Bacon Prices Rising….

As I have been saying, food prices are going to skyrocket. We don’t even eat pork here, but this is going to affect a lot of households, and it isn’t factored into the inflation index. Please, please, please get all the food you can and store it properly and well and plant whatever you can as a hedge against food chaos. No more living “high on the hog” for many.

You might recall that “traceability” is supposed to stop this kind of thing from happening. As those of us who opposed NAIS and ADTF have said, no tracking, tracing, RFID tag or premises number will halt disease! Commercial hogs are pretty close to 100% traceable…Sometimes it sucks being right.

US bacon prices rise after virus kills baby pigs

 

 

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Scientists think porcine epidemic diarrhea, which does not infect humans or other animals, came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the country or spread to 27 states since last May. The federal government is looking into how such viruses might spread, while the pork industry, wary of future outbreaks, has committed $1.7 million to research the disease.

The U.S. is both a top producer and exporter of pork, but production could decline about 7 percent this year compared to last — the biggest drop in more than 30 years, according to a recent report from Rabobank, which focuses on the food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

Already, prices have shot up: A pound of bacon averaged $5.46 in February, 13 percent more than a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ham and chops have gone up too, although not as much.

Farmer and longtime veterinarian Craig Rowles did all he could to prevent PED from spreading to his farm in Iowa, the nation’s top pork producer and the state hardest hit by the disease. He trained workers to spot symptoms, had them shower and change clothing before entering barns and limited deliveries and visitors.

Despite his best efforts, the deadly diarrhea attacked in November, killing 13,000 animals in a matter of weeks, most of them less than 2 weeks old. The farm produces about 150,000 pigs each year.

Estimates of how many pigs have died in the past year vary, ranging from at least 2.7 million to more than 6 million. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the die-off has had a hand in shrinking the nation’s pig herd by 3 percent to about 63 million pigs.

Diarrhea affects pigs like people: Symptoms that are uncomfortable in adults become life-threatening in newborns that dehydrate quickly. The best chance at saving young pigs is to wean them and then pump them with clear fluids that hydrate them without taxing their intestines. But nothing could be done for the youngest ones except euthanasia.

“It’s very difficult for the people who are working the barns at that point,” Rowles said. “… No one wants to go to work today and think about making the decision of baby pigs that need to be humanely euthanized because they can’t get up anymore. Those are very hard days.”

PED thrives in cold weather, so the death toll in the U.S. has soared since December.

The first reports came from the Midwest, and the states most affected are those with the largest share of the nation’s pigs: Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Illinois. The disease also has spread to Canada and Mexico.

Some states now require a veterinarian to certify that pigs coming in are virus-free, while China, which has seen repeated outbreaks since the 1980s, has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to similarly vouch for animals shipped overseas.

Companies are racing to develop a vaccine, but the federal government has yet to approve one. While the mass deaths have been a blow for farmers, the financial impact to them may be limited because pork prices are rising to make up for the loss of animals.

It takes about six months for a hog to reach market weight so the supply will be short for a while. Smithfield Foods, one of the nation’s largest pork processors, has cut some plant shifts to four days per week in North Carolina, and those in the Midwest are likely to do so later this spring, said Steve Meyer, an Iowa-based economist and pork industry consultant.

Smithfield Foods declined to comment.

In the end, consumers will be most affected, Meyer said, with pork prices likely to be 10 percent higher overall this summer than a year ago.

“We’re all used to: ‘We’ve got plenty of food, it’s cheap. We’ll eat what we want to,'” Meyer said. “We Americans are very spoiled by that, but this is one of those times that we’re going to find out that when one of these things hits, it costs us a lot of money.”

 

USDA Now Wants to Save the Bees

Funny that we have to spend millions to figure out what we already know. How typical. Those who create the problem use your money to find their solution. Maybe I am being a bit too cynical here, but it gets tough not to be after seeing so many offenses and atrocities.

For your consideration:

Feds unveil plan to save honey bees — and $15 billion in crops they pollinate

Claiming that the future of American food production depends on a revived honey bee population, the Agriculture Department on Tuesday announced it will spend $3 million to help ranchers and farmers improve the health of the bugs, key to pollinating $15 billion worth of food.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement, “Expanded support for research, combined with USDA’s other efforts to improve honey bee health, should help America’s beekeepers combat the current, unprecedented loss of honey bee hives each year.”

The money will be in the form of financial assistance and technical help targeted to five Midwestern states: Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Honey bee pollination supports an estimated $15 billion worth of agricultural production, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables that are the foundation of a nutritious diet. The future security of America’s food supply depends on healthy honey bees,” added Vilsack.

The bee industry has been under assault from pests and enemies for years, but the recent emergence of mysterious “Colony Collapse Disorder” has resulted in the deaths of 30 percent to 50 percent of honey bee colonies each year, double the normal rate.

