The Producers' Corner features information of general interest
to Eatwild producers. (The public can view this page, but the content is
geared toward producers of grass-fed products.) Some of the postings are from
us at Eatwild.com. The rest are from you, the producers. We
invite you to send us information about:
Upcoming conferences, farm events, and resources.
New discoveries, e.g., “Raw honey works wonders on pink eye!"
Questions you would like answered by other producers:
E-mail your information and we’ll post it online.
(We reserve the right to screen the postings and make necessary edits.) Also,
let us know what other content you’d like to see in the Eatwild Producers’ Corner.
May 6, 2015, Antelope, Oregon. Roots of Reslilience: Rejuvenating Grasslands through Grazing Management. Spring grazing conference to be held at Washington Family Ranch near Antelope, Oregon. Sponsored by Washington Family Ranch, Country Natural Beef, and the Pacific Northwest Center for Holistic Management. The conference will be followed by two concurrent one-day workshops the next day.Read more about the conference and workshops.
May 7, 2015, Antelope, Oregon. Monitoring Grasslands and Holistic Planned Grazing.Conference program.
Ticonderoga, New York Slaughter Process Center Now Certified Organic
April 11, 2015. Adirondack Meat Co located in Ticonderoga NY is now open and looking to serve your business. They are a full service USDA inspected slaughtering and processing facility. They can process animals from hoof to hanging half, quartered, or fully process out in USDA-labeled packages ready for sale in your store. They can handle BEEF, PORK, GOAT, and LAMB, and arrange pick up of live animals. Facility tours available. NOFA organic certified, member Adirondak Harvest, AWA Approved.
FACT Offers Grants to Farmers to Attend Conferences
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), a humane farming and food safety nonprofit organization,broadens opportunities for humane farmers in the United States by providing Fund-a-Farmergrants that enable livestock and poultry farmers to transition to or increase access to pasture on their farms. (Note: the grant application period is closed until September 2015.) Their brand new Fund-a-Farmer scholarships enable livestock farmers who wish to learn about humane farming methods to attend a sustainable agriculture conference.
This year FACT will award scholarships for livestock and poultry farmers to attend select sustainable agriculture or humane farming conferences, a key way that farmers share resources and knowledge with one another. A limited number of scholarships will be available to cover registration expenses to five specific conferences, including:
Current livestock and poultry farmers who express an intention to learn about humane farming methods at a sustainable agriculture conference are eligible. Farmers must own or be employed by a working, independent family farm. Interns and volunteers are not eligible for a scholarship.Farmers seeking a scholarship should complete a simple application requesting funds to reimburse registration fees. They also require proof of conference registration. Applications are accepted via email and mail. Please email application materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FACT’s will reimburse up to $400 for expenses associated with conference registration fees. FACT will not reimburse for conference meals, lodging, transportation, membership fees, or pre-conference workshops that are not related to livestock or poultry production. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to eligible farmers for one of the five conferences listed above until funding is depleted.
After attending the conference, scholarship recipients will be required to (1) submit photos, (2) complete a short questionnaire, (3) provide a testimonial, and (4) participate in our online forum for humane farmers. Recipients will also be automatically added to our monthly Fund-a-Farmer email listserv. If a scholarship recipient does not attend conference for which they received a scholarship, all funds must immediately be returned to FACT.
Aspiring Livestock Producers Needed. Join Rogue Farm Corps in 2015!
Applications now open for positions throughout Oregon
Interested in learning how to raise grass-fed meat? Want to know what it takes to run a sustainable cow or goat dairy? How about pastured eggs? Many of our participating host farms specialize in sustainable livestock and/or dairy production, and a few focus on both vegetable AND animal production for the student who wants to learn it all. Please browse the listings of host farms on our website for more details: http://roguefarmcorps.org
Rogue Farm Corps'FarmsNext program is an entire season of hands-on training and skill-based education in sustainable agriculture for aspiring farmers and ranchers. This immersive on-farm experience combines field training with a mentor farmer, classroom learning with agricultural professionals and expert farmers, tours of local farms, and opportunities for farm-based independent study. Positions available on a diverse network of commercial family farms in four communities across Oregon. No experience necessary to apply. More info here.
