European academics caused a small furor in 2009 when they predicted that P production would peak by 2030 (PDF), after which point prices would rise dramatically. This would squeeze farmers, drive up food prices globally, and hand massive geopolitical leverage to the Moroccan government, which reportedly owns a 94 percent stake in the country's mining and fertilizer company.

The United States does have some phosphate reserves, the most heavily mined of which are in Florida. But phosphate mining is an environmentally devastating project—it requires stripping large swaths of land and generates massive amounts of a waste product called phosphogypsum, which contains low levels of radiation as well as a range of toxic heavy metals. In Florida, no one knows what to do with the stuff, so it has been sitting in huge piles in mining regions. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that central Florida already houses nearly 1 billion metric tons of phosphogypsum, and 32 million metric tons are added each year—the equivalent of the "combined weight of approximately 6.4 million elephants," asan EPA document helpfully notes. Moreover, Florida's phosphate reserves are dwindling fast—they're expected to run out within 25 years—and we're already importing about 10 percent of our phosphate from Morocco.
It wouldn't hurt to figure out safe ways to reuse an abundant source of P: human pee.

Just as we can't drill our way out of our addiction to oil, there's no mining our way out of the phosphorus problem. Solving it will mean changing our way of farming and eating. Luckily, that's possible—and in another paper (PDF), that same group of Australian and European agriculture experts described how: We can curb our phosphorus habit by eating less meat (carnivorous diets burn as much as three times more P than vegetarian ones), reducing food waste, and shifting to farming techniques that conserve soil nutrients, including organic agriculture and permaculture.

But none of this will be enough without a serious effort to recycle the P that we now squander—and that means better use of animal manure. Right now meat production is concentrated in areas like North Carolina and Iowa, whose massive feedlots produce more manure than can be absorbed by nearby land. Smaller and more widely distributed meat operations would help on that front. And it wouldn't hurt to figure out safe ways to reuse an abundant source of P:human pee (PDF). (There's enough phosphorus in your annual output of urine to provide P for more than half of all the grain you consume in a year.) No one argues that any of this will be easy. But neither will paying a king's ransom to the Moroccan royal family.
You Need Phosphorous to Live—and We're Running Out | Mother Jones

Phillips Brothers all Steam Powered Box Factory founded in 1897

Uploaded on Feb 19, 2011

Phillips Brothers all Steam Powered Box Factory founded in 1897. See the entire operation of the sawmill, planing mill, box factory, machine shop, logging and family history in a 30 minute DVD documentary. E-mail for more information.

Audio Licensed by Shockwave:
Track title: Firewood
License Type: Standard License
Composer: Jeremy Sherman (PRS)
Publisher:Lynne Publishing (PRS)

Track title: Life Path
Composer: Alexander Khaskin (SOCAN - CAE#: 231945867)
Publisher: Lynne Publishing (PRS - CAE#: 541626758)

Drop in U.S. underground water levels has accelerated: USGS | Reuters

By Environment Correspondent Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON | Mon May 20, 2013

(Reuters) - Water levels in U.S. aquifers, the vast underground storage areas tapped for agriculture, energy and human consumption, between 2000 and 2008 dropped at a rate that was almost three times as great as any time during the 20th century, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The accelerated decline in the subterranean reservoirs is due to a combination of factors, most of them linked to rising population in the United States, according to Leonard Konikow, a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

The big rise in water use started in 1950, at the time of an economic boom and the spread of U.S. suburbs. However, the steep increase in water use and the drop in groundwater levels that followed World War 2 were eclipsed by the changes during the first years of the 21st century, the study showed.

As consumers, farms and industry used more water starting in 2000, aquifers were also affected by climate changes, with less rain and snow filtering underground to replenish what was being pumped out, Konikow said in a telephone interview from Reston, Virginia.

Depletion of groundwater can cause land to subside, cut yields from existing wells, and diminish the flow of water from springs and streams.

Agricultural irrigation is the biggest user of water from aquifers in the United States, though the energy industry, including oil and coal extraction, is also a big user.

The USGS study looked at 40 different aquifers from 1900 through 2008 and found that the historical average of groundwater depletion - the amount the underground reservoirs lost each year - was 7.5 million acre-feet (9.2 cubic kilometers).

From 2000 to 2008, the average was 20.2 million acre-feet (25 cubic kilometers) a year. (An acre-foot is the volume of water needed to cover an acre to the depth of one foot.)

One of the best-known aquifers, the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Oglala, had the highest levels of groundwater depletion starting in the 1960s. It lies beneath parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, where water demand from agriculture is high and where recent drought has hit hard.