Ag said the assistance “will provide guidance and support to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. For example, appropriate cover crops or rangeland and pasture management may provide a benefit to producers by reducing erosion, increasing the health of their soil, inhibiting invasive species, providing quality forage and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators, as well as habitat for other wildlife.”

The area was chosen because over 65 percent of the commercially managed honey bees in the country are dropped in farms in the five states.

Bee managers would also like the administration to limit the use of exotic pesticides which them blame for some of the colony deaths.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.

California Almond Growers Dozing Trees

California almond farmers face tough choices

Associated Press

By SCOTT SMITH February 24, 2014 1:14 AM
.California Almond Farmers Face Tough Choices

FIREBAUGH, Calif. (AP) — With California’s agricultural heartland entrenched in drought, almond farmers are letting orchards dry up and in some cases making the tough call to have their trees torn out of the ground, leaving behind empty fields.

In California’s Central Valley, Barry Baker is one of many who hired a crew that brought in large rumbling equipment to perform the grim task in a cloud of dust.

A tractor operator drove heavy steel shanks into the ground to loosen the roots and knock the trees over. Another operator, driving a brush loader equipped with a fork-like implement on the front, scooped up the trees and root balls and pushed them into a pile, where an excavator driver grabbed them up in clusters with a clawing grapple. The trees were fed into a grinder that spit wood chips into piles to be hauled away by the truckload and burned as fuel in a power plant.

Baker, 54, of Baker Farming Company, has decided to remove 20 percent of his trees before they have passed their prime. There’s simply not enough water to satisfy all 5,000 acres of almonds, he said. “Hopefully, I don’t have to pull out another 20 percent,” Baker said, adding that sooner or later neighboring farmers will come to the same conclusion. “They’re hoping for the best. I don’t think it’s going to come.”

There are no figures yet available to show an exact number of orchards being removed, but the economic stakes and risks facing growers are clear. Almonds and other nuts are among the most high-value crops in the Central Valley — the biggest producer of such crops in the country. In 2012, California’s almond crop had an annual value of $5 billion. This year farmers say the dry conditions are forcing them to make difficult decisions.

Gov. Jerry Brown last month declared a drought emergency after the state’s driest year in recorded history.

The thirst for water has sparked political battles in Washington, D.C., over use of the state’s rivers and reservoirs. This month President Barack Obama visited the Central Valley, announcing millions of dollars in relief aid that in part will help the state’s ranchers and farmers better conserve and manage water.

Baker, who favors farming over politics, explained the math leading to his decision. Between now and the summer almond harvest, he would need to irrigate his orchards with scarce, expensive water and pay to have the trees pruned and sprayed. Bringing in bee hives to pollinate the blossoms costs nearly $500 an acre.California drought

Alan Thompson of G&F Agri Service LLC looks at a tree as he manages a crew of heavy equipment operat …

That all would amount to a $2.5 million gamble, without knowing if the next couple of months will bring significant rain to the valley floor and snow to the mountains. “You’d have wrapped a lot of money up in those trees to see what happens,” he said.

Removing old trees is common practice. Almond trees remain productive for about 25 years, growers said. The state’s almond farmers removed over 10,000 acres of trees in 2012, according to a report by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Most were past their prime. No figures are available on how many orchards farmers are removing today, said department spokesman Steve Lyle.

But Alan Thompson of G&F Agri Service LLC, who leads the crew ripping out Baker’s orchards, said the drought spiked his business by 75 percent. This time of year is typically slow, but Thompson, 31, said his heavy equipment operators start at dawn each day and works until sundown, removing orchards in short order.

“We don’t even mess around with cutting them up with chain saws,” he said. “That grinder is the way to do it right there.”

Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said he expects that almond growers will be removing trees through the spring and summer because of the drought. “I have no doubt permanent crops will be taken out because of this,” he added.

Tim Lynch of Agra Marketing Group said power plants in the state nearly have more wood chips from almond trees than they can handle. Lynch’s firm acts as the middle man between growers getting rid of their trees and the power plants that need bio fuel to burn. The dry weather this winter has allowed growers to work in their orchards that are typically soggy, and the drought pushed them to take out trees earlier than normal, he said.

The high value of almonds has caught the eye of investors in recent years, who paid top-dollar for land to plant almond orchards and cash in on the bonanza. Their value remains strong, making the decision for farmers to remove orchards difficult.

William Bourdeau, executive vice president of Harris Farms in Coalinga, said he and his colleagues within the next 30 days will have to confront the hard decision about scaling back their almond orchards. They’ve already decided not to plant 9,000 acres of vegetables — including 3,000 acres of lettuce that would have produced 72 million heads and generated 700,000 hours of work.

Next, they may rip out 1,000 acres of almonds, a permanent crop, Bourdeau said.

