By Rossilynne Skena, Valley News Dispatch, May 29, 2011
When you buy a bottle of milk at the grocery store, there's a premium built in intended to pay dairy farmers, but a state senator says that not all of that money is reaching Pennsylvania farmers.
Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-Lancaster County, has introduced legislation to "make sure that it does, indeed, go back to the dairy farmer who does produce the milk," said Kristin Crawford, Brubaker's legislative director.
The 27-cent premium per gallon goes to farmers whose milk is produced, processed and sold in Pennsylvania.
Brubaker's office cites figures showing that $15 million to $25 million in premiums paid by consumers in 2009 did not reach dairy farmers. Those numbers are estimates from former state Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff. Read more...
Older laboratory techniques to identify fish meat looked at the mix of proteins in flesh samples, but were unreliable, expensive and cumbersome. Investigators often relied instead on laborious legwork, tracking inconsistent fish names on paperwork as seafood moved across international borders. Eighty-four percent of seafood consumed in the United States is now imported, often passing through a multistep global supply chain.
With the new genetic techniques, the gene sequence found in a fish sample is compared with an electronic reference library like that maintained by theInternational Barcode of Life Project, which now covers 8,000 varieties of fish compiled by biologists over the last five years. The testing is now relatively cheap: commercial labs charge about $2,000 for analyzing 100 fish samples, for an average of $20 apiece, but the cost is under $1 per sample for labs that own the equipment. Read more...
4.) Midwest corn crisis good and bad for Delaware farmers
Corn flourishes in Delaware but flounders in Midwest
Higher prices take toll on state's chicken companies
By Jonathan Starkey, Delaware Online, May 29, 2011
Rain-soaked farm fields are causing a delayed corn planting season in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and other midwestern states, the U.S. Department ofAgriculture said last week. Not so on the Delmarva Peninsula, where corn growers have all, or nearly all, of their corn crop in the ground, paving the way for a successful, and lucrative, season. While Delaware farmers have escaped trouble despite some soaking rains in New Castle County, a lagging season nationwide could have an impact in another, larger corner of the local farm economy. Tight corn supplies promise to spell trouble for the region's chicken companies, which are already reeling under the surging cost of corn. That's because shorter supplies mean even higher prices -- and the companies rely on corn for feed. Bushels of corn are already trading near historic highs around $7.50. Read more...
policy analysts discuss the global food crisis
Foreign Policy, May/June 2011
THE FOOD ISSUE: Inside the Geopolitics of a Hungry Planet
The New Geopolitics of Food
From the Middle East to Madagascar, high prices are spawning land grabs and ousting dictators. Welcome to the 21st-century food wars.
By Lester R. Brown
Project partners, which include NESAWG, will explore the benefits of re-regionalizing the food system. Specifically whether the region’s geography and potential to develop regional supply chains can meet a greater share of our population’s food needs in ways that improve food access and availability for disadvantaged communities in particular. Research will examine how regional food systems can make more efficient use of natural resources, benefit communities, and improve the economic and social welfare of farmers, distributors, retailers and consumers. Read more...
Controversy and legal battles continue to surround Monsanto’s genetically modified row crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets, and the European Union has been particularly reluctant to approve the sale of food with altered DNA.
“Clearly there are a lot of people who have questions about biotechnology … around the world,” Stark said.
Monsanto’s efforts to cultivate new lines of consumer-focused produce do not involve direct manipulation of genetic code. There’s an economic incentive at work here as well. Monsanto said it generally took about 10 years and $100 million to make a genetically modified seed. Advanced cross-breeding techniques can shorten that process to five or eight years.
“It’s significantly cheaper and with a different regulatory requirement and — let’s face it — a different public perception,” Stark said. “And there’s so much we can do, especially in fruits and vegetables where the technology is so new to the whole industry that the gains we can make, we’re pretty excited about.” Read more...