Because it costs more to pump water from lower levels in an aquifer, some farmers may give up, or irrigate fewer fields, Konikow said. Another problem with low water levels underground is that water quality can deteriorate, ultimately becoming too salty to use for irrigation.

"That's a real limit on water," Konikow said. "You could always say that if we have enough money, you build a desalization plant and solve the problem, but that really is expensive."

(Reporting by Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Drop in U.S. underground water levels has accelerated: USGS | Reuters

NATIONWIDE USACE Project Map & Mississippi River Basin Map

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Mississippi River Basin

Boaters Guide To Travel On The Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway

Chris Hedges - Rise Up or Die! - YouTube

Published on May 21, 2013

Chris Hedges, Truthdig, joins Thom Hartmann. The AP scandal is just the latest example of an ongoing - and often corporate backed - assault on our most basic democratic rights.

A March against Monsanto is a March for Life and Freedom - 25th May 2013

VIDEOS --> A March against Monsanto is a March for Life and Freedom - 25th May 2013



May 21, 2013

1992 to 2009 Pesticide Use Maps

pesticide use map
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Full Link -Select year for map - pesticide - 1992 to 2009 Pesticide Use Maps

ALARMING amount of pesticides being applied to crops and soil!  Monte Hines

Hines Farm Photos - Fog On The Mississippi River - Male Mountain Bluebird - May 2013

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Fog On The Mississippi River - May 13, 2013 6:40 AM
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Male Mountain Bluebird - May 14, 2013 9:40 AM

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Male Mountain Bluebird - May 14, 2013 9:40 AM

May 20, 2013

The "Biggest, Most Destructive Tornado in History" Just Hit Oklahoma

The "Biggest, Most Destructive Tornado in History" Just Hit Oklahoma



We, the Vast Underclass, Must Rise Up Against Global Mafia - or Die

Monday, 20 May 2013
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | Op-Ed

(Photo: Hutcs / Oisin Mulvihill)

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones—in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery—is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform—the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions—we are left defenseless against corporate power....

Read the full story: We, the Vast Underclass, Must Rise Up Against Global Mafia - or Die

Excellent article!  Monte Hines

We Must Reclaim Our Farmland From the Rural Oligarchy

Great Article... telling it the way it is....  Monte Hines

Monday, 20 May 2013  
Traditional agriculture was the mother of human culture and societies. Small farmers raised food and created organized societies and states. In ancient Greece, small farmers invented democracy and the polis. They also defended the state. Xenophon, an Athenian general, a student of Socrates, and philosopher of late fifth century BCE, praised agriculture as the mother of all the arts and sciences and civilization.(1)

However, the fall of the Greeks and the Romans and the following Dark Ages transformed agriculture more to the liking of plantation owners who worked the land with slaves. Then the nineteenth-century "industrial" revolution added mechanical power to the plantation and, thus, the industrialized version of agriculture came into being. This is a mechanical powerhouse that has been remaking modern science and society to serve the interests of large landowners and industrialists. The damage of this monstrous institution has been monumental, even threatening the survival of the Earth. ....

Late Spring, Record-Low Stocks Threaten Hay Supplies

Record-low hay acreage, winterkill, and a delayed growing season are creating concern about how high alfalfa prices will need to climb to ration supplies and whether animal numbers will need to be reduced further.

As of May 1, on-farm hay stocks of 14.16 million tons fell to levels not seen since recordkeeping began, according to USDA’s Crop Production report released late last week.

Current hay stocks are 34% smaller than a year ago and have declined by more than 50% in several key dairy states, including Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, and Michigan. Hay stocks have also fallen dramatically in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, down 46% and 33%, respectively.

An estimated 20% of Upper Midwest dairy producers do not have enough forage to make it through to first cutting alfalfa, says Dan Undersander, forage agronomist with the University of Wisconsin.

"In southern Wisconsin, first cutting is two to three weeks late, and hay is just starting to come out of dormancy in the northern part of the state," he says. Northern Wisconsin has also lost about half of its hay acreage to winterkill.

Further south, however, pasture conditions have improved. Missouri pastures that were yielding 70 pounds of dry matter per acre per day during the first week of May were producing twice that a week later, reports Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri forage specialist.

West of Missouri, however, drought remains a concern. In western Nebraska, hay movement was basically at a standstill this week. "Supply is very tight across all classes of hay," says Heather Veltri, market reporter for Hay Market News. "People are looking for Conservation Reserve Program hay, and hay is being purchased on an as-needed basis."

Pasture and range conditions in Kansas and Nebraska were 60 and 69% poor or very poor, respectively, as of the week ended May 12, according to this week’s Crop Progress report.