“I hesitate to use a number that big. Unfortunately, it’s going to that big or bigger,” he said, still holding out hope the season will turn wet. “We’re trying to limp along as long as we can.”

Leaving the orchards un-watered and expecting they’ll somehow survive the drought is no option, Bourdeau said, because insects infest the dying trees and multiply, spreading to other orchards.

Drawing well water is a bad option, he said. Their wells sink 2,400 feet below ground in his region of the Central Valley, providing water that’s unhealthy and compromises the crops for years, if the trees survive at all, he said.

They have considered blending well and surface water to minimize the harm. Or they can remove some almonds to direct their limited water to fewer orchards.

“There’s a lot of what-ifs,” Bourdeau said. “There’s no good decision. It’s what’s the least worse option.”

US Wastes Billions of Dollars of Food

The USDA has done a report on the amount of food wastage in the US. Interestingly, this is at a time right before food prices are going to sky rocket. One thing that has apparently not been addressed in this report is the regulatory and insurance side of the profligate waste we appear to have.

Morningland Dairy was forced to waste about $250,000 dollars of cheese that hadn’t made one person sick in over 30 years. Fast food restaurants throw out huge amounts of food at close and are prohibited from allowing people to getting it even out of the dumpster. People who want to feed the homeless are routinely fined, punished or prevented from doing so because they don’t have permits and licenses that prove they prepare food in a permitted and licensed kitchen.

It could be readily argued that a vast amount of our food is garbage anyway, and therefore going where it should go, but truly not having enough to eat is about to become a reality for a larger percentage of our population than in anytime in recent memory.

There is a massive drought in California, there are 25% of greenhouses that heat with propane that have either shut down or significantly scaled back, the vast majority of chicken houses heat with propane and most of those growers finished what they had and held off on losing everything due to either being unable to afford or in some cases even acquire the propane to heat with. Brazil, the highest global producer of beef and a major exporter of food in many categories is in a drought where rationing of water is occurring in 142 cities. And don’t forget that South Dakota lost around 100,000 cattle and we have cattle populations in the US at 1951 levels.

While we’re throwing all of this away, or being forced to throw it away, we’re looking at massive rises in food costs. Time to learn how to preserve whatever excess we have.

Here’s an article about the USDA wastage report:

Americans trash about 1/3 of their food, worth $161bn – USDA

Published time: February 25, 2014 08:56

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

About 30 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced in the United States is wasted, an incredible statistic, especially given the lack of landfill space, not to mention the global menace of world hunger.

The shocking statistic gives a new meaning to the term ‘junk food,’ as Americans are sending 133 billion lbs (60 billion kg) of food to the garbage dump each year. To put it another way, 141 trillion calories annually – or 1,249 calories per capita daily – went uneaten in the United States, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.

The top three food groups in terms of the amount of total food loss cost are ranked as follows: meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent); vegetables (19 percent); and dairy products (17 percent). Retail food waste, for example, in grocery stores and restaurants, accounted for 10 percent (43 billion lbs), while consumer losses amounted to 21 percent (90 billion pounds) of the available food supply.

The issue of food loss is becoming a serious topic not just in the United States, but across the world as countries struggle with mounting levels of garbage, while food scarcity among an exploding world population demands a new way of thinking about eating habits.

In 2010, the average American spent $4,016 on food (both for at-home and away-from-home consumption) out of an average disposable income of $36,016, the report, titled ‘The Estimated Amount, Value and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States’, noted.

Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of US adults (35.7 percent) are obese, which is perhaps the best argument that Americans can offset a large part of the food waste problem by simply eating less. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008; the costs of providing medical assistance for individuals who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, thereby placing an enormous strain on healthcare costs.

At the same time, the problem of global food scarcity is gaining the attention of world leaders.

“The United Nations predicts that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, and this will require a 70 percent increase in food production, net of crops used for biofuels. Currently…the number of food-insecure people reached 802 million in 2012,” the report stated.

The USDA warned that developed countries like the United States – where 49 million people lived in food-insecure households out of a total population of over 305 million – should not take their current level of food security for granted.

“Although most of this population growth will occur in developing countries, developed countries like the United States also face issues of hunger and food insecurity,” it said.

In an effort to attract attention to the problem of food waste, the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year kicked off the US Food Waste Challenge. The United Nations’ Environment Program’s (UNEP) World Environment Day’s central theme was also food waste.

 

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

The report acknowledged that tackling the problem is no easy challenge given the many diverse places where food is distributed, consumed and disposed of.

There are an estimated 119 million households, over a half a million dining establishments, including fast-food outlets, and numerous other locations where people gather to eat, such as schools, institutions, and prisons across the United States, it said.

Eco-hazardous habits

A largely ignored problem associated with our intensely urbanized lifestyles is how to get rid of our food waste in a way that does not inflict long-term damage on the environment. Discarding uneaten food into plastic garbage bags and burying them in landfills only exacerbates the problem.