Rogue Farm Corps trains the next generation of farmers and ranchers through hands-on educational programs. Our host farms are located in four cluster around Oregon: the Rogue Valley, the Portland Metro Area, the South Willamette Valley, and Central Oregon. For complete program descriptions, information on our host farms, and applications, visit our website: http://roguefarmcorps.org
Polyface Farm offering DVDs
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm, is working on a series of DVDs. The first is Pigs 'n Glens. This 40-minute video provides "a virtual hands-on lesson at Polyface Farm learning the ecological benefits and logistics of raising pigs in a patch of woods."
American Grass Association Calling on Producers and Consumers to Speak Up about Rancho Recall
February 21, 1014. The American Grassfed Association wants to make consumers and producers aware of the situation in California with the Rancho Feeding Corp. recall that hit small grassfed producers in central and Northern California hard. According to the AGA, the USDA has provided no concrete reasons for recalling a year's worth of production from small farms that go above and beyond to produce clean, healthy meat in a sustainable and humane manner.
Not only are the producers facing economic devastation, says the AGA, but they've now lost the only small slaughterhouse within 150 miles. Marin Sun Farms, an AGA-certified member and an Eatwild producer, has agreed to buy and operate Rancho, but closing the transaction and getting the plant reopened could take weeks or months. The AGA is asking stakeholders to speak up and demand transparency and relief for these family farms.
Farm Gets Creative to Expand Food Education Project
February 1, 2014. White Gates Farm, an Eatwild producer, has launched a "Kickstarter" project to expand their on-farm "Edible Education" project through the addition of a meeting-function room and commercial kitchen. The facility will be used for their farm day camp for kids; workshops, seminars, and cooking classes for adults, ongoing studies for farm interns, tours and dinners for the community at large, and other creative events with food, nutrition and sustainability as a focus.
The project will only be funded if the toal amount needed is pledged by Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014 at 4:03 PM PST. Follow this link to learn more about the Kickstarter fundraising process and the White Gates Farm project.
New ATTRA Publication Gives Ranchers a Formula for Productive Pastures
A new ATTRA publication, Grazing Calculator: Extended Cow Calf Pair, provides producers with a simple means of analyzing their grazing program throughout the season.
ATTRA—the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service—was developed and is maintained through a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Butte, Montana.
“Knowing how long your recovery period will be, that is, the amount of time it takes grass to fully recover between grazings is essential to a successful grazing program,” explains Dave Scott, Livestock Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology and co-author of the grazing calculator.
The user friendly spreadsheet allows producers to keep an accurate record of seasonal pasture production per field which will, in turn, make management decisions much easier and help keep grazing plans on track. Accurate record keeping will allow producers to identify pastures that may become a weak link in the grazing system and enable them to troubleshoot if a problem arises, ultimately making the operation more efficient.
Eating on the Wild Side Selected for Best Books of the Month of June by Amazon.com
It's finally here! The newest book from Jo Robinson, founder of Eatwild. With this book, Jo has extended her research on healthy, nutritious foods from pasture-raised meat, eggs, and dairy products to include fruits and vegetables. Start selecting healthier, more nutritious fruits and vegetables to accompany your grassfed meats and bring yourself closer to optimum health.
Eating on the Wild Side tells the history of many of our most common fruits and vegetables (Did you know that orange carrots did not exist until 400 years ago? Sixteenth century Europeans grew red, yellow, purple or white carrots. It wasn't until two plant breeders in the Netherlands crossed a yellow mutant carrot from Africa with a local red carrot in order to honor the House of Orange that carrots took on their present-day color. They were so popular that most of the other colors have been forgotten and few realize that they were ever any other way.)
Thank you to Eatwild producer Big Oaks Ranch for sending along the link to this video of Family Farmer Blues...
Great New Resource for Graziers
Check out the new blog, On Pasture: Research and Experience Translated Into Grazing Practices You Can Use NOW. Billed as "a new tool to make your grazing management better and more profitable," we think it looks like a neat deal—and it's free.