The nation’s drought extends to the Pacific, with all of California now reporting moderate to severe drought conditions. Southern California hay growers have been battling aphids, and some hay producers have reported losses of up to 80%, says Veltri.

In California’s Central Valley, some hay growers are already sold out of first-cutting alfalfa. It’s too early to know which way hay prices are heading, says Veltri. Supreme-quality alfalfa was selling for $240-250 per ton in the Merced area this week.

Last week in Minnesota, supreme-quality alfalfa sold for as much as $450 per ton at auction.

Late Spring, Record-Low Stocks Threaten Hay Supplies

Geoengineering: Can We Save the Planet by Messing with Nature? | Democracy Now!

As the carbon dioxide in the air hits 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, some are arguing that the best way address climate change is to use the controversial practice of geoengineering — the deliberate altering of the Earth’s ecological and climate systems to counter the effects of global warming. Supporters of geoengineering endorse radical ways to manipulate the planet, including creating artificial volcanoes to pollute the atmosphere with sulfur particles. Many scientists and environmentalists have raised concerns about geoengineering technologies designed to intervene in the functioning of the Earth system as a whole. We’re joined now by Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia. Hamilton’s new book, "Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering," lays out the arguments for and against climate engineering, and reveals the vested interests behind it linking researchers, venture capitalists and corporations.

How to Build a Rocket Stove Mass Water Heater, with Geoff Lawton - YouTube

by Permasolutions

Read more and comment here:

lINK: How to Build a Rocket Stove Mass Water Heater, with Geoff Lawton - YouTube

May 19, 2013

Farm Bill Heads to Senate and House Floors – EcoWatch: Cutting Edge Environmental News Service

This week, both the House and Senate Agriculture committees adopted their versions of the 2013 Farm Bill. This is the latest move in the long-running attempt to pass a “normal” 5-year farm bill to replace one that was last passed in 2008. Several attempts to pass a farm bill in 2012 were unsuccessful and the farm bill that is currently in effect is a short-term extension that expires in September 2013.

There are some significant differences between the House and the Senate versions, in both what their bills actually contain and in the process used to get them through the committee. Both sides had an abbreviated process, skipping the normal step of conducting a series of hearings to explore various issues before writing the bill. But the Senate Agriculture Committee took the streamlining even further, managing to discuss, amend and pass its version of the bill in a little under three hours on Tuesday. The House Agriculture Committee finished theirs in a marathon session that took most of the day, wrapping up just before midnight Wednesday night.

Now each bill (HR 1947 and S 954) has to go to the floor for the whole body to vote on. The Senate is going first, with leadership claiming they will do the Farm Bill as early as next week. The full House may see their bill in June.

Here are some key differences between the two versions and things to look out for when the bills are on the floor:

House Amendment Attack’s States Ability to Regulate Food and Agriculture: An amendment by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) would effectively overturn state laws that set food and agriculture standards that are higher than federal rules. The broad measure is an attack on laws passed by states to establish morehumane livestock rules (the purported aim of the amendment) but would also prevent states from setting stronger food safety rules, agriculture product standards, protections against invasive pests or livestock diseases or conceivably even efforts to label genetically engineered foods. Federal law should set a floor not a ceiling on what local citizens want in the food and farming systems; this language must be removed as the Farm Bill moves forwards.

Fair Markets for Farmers: It’s been a long battle to get the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the abusive practices used by meat packers and chicken processors to cheat ranchers and livestock producers raged on in this round. The 2008 farm bill directed the USDA to write rules to address commonplace abuses in the meatpacking and poultry sector, and the meat industry has been on the attack ever since. After years of fighting to get those rules in effect, the House Ag committee’s version of the Farm Bill repealed the few provisions of the “GIPSA Rule” that remained, which prohibited some of the most abusive things chicken companies do to contract poultry growers. The amendment also prohibits USDA from taking any action to curb emerging abuses in the meatpacking and poultry sector. The Senate bill does not contain this provision to repeal the rules.

Country of Origin Labeling (COOL): Just like livestock fairness rules, the meat industry has been out to kill country of origin labeling ever since it was included in the 2002 Farm Bill. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) each introduced amendments to repeal mandatory country of origin labeling, using the flimsy excuse that the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision last year meant the program must end. The USDA is poised to release a technical change to COOL requirements that address the WTO decision, and there is no need for Congress to get involved in COOL at this point. The amendments were withdrawn in committee (probably because the enemies of COOL did not have the votes to win), but this issue will very likely come up again when the bills go to the floor.

