Oct 20, 2014

Some Hines Farm Activities and Photos Summer and Fall 2014

Photos taken - Pretty Fall Day (10-19-2014)
Hines Farm, Lake George, and Vicinity

Photos taken of Hines Farm and Vicinity 
Late Summer 2014
Watch in HD Setting!!!

Grandson James Garrison Skinning and Dressing Nice 6 Point Buck
Watch in HD Setting!!!

Processing Meat - Jeremy, Jimmy, and Monica + Diesel watching


Monica Smoking Meat and Staying Warm!

Smoking 60 pounds of Deer Sausage with some apple wood!
20 - 3 pound tubes 
Homemade Apple-Cheese-Jalapeno Pepper-Deer Sausage

Aug 13, 2014

Rachel Carson's Legacy: The Silent Spring Series - Exploring Ethics - YouTube

Published on Jan 10, 2013
Author and philosopher Mitchell Thomashow explores the impact of Rachel Carson, often cited as the founder of the modern environmental movement in the United States. Thomashow weaves Carson's story with the ecological challenges that face us today, including climate change, threats to biodiversity and altered biogeochemical cycles. Thomashow is presented as part of the Silent Spring Series, sponsored by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology in San Diego. Series: "UCverse Climate Change"

Published on Apr 18, 2013
Historical clips on DDT, Rachel Carson and science explaining why humans pollute. Video put together for the MSc in Environmental Technology.

Published on Nov 8, 2012
(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) To mark the 50th anniversary of "Silent Spring," Rachel Carson's landmark book that helped launch the environmental movement, the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology presents
"Alternatives to Insecticides: High Impact Solutions Without Environmental Trade-offs." In this talk, Stephen Welter of San Diego State University focuses on biologically based alternatives to insecticide use in American agriculture that also consider non-target environmental effects, worker safety issues, and consumer needs as well as the more traditional models of economic trade-offs. Series: "Exploring Ethics"


Aug 6, 2014

Best Healing Herbs: Top 10 - Prevention.com

Science shows these herbal power-healers can help ease pain, prevent Alzheimer's, and ward off cancer and heart disease
By Nancy Kalish 

Your arsenal of home remedies is about to get a lot spicier with these best healing herbs. Though herbs have been used for hundreds of years to heal, scientists are finally starting to substantiate these plants' abilities to alleviate arthritis pain, reduce high blood sugar and cholesterol, and help with many other conditions. They're even discovering amazing new powers in the best healing herbs, such as the ability to kill cancer cells and help problem drinkers curb their alcohol intake.

"Herbs and other natural remedies can be as effective as traditional treatments, often without the same negative side effects," says Roberta Lee, MD, medical director of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Here are 10 superhealers you'll want to add to the all-natural section of your medicine cabinet—and even to your favorite recipes. Folding one or two of them into your cooking every day can yield big benefits.

Turmeric: Ease arthritis
A heaping helping of curry could relieve your pain. That's because turmeric, a spice used in curry, contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory that works similarly to Cox-2 inhibitors, drugs that reduce the Cox-2 enzyme that causes the pain and swelling of arthritis, says Lee.

It might also: Prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease. According to a small clinical trial conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, curcumin can help shrink precancerous lesions known as colon polyps, when taken with a small amount of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant found in onions, apples, and cabbage. The average number of polyps dropped more than 60% and those that remained shrank by more than 50%. In a 2006 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers at UCLA also found that curcumin helps clear the brain of the plaques that are characteristic of the disease.

Maximize the benefits: For general health, Lee recommends adding the spice to your cooking whenever possible. For a therapeutic dose, James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy, suggests 400 mg of curcumin extract three times daily, right in line with what subjects in the colon polyp study took (480 mg of curcumin and 20 mg of quercetin, three times a day).

Cinnamon: Lower blood sugar
In a recent German study of type 2 diabetics, taking cinnamon extract daily successfully reduced blood sugar by about 10%.

It might also: Lower cholesterol. Cinnamon packs a one-two punch for people with type 2 diabetes by reducing related heart risks. In another study of diabetics, it slashed cholesterol by 13% and triglycerides by 23%.

Maximize the benefits: To tame blood sugar, study subjects took 1 g capsules of standardized cinnamon extract daily, while those in the cholesterol study took 1 to 6 g. But keep in mind that a large amount of the actual spice can be dangerous, so stick with a water-soluble extract. Terry Graedon, PhD, coauthor with her husband, Joe, of Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy, recommends the brand Cinnulin PF.

Rosemary: Avoid carcinogens
Frying, broiling, or grilling meats at high temperatures creates HCAs (heterocyclic amines), potent carcinogens implicated in several cancers. But HCA levels are significantly reduced when rosemary extract (a common powder) is mixed into beef before cooking, say Kansas State University researchers. "Rosemary contains carnosol and rosemarinic acid, two powerful antioxidants that destroy the HCAs," explains lead researcher J. Scott Smith, PhD.

It might also: Stop tumors. Rosemary extract helps prevent carcinogens that enter the body from binding with DNA, the first step in tumor formation, according to several animal studies. When researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fed rosemary extract to rats exposed to dimethylbenzanthracene, a carcinogen that causes breast cancer, both DNA damage and tumors decreased. "Human research needs to be done," says study author Keith W. Singletary, PhD. "But rosemary has shown a lot of cancer-protective potential."

Maximize the benefits: To reduce HCAs, Smith recommends marinating foods in any supermarket spice mix that contains rosemary as well as one or more of the spices thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, or parsley.

Ginger: Avert nausea
Ginger can prevent stomach upset from many sources, including pregnancy, motion sickness, andchemotherapy. "This is one of Mom's remedies that really works," says Suzanna M. Zick, ND, MPH, a research investigator at the University of Michigan. A powerful antioxidant, ginger works by blocking the effects of serotonin, a chemical produced by both the brain and stomach when you're nauseated, and by stopping the production of free radicals, another cause of upset in your stomach. In one study of cruise ship passengers traveling on rough seas, 500 mg of ginger every 4 hours was as effective as Dramamine, the commonly used OTC motion-sickness medication. In another study, where subjects took 940 mg, it was even more effective than the drug.

MORE: The Smoothie Cure For Gas And Bloating

It might also: Decrease your blood pressure, arthritis pain, and cancer risk. Ginger helps regulate blood flow, which may lower blood pressure, says Zick, and its anti-inflammatory properties might help ease arthritis. Ginger extract had a significant effect on reducing pain in all 124 patients withosteoarthritis of the knee, in a study conducted at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Miami. Those same anti-inflammatory powers help powdered ginger kill ovarian cancer cells as well as—or better than—traditional chemotherapy, at least in the test tube, found a study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Although further testing is needed, Zick and the study's authors are excited about its prospects: "Our preliminary results indicate that ginger may have significant therapeutic benefit for ovarian cancer patients."

Maximize the benefits: For nausea, ginger is best taken before symptoms start, at least 30 minutes before departure, say the Graedons. They recommend capsules containing 500 to 1,000 mg of dried ginger every four hours, up to a maximum of 4g daily.

Holy Basil: Combat stress
Several animal studies back holy basil, a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, as effective at reducing stress by increasing adrenaline and noradrenaline and decreasing serotonin. This is no surprise to Pratima Nangia-Makker, PhD, a researcher at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, whose mother and grandmother relied on a tea made from the leaves of holy basil to relieve indigestion and headaches.