To find farming's newest frontiers in New Jersey, don't look for a pasture down a country lane. The cutting-edge farms of the 21st century are smack in the centers of densely populated cities. They are in high-tech greenhouses where once-exotic, now in-demand produce grows in long-settled neighborhoods. These farms also sit in the heart of the state's farm belt, looking more like industrial parks lined with glass and metal structures that pop with the colors of greens and berries and cherry tomatoes within. Pioneering farmers in the Garden State's $1-billion-a-year agriculture industry are using new technologies to take advantage of widespread consumer interest for fresh and exotic foods. Read more...
- Keeping dairy cows outdoors all year lowered ammonia emissions by about 30 percent.
- Average net farm greenhouse gas emissions dropped about 10 percent by keeping the herd outdoors year-round.
- When fields formerly used for feed crops were converted to perennial grasslands for grazing, carbon sequestration levels climbed from zero to as high as 3,400 pounds per acre every year.
- They found that a well-managed dairy herd kept outdoors year-round left a carbon footprint 6 percent smaller than that of a high-production dairy herd kept in barns.
- Although the confined cow produced 22,000 pounds of milk every year and the foraging cow produced only 13,000 pounds, the total amount of milk protein and fat produced on the two farms was essentially the same, because the foraging cows produced milk with more fat and protein.
At a March Senate hearing on the USDA budget, Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) hoisted a standard-fare brown-skinned spud in one hand and, in the other, a head of iceberg lettuce, which hasn't come under explicit federal scrutiny. One medium white potato contains nearly twice the vitamin C "as this entire head," she said, asking: "So my question, Mr. Secretary, is what does the department have against potatoes?"
By Abigail Higgins, The Martha's Vineyard Times, May 25, 2011
John Adams's quotations are animated, many of them having been drawn from the prolific correspondence between him and his wife, Abigail. "Oh my farm when shall I see thee, there will be no end of my tragic Oh's and tragic Ah's." Not born a wealthy landowner like the Virginians, Adams added acreage to his farm whenever he had money. Read more...
"It Takes A Region" 19th Annual NESAWG Conference Nov 11-12, 2011 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, New York. Pre-conference trainings Nov 10. Our preliminary agenda has been set. Please save the date and plan to attend as we facilitate the Northeast regional food system toward a healthy, secure future. Currently we seek sponsors for this year's conference, mainly to fund scholarships which make conference participation diverse and inclusive. Please contact Kathy Ruhf if you are interested in being a conference sponsor.
Green Brown Orange Catering
August 2011. The Nutrition and Agriculture Educator will develop, grow, and deliver GMFTS'educational programs including school gardening, taste tests, farm field trips and in-class workshops. Start date: August 2011. Complete job descriptions are available at
http://greenmountainfarmtoschool.org/employment.php. To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Butcher for Mobile Slaughter Trailer
2 postitions on "Traveling Butcher" a mobile red meat slaughter trailer under USDA inspection, and a mobile poultry and rabbit slaughter and processing trailer. Work collaboratively with independent farmers/livestock producers. Oversee and manage a full time assistant. The slaughter trailer will operate within a 50 mile radius of Hopewell, Mercer County, New Jersey. This position will begin in the summer of 2011. Applicants will be subject to a background check. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter discussing qualifications, resume and references to: email@example.com or call (609) 466-0277. Email should be submitted with the subject line: Traveling Butcher Manager.
Outreach Coordinator-Americorps VISTA
Hartford Food System
Hartford Food System (HFS) is a non-profit organization in Hartford, CT that is seeking enthusiastic, qualified candidates for an Americorps VISTA position as an Outreach Coordinator for our North End Farmers Market and, to some extent, for farmers markets throughout the city. Ideal candidates will have an undergraduate degree and familiarity with community outreach, urban food systems, research, and results measurement. Interest in urban and community health, healthy food access and nutrition, and the community sources of food is important. An outgoing personality and a willingness to engage community residents in conversation and problem-solving are essential. Proficiency in Spanish is desirable but not required. Please send a cover letter and resume to Martha Page, Executive Director, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to Hartford Food System, 86 Park Street, 2nd Floor, Hartford, CT 06106. Questions can be sent by e-mail or call 860-296-9325. Interested candidates must also fill out the Americorps VISTA application at www.americorps.gov. One year position starts August 8, 2011.