According to statistics by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste accounted for 34 million tons of some 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in the United States in 2010, with a price tag of about $1.3 billion.

After recycling a number of materials, like metals, plastic and paper, food waste came out on top in terms of what is overloading our garbage dumps, with 21 percent of the total, according to the EPA.

The most worrying problem with landfilling food waste is that it generates methane gas as it decomposes anaerobically. Methane is 21 times more powerful in accelerating global warming than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA as cited in the USDA report.

Landfills account for 34 percent of all human-related methane emissions in the United States
The report pointed to a growing human footprint on the planet as a good reason for nations to start addressing this issue.

The report offered some suggestions on addressing the issue, including expanding on community composting programs, of which there are around 3,510 such initiatives in the US that allow neighborhood residents to leave food scraps and yard trimmings at the curb for a special collection.

At the same time, companies will work to offset food waste if “it is economically justifiable, that is, if the benefits outweigh the costs.”

The report suggested the potential advantages of building “consumer goodwill” for business, using by way of example “a sandwich shop donates uneaten yet wholesome food to a community feeding organization at the end of each day.”

 

 

Idiots Rule

As delineated in the article below, this kind of thing is happening all over. Fines for producing. If you want good food, you have to grow it or buy it directly from someone who grows it for you. You must avoid the anonymous centralized, consolidated food supply chain….IF you want real stuff anyway. We have some very interesting ties ahead with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s rules being under consideration.

At any rate, the following article covers some of the gardening atrocities occurring around the country, but there are many more not being mentioned. This is a good primer for what is coming under the International Property Maintenance Codes along with the FSMA.

Pure manure: City uproots FL couple’s 17-year-old garden

TALLAHASSEE,  Fla. – Few things in life are as benign as a home vegetable garden.

courtesy of Institute for Justice

But for the residents of Miami Shores, Fla., growing veggies can land you a fine — the type you eventually can’t afford.

That’s what happened to Hermine Ricketts and her husband, Tom Carroll. For the past 17 years they’ve grown a garden in the front yard of their modest South Florida home. The backyard, they say, doesn’t get enough sunlight.

But in May, the city put the couple’s garden, and any others like it, in their legal crosshairs.

A new zoning ordinance designed to “protect the distinctive character of the Miami Shores Village,” was enacted and specifically prohibited vegetables – not fruit, trees or even plastic flamingos – from appearing in front yards.

Shortly after, the couple received a visit from their local code enforcement officer. They were given two choices: Uproot the garden or pay a $50 per day fine to keep it.

After twice appearing before the Miami Shores Code Enforcement Board and being denied an exemption, the couple decided to dig up the garden rather than fork over $1,500 a month to the city.

Now they’re taking their case to court.

In an effort to reinstate the couple’s right to grow a few vegetables on their own property, the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian leaning legal aid group, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on their behalf.

ARI BARGIL, Institute for Justice

“We’re not suing for money,” IJ attorney Ari Bargil told Florida Watchdog. “We’re asking the court to rule that this law is unconstitutional so Hermine and Tom can plant their garden again.”

According to Bargil, the ordinance infringes on the couple’s basic right to privacy – a right the Florida Constitution recognizes more broadly than the U.S. Constitution.

“Miami Shores will have to prove that its ban promotes a compelling governmental interest and is narrowly tailored to advance that interest,” wrote Bargil in a litigation backgrounder.

For its part, the city has yet to explain any interest beyond the language of the law itself.

Similar bans have taken root in other parts of the country. Ron Finely of South Los Angeles and Adam Guerro of Memphis were found in violation of city gardening ordinances, though they eventually prevailed.

But Denise Morrison of Tulsa, Okla., wasn’t so lucky. Her edible garden was largely destroyed by local authorities while she waited for her day in court. Julie Bass of Oak Park, Mich,. faced 90-days in jail for her home-grown veggies. The charges were eventually dropped.

Such rules are usually rooted in maintaining the aesthetic value of a neighborhood. Other residents have every right to complain — though that was not the case in Miami Shores — or local authorities can make a determination themselves.

The problem, however, is when a homeowner reasonably disagrees with city officials on what is considered visually “suitable.” Throw in the productive use of growing food on one’s own property, and such restrictions can come across as arbitrary and subjective.

While the Florida case may seem to be small-potatoes to those that don’t grow and eat their own food, Bargil offers a simple warning.

“If the government can tell you what you can and can’t do in your front yard, what else can they decide is off-limits?”

Crimes Against Humanity…and Chickens

I have copied the entire post below from this blog because it is terrifically important that people become aware of type of thing and work to either change these kinds of ridiculous laws in their cities and towns or orchestrate mass civil disobedience to annihilate these acts of State Sponsored Terrorism on Citizens. Please read, share and get involved in your surroundings:

Garden City, MI: Man sentenced to jail time on the CRIMINAL charge of keeping chickens!