It might also: Inhibit breast cancer. First in test tubes and then in mice, a tea made of holy basil shrunk tumors, reduced their blood supply, and stopped their spread, found Nangia-Makker, who plans to study the effects in humans.

Maximize the benefits: For stress relief, try holy basil extract from New Chapter or Om Organics, widely available in health food stores. To aid in breast cancer treatment, Nangia-Makker advises drinking this tea daily: Pour 2 cups boiling water over 10 to 15 fresh holy basil leaves (other varieties of basil won't work) and steep 5 minutes. Remove the leaves before consuming. If you are being treated for breast cancer, be sure to check with your doctor. You're unlikely to find the plants at your local nursery, but you can order them and organic holy basil seeds from Horizon Herbs.

St. John's Wort: Soothe your worries
You probably know that research has confirmed this herb's power to relieve mild to moderate depression and anxiety as effectively as many drugs—without a lot of the side effects.

It might also: Help you snooze more soundly. St. John's wort not only contains melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles, but it also increases the body's own melatonin, improving sleep, says a report from the Surgeon General. (These 20 ways to sleep better every night can also help.)

Maximize the benefits: For both mood and sleep problems, author Duke recommends a supplement containing at least 0.3% hypericin (the active phytochemical) per capsule or 300 mg of the extract to be taken three times daily. Warning: St. John's wort has been shown to interact with several prescription medications, so be sure to check with your doctor before taking it.

Garlic: Lower cancer risk
High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, says a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A Japanese clinical trial also found that after a year of taking aged garlic extract supplements, people with a history of colon polyps saw a reduction in the size and number of the precancerous growths detected by their doctors.

It might also: Provide cardiovascular benefits. Garlic contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which many studies have shown decreases high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. Garlic may help prevent strokes as well by slowing arterial blockages, according to a yearlong clinical study at UCLA. In addition, patients' levels of homocysteine, a chemical that leads to plaque buildup, dropped by 12%.

Maximize the benefits: Crushed fresh garlic offers the best cardiovascular and cancer-fighting benefits, says Duke. But you'll need to down up to five cloves each day. Try Kyolic aged garlic extract capsules (1,000 mg), the product used in many of the studies.

3 More Superhealers You Should Know About
1. Andrographis: Shorten Summer Colds Andrographis does a great job of relieving upper-respiratory infections, such as colds or sinusitis, says new research. A study in the journal Phytomedicinereported that the herb eased symptoms such as fatigue, sleeplessness, sore throat, and runny nose up to 90%.
Maximize the benefits: Lee and the Graedons recommend Kan Jang (available at ProActive BioProducts), an herbal extract produced by the Swedish Herbal Institute and used in several of the trials.

2. Sea Buckthorn: Reverse vaginal dryness Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is very effective for hydrating mucous membranes and alleviating vaginal dryness. It contains palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid found in human skin that helps moisturize and heal it.
Maximize the benefits: Lee suggests up to four capsules a day of Supercritical Omega 7, a sea buckthorn supplement by New Chapter. It's available at health food stores.

3. Kudzu: Curb problem drinking A group of moderately heavy drinkers in their 20s voluntarily cut their beer consumption in half after taking capsules containing the Chinese herb (also called Pueraria lobata) for a week, according to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Researchers say the kudzu more quickly allows alcohol to get to the part of the brain that tells you that you've had enough.
Maximize the benefits: Participants took capsules with 500 mg of kudzu extract three times daily.

3 Rules For The Safest Self-Healing
Natural substances often work like drugs in the body, say Joe and Terry Graedon. They suggest following these precautions.
Rule: Don't assume it's safe. Herbs are not regulated by the FDA for safety or efficacy. So search the label for a seal of approval from the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or CL (Consumer-Lab.com), which indicates it has been approved by certified academic laboratories. For a fee, you can research particular products at ConsumerLab.com.
Rule: Talk with your doctor. It's best to tell him if you're considering supplements. Some herbs can interact with certain meds, including those for high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression, as well as blood thinners and even OTC drugs.
Rule: Don't overdo it. More isn't necessarily better—and could be dangerous. Always follow dosing instructions.

MORE: 25 Healing Herbs You Can Use Every Day

Best Healing Herbs: Top 10 - Prevention.com

Aug 2, 2014

Aug 1, 2014

The power of properly managing livestock to reverse desertification - Allan Savory Presenting at Harvard Law School - YouTube

Published on Jan 8, 2014

Ecologist, Allan Savory, speaks to a crowd of 200 at an event sponsored by Harvard Food and Law Society. Allan talks about the nature of humanity, and the power of properly managing livestock to reverse desertification.

Allan Savory Presenting at Harvard Law School - YouTube

Jul 18, 2014

The Next Economy (Updated 2014) - YouTube

Transitions from Globalization to Eco-Localism

Reading List

Becoming an effective activist requires understanding complex sets of issues in depth, and in a full context. We believe that developing and refining one’s worldview—how one understands the root causes of the current, global ecosocial crisis—creates the foundation for more specific, strategic work to ameliorate the problems facing nature and people.
This reading list is just a start, and a work in progress. Not included are books we have published; for a list of those works, see here.

Environmental Ethics

The Spell of the Sensuous—David Abram
The Dream of the Earth—Thomas Berry
The Rebirth of Environmentalism—Douglas Bevington
Silent Spring—Rachel Carson
Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered—Bill Devall and George Sessions
The Ecology of Wisdom: Writings by Arne Naess—ed. Alan Drengson and Bill Devall
A Sand County Almanac—Aldo Leopold
Can Life Prevail?—Penti Linkola
Rogue Primate—John Livingston
The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics—Roderick Nash
Dwellers in the Land—Kirkpatrick Sale
Ecofeminism—Vandana Shiva and Maria Mies

Environmental History

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America—Douglas Brinkley
The American Conservation Movement—Stephen Fox
American Environmental History: An Introduction—Carolyn Merchant
Wilderness and the American Mind—Roderick Nash
Crucible for Conservation—Robert Righter
National Parks: The American Experience—Alfred Runte
Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas—Donald Worster
A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir—Donald Worster

Conservation and Wildlife

Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World Out of Balance—Tom Butler
Rewilding North America—Dave Foreman
Wildlife in America—Peter Matthiessen
Saving Nature’s Legacy—Reed Noss and Alan Cooperrider
The Diversity of Life—Edward O. Wilson

Technology, Culture, Agriculture

The Unsettling of America—Wendell Berry
The Geography of Nowhere—James Howard Kunstler
Deschooling Society—Ivan Illich
Shadow Work—Ivan Illich
Consulting the Genius of the Place—Wes Jackson
In the Absence of the Sacred—Jerry Mander
The Death of Nature—Carolyn Merchant
The Myth of the Machine—Lewis Mumford
The Only World We've Got: A Paul Shepard Reader—Paul Shepard
The Resurgence of the Real—Charlene Spretnak
The Whale and the Reactor—Langdon Winner

Energy, Economics, Overpopulation

Overshoot—William S. Catton
Life on the Brink—Eileen Crist and Philip Cafaro
Manswarm—Dave Foreman
The Long Descent—John Michael Greer
Living Within Limits—Garrett Hardin
The End of Growth—Richard Heinberg
The Party’s Over—Richard Heinberg
The Capitalism Papers—Jerry Mander

The Next Economy (Updated 2014) - YouTube

Getting Soil Data from the USDA Web Soil Survey

Posted July 18, 2014 by Andrew Schreiber

Soil is one of the basic resources that we have when beginning to work with land. Along with water, climatic patterns, and existing ecosystems, soils form the canvas on which we paint our agro-ecological life support systems.