Written by folks like Kathy Voth and Greg Judy, people you may have seen at grazing conferences, or whose work you've read, it provides current information about grazing management, pasture health, money matters, various kinds of livestock, and much more.
Two Eatwild producers have reported attempted scams in the last couple of months. In one case the farmer was contacted by phone by a man claiming to be with the United Kingdom branch of Eatwild (No, there is no Eatwild branch in the UK--or anywhere else.) The supposed customer wanted to place a large order. The farmer made several attempts to call him back after their initial phone contact, but the customer no longer replied.
The second scam, this one via e-mail, was also for a large order. Here is the first part of the email.
This is [name]. .i have a birthday party and so do you have ground beef also do you accept credit card so if you have ground beef i will be needing this information How much will be 300 pounds total cost ...... your address for the private carrier coming for the pickup .......
Fortunately, neither producer was taken in by the scammers, but it pays to be on the alert. Some things to look out for include unusually large orders that the customer wants shipped by private carrier; poor spelling and ungrammatical language; requests to pay by credit card; and e-mails from free accounts such as yahoo or gmail.
Let us know if you have been the victim of scammers who have used your eatwild information so we can warn others.
Food Labeling – Understanding What Labels Mean
We're not fond of calling anyone a dummy, but we do like Animal Welfare Approved's extensive list of particulars about common food labels such as grassfed, free range, uncaged, fair trade, heirloom, halal, etc.
Beginning Farmer Land Contract Program Assists New and Retiring Farmers
If you're a new farmer looking for financing or an established farmer who's ready to sell your land and retire, the USDA's Farms Service Agency (FSA) has a program that may interest you.
The Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Land Contract Guarantee Program, a pilot program in nine states since 2002, is now available nationwide. It reduces the financial risk for retiring farmers who sell their farmland to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher by providing a federal guarantee of three years of "prompt payments" if the beginning farmer runs into trouble making timely payments.
The program also offers a second option of a standard 90 percent guarantee of the outstanding principal on the land contract. The retiring farmer has the option of choosing the prompt payment guarantee or the regular guarantee on the value of the asset.
To be eligible for this program, the seller needs to self-finance the sale of the land and sell to either a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer. The buyer of the farm or ranch must 1) be a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, 2) be not larger larger than a family farm (in which most of the management and labor is provided by family members), 3) be the owner or operator of the farm when the contract is complete, and 4) have an acceptable credit history and be unable to obtain sufficient credit elsewhere.
New Forage for Rangeland Cattle in Western U.S. Provides Higher Yield, More Protein & Protects Against Wildfires
January 24, 2012. Cattle that graze on rangelands in the western United States may soon have a new forage option, thanks to work by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.
Research by geneticist Blair Waldron, in Logan, Utah, suggests that the forage kochia (Kochia prostrata) can provide more nutritious winter forage than traditional rangeland vegetation. In a series of studies, the USDA found that kochia, a shrubby Asian native plant that sometimes survives wildfires and other environmental challenges more successfully than North American native plants, can be established on damaged rangelands, and that it can compete with cheatgrass successfully.
Waldron and his research partners also investigated fall/winter rangeland forage yields, rangeland carrying capacities, nutritive values, and the livestock performance of cattle that spent the fall and winter grazing on either kochia-dominated rangelands or grass-dominated rangelands. Forage yield on rangelands seeded with kochia was 2,309 pounds per acre, which was six times greater than the forage yield on traditional grazinglands. This difference meant that the rangelands with kochia could support 1.38 animals per acre, while the traditional rangelands could support only 0.24 animal per acre.
In addition, the experimental forage had a crude protein content of 11.7 percent, well above the recommended minimum, while the stockpiled grasses had a crude protein content of only 3.1 percent, which was below the recommended minimum.
Click here for links to more information about this study.
Grazing Lands Stewardship Award Announced
The Florida Grazing Lands Coalition (FGLC) and the
Florida Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) have awarded the
third annual Grazing Lands Stewardship Award.to Eatwild producer Deep
Roots Meat, LLC. This
award recognizes outstanding contributions to the ranching community in the
areas of grazing and wildlife management.