Events and Public Relations intern
Greater Portland Convention and Visitors’ Bureau
Internship opportunity based on the waterfront in Portland, Maine. The position is part time as an Events and Public Relations intern for Maine’s food and wine festival, Harvest on the Harbor (www.harvestontheharbor.com). The city’s proximity to both agricultural land and fishing grounds aids in Portland’s overwhelming culinary focus on farm to table cuisine. Harvest on the Harbor is also farm-to-table themed this year. PLEASE NOTE: in order to be eligible you must be 21+ (or turning 21 before October 20th) and must be available to work ASAP through the first week of November. Employer Information: Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau, 94 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Portland, Maine 04101, (207) 772-4994. Contact Information: Allison Goddard, Special Events Coordinator, (207) 772-4994 x 231, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Slow Food USA
Full-Time Exempt Employee. Compensation: $60,000 - $65,000. Full benefits and retirement plan. Slow Food USA is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply. Title negotiable. Please submit a cover letter, resume (including references) and one writing sample to: email@example.com, and use this email subject line: «Public Relations & Marketing Manager». Application deadline: June 15, 2011. No phone calls please. Writing samples must be from professional work and may include journalism samples, press releases, online/blog writing or past client work. Final candidates may be asked to participate in an additional writing assessment exercise.
West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH)
New York, NY
Qualifications: Cooking, Teaching and Catering experience essential. MA or BA Degree in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Nutrition or related field. Bi-lingual, English/Spanish essential. Hours: 35 hour week, Mon to Fri, 8 am to 4 pm. Occasional evening and weekend activities. Salary according to experience. 20 vacation days, 12 holidays, Health Insurance, Pension. Provide leadership and instruction for the WSCAH Food Pantry Customer Chef Training Program, a 12-week program focused on the preparation of healthy and nutritious food. Provide daily program of nutrition education for food pantry customers and staff utilizing food available in the pantry. Perform regular cooking demonstrations for pantry customers utilizing food from the pantry. Plan, organize and execute the catering of special events for agency functions. Advise on standard operating procedures for food safety and sanitation, and purchase of food and equipment.Work in cooperation with agency staff on fund raising events, nutrition education of pantry customers, and developing partnerships for the placement of chef trainees in further training, experience or employment. Please email resume, 3 references, salary history and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. www.wscah.org ;
Massachusetts Farm to School Project
The Massachusetts Farm to School Project, a statewide grassroots effort, is expanding our technical assistance to farms, institutions and wholesale distributors in eastern and southeastern Mass. The Project, now in its seventh year, facilitates sustainable purchasing relationships between farms and institutions, coordinates Mass. Harvest for Students Week, and promotes maximum consumption of locally grown foods in schools and other institutions. Experience working with the Massachusetts food distribution industry, institutional food services, or the agricultural industry in Mass. is required. This position requires excellent interpersonal, communication, and business skills. Experience with public speaking and accurate professional writing is preferred. Consultant should be well versed in Mass. geography in order to determine which farm-distributor-institution connections are feasible. The territory covered by the consultant will be south of Rt. 128 and the Turnpike and east of Rt. 395. The consultant must provide her/his own work space in eastern Mass. and be able to work at our main office in Amherst (approx 2 hours from Boston) twice a week during the initial orientation period, and at least once a month thereafter. This position will average 28 hours per week, for a total of 1456 hours per year; $24/hour to start; $25/hr after probationary period, plus $.45 per mile travel reimbursement. Schedule is flexible. Funding has been secured for the first year, thanks to the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and the Mass. Society for Promoting Agriculture. Please email resume, letter, and three references to email@example.com. Application deadline is June 10, 2011. No phone calls, please. See www.massfarmtoschool.org for more information about the Mass. Farm to School Project.