In the US the Web Soil Survey (WSS) managed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service operates one of the largest soil resource information systems in the world.

Soils of more than 95% of the counties in the continental United States have been mapped as part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey. That data is available online through an easy to use map-interface, and a wide range of data is freely available for download as a (well formulated) PDF or as tabulated and spatial data for Geographical Information Systems (GIS) program.

In this article I’ll show you how to navigate the WSS interface, and where to find soil data which is most relevant for initial site assessments for permaculture design. --> Full Article: Getting Soil Data from the USDA Web Soil Survey

Jul 15, 2014

J. Baird Callicott '63 - "Judeo-Christianity, Zen Buddhism, and Environmental Ethics" - YouTube

American philosopher J. Baird Callicott describes the development of secular environmental ethics and comparative religious environmentalism, two approaches to environmental ethics that continue to define how we think about a sustainable world.Callicott is one of the great scholars of Aldo Leopold’s work, and someone who continues to develop his “land ethic.” Leopold has been an inspiration to me personally, and I’m pleased to share that later this year my wife Steph and I will be participating in one of the Aldo Leopold Foundation‘s Land Ethic Leader training programs. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I’ll have more to say about it once we complete it. In the meantime, you can find out more about the Aldo Leopold Foundation at www.aldoleopold.org.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dannyfisher/2014/07/j-baird-callicott-on-judeo-christianity-zen-buddhism-and-environmental-ethics/#ixzz37XDfQ5WE

J. Baird Callicott '63 - "Judeo-Christianity, Zen Buddhism, and Environmental Ethics" - YouTube

Journey of the Universe is an epic documentary exploring the human connection to Earth and the cosmos, from producer/directors Patsy Northcutt and David Kennard. Big science, big history, big story, this one-of-a-kind film was created by a renowned team of scientists, scholars, and award-winning filmmakers, led by co-writers Brian Thomas Swimme, the acclaimed author and evolutionary philosopher, and Yale University historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker. They weave a tapestry that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and biodiversity with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.

Jul 11, 2014

DVIDS - Video - Rock Island District Value to the Nation

Nice video of RID proud history and service to the nation. I am proud to have worked 33 years for Rock Island District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was my pleasure to have worked alongside many talented and hard working Corps employees.

DVIDS - Video - Rock Island District Value to the Nation

Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company?

Thursday, 10 July 2014  By Jeff Ritterman, M.D., Truthout | News Analysis

(Photo courtesy of Vivien Feyer)

Also see: Dahr Jamail | Salvadoran Farmers Successfully Oppose the Use of Monsanto Seeds

Monsanto's herbicide Roundup has been linked to a mysterious fatal kidney disease epidemic that has appeared in Central America, Sri Lanka and India.
For years, scientists have been trying to unravel the mystery of a chronic kidney disease epidemic that has hit Central America, India and Sri Lanka. The disease occurs in poor peasant farmers who do hard physical work in hot climes. In each instance, the farmers have been exposed to herbicides and to heavy metals. The disease is known as CKDu, for Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology. The "u" differentiates this illness from other chronic kidney diseases where the cause is known. Very few Western medical practitioners are even aware of CKDu, despite the terrible toll it has taken on poor farmers from El Salvador to South Asia.

Dr. Catharina Wesseling, the regional director for the Program on Work and Health (SALTRA) in Central America, which pioneered the initial studies of the region's unsolved outbreak, put it this way, "Nephrologists and public health professionals from wealthy countries are mostly either unfamiliar with the problem or skeptical whether it even exists."

Dr. Wesseling was being diplomatic. At a 2011 health summit in Mexico City, the United States beat back a proposal by Central American nations that would have listed CKDu as a top priority for the Americas.

David McQueen, a US delegate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has since retired from the agency, explained the US position.

"The idea was to keep the focus on the key big risk factors that we could control and the major causes of death: heart disease, cancer and diabetes. And we felt, the position we were taking, that CKD was included."

The United States was wrong. The delegates from Central America were correct. CKDu is a new form of illness. This kidney ailment does not stem from diabetes, hypertension or other diet-related risk factors. Unlike the kidney disease found in diabetes or hypertension, the kidney tubules are a major site of injury in CKDu, suggesting a toxic etiology.

Salvadoran farmer returning from the fields, Palo Grande, El Salvador. Photo courtesy of Vivien Feyer.CKDu is now the second leading cause of mortality among men in El Salvador. This small, densely populated Central American country now has the highest overall mortality rate from kidney disease in the world. Neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua also have extremely high rates of kidney disease mortality. In El Salvador and Nicaragua, more men are dying from CKDu than from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and leukemia combined. In one patch of rural Nicaragua, so many men have died that the community is called "The Island of the Widows."

In addition to Central America, India and Sri Lanka have been hit hard by the epidemic. In Sri Lanka, over 20,000 people have died from CKDu in the past two decades. In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, more than 1,500 have been treated for the ailment since 2007. Given the rarity of dialysis and kidney transplantation in these regions, most who suffer from CKDu will die from their kidney disease.

Mural celebrating traditional agrarian life, Juayua, El Salvador. Photo courtesy of Vivien Feyer.

In an investigation worthy of the great Sherlock Holmes, a scientific sleuth from Sri Lanka, Dr. Channa Jayasumana, and his two colleagues, Dr. Sarath Gunatilake and Dr. Priyantha Senanayake, have put forward a unifying hypothesis that could explain the origin of the disease. They reasoned that the offending agent had to have been introduced into Sri Lanka within the last 30 years, since the first cases appeared in the mid-1990s. The chemical also needed to be able to form stable complexes with the metals in hard water and to act as a shield, protecting those metals from metabolism by the liver. The compound would also need to act as a carrier and be able to deliver the metals to the kidney.

We know that political changes in Sri Lanka in the late 1970s led to the introduction of agrochemicals, especially in rice farming. The researchers looked for likely suspects. Everything pointed to glyphosate. This herbicide is used in abundance in Sri Lanka. Earlier studies had shown that once glyphosate binds with metals, the glyphosate-metal complex can last for decades in the soil.

Glyphosate was not originally designed for use as an herbicide. Patented by the Stauffer Chemical Company in 1964, it was introduced as a chelating agent. It avidly binds to metals. Glyphosate was first used as a descaling agent to clean out mineral deposits from the pipes in boilers and other hot water systems.

It is this chelating property that allows glyphosate to form complexes with the arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals found in the groundwater and soil in Central America, India and Sri Lanka. The glyphosate-heavy metal complex can enter the human body in a variety of ways. The complex can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Glyphosate acts like a Trojan horse, allowing the bound heavy metal to avoid detection by the liver, since the glyphosate occupies the binding sites that the liver would normally latch onto. The glyphosate-heavy metal complex reaches the kidney tubules, where the high acidity allows the metal to break free of the glyphosate. The cadmium or arsenic then damages the kidney tubules and other parts of the kidneys, ultimately resulting in kidney failure and, most often, death.