Deep Roots Meat, LLC, is a family owned and operated
agricultural business located in Greenville and Madison, Florida. This North
Florida ranch has raised Angus cattle for six generations. Harold and Troy
Platt are the present managers..
The Grazing Lands Stewardship Award was presented to
Deep Roots Meat, LLC.on October 20, 2011, during a joint SRM and FGLC
meeting and tour of the ranch.
"Mobile Harvest Unit" offers USDA processing
Eatwild producer Coco Collelmo of Fair
Oaks Ranch in Paso
Robles, California is in the news. She, along with other cattle ranchers throughout
the Central Coast, have a new “mobile harvest
unit,” a 28-foot-long slaughterhouse
trailer made entirely of aluminum.
Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN):
help for small-scale meat processing
NMPAN is a network / hub for people and organizations who
want small meat processors to thrive. A part of the agricultural extension
program, they develop and distribute tools and information for small processors
and the people who depend on them — producers
and small brands. Their website provides
information for individuals who want to expand, upgrade, or build a new plant;
information on meat processing rules and regulations; state listings of meat
processors; extensive information about mobile processing units—and much more.
Clean your water troughs
Animal scientists from Washington State University determined
that 10 of the 320 water troughs they examined had significant amounts of E.
which is one of the most harmful varieties. Scrubbing the troughs on a regular
basis reduces the risk that your livestock will be contaminated with bacteria
that cause foodborne illness.
Eatwild producer Georgia's Small Business Person of the
Congratulations to Eatwild producer Will Harris for
being selected Georgia's Small Business Person of the Year. Harris is the
owner and president of the 1,000-acre White
Oak Pastures, one of the largest pasture-based farms in the country.
The operation employs 40 people and sells its organic, grass-fed beef to
Whole Food Markets and Publix Supermarkets in five states.
SBA Georgia District Director Terri Denison said that "Will Harris and White Oak Pastures serve as a prime example of how innovation coupled with opportunity can transform a business or entire industry." One of Harris' many
achievements is the construction of the largest solar barn in the Southeast.
The barn generates 50,000 watts of electricity which is used to run the on-site
beef processing plant. Harris is now installing a USDA-inspected poultry plant
to process his pastured chickens and turkeys that will employ an additional 25
Sweet-tasting grasses speed the growth of cattle
and sheep and lowers greenhouse gasses
This April, British Agricultural Minister Jim Paice
announced the results of a new study showing that raising cattle and sheep
on high-sugar grasses can lower their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
Everyone benefits from the sweeter feed. The ruminants
like the taste of the grass and eat more of it. The sugars allow them to
make more efficient use of the proteins in the grass. As a result,
the animals reach market size weeks earlier, producing less methane overall.
Minister Paice said: “It is very exciting this
new research has discovered that simply changing the way we feed farm animals
we have the potential to make a big difference to the environment.”
The study was carried out by Reading University and the
Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences. High-sugar pasture
grasses are now available for sale.
Note: The UCS report is a well-researched
blueprint for increasing the productivity of your pastures and lowering
greenhouse gasses at the same time. We recommend that you read it thoroughly.
U.S. Scientists: “Grass-Fed Cattle
Benefit the Environment”
Which is better for the environment—raising beef
cattle on pasture or in the feedlots? On pasture, says a February 2011 report
from The Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) titled “Raising the Steaks – Global
Warming and Pasture-Raised Beef Production in the United States.”
Although all cattle produce greenhouse gasses, the UCS
has determined that a well-maintained pasture and careful management of the
grazing animals can draw greenhouse gasses out of the air and store them
in the soil where they fuel plant growth. The overall impact is positive.
Feedlots have no living plants – just bare dirt and manure; instead
of absorbing greenhouse gasses, they emit them.
We applaud the UCS for going one step farther and researching
ways to make raising cattle on pasture even more beneficial to the planet.
Here are some of their primary recommendations:
Improve the nutritional quality of the pasture by
adding legumes such as red clover.
Manage the cattle so that they do not overgraze the
pasture. “Rotational grazing” is the best method.
Manage the cattle so that they deposit their manure
more evenly over the pasture.
Find ways to increase grass production throughout
the year, not just in the spring and early summer.