Food Safety: The 2008 Farm Bill shifted catfish inspection from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the USDA. U.S. consumers and catfish farmers wanted to replace the FDA’s lackluster inspection regime that allowed too many dangerous imports, hurting catfish’s reputation in the marketplace. Ever since, seafood importers have been trying to stop this from happening because they don’t want imported catfish to have to undergo the more rigorous inspection that would come with a USDA program. The House version of the bill repeals the catfish inspection program at the USDA and would move it back to FDA.

Organic: Organic agriculture fared much better in the Senate version of the bill, which restores funding for several “stranded” organic programs that expired last year, including data collection about organic agriculture, organic research funding and a cost-share program for newly certified organic farms and processors. Only the research program is funded in the House bill.

The biggest news on the organic front is that while critical organic programs have struggled to survive the last year’s craziness in the farm bill, both the House and Senate bills include language that would allow the creation of an organic “checkoff” program. The USDA-created checkoff programs fund research and promotion efforts for specific commodities (like cattle, hogs, eggs, etc.) by collecting a mandatory fee from farmers when they sell their products. Checkoff programs have paid for some famous advertising efforts like “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” and “Got Milk?”

Problem is, many farmers hate the checkoffs because they think the funds (which come from their sales) are not spent on things that actually help them but instead fund trade associations that are often dominated by meatpackers and processors. The USDA has a long history of poor oversight of the funds, which allows a lot of industry mischief that doesn’t benefit farmers. Creating a checkoff program for all organic products is controversial and we and many farmers oppose it.

Nutrition Safety Net: Not surprisingly, both committees took big swipes at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) that provides a nutrition safety net for lower-income people. More than half of the overall savings found in the House bill were created by cutting SNAP by $20 billion. These cuts were five times bigger than the still-too-large $4 billion cut by the Senate committee. The cuts would squeeze people off SNAP largely by making it harder for people to qualify for the program. This was a topic of fierce debate in the House committee and will be a major issue on the House floor. Last year, the full House never voted on the Farm Bill, in large part because of controversy over food stamps.

Commodity Programs: Both the House and Senate bills end direct payments to farmers raising commodity crops and shift them towards crop insurance instead of government commodity programs. There was a big fight in the House committee over the dairy program, one that is sure to continue when the bill goes to the House floor. The House committee’s bill includes a program designed by Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) that creates a program to pay dairy farmers when the margin between the price of their milk and the cost of the feed they buy drops below a set level. It also has mechanisms to discourage overproduction of milk when prices are low. Dairy processing companies that love buying cheap milk from farmers hate this program and fought hard to get it out of the bill but were unsuccessful. The Peterson program is more popular with dairy farmers, but doesn’t actually do enough to ensure that the price farmers receive for their milk reflects their total production costs, according to family dairy farmers.

Conservation: Conservation programs to protect fragile land, like the Conservation Security Program, have taken a beating in the last several rounds of budget cutting and Farm Bill extensions. This hasn’t really improved in either the House or Senate bills; both sides reduced funding for conservation by combining or eliminating existing programs. The Senate bill includes a requirement that farmers receiving government support to pay crop insurance premiums must be in compliance with conservation standards (conservation compliance was already required for the commodity programs). The Senate bill also added a focus on protecting bees and other pollinators and includes veterans to the list of types of farmers with designated conservation programs.

Beginning Farmers and Local Food: There were some improvements in programs for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, including a measure in the House bill to create a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Policy Center and support in both the House and Senate bills for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which provides funding to help site retailers selling fresh food in underserved communities.
Farm Bill Heads to Senate and House Floors – EcoWatch: Cutting Edge Environmental News Service

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Rock Center: Tribes vow to fight-to-the-death to save Amazon rainforest

Marshall Ganz on Making Social Movements Matter | Moyers & Company |

May 10, 2013

Bill’s guest, veteran activist and organizer Marshall Ganz, joins Bill to discuss the power of social movements to effect meaningful social change. A social movement legend who dropped out of Harvard to volunteer during Mississippi’s Freedom Summer of 1964, Ganz then joined forces with Cesar Chavez of the United Farmworkers, protecting workers who picked crops for pennies in California. Ganz also had a pivotal role organizing students and volunteers for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign. Now 70, he’s still organizing across the United States and the Middle East, and back at Harvard, teaching students from around the world about what it takes to beat Goliath.

One of Ganz’s themes is the crucial role narrative plays in social movements. “I think it’s particularly important because doing the kind of work that movements do requires risk-taking, uncertainty, going up against the odds. And that takes a lot of hope,” Ganz tells Bill. “And so where do you go for hopefulness? Where do you go for courage? You go to those moral resources that are found within narratives and within identity work and within traditions.”

Producer: Jessica Wang. Editor: Sikay Tang. Associate Producer: Reniqua Allen.
Photographer: Dale Robbins.