At this point, this elegant theory advanced by Dr. Jayasumana and colleagues can only be considered hypothesis-generating. Further scientific studies will need to confirm the hypothesis that CKDu is indeed due to glyphosate-heavy metal toxicity to the kidney tubules. For the present, this may be the best explanation for the epidemic.

Another explanation is that heat stress may be the cause, or a combination of heat stress and chemical toxicity. Monsanto, of course, is standing behind glyphosate and disputing the claim that it plays any role whatsoever in the genesis of CKDu.

While the exact cause of CKDu has not been proven conclusively, both Sri Lanka and El Salvador have invoked the precautionary principle. El Salvador banned glyphosate in September 2013 and is currently looking for safer alternatives. Sri Lanka banned glyphosate in March of this year because of concerns about CKDu.

Mural celebrating traditional agrarian life, Palo Grande, El Salvador. Photo courtesy of Vivien Feyer.

Glyphosate has had an interesting history. After its initial use as a descaling agent by Stauffer Chemical, scientists at Monsanto discovered its herbicidal qualities. Monsanto patented glyphosate as an herbicide in the 1970s, and has marketed it as "Roundup" since 1974. Monsanto retained exclusive rights until 2000, when the patent expired. By 2005, Monsanto's glyphosate products were registered in more than 130 countries for use in more than 100 crops. As of 2013, glyphosate was the world's largest selling herbicide.

Glyphosate's popularity has been due, in part, to the perception that it is extremely safe. The Monsanto website claims:

Glyphosate binds tightly to most types of soil so it is not available for uptake by roots of nearby plants. It works by disrupting a plant enzyme involved in the production of amino acids that are essential to plant growth. The enzyme, EPSP synthase, is not present in humans or animals, contributing to the low risk to human health from the use of glyphosate according to label directions.

Because of glyphosate's reputation for both safety and effectiveness, John Franz, who discovered glyphosate's usefulness as a herbicide, received the National Medal of Technology in 1987. Franz also received the American Chemical Society's Carothers Award in 1989, and the American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry's Perkins Medal in 1990. In 2007, he was inducted into the United States' Inventor's Hall of Fame for his work on the herbicide. Roundup was named one of the "Top 10 Products That Changed the Face of Agriculture" by the magazine Farm Chemicals in 1994.

Not everyone agrees with this perception of glyphosate's safety. The first "Roundup resistant" GMO crops, soybeans, were introduced by Monsanto in 1996. The same year, the first glyphosate resistant weeds began to emerge. Farmers responded by using increasingly toxic herbicides to deal with the new super weeds that had developed glyphosate resistance.

In addition to the concern about the emergence of super weeds, a study in rats demonstrated that low levels of glyphosate induced severe hormone-dependent mammary, hepatic, and kidney disturbances. Recently two activist groups, Moms Across America and Thinking Moms Revolution, asked the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recall Monsanto's Roundup, citing a host of adverse health impacts in their children from the herbicide, including failure to thrive, leaky gut syndrome, autism and food allergies.

Glyphosate is no ordinary herbicide. Besides being the most used herbicide on earth, it is also the central pillar of Monsanto's temple. Most of Monsanto's seeds, including soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sugar beets and sorghum, are glyphosate resistant. As of 2009, Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate) products, which include its GMO seeds, represented about half of Monsanto's yearly revenue. This reliance on glyphosate products makes Monsanto extremely vulnerable to research challenging the herbicide's safety.

Glyphosate-resistant seeds are engineered to allow the farmer to drench his fields in the herbicide to kill off all of the weeds. The glyphosate resistant crop can then be harvested. But if the combination of glyphosate and the heavy metals found in the groundwater or the soil destroys the farmer's kidneys in the process, the whole house of cards falls apart. This may be what is happening now.

An ugly confrontation has been unfolding in El Salvador. The US government has been pressuring El Salvador to buy GMO seeds from Monsanto rather than indigenous seeds from their own farmers. The US has threatened to withhold almost $300 million in aid unless El Salvador purchases Monsanto's GMO seeds. The GMO seeds are more expensive. They are not adapted to the Salvadoran climate or soil.

The only "advantage" of Monsanto's GMO seeds is their glyphosate resistance. Now that glyphosate has been shown to be a possible, and perhaps likely, cause of CKDu, that "advantage" no longer exists.

Mural, Concepcion de Ataco, El Salvador. Photo courtesy of Vivien Feyer.

What is the message from the United States to El Salvador exactly? Perhaps the kindest explanation is that the United States is unaware that glyphosate may be the cause of the fatal kidney disease epidemic in El Salvador and that the government sincerely believes that the GMO seeds will provide a better yield. If so, a sad mixture of ignorance and arrogance is at the heart of this foreign policy blunder. A less kind interpretation would suggest that the government puts Monsanto's profits above concerns about the economy, environment and health of the Salvadorans. This view would suggest that a tragic mix of greed and callous disregard for the Salvadorans is behind US policy.

Unfortunately, there is evidence to support the latter view. The United States seems to be completely behind Monsanto, regardless of any science questioning the safety of its products. Cables released by WikiLeaks show that US diplomats around the world are pushing GMO crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. The cables also reveal instructions to punish any foreign countries trying to ban GMO crops.

Whatever the explanation, pressuring El Salvador, or any country, to buy GMO seeds from Monsanto is a tragic mistake. It is foreign policy not worthy of America. Let's change it. Let's base our foreign and domestic policies on human rights, environmental stewardship, health and equity.

Post script: After articles about the seed dispute appeared in the media, The New York Times reported that the United States has reversed its position and will stop pressuring El Salvador to buy Monsanto's seeds. Thus far, the aid money has not been released.


Jul 3, 2014

Wendell Berry | Agriculture for a Small Planet Symposium July 1, 1974 - YouTube

Wendell Berry | Agriculture for a Small Planet Symposium July 1, 1974-YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1tioiBrZRE -YouTube

Hines Farm Blog (http://hines.blogspot.com/) --> http://hines.blogspot.com/2014/07/wendell-berry-agriculture-for-small.html

WOW! Wendell Barry wisdom on culture and farming was and is amazing... Monte Hines

Published on Jul 1, 2014

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Wendell Berry's speech about the culture of agriculture that was delivered at the "Agriculture for a Small Planet" Symposium in Spokane, Washington. The first few lines of this speech, written on a yellow legal pad in route to the symposium, inspired his book The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture published in 1977. Berry's speech was also a catalyst for the launch of the Tilth Movement in the Pacific Northwest.

"Your symposium, as well as a lot of other meetings I've been to in other parts of the country, proves the literature of a thoughtful and even known constituency for a better kind of agriculture," wrote Berry in a letter to Gigi Coe and Bob Stilger following the Symposium (July 4, 1974).


Dec 20, 2013
Called at times the “prophet of rural America” and the “modern-day Thoreau,” Berry—poet, farmer, author and activist—has been writing about farming and our relationship to the land for more than four decades. In the process ...
Oct 05, 2013
Wendell Berry, a quiet and humble man, has become an outspoken advocate for revolution. He urges immediate action as he mourns how America has turned its back on the land and rejected Jeffersonian principles of ...
Dec 01, 2013
October 3, 2013 by John Collins This post first appeared in In These Times. Image courtesy of the Berry Center. Everything we eat has a story behind it. The bread aisle (at the store with the massive parking lot) is a thrill ride.