Apply appropriate amounts of slow-release nitrogen
fertilizer at the right time.
Since 1998, the annual sale of U.S. grass-fed beef has
grown from $2 million to over $380 million, according to industry expert Allen
Williams, president of Livestock Management Consultants, LLC. When imported
grass-fed beef is factored in, the dollar amount more than doubles. “Grass-fed
beef production really has gone from a miniscule industry to a thriving billion-dollar
industry in just over a decade.”
Williams credits this remarkable growth to the nation’s
growing interest in wholesome food, an improvement in meat quality, and, surprisingly,
the fact that “many people not eating meat have begun eating grass-fed
Williams sees a bright future for the fledgling industry.
High grain costs are raising the cost of grain-fed beef, he says, narrowing
the difference in price between pasture-raised beef and beef from animals raised
in feedlots. He wouldn’t be surprised to see the industry “topping
$2 billion this year.”
Eatwild was saddened to learn of the death
of producer Rob Hogan, who passed away on Friday, October 8, 2010. Hogan, who
turned 54 during a three-week stay in the hospital, had been in intensive care
after he fell from his tractor on September 15. He had been working in the
field until 11 p.m. and missed the last step while climbing down from the tractor,
landing with his full weight on his hip. He died from complications resulting
from the fall.
lived on Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm outside of Carrboro, where
the Hogan family has farmed for more than 240 years. Hogan began his farming
career growing horse food and straw for landscaping, then expanded to the firewood
and wheat business. Eventually, he realized how many of his customers were
buying feed for beef cattle, and decided to get into the grass-fed beef business,
becoming the first such farmer in Orange County.
2010 USDA report on the economic prospects of grass-finished beef
The June 2010 publication of Livestock, Poultry, and
Dairy Outlook includes
a short report on the prospects for grass-finished meat, produced by the Economic
Research Service of the USDA.
There’s not much to the report, and it
is biased toward grain-feeding. Surprisingly, it does not discuss any of the
negative aspects of grain-feeding such as the overuse of antibiotics or water/soil
pollution from large feedlots. The nutritional comparison between grass-fed
and feedlot beef is particularly weak, and there is no mention of animal welfare
or the fact that grazed pasture is an efficient carbon sink. Only five references
are cited. Overall, grass-fed meat is presented as an expensive, inefficient,
inferior product. One is left wondering why consumers would buy it.
But the report does indicate that the USDA is waking up to the consumer demand
for grass-fed products. Relying on an Irish Survey (when will we have a US
survey?) the report indicates that grass-fed beef is now 3% of the total U.S.
production and has been growing about 20 percent for several years.
The ERS and the USDA needs to hear that that the report
is inadequate and biased and, most important, is not an accurate portrayal
of the future of grass-based production systems. To register a comment, email: KMathews@ers.usda.gov
Midget White heritage turkey beats out the Butterball
On November 2nd, Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia,
announced the winners of its 2nd annual “Timeless Turkey” blind
tasting test. The test pitted eight heritage breeds against the industry standard,
Fifty guests and a panel of judges rendered their judgment.
The Midget White was the favorite among the guests, while the panelists preferred
the Royal Palm turkey for its “superior depth of flavor in both its
white and dark meat.” All the heritage breeds earned high praise, including
the Bourbon Red, the Black, the Bronze, the Slate, the Chocolate, and the Narragansett
The panelists included Anya Fernald, a regular judge on
the Food Network’s Iron Chef of America and veteran chef Lisa
Brefere, CEO of GigaChef.com. For more information about the test, contact
Alice Ryan, Alice@Gita-Group.com.
It’s probably too late to order a heritage turkey
for this year’s Thanksgiving but you can make a note to contact a farmer
next April, which is when decisions need to be made about how many birds to
raise for the coming holiday season. (Find a local turkey farmer by searching
the Eatwild Producer’s
My Beef Is Just Like Industrial Commodity
University of Mississippi, The Southern Foodways Alliance, and Whole Foods
Market partner each year to produce documentaries. These films focus on producers
in the Deep South who embrace southern traditions in their effort to provide
non-industrial food for consumers who appreciate fine dining. These documentaries
embrace food traditions that honor sustainable, artisan, and humane production
practices that are perpetuated by southern family farms.