Guys, you really can’t make this sort of stuff up.  Randy Zeilinger, a Garden City MI resident, has been found guilty on the CRIMINAL charge of keeping chickens.garden city mi man found guilty on criminal charge of keeping backyard chickens

Think about that for a minute.  A criminal charge follows you for your entire life.  A criminal charge must be reported on job applications. A criminal conviction is reported to state and federal agencies.

The sentence is:

  • 30 days in jail
  • 6 months of reporting to probation
  • $905 in fines
  • Pay for the court appointed attorney
  • Comply with all city ordinances

But the honorable Judge Hammer was “nice” and suspended the jail time. However, if Randy fails on any of the above details he will be thrown in jail. That was clearly stated.

A few days after conviction, Randy began receiving new ordinance violations in the mail. These include a violation for keeping a wild skunk, a vandalized porch and peeling paint on his garage. The Garden City Ordinance Officer has indicated that he will be visiting Randy often and writing violations for anything that he can. Randy will likely face another year of bi-monthly court appearances.

 Synopsis of Randy’s story (full story here):

From Randy: ‘I purchased my home in 2000. I started moving in around March of the same year. I moved my bee hives at the same time and was immediately confronted by a neighbor who called the police.  The attending officer said that bees were OK if I kept them in my own yard. In hind sight, I should have noted the complaint and resulting dialog. However, I thought that I was within my rights based on the Michigan state law, often referred to as the “Right to Farm Act”.  http://legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Act-93-of-1981.pdf  In fact, I was (am) covered by this law. Over the next ten years or so, this same neighbor lodged numerous complaints against me. City officials recognized that these complaints were baseless in nature and merely a case of “everyone has one of THOSE neighbors”. ‘

*A note on the Michigan Right to Farm Act: it supersedes local city/town ordinances.  While I (Laura) opted to work with my city to have an ordinance included in our muni code allowing for chickens, technically I didn’t need to.  Taken from MRTFA : (6) Beginning June 1, 2000, except as otherwise provided in this section, it is the express legislative intent that this act preempt any local ordinance, regulation, or resolution that purports to extend or revise in any manner the provisions of this act or generally accepted agricultural and management practices developed under this act. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a local unit of government shall not enact, maintain, or enforce an ordinance, regulation, or resolution that conflicts in any manner with this act or generally accepted agricultural and management practices developed under this act. This section affirms your Michigan right to continuation business farming operating within generally accepted agricultural and management practices (GAAMPS) guidelines and supersedes any city laws that may forbid said farming. For your reference, Shelby Township v. Papesh is a similar case and may assist in your legal determinations.

Here’s where things start falling apart for Randy:

  • In 2009 he acquires  some chickens and ducks. After a year of keeping chickens and ducks, he rehomed the ducks after a neighbor complained to him about them.
  • In 2012, the same neighbor that complained about the ducks complained to Randy about the chickens. This neighbor posits that “he never asked her permission to have them (the chickens)”.
  • The neighbor who complained to Randy about his chickens also complained to him about: his koi and frog pond & a tree growing in his front yard.  This neighbor called the city and demanded that they cut down Randy’s tree, which the city refused to do (thankfully).
  • The complaining neighbor, now incensed, files a legal complaint about Randy’s chickens.  The Garden City ordinance officer cites Randy with keeping chickens, despite not seeing any signs of chickens on Randy’s property. The ordinance officer visited Randy’s farm on March 21, 2012.  Several weeks later, Randy received a post card from 21st District Court to appear for a zoning violation dated March 23, 2012.

The ordinance violation was written against a 50 year-old ordinance.

     (A)     No person shall keep or house any animals or fowl within the city except dogs, cats, canaries, or animals commonly classified as pets, customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets.

     (B)     No person shall sell, or offer for sale, barter, or give away baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl as pets or novelties, whether or not dyed, colored, or otherwise artificially treated. This division shall not be construed to prohibit the display or sale of natural chicks or ducklings in proper brooder facilities by hatcheries or stores engaged in the business of selling the same to be raised for commercial purposes.

(Ord. 11-006, passed 4-25-11)

Now, here’s where things get surreal.