May 16, 2014

Dr. Don Huber: GMOs and Glyphosate and Their Threat to Humanity

Dr. Don Huber is an award-winning, international scientist and professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University. Today he spoke with Food Integrity about the dangers of GMOs and Glyphosate (Roundup). Dr. Huber’s 50+ years of research and expertise in the area of plant pathology with a focus on epidemiology and control of soil-borne pathogens... Read more »

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Dr. Huber discussed the alarming information about the recent finding of Glyphosate in human breast milk. He talked about the need for immediate research in this area — as the levels were much higher than the levels found in urine. His concern for future generations on the under-researched and flawed science of genetic engineering is fact-based and comprehensive. He stated:

We’ve pretty much sacrificed an entire generation of children. The longer we go, the more damage that is going to accumulate.

May 10, 2014

The Woes of Industrial Agriculture

FULL ARTICLE AND LINKS AT PermacultureNews.org: http://permaculturenews.org/2014/05/10/woes-industrial-agriculture/

GREAT ARTICLE! Monte & Eileen Hines

Posted May 10, 2014 by Ibraheem Naqeeb

Our relationship with the earth changed fundamentally when we began practicing agriculture some ten thousand years ago. The transition from nomadic to settler life allowed for the evolution of great civilizations, and the growth of human cultures. Agriculture also made possible the increased rise in population, which in turn created the need for more agriculture, and the cyclical relationship between the two put a greater and greater strain on the environment. Civilizations fell when they exceeded the carrying capacity of their locale, or depleted their resource base, and others emerged elsewhere in their stead. However, for the most part the growth continued unhampered as human beings mined millions of years of energy storage. Then came the industrial revolution, followed a century or so later by the green revolution, allowing for greater exploitation of the earth’s resources.

In just these last two centuries the world population has taken a gigantic leap from one billion to over seven billion today. Mechanization, the use of fossil fuels, and technological advancement have brought radical change in how human beings organize their lives, creating novel social and economic structures unprecedented in human history. The agrarian lifestyle was abandoned for the urban lifestyle and today, for the first time in human history, there are more people living in cities than rural areas. These changes have led to the displacement of food production at the individual, local, and community level; food production has now been outsourced to multi-national corporations and large agribusinesses. The bulk of human population today are consumers rather than producers, and utterly dependent on the global market economy for their daily bread. This detachment has created a crisis of awareness about how and from where our food comes to us, and the true cost of eating. There have been serious concerns about our farming practices for some time now, but it is only very recently that these concerns have become a topic of any serious discourse in the public sphere. There is a growing argument that the green revolution was in fact, anything but green, and that the industrial model of agriculture is not only not sustainable, but is truly one of the greatest threats to human survival. The proponents of industrial agriculture have responded equally fiercely claiming that theirs is the best, most efficient method, and the only hope of feeding an exponentially growing population in a changing world. In this article I will take a closer look at the main arguments they put forward and attempt to show how flawed the case for industrial agriculture really is.

The primary argument for the application of industrial agriculture is that mass production is needed to support an increasing world population, and this can only be achieved through broad acre monocultures, increased mechanization, the use of heavy machinery, chemical fertilizers, and a broad spectrum of biocides, combined with novel scientific innovations such as bioengineering. The predominant view is that the employment of these conventional methods is the most efficient way to produce food and make it available to the public at large at a cheap cost. Alternative methods are regularly vilified as economically inefficient and ineffective, if not downright implausible. There is an underlying assumption that things are working well, and since they have worked in the past there is no reason to suspect that they should not continue to do so in the future. Whenever any concerns arise about the soundness of this assumption, they are generally swept under the rug with promises of greater technological fixes and scientific miracles. It is a popular — almost religious — belief that science can and will solve all of humanity’s problems.

While monocultures may seem impressive to the sight in terms of the size and scale of the operation, it is an ecological aberration that cannot sustain and support itself as a system and is totally dependent on external sources of energy. Natural systems prefer, and in fact, are dependent on diversity to function as an integrated self supporting whole. If we look at a natural forest, or any other intact ecosystem for that matter, we will not find single species of flora and fauna dominating over large areas. Diversity is one of the primary indicators of a healthy ecosystem, and by that standard a monoculture could be compared to a patient on life support. Unlike conventional agricultural systems, which are supported by artificial and external inputs of energy, sound ecosystems are completely self-sufficient. Furthermore, the creation of monocultures requires a large area of space, which is created by cutting down forests, leveling hills, and otherwise encroaching on natural ecosystems that provide vital services to all life forms.

The management of broad acre monoculture farms is inherently inefficient. Every stage of the operation, from ground preparation for planting to harvesting the crop, requires the use of energy intensive heavy machinery, which also damages and degrades the soil. The practice of plowing, especially deep plowing with heavy machinery, leads to rapid soil loss, and declining fertility. The problem of erosion is further compounded by irrigation, farming on slopes, and leaving a clear field after harvest, which opens it up to wind and water erosion. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was a result of such poor farming practices, and resulted in hundreds of tons of soil loss — not to mention the great human devastation it caused. Soil is the basis of agriculture, and any system that does not value it as such, cannot be described as anything but self-destructive. It is no coincidence then that the industrial model of agriculture developed largely in the temperate climates, which are rich with deep top soils, which made it possible for years of exploitative farming. However, a look at the rate of topsoil loss as a result of agriculture in comparison with the rate at which topsoil is replenished naturally, reveals the mathematical unsustainability of the project. Scientists estimate that topsoil is built “at about 2-4 t/ha per year as uncompacted topsoil, but which we remove at a rate of from 40-500 t/year in cropping and soil tillage. Even the most ideal tillage just keeps pace with the most ideal conditions of soil formation, and in the worst cases we can remove 2000 years of soil in a single erosion season, or one sequence of flood or strong wind over cultivated soils..” (1)

Industrial agriculture is also heavily reliant on fossil fuel based chemical fertilizers, which gives rise to a number of serious concerns. The use of fossil fuels in the manufacturing of these fertilizers adds to the total energy embodied in the final product, and the overall inefficiency of the process. According to a study published by the New York University it takes about ten calories of fossil fuels to produce one calorie of edible food. Aside from the concerns about the looming energy crisis, and the unsustainability of fossil fuels, the environmental consequences of using synthetic fertilizers is cause for legitimate and immediate concern. Synthetic fertilizers are water soluble, and they leech into the ground water with every irrigation and rain event, polluting our water supplies, which poses a significant threat to human health. The damage is far greater, and obvious, to river and marine biology, as the fertilizers travel through the ground, to the rivers, and ultimately to the oceans, leaving behind a toxic trail of death and destruction. Of course, the pollution does not really end there, and keeps returning to the source — us — as the toxicity is biologically accumulated up the food chain to our dinner tables. Chemical fertilizers also destroy the natural fertility of the soil by killing the soil biology that makes nutrients available to plants, requiring heavier and heavier application of fertilizers. As the soil life collapses, so does the soil structure, creating adverse conditions for beneficial microorganisms. The gaps left behind are quickly taken over by the bad guys: plant pests; and this leads me to the next topic of biocides.

