Tuesday, January 26, 2010



AUTHORS NOTE: If this article strikes a chord, PLEASE pass this website and article on to as many as you can. Change comes from knowledge. The more who know, the more who will become aware that there are other, viable, options for food shopping and maybe, just maybe, we can start to make a difference.

It is no longer something I can ignore....time to "take the blinders off" and quit pretending. The commercial livestock industry is just plain sick and deranged. For too long I have stood by, ignoring how these gentle animals are treated...in the feedlot, at the sale barn, on the dairy farm, and at the packing plant...I convinced myself that most producers were like me. We love our livestock and treat them with grace and dignity.  I have never witnessed any of the many cattlemen I know and work with, subject their animals to cruelty or abuse.  I assumed that if your livelyhood depends on these animals it is in your best interests to treat them, at the very least, with respect and with as little stress as possible. 

Well, "The Truth Shall Set You Free"!

I recently watched the film FOOD, INC. and it was an eye opening experience, even for a livestock producer, like me. I am over 50 years old, a one time college athlete, a proud cowboy. But, during the segments on livestock, I had tears in my eyes. Both from sadness and anger. Then, tonight, I watched a segment on cruelty to dairy cows on the ABC WORLD NEWS with Diane Sawyer.  I'm not going into the gory details, just suffice it to say the callous indifference to the infliction of pain and suffering on these animals is absolutely mind blowing. AND, most of it perpetrated by the dairy operator...( it has created a feeling of betrayal, those who I trusted) sigh(!)...(click on the Diane Sawyer link above for the details). The full story can be found on ABC's NIGHTLINE as well (be warned, some of it is very graphic).

The question now is how to effect change. It is obvious that each of us, on our own, cannot change an entire industrial culture.  After all, well organized and funded organizations that operate both nationally as well as internationally have had little effect except to make these industrial complexes dig their heels in deeper. But as individuals, we can, ever so slightly, create change and it starts with what has been the focus of this website...buy local, know who you are buying from, and always ask questions...whether it is about fruit, produce, or meat...if the producer is truly a craftsman (and make no mistake, we are craftsmen) then he or she will show it by the way they answer. Those of us who truly care about the product we produce, have an unmistakably sincere enthusiasm, passion, and love for the land and especially our animals. This passion, this love, cannot be faked.

Here is one thing I can promise. The cattle that I am responsible for are, and will always be, raised and cared for in the most humane and gentle ways possible. We do not brand, de-horn, or "tail-bob". Not a single animal I own will ever set foot in a feedlot. That they will never want for nutritious forage or water and that when the time comes, "it" will be in the most humane way possible...PERIOD!

These are pics of our animals with our Foreman. As you can see they are gentle and curious.




Corn…Just the thought of it makes my taste buds tingle. Eating fresh roasted corn on the cob, (swimming in butter!) is one of my most vivid childhood memories. I used to accompany my grandfather (a “black land” farmer in central Texas) to pick those golden ears of corn, right from the cornstalk. I still love a roasted ear of corn. But, in the current health climate, corn stirs many to thoughts of villainy and hatred. So, I have decided to pull down my sombrero and throw my serape over my shoulder as we take a look at the “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” surrounding corn. (Hopefully, there are a few Clint Eastwood fans out there)


Corn, in its natural form, actually has a lot of nutritional as well as health benefits.

For starters, it is high in fiber which fosters lower cholesterol and is beneficial to a healthy colon thus, helping to fight colon cancer. That golden ear is also rich in folate, providing  B12 and B6 vitamin compounds, integral to the generation of new cells, a big deal before and during pregnancy. Eating moderate amounts of corn has shown to be helpul in the treatment of diabetes, renal dysfunction, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
Also, it contains beta-cryptoxanthin, which helps promote healthy lungs and may even assist in the prevention of lung cancer…


As we have learned, corn, in and of itself can be very beneficial. The “bad” is how the crop has invaded nearly every part of our life through the use of its many chemical properties…or, actually, the chemical change of the inherent properties.

“Big Ag” is synonymous with large scale food production. In the last 50+ years, chemists have discovered literally hundreds of uses for the chemical compounds found in corn and few of them are healthy for us. We have already learned that our meat industry relies heavily on corn as a quick fattening feed for livestock and that a diet of corn is unhealthy for the animal and thus, humans. It doesn’t stop there. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used in nearly any packaged or processed food product you can name. But, it doesn't stop there. As an example, let’s grab a cheeseburger, fries, and a soda…remember, every ingredient listed has some form of corn in it:



THE MEAT: GRAIN FED, IRRIDATED, and possibly treated with a variation of CHLORINE

THE FRIES: HFCS, not to mention the oil used in deep frying


Nearly every one of these products, especially HFCS have shown the potential for causing severe health risks in laboratory testing. 


Where to begin? Let’s start with corn seed. Over the past 20 years, corn has become a genetically modified and engineered crop. The largest producer of GE seed is the Monsanto Company with an estimated 90% market share. Genetically Engineered seeds are resistant to bugs and various crop diseases. While it is true that these advances in seed genetics have radically boosted harvest yields, it is the murky veil of secrecy and heavy handed tactics they use for corporate protection that are disturbing.

The non-profit Center for Food Safety listed 112 lawsuits by Monsanto against farmers for claims of seed patent violations.. The Center for Food Safety's analyst stated that many innocent farmers settle with Monsanto because they cannot afford a time consuming lawsuit. Monsanto is frequently described by farmers as "Gestapo" and "Mafia" both because of these lawsuits and because of the questionable means they use to collect evidence of patent infringement.

As of May 2008, Monsanto is currently engaged in a campaign to prohibit dairies, which do not inject their cows with artificial bovine growth hormone from advertising this fact on their milk cartons.

When the Federal Trade Commission did not side with Monsanto on this issue, the company started lobbying state lawmakers to implement a similar ban. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolfe attempted to prohibit dairies from using labels stating that their milk does not contain artificial bovine growth hormone, but public outcry led the Governor to step in and reverse his secretary's position, stating: "The public has a right to complete information about how the milk they buy is produced”. (SOURCE)

Monsanto has also been loathe to release the results of their ongoing lab studies on their products, saying only that both their seeds and the previously owned ARTIFICIAL BOVINE GROWTH HORMONE (rBGH) pose no risk in the food chain. However, independent research is beginning to show that genetically modified corn may be a leading cause of organ damage. (Huffington Post)

In closing, It is clear that an ear of corn has numerous nutritional as well as potential health benefits; that making chemical changes can be unhealthy; and that owning the monopoly on a product can lead to deceit and corruption.

Monsanto and the food giants should heed the warning made famous in a TV advertisement for one of

THEIR first corn by-products: “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”