  • Mid-April, Randy appears in court before the Honorable Judge Richard L, Hammer, Jr. of the 21st. District Court.  The judge sent Randy back to meet with the city prosecutor, Timothy L. Cronin (P26417).
  • During this meeting, Mr. Cronin said that if Randy wanted a farm then he should move out of the city. When Randy replied that he was unable to move, he said that chickens were not allowed in the city and if Randy pursued the case that he would “make an example” of him. He went on to say that the mayor did not want farm animals in the city and that he took direction from the mayor. He further indicated that Randy was not welcome in this city and he would be foolish to continue the case. At no time did he indicate that a compromise could be reached.
  • Randy appears at city council meetings while his court dates are repeatedly postponed, speaking in favor of allowing backyard chickens in Garden City.  After one meeting, reporter Sue Buck runs a story in the June 24 2012 issue of the Garden City Observer on Randy and 2 others who spoke positively about keeping backyard chickens.  The other 2 individuals cited in the paper received chicken keeping code violation notices in the mail immediately after.
  • Randy’s complaining neighbor vandalizes his property and calls the city to lodge a complaint about it being in disarray.
  • An anonymous call is made complaining about a rooster crowing.  Randy has no rooster.
  • Randy’s complaining neighbor drives to Westland to visit his 80 year old mother, demanding that she force her son to do what they ask (remove chickens, cut down tree, etc).  The woman is fearful and traumatized.
  • By the end of July 2012, the police have been out to Randy’s house a half a dozen times. Each time was a response to an anonymous complaint called in. No charges were leveled.
  • In August 2012, police respond to a complaint about a skunk found in the complaining neighbors yard. Three police officers in two cars responded to the call. They insisted that Randy do something about the skunk in the neighbor’s yard. The neighbor had mentioned that the skunk had come from Randy and that he had sent it to spray them. The armed police officers force Randy from his house to go retrieve a wild skunk- which turned out to be a baby skunk with barely open eyes.  Randy retrieves the skunk from under the neighbors car, receives a ticket for having an unlicensed animal, and is left with the task of getting the baby skunk to a wildlife rehabilitator.armed police force citizen to retrieve skunk after neighbor complained that he had sent it to spray them "attack skunk"

    Skunk cops are on patrol!

In fall 2012 Randy finally gets closer to a court date, is allowed a court appointed attorney. Initially, the court told the defending attorney that the case was about the skunk but in reality, the case was about keeping chickens and the Michigan Right to Farm Act.

  • Randy’s appointed attorney, James M. Jernigan (P-57035) took the case even though he was somewhat skeptical at first. Randy explained the RTFA and how it applied to his case. Randy explained the GAAMPs, the history of the law and cited other cases that had been tried and eventually reached the Michigan Court of Appeals.
  • Randy’s case is repeatedly delayed due in part to another chicken keeper case being tried in the 21st District Court. That case was actually moved to the city of Wayne and presided by city of Wayne Judge Laura R. Mack, because Judge Hammer was recused.  That case is City of Garden City v. Pete Santeiu (Case No, 12 GC 1547 OM).  That case was dismissed by Judge Mack. Signed and dated: January 7, 2013.
  • In February 2013, the Garden City prosecution amended Randy’s case to be a criminal complaint rather than the original animal ordinance violation.
  • Randy’s jury trial is set for April 11 & 12th 2013.
  • Several points of law were disallowed based on the fact that this was a criminal charge and not merely a zoning violation. Case law, Court of Appeals decisions and opinions were discounted. The ruling of Judge Mack (representing the same court, and for the same sort of case) was disallowed.
  • Several individuals came to testify for Randy’s defense, stating he was a good neighbor and that the chickens were not a nuisance in any way.
  • Prosecution presented documents (not entered into evidence) that challenged Randy’s claim of GAAMP compliance. In a nutshell, it was argued that by Randy exceeding the GAAMP protocols, he was not “following” the GAAMPs. Thus if he wasn’t following GAAMPs then he was not compliant and not protected by MRTFA.

This case is disturbing on so many levels.  If you’d like to read about it in Randy’s own words, click here.

I urge you all to share this far and wide- it’s gotten NO media attention here in Michigan, and likely won’t without a grassroots effort.  Also, if you’d like to share your thoughts on this situation, please direct them to the Garden City mayor and councilmembers, as well as the senatorial representatives.  Follow us on Facebook for updates on Randy’s story as it continues to unfold.

UPDATES:

Randy was interviewed on Fox 2 Detroit.  His neighbor chimed in as well, and showed just the sort of behavior you’d never want to see from a neighbor, even if you didn’t have chickens.

Food is the New Money

I’ve been saying that for several years now, and it seems to me that it is coming closer to that harsh reality in the global picture.

Lately I have been swamped with State legislative issues and also family issues so I haven’t had much time to do more than try to keep on top of the avalanche of atrocities pouring forth from overarching governmental control and lack of accountability by the perpetrators of the atrocities. So, my apologies for what may appear to be laziness to those who aren’t around me on a daily basis.

However, the following article is tremendously important and may help to rip the scales off some people’s eyes so that they feel moved to at least prepare some additional provisions for themselves and their families. Please share it and encourage people to check the links provided. When it comes right down to it, we all work to eat!

Report: Farmers Hoarding Food To Protect Against Currency Collapse

Mac Slavo
April 29th, 2013

Which asset is more secure than money in the bank?

The answer is simple.

It’s the asset that will still have value when the money or the bank collapse.