The disturbance of soil life and structure fosters an environment for weeds and plant pests to thrive. The chemically fertilized plants, due to a lack of proper nutrition, become increasingly susceptible to pest attacks. The problem is compounded in monocultures, which are nothing less than ‘all you can eat’ buffets for pests. There is nothing inherently bad about pests or weeds; both are nature’s mechanisms for creating equilibrium and repairing degraded landscapes. Instead of recognizing the source of these problems, farmers — grossly encouraged by chemical companies — see them as enemies, and react by applying herbicides and pesticides. Fighting with nature is a lost cause as these weeds and pests evolve quickly to become resistant to the biocides, creating super weeds and super pests, requiring more powerful and more toxic poisons. This creates a violent cycle of abuse, where nature is not allowed to repair itself, and the problem is exacerbated by the continual and increasing application of poisons. The effects of these biocides, moreover, are not limited to their target species, and have far reaching effects on other life forms; the crisis of the collapsing bee population, now widely recognized in the scientific community to be primarily the result of pesticide use, is but one example. The danger posed to human health is a thorny subject, and it is enough to say that poisoning our food is not a recipe for sound human health. Additionally, the biocides, like the fertilizers, cannot be contained to the area of use, and end up polluting our water systems.

The problems with industrial agriculture are compounded by climate change, water scarcity, and desertification. The industry has responded to these challenges with promises of a bright future shaped by bioengineering and genetic modification, instead of recognizing these issues as what they are — nature’s feedback to human activity. Despite the novelty of these technologies, there is no substantial evidence as to their safety and effectiveness. On the contrary, most scientists agree that these technologies are too new, and not understood well enough to be allowed to be released into the environment. In fact, many scientists, though their voices are not often heard in the mainstream media, strongly caution against these technologies, and believe that the potential harm far outweighs any perceived benefits. While we wait for the scientific community to reach a consensus on the matter it is worth examining the nature and scope of the industry, at the helm of which is Monsanto.

Monsanto, originally a chemical company, is a multinational corporation with the largest control over the agricultural sector around the globe. The company has a colorful background, from its involvement in the Manhattan Project to its long list of banned past products such as the notorious Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War, PCBs, and DDT. It is now public knowledge that Monsanto knew of the adverse effects of many of these products, but suppressed the scientific findings for years. The name Monsanto is synonymous with Roundup, its designer herbicide, which despite being one of their best selling products, is inherently flawed because it does not discriminate between the target species and the desired species. In order to compensate for their bad product, Monsanto began the project of genetic modification to create ‘Roundup Ready’, herbicide resistant crops. Over the past decades Monsanto has purchased numerous small and big seed companies, making themselves the biggest player in the industry. Genetic modification now allows them to patent their seeds, and force farmers to have to buy seeds every season, instead of saving seeds as has been done for the past ten thousand years. This absurd law that allows for the patenting of life is not recognized globally, and in order to bypass the problem of legal enforcement abroad, Monsanto even created ‘Terminator Seeds’ that self-destruct.

At home, Monsanto has been at constant war with small farmers, harassing them with lawsuits, and putting them out of business under the guise of patent violation. The only crime these farmers committed is to be neighbors to farms where Monsanto’s GMO crops are grown, which inevitably cross contaminate surrounding crops, a natural process that the farmers have no control over.

Most alarmingly, Monsanto along with Bill Gates and several other players in the field, have set up a seed vault in the Arctic circle, the ostensible purpose of which is to protect all plant life in case of nuclear war by preserving carefully catalogued sets of seeds from every plant in the world. But the implications of this are frighteningly anti-utopian: control of the entire world’s food supply would be in the hands of a few greedy capitalists. This type of behavior is not unique to Monsanto, and others in the business, such as Syngenta, have been doing much the same. The background and nature of the industry, given its past record and present behavior, is grounds for serious skepticism about their agenda, and it would be nothing short of folly to hand over the future of human sustenance to these companies.

The problem with industrial agriculture is fundamentally a problem of world view. It seeks to dominate nature, seeing it as a giant ATM machine that needs to be cashed out hard and fast. It fails to recognize nature as a living organism that we are all a part of; and that when we hurt nature we inevitably hurt ourselves. Industrial agriculture as a management system is essentially masculine, warlike, and aggressive. Its management solution is to kill life, whether it is through applying biocides, or plowing, or clear-cutting forests. It has little to no consideration for ecological principles, design in relation to landscape and natural features, and so it inevitably falls into the trap of forced functions. In trying to apply a narrow minded and flawed economic paradigm on nature, industrial agriculture destroys its primary resource base, nature itself. The problem of industrial agriculture is not an isolated issue, and is deeply entrenched in the way we think about life itself, and our purpose and place on this earth.

As we head into a future of environmental crises, the question of food will become one of the most important questions of our times, along with the question of water and other basic resources. Industrial agriculture has been a chief culprit in bringing about these problems, and has proven itself to be destructive and unsustainable. In order to create a healthier planet and a more sustainable future we must transition to an ecological model of agriculture that takes a holistic outlook to food production and energy accounting, not merely an economic or expedient one. The way forward is to realign ourselves with nature, and start working with it rather than against it.

Bill Mollison, Permaculture A Designers’ Manual, Tagari Publications. Tasmania. 1988.

Apr 28, 2014

Hines Farm Harbor Freight Sawmill - Beginning Setup, Modifications, and Milling

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"First Log Milled"
Hines Farm Setup included modification to have a 22' log bed in lieu of 12' standard.

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Hines Farm Setup also included removal of hand crank so a "Power Up & Down feature" could be implemented.

April 27, 2014, I converted my Harbor Freight Sawmill to "Power Up and Down". Remove hand crank by driving the retaining pin out. Replaced the crank with a 3/4" nut with threads drilled out and a .2" hole drilled through the perpendicular axis so the retaining pin can be driven through it and the screw drive shaft. To power the sawmill up and down I use an 18 Volt battery, reversible powered drill with a 3/4" socket attached. Works great and is a lot easier and quicker than hand cranking at a height above your shoulder. If you modify yours, follow safe procedures and do at your own risk.

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First 8'+ x 12" x 14" Log Cant

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4th Log Milled --- 18+ Foot - 20+ Inch Diameter Log

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2" Thick Ash Slabs

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Great sawmill, well built, with many great features!  Monte & Eileen Hines


Apr 11, 2014

Years of Living Dangerously Premiere Full Episode - YouTube

Years of Living Dangerously Premiere Full Episode - YouTube

Published on Apr 6, 2014

Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy. Watch new episodes Sundays at 10PM ET/PT, only on SHOWTIME.

Subscribe to the Years of Living Dangerously channel for more:http://s.sho.com/YearsYouTube

Official site: http://www.sho.com/yearsoflivingdange...
The Years Project: http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/
Follow: https://twitter.com/YEARSofLIVING
Like: https://www.facebook.com/YearsOfLiving
Watch on Showtime Anytime: http://s.sho.com/1hoirn4
Don't Have Showtime? Order Now: http://s.sho.com/P0DCVU

It's the biggest story of our time. Hollywood's brightest stars and today's most respected journalists explore the issues of climate change and bring you intimate accounts of triumph and tragedy. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY takes you directly to the heart of the matter in this awe-inspiring and cinematic documentary series event from Executive Producers James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mar 30, 2014

135 lbs. Blue Catfish was caught and released at John H. Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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Check this out! This 135 lbs. Blue Catfish was caught and released at John H. Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers The large catfish is only a few pounds shy of the 143 lbs. world record caught on Kerr a few years ago. Corps of Engineers Wilmington District operates this 50,000 acre reservoir and an additional 50,000 acres of surrounding land. Visit one of our beautiful USACE lakes!