On August 20,
2009, Ole Miss filmmaker Joe York to produced one of these documentaries
highlighting Georgia Eatwild supplier Will Harris and his farm White
Oak Pastures. Joe named the documentary “CUD.” View
it online at http://vimeo.com/6177004.
Eatwild Supplier Featured in Emeril Video "Why
A recent episode of Chef Emeril Lagasse's
television show, Emeril Green, recommended grassfed beef for its taste,
as well as for the benefits it provides for health and the environment. Featured
on a video from the show is Eatwild member Hedgeapple
Farm in Buckeystown, MD.
The June 15, 2009 issue of Time Magazine offers
information on the benefits of families and friends getting together to buy
meat directly from local farmers.
In an article entitled "Cow Pooling," writer
Kate Pickert outlines the cost savings of buying directly from the farm (especially
when compared to natural food store prices), the advantages of dealing directly
with farmers, and the sense of well-being that a freezer full of healthy, delicious
grass-fed beef can provide.
Where does the article send people to find
a list of farms that sell sides of beef online or locally? Why, Eatwild of
On June 3, 2009, Eatwild producers Nathan
and Bob Mudd of the Alaska Meat Company,
announced the opening of their mobile meat processing facility called the “Multi-Location
Abattoir.” It’s the first of its kind in Alaska and one of
the most comprehensive in the United States. The abattoir is made up of four
28-foot mobile trailers. One is a support trailer for the other three. The
three are connected in an “L” shaped configuration.
The first trailer is the kill floor, and it’s
kept between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where the animals are stunned,
gutted, weighed and evaluated by a USDA inspector. The second trailer is the
cutting room, and it’s kept below 40 degrees. The meat is deboned, and
some of the meat is packaged as individual cuts, the rest goes through the
grinder. The third trailer is the “cook room.” Ground meat is stuffed
into casings, smoked, and vacuum sealed. Then the packages are pressure cooked
to high temperatures, killing all the bacteria. The meat is “shelf-stable” and
does not require refrigeration. A live animal enters the first trailer and
ready-to-eat sausages come out the third.
It takes seven people to staff the facility.
One person manages the cattle, one manages the kill room, three are in the
packing room, one is responsible for the cooking, and the final person oversees
the entire operation.
Half of the funding came from the Natural
Resources Conservation Service of the USDA. The project was set in motion by
father and son team Nathan and Bob Mudd. (The operation is owned by Sitkinak
Cattle, LLC) The abattoir will be fully functional in October 2009.
The Mudd family hopes to process 150 cattle this year, which totals 45,000
pounds of meat. In the future, they plan to process bison and reindeer—hey!
Documentary Tells Story of Lake Village Farm
6/3/09–Lake Village Farm Homestead,
has been a working farm for over 30 years and features grass fed, free ranging,
all natural cattle and pigs. An Eatwild producer since 2005, the farm is also
the focus of a new documentary.
Directed by Ryan Booms, the documentary tells
the story of this intentional community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Founded in
1971, Lake Village was once a "hippie community," but is now a thriving
cooperative farm that emphasizes cultivating community in harmony with the
The documentary captures feelings of nostalgia
for our rural past while also offering a promising vision of the world's future.
The film is a must see for anyone passionate about eating local foods and fostering
To find out more about the Lake Village Farm
Homestead, visit their website at http://www.lakevillagehomestead.org/index.html.
For more information about the documentary itself, send them an e-mail; contact
information is available on the website.
Beef. This website is a collaboration between University of California
Cooperative Extension Service and California State University, Chico, for
the purposes of providing scientific information on grass-fed beef. It
provides information on how to develop a label for niche marketing of beef
products, recipes for cooking grass fed prooducts, and updates of grassfed
for Landscapes: Solving pasture problems one bite at a time. Are
you wasting forage because you don't know that many weeds are edible?
This website offers tips on what weeds your livestock can eat, as well
as how to train them to eat them.
Want to get listed on
Eatwild, or do you need to update your listing?
Visit our Request for Inclusion page for details.
Store has two new books that will be of particular
interest to producers...