All over the world, when people have been faced with the prospect of having their savings wiped out or confiscated they have turned to hard assets – physical goods they could hold in their possession and trade if necessary – as protection.

Argentina, a country that is no stranger to economic hard times and hyperinflation, gives us a prime example of what becomes money when the system collapses.

At an inflation rate of 25%, while their currency loses significant purchasing power, Argentines have made a mad rush into gold, silver, and other tangible goods that retain their barterable value.

Like many Greeks, who have headed to the countryside to grow their own food in the midst of complete economic destruction, farmers in Argentina are hoarding the one tangible investment they know will not lose value, no matter what their currency does.

With world food demand on the rise, growers in the Pampas grain belt are filling their silos with soy rather than converting their crops into pesos, a currency that hit a new all-time low in informal trade this week.

Considering Argentina’s high inflation, clocked at about 25 percent by private economists, “money in the bank” is not as secure as storing soybeans next to their fields, many say.

“We are going to hang onto our soy. One can see higher prices ahead,” said Jose Plazibat, a partner with the firm of Bandurria and Plazibat Brothers, which farms more than 3,000 hectares near the town of Chacabuco in Buenos Aires province.

With their currency in meltdown and food demand around the world rising, these farmers understand where real value comes from.

  • Their food can’t be lost in the stock market.
  • It’s intrinsic worth cannot be vaporized in a banking collapse.
  • And they do not need to wait for anyone to deliver it to them, as they hold it in their personal possession.

Hoarding commodities – not the paper receipts that represent your ownership, but the actual physical good – is a powerful diversification strategy, and one that is a natural response to times of uncertainty and government run amok:

Argentina is going through the classic stages of economic collapse.

The government seized all pensions. They are destroying everything that gives the people incentive to be a society that emerges from the cooperation of everyone.

When government turns against its own people, even as the USA is currently doing, you end up with deflation insofar as the economy collapses and wages are not available, while hoarding emerges as does barter.

source: Martin Armstrong

This strategy of buying commodities at lower prices today to consume at higher prices tomorrow can be implemented on a micro-economic personal scale in your own home. Doing so, especially with health and nutrition considerations, will not only provide you with long-term cost savings as global currencies continue to lose purchasing power, but insulate you against the possibility of a rush for food in the event of an emergency or widespread economic instability.

Whether you choose to stock your long-term food pantry by going to a grocery store, grow your own food in your traditional or aquaponics garden, learn to preserve it yourself, or prefer to do your own food storage packing, the key is to develop a plan and implement it now.

The US dollar isn’t getting any stronger over the next 10 years.

But the rice, beans, wheat, and pasta you stockpile will still have the same exact intrinsic value a decade from now as they do today.

(Link to article source)

Food Stamps For Mexico, Furloughs for Meat Inspectors: Make it Hurt!

Continuing with the “Make it Hurt” philosophy of the Obama Administration on the sequester, unnecessary expenditures will continue unabated. The ramifications of the furloughing of meat inspectors is enormous. According to the USDA’s own statistics, roughly 6.5 million people are employed in the meat distribution and processing arenas. Furloughing them will affect anyone in the supply chain, and every one in the pocket book….but don’t forget, there aren’t going to be inspections on foreign meat, so maybe you’ll still be able to get get kangaroo, horse, donkey, beef, and who knows what hamburger at something approaching a reasonable price.

From FOX:

Dems preserve US-Mexico food stamp ‘partnership,’ while USDA prepares for meat inspector furloughs

Published March 18, 2013

FoxNews.com

  • caphill_foodstamp.jpg
    AP
Salmonella outbreaks. E. coli outbreaks. Millions of dollars in economic losses.These are among the scenarios the Obama administration warned about last month as it claimed the sequester would force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to furlough meat inspectors.

But while the administration prepares to take that step, it continues to pursue a “partnership” with the Mexican government to “raise awareness” about food stamps among immigrants from that country. When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week — in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution — Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.

It’s hard to put a firm price on the cost of the partnership, which was launched under the George W. Bush administration. But an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who has railed against the partnership for months, said it could easily be in the millions. Since 2004, the program has blossomed to include dozens of meetings and conferences and health fairs with Mexican officials — all of which cost money, not to mention the cost to the food stamp program of new enrollees brought in as a result of this partnership.

Sessions, in a statement to FoxNews.com, said he believes the public will eventually demand an end to the program, though the Senate Budget Committee allowed it to continue in the vote last week.

“We have uncovered extensive evidence that federal authorities have — during the Bush and Obama administrations — aggressively undermined a core legal tenet of immigration policy: that those granted admission should be self-sufficient and contribute to the economic health of the nation,” Sessions said. “It is amazing that Budget Committee Democrats would unanimously vote to continue funding these costly promotions, especially when our debt is causing such profound economic harm.”