Mar 26, 2014

Are We Becoming China's Factory Farm? | Mother Jones

US hog operations are feeding more than a billion people's growing appetite for pork.
—By Tom Philpott

Illustration: Michael Klein

China is in the midst of a love affair with pork. Its consumption of the stuff has nearly doubled since 1993 and just keeps rising. The Chinese currently eat 88 pounds per capita each year—far more than Americans' relatively measly 60 pounds. To meet the growing demand, China's hog farms have grown and multiplied, and more than half of the globe's pigs are now raised there. But even so, its production can't keep up with the pork craze.

So where is China looking to supply its demand for chops, ribs, loins, butts, and bellies? Not Southeast Asia or Africa—more like Iowa and North Carolina. US pork exports to China surged from about 57,000 metric tons in 2003 to more than 430,000 metric tons in 2012, about a fifth of all such exports. And that was before a Chinese company announced its intention to buy US pork giant Smithfield Foods in 2013. The way things are going, the United States is poised to become China's very own factory hog farm. Here are a few reasons why:

- It's now cheaper to produce pork in the US than in China. You read that right: Our meat industry churns out hogs for about $0.57 per pound, according to the US Department of Agriculture, versus $0.68 per pound in China's new, factory-scale hog farms. The main difference is feed costs. US pig producers spend about 25 percent less on feed than their Chinese counterparts, the USDA found, because the "United States has more abundant land, water, and grain resources."

- Americans are not as fond of "the other white meat" as we once were. You wouldn't know it from the menus in trendy restaurants, but US consumers' appetite for pork hit a peak in 1999 and has declined ever since. Yet industry, beholden to shareholders demanding growth, keeps churning out more. According to its latest projections, the USDA expects US pork exports to rise by another 0.9 metric tons by 2022—a 33 percent jump from 2012 levels.

- Much of China's arable land is polluted. Fully 40 percent has been degraded by erosion, salinization, or acidification—and nearly 20 percent is tainted by industrial effluent, sewage, excessive farm chemicals, or mining runoff. The pollution makes soil less productive, and dangerous elements like cadmium have turned up in rice crops.

- Chinese rivers have been vanishing since the 1990s as demand from farms and factories has helped suck them dry. Of the ones that remain, 75 percent are severely polluted, and more than a third of those are so toxic they can't be used to irrigate farms, according to a 2008 report by the Chinese government. According to the World Bank, China's average annual water resources are less than 2,200 cubic meters per capita. The United States, by contrast, boasts almost 9,400 cubic meters of water per person.

- Chinese consumers are losing trust in the nation's food supply—and will pay for alternatives. A spate of food-related scandals over the past half decade has made food safety the Chinese public's No. 1 concern, a 2013 study from Shanghai Jiao Tong University found. Judith Shapiro, author of the 2012 book China's Environmental Challenges and director of the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development program at American University, says she expects Smithfield pork to command "quite a premium" in China, because it's perceived as safer and better than the domestic stuff. Already, "US pork is particularly popular and commands premium prices, as it is viewed as higher quality due to our strict food safety laws," a Bloomberg Businessweek columnist reported last July.

But what's good for pork exporters may not be good for the United States: More mass-produced pork also means more pollution to air and water from toxic manure, more dangerous and low-wage work, and more antibiotic-resistant pathogens. And that's just the beginning. In addition to ramping up foreign meat purchases, China is also rapidly transforming its domestic meat industry along the US industrial model—and importing enormous amounts of feed to do so. The Chinese and their hogs, chickens, and cows gobble up a jaw-dropping 60 percent of the global trade in soybeans, and the government may soon also ramp up corn imports—because while Beijing currently limits foreign corn purchases, meat producers are clamoring for more. And where does a third of the globe's corn come from? You guessed it: The good old USA.

Are We Becoming China's Factory Farm? | Mother Jones

The transformation of timberland ownership and markets in North America | Forest Business Network

It’s not every day I get to hear one of America’s top forest industry CEOs speak on the global state of our industry. Mike Covey, CEO of Potlatch Corporation, recently spent the day in Missoula meeting with University of Montana College of Forestry and business students, faculty, and community members, then concluded his day with an hour-long lecture to over 200 folks on “The Transformation of Timberland Ownership and Markets in North America.”

In his presentation, Mike addresses why timber companies are becoming real estate investment trusts and how a global economy affects the U.S. lumber, timber, and log markets. While the U.S. will probably build some 5-7 million homes over the next five years, China has mandated close to 35 million. Where will they get their building products? A lot of it will come from North America. (By the way, companies looking to diversify their markets through exports will certainly benefit from presentations at the SmallWood Conferencethis June.)

The University of Montana’s video staff did a great job of filming Mike’s speech and I think you will enjoy watching his one-hour presentation and Q&A from the audience.


The transformation of timberland ownership and markets in North America | Forest Business Network

Mar 17, 2014

A Primal Diet for Modern Times, part 2 - YouTube

Published on Mar 17, 2014

Is our ancestors' hunter-gatherer diet the best for optimal health and longevity, in our stress- and pollution-filled world? Not entirely, says Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind. She advocates a ketogenic diet, where fats are the primary fuel source rather than carbohydrates — moderate protein (from grass-fed or wild caught animals), very low starch and natural sugars, plentiful fibrous green vegetables, generous natural fats, and no vegetable oils. "Once [our ancestors] adopted ketones as a primary source of fuel, our cerebral blood flow and oxygenation increased by over 39% in normal human brains." Returning to a ketogenic diet improves brain function and can help treat or even prevent diabetes and Alzheimers

A Primal Diet for Modern Times, part 2 - YouTube

Mar 13, 2014

Joel Salatin responds to New York Times’ ‘Myth of Sustainable Meat’ | Grist

By Joel Salatin
The following post originally appeared on the Polyface Farms Facebook page.

Cows at Polyface Farm. Photo by Amber Karnes.

The recent editorial by James McWilliams, titled “The Myth of Sustainable Meat,” contains enough factual errors and skewed assumptions to fill a book, and normally I would dismiss this out of hand as too much nonsense to merit a response. But since it specifically mentionedPolyface, a rebuttal is appropriate. For a more comprehensive rebuttal, read the book Folks, This Ain’t Normal.

Let’s go point by point. First, that grass-grazing cows emit more methane than grain-fed ones. This is factually false. Actually, the amount of methane emitted by fermentation is the same whether it occurs in the cow or outside. Whether the feed is eaten by an herbivore or left to rot on its own, the methane generated is identical. Wetlands emit some 95 percent of all methane in the world; herbivores are insignificant enough to not even merit consideration. Anyone who really wants to stop methane needs to start draining wetlands. Quick, or we’ll all perish. I assume he’s figuring that since it takes longer to grow a beef on grass than on grain, the difference in time adds days to the emissions. But grain production carries a host of maladies far worse than methane. This is simply cherry-picking one negative out of many positives to smear the foundation of how soil builds: herbivore pruning, perennial disturbance-rest cycles, solar-grown biomass, and decomposition. This is like demonizing marriage because a good one will include some arguments.

As for his notion that it takes too much land to grass-finish, his figures of 10 acres per animal are assuming the current normal mismanagement of pastures. At Polyface, we call it neanderthal management, because most livestock farmers have not yet joined the 20th century with electric fencing, ponds, piped water, and modern scientific aerobic composting (only as old as chemical fertilization). Hence, while his figures comparing the relative production of grain to grass may sound compelling, they are like comparing the learning opportunities under a terrible teacher versus a magnificent teacher. Many farmers, in many different climates, are now using space-age technology, biomimicry, and close management to get exponential increases in forage production. The rainforest, by the way, is not being cut to graze cattle. It’s being cut to grow transgenic corn and soybeans. North America had twice as many herbivores 500 years ago than it does today due to the pulsing of the predator-prey-pruning cycle on perennial prairie polycultures. And that was without any corn or soybeans at all.

Apparently if you lie often and big enough, some people will believe it: Pastured chicken has a 20 percent greater impact on global warming? Says who? The truth is that those industrial chicken houses are not stand-alone structures. They require square miles of grain to be carted into them, and square miles of land to handle the manure. Of course, many times that land is not enough. To industrial farmers’ relief, more often than not a hurricane comes along just in time to flush the toilet, kill the fish, and send pathogens into the ocean. That’s a nice way to reduce the alleged footprint, but it’s devilish sleight of hand with the data to assume that ecological toxicity compensates for the true land base needed to sustain a factory farm.

While it’s true that at Polyface our omnivores (poultry and pigs) do eat local GMO (genetically modified organism)-free grain in addition to the forage, the land base required to feed and metabolize the manure is no different than that needed to sustain the same animals in a confinement setting. Even if they ate zero pasturage, the land is the same. The only difference is our animals get sunshine, exercise, fresh pasture salad bars, fresh air, and a respectful life. Chickens walking on pasture certainly do not have any more leg sprains than those walking in a confinement facility. To suggest otherwise, as McWilliams does, is sheer nonsense. Walking is walking — and it’s generally considered to be a healthy practice, unless you’re a tyrant.

Interestingly, in a lone concession to compassion, McWilliams decries ranging hogs with rings in their noses to keep them from rooting, lamenting that this is “one of their most basic instincts.” Notice that he does not reconcile this moral imperative with his love affair with confinement hog factories. Nothing much to use their noses for in there. For the record, Polyface never rings hog noses, and in the few cases where we’ve purchased hogs with rings, we take them out. We want them to fully express their pigness. By moving them frequently using modern electric fencing, polyethylene water piping, high-tech float valves, and scientifically designed feed dispensers, we do not create nor suffer the problems encountered by earlier large-scale outdoor hog operations 100 years ago. McWilliams has apparently never had the privilege of visiting a first-rate, modern, highly managed, pastured hog operation. He thinks we’re all stuck in the early 1900s, and that’s a shame because he’d discover the answers to his concerns are already here. I wonder where his paycheck comes from?

Then McWilliams moves on to the argument that economic realities would kick in if pastured livestock became normal, driving farmers to scale up and end up right where we are today. What a clever ploy: justify the horrible by eliminating the alternatives. At Polyface, we certainly do not discourage scaling up — we actually encourage it. We think more pasture-based farms should scale up. Between the current abysmal state of mismanagement, however, and efficient operations, is an astronomical opportunity to enjoy economic and ecological advantages. McWilliams is basing his data and assumptions on the poorest, the average or below. If you want to demonize something, always pick the lowest performers. But if you compare the best the industry has to offer with the best the pasture-based systems have to offer, the factory farms don’t have a prayer. Using portable infrastructure, tight management, and techno-glitzy tools, farmers running pastured hog operations practically eliminate capitalization costs and vet bills.

Finally, McWilliams moves to the knock-out punch in his discussion of nutrient cycling, charging specifically that Polyface is a charade because it depends on grain from industrial farms to maintain soil fertility. First of all, at Polyface we do not assume that all nutrient movement is anti-environmental. In fact, one of the biggest reasons for animals in nature is to move nutrients uphill, against the natural gravitational flow from high ground to low ground. This is why low lands and valleys are fertile and the uplands are less so. Animals are the only mechanism nature has to defy this natural downward flow. Fortunately, predators make the prey animals want to lounge on high ground (where they can see their enemies), which insures that manure will concentrate on high lookout spots rather than in the valleys. Perhaps this is why no ecosystem exists that is devoid of animals. The fact is that nutrient movement is inherently nature-healing.

But, it doesn’t move very far. And herein lies the difference between grain used at Polyface and that used by the industry: We care where ours comes from. It’s not just a commodity. It has an origin and an ending, start to finish, farmer to eater. The closer we can connect the carbon cycles, the more environmentally normal we will become.

Second, herbivores are the exception to the entire negative nutrient flow argument because by pruning back the forage to restart the rapid biomass accumulation photosynthetic engine, the net carbon flow compensates for anything lost through harvest. Herbivores do not require tillage or annuals, and that is why all historically deep soils have been created by them, not by omnivores. It’s fascinating that McWilliams wants to demonize pasture-based livestock for not closing all the nutrient loops, but has no problem, apparently, with the horrendous nutrient toxicity like dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey created by chemical fertilizer runoff to grow grain so that the life of a beef could be shortened. Unbelievable. In addition, this is one reason Polyface continues to fight for relaxing food safety regulations to allow on-farm slaughtering, precisely so we can indeed keep all these nutrients on the farm and not send them the rendering plants. If the greenies who don’t want historically normal farm activities like slaughter to occur on rural acreage could understand how devastating these government regulations actually are to the environmental economy, perhaps McWilliams wouldn’t have this bullet in his arsenal. And yes, human waste should be put back on the land as well, to help close the loop.

Third, at Polyface, we struggle upstream. Historically, omnivores were salvage operations. Hogs ate spoiled milk, whey, acorns, chestnuts, spoiled fruit, and a host of other farmstead products. Ditto for chickens, who dined on kitchen scraps and garden refuse. That today 50 percent of all the human edible food produced in the world goes into landfills or greenie-endorsed composting operations rather than through omnivores is both ecologically and morally reprehensible. At Polyface, we’ve tried for many, many years to get kitchen scraps back from restaurants to feed our poultry, but the logistics are a nightmare. The fact is that in America we have created a segregated food and farming system. In the perfect world, Polyface would not sell eggs. Instead, every kitchen, both domestic and commercial, would have enough chickens proximate to handle all the scraps. This would eliminate the entire egg industry and current heavy grain feeding paradigm. At Polyface, we only purport to be doing the best we can do as we struggle through a deviant, historically abnormal food and farming system. We didn’t create what is and we may not solve it perfectly. But we’re sure a lot farther toward real solutions than McWilliams can imagine. And if society would move where we want to go, and the government regulators would let us move where we need to go, and the industry would not try to criminalize us as we try to go there, we’ll all be a whole lot better off and the earthworms will dance.

Joel Salatin is the owner of Polyface Farm -- which was featured in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma and the documentary film Food, Inc. He is a third generation family farmer working his land in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley with his wife, Teresa, son Daniel, daughter Rachel, and their families. Polyface Farm, an organic grass-fed farm, services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs. Salatin writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and American Agriculture.

Joel Salatin responds to New York Times’ ‘Myth of Sustainable Meat’ | Grist