According to a letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Sessions last September, the “partnership” since 2004 has included roughly 91 meetings between U.S. and Mexico embassy and consulate staff; 29 health fair events; and 31 roundtable discussions, conferences and forums in 20 cities.

Twenty percent of the meetings and activities occurred since 2008, according to Vilsack’s letter. Sessions is concerned the collaboration amounts to a vehicle for the USDA to pressure people onto the food-stamp rolls — in this case, noncitizen immigrants from Mexico.

The USDA denies this. In his letter last year, Vilsack said the purpose is “to help eligible people in need make informed decisions about whether or not to seek assistance.”

The initiative is one of several the agency has “to promote awareness of nutrition assistance among those who need benefits and meet all program requirements under current law,” Vilsack told Sessions in the 24-page letter.

However, his letter indicates the number of legal, noncitizens participating in the program — now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — has increased from 425,000 to 1.23 million between 2001 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the USDA continues to press forward with plans to furlough meat inspectors, describing it as a necessity of the sequester — though the department has eased off a bit on warnings that this could lead to more foodborne illness, since all meat and poultry will still have to be inspected.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/18/dems-preserve-us-mexico-food-stamp-partnership-while-usda-prepares-for-meat/#ixzz2NzVHyPEa

Guerilla Gardening–Do this!

I just received this link and while I am well aware there are things going on all over the country like the actions taken by this man, I don’t think it is enough. This video should inspire others to join in and reclaim the most basic of all human rights; that being the right to eat food of one’s choice grown in a way one desires to grow it!

Now, This Would Be A Good Constitutional Amendment for Missouri

Recently, I wrote about Jason Smith’s HJR 7 and 11,which is a proposed Constitutional Amendment for the State of Missouri. By the way, Jason is the Pro Tem in the Missouri House and the Republican nominee to fill Joann Emerson’s seat in the US Congress. It is widely rumored that Smith was flown to Washington four times to be introduced to his future colleagues by Emerson. It is possibly coincidence one of Emerson’s daughters is a lobbyist for Monsanto and that Smith introduced this bill, which would strongly enhance Monsanto’s stranglehold on Agriculture in this State. Possibly. I just don’t know. It’s one of those thing that makes you go, “Hmmm…”, as that old adage goes.

What isn’t questionable is that HJR 7 and 11 and SJR 22 (it’s companion) are flying through the process at Jeff City quicker than a greased pig. And is NOT good for Missouri farmers, Missouri consumers, or economic freedom overall. Please read my first article on this legislation here to get some background on why I see this as terrifically dangerous and deceptive as I do.

An interesting thing about Missouri is the many options available for changing/amending the Missouri Constitution. Battles in ballot language are often fought in the back rooms of the State Offices and voters must go to extensive lengths to find out the full text of the actual proposal on the ballot. When people are voting on a Constitutional Amendment, they should not only be allowed easy access to the language, they should read it and be certain they understand the effects of the proposed amendment. We want the legislators to “read the bills”, why would we be satisfied with out own decisions on issues if we ourselves don’t read the actual text?

After two calls and a facebook message to Rep. Smith, I finally received a return call from Smith’s office, but I was outside dealing in the real world at the time.  I called back and left another message, but haven’t yet heard back from the staffer that left a message on my machine. Sigh.

Since this thing is moving so quickly, and the questionable terms “modern” and “agricultural technology” show no signs of being removed from the language, it seems that the public should have the opportunity to look at potential substitute language that would actually be beneficial for farmers, ranchers and consumers as well as the Missouri economy.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at the language and thinking it was completely hopeless. Then it clicked. A light came on and I found language that I have shared with a few traditional farming advocates and some other concerned groups and they all said they would definitely support this language.

For your consideration and comments, I submit a truly helpful and freedom enhancing substitute for Smith’s HJR 7 & 11: (the things in brackets and struck through are removed from the language of Smith’s bill-the bold italicized is inserted instead)

Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in direct trade with consumers [modern farming and ranching practices] shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural [technology and modern livestock production and ranching] practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment that insure the continuance of diversified small farms shall not be infringed”.

So what do you think? Is it too radical to think that people should have the ability to purchase their food from sources that they want? Do corporations and governments acting in the best interests of those corporations increase our freedom and improve our general health? In short, are people too stupid to decide what they want to eat?

 A  personal note for my friends and readers:

Put this in the whining column, my computer died on me. I amattempting to deal with my husband’s dinosaur that -for no apparent reason- decides to take you to links on pages of articles without clicking on them, starts to type in the middle of preceding paragraphs at will, and will only run one program at a time. I am waiting for a new hard drive, while praying that it isn’t the logic board on my computer that is fried. I have ten years of research in Mac format backed up, but when these Macs decide to quit on you, it is rather expensive to fix them and sometimes downright impossible to get funds together to do do it. Grrr. So if you ever wanted to donate anything to help me keep the alligators at bay, now would be a great time!

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