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Industrial Ag’s abusive livestock factory farms have just suffered a severe blow.
Federal Judge Gritzner ruled First Amendment provisions protect journalists and activists trying to document outrageous mistreatment of livestock. Similar Ag-Gag laws have already been overturned in Utah and Idaho.
Those of us honest family farmers who humanely raise livestock on our farms should not fear this march towards justice. Exposure of systematic criminal animal abuse on factory farms is long overview.
Consumers without an agenda will understand that the 10,000 year-old tradition of sound animal husbandry is being still being practiced today by the vast majority of family livestock farmers who treat their animals humanely and with respect.
While livestock is a minor activity on our farm, we do raise cows and pigs on pasture which is grown within our soil-building potato-based crop rotation. Our animals convert solar energy (grass) into protein we people can utilize. Also, their manure in turn helps maintain the fertility in our fields. Caleb, Jim & Megan

“A federal judge in Iowa says it’s no longer a crime to go undercover at factory farms, slaughterhouses and any other ag-related operations. The 2012 law was a clear violation of the First Amendment, the judge said…

“‘Ag-Gag laws are a pernicious attempt by animal exploitation industries to hide some of the worst forms of animal abuse in the United States,’ ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a statement. ‘Today’s victory makes it clear that the government cannot protect these industries at the expense of our constitutional rights.'”

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An unbridled invasion by huge out-of-state Ag interests in just a handful of years has created a looming water crisis for Mojave County, near Kingman, Arizona. The big question remains: “How do we manage precious water?” Jim

“Breakneck agricultural development by well-heeled out-of-staters has upended conservative orthodoxy in this parched rural county.

“‘We were the ‘Land of the Free’ for the longest time,’ state Rep. Regina Cobb (R) said recently at a Republican forum. ‘We wanted to be able to put wells where we wanted to. We didn’t want monitoring. We didn’t want metering. We didn’t want government coming in and telling us what to do.’

“‘Until,’ she told an audience where some wore ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, ‘we saw the number of wells that were being put into the ground.’

“Seven years ago, there was virtually no farming in Mohave County.

“That changed in a big way when a Las Vegas real estate developer, East Coast investors and California nut farmers were lured to the area by its nonexistent groundwater regulations. They snatched up thousands of acres and poked industrial wells more than 1,000 feet into the ground.

“Since 2011, they’ve drilled at least 163 wells, according to county officials.

“The development drove county officials into a panic. The county seat, Kingman, relies entirely on groundwater for its population of about 30,000.

“Based on historical use and modeling, the city thought it had hundreds of years’ worth of water in the Hualapai Valley Basin aquifers it relies upon.

“But the farms quadrupled the amount of water getting pulled out for agriculture, far exceeding recharge rates, according to U.S. Geological Survey estimates…

“In neighboring La Paz County, a Saudi Arabian dairy bought an existing nearly 10,000-acre farm and planted hay for export in 2014. In Cochise County, east of Tucson, private wells are pumping up sand…

“By size, Mohave County is one of the largest in the country, bigger than the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

“But in 1980, hardly anyone lived here, and it featured no agriculture, so it didn’t fall into the management areas protected by the law. That left it with almost no rules for managing groundwater…

“‘At some point, you have to say, ‘Who is going to lose in this?'” she said…

“‘Until we got a hold on our groundwater here in Arizona, it’s futile to think you can just take whatever you want and you’ll be fine,’ she said.”

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Maggie Doyne, now 23, who grew up in New Jersey, found her place at a young age in a valley in the Himalayan foothills. She devoted herself to bettering the lives of 200 school children, including 50 orphans.
Viewing this MUST WATCH video (5:17) may be the best five minutes you spend today. Maggie herself tells the tale on the ‘Daily Goalcast’ production. Jim

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First and foremost, an American Fall is not pre-destined. That we have historical knowledge about Rome’s mis-steps is an advantage Rome didn’t enjoy.
Interesting interview in ‘Vox’ is with Dr. Edward Watts, historian at UC San Diego and author of the new book “Mortal Republic.”
Is the real lesson, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it?” Jim

“‘The story of Rome’s fall is both complicated and relatively straightforward: The state became too big and chaotic; the influence of money and private interests corrupted public institutions; and social and economic inequalities became so large that citizens lost faith in the system altogether and gradually fell into the arms of tyrants and demagogues…

“‘But the representatives are making the choices — and people have noticed that that works fine until those representatives either stop making principled decisions or become paralyzed by the vicissitudes of popular opinion.

“‘Both of those things started to happen when Rome began to decline, and both of those things are happening in the US right now…

“‘They could’ve recognized what their system was designed to do, which was produce compromise and consensus. Ultimately, it’s better to make no decision than to make a bad decision. What the Romans failed to appreciate was that their processes were slow and deliberative for very good reasons: that’s how representative systems avoid disaster, how you get people to the table to work out compromises…

“‘But it’s up to Americans, just like it was up to voters in Rome, to defend our institutions and to punish people who are misusing the tools that are supposed to make it strong to instead undermine it. No one else will do it on their behalf.

“‘So I think it’s by no means a foregone conclusion. History doesn’t work that way. And there have been moments where the US looked to be in grave trouble and managed to bounce back. But we have to be really vigilant and defend the integrity of the republic, and defend the integrity of our system, and punish those who abuse our institutions and violate our norms.”

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This substantial ‘Medium’ article should qualify for landmark-status (a full read is estimated to be 229-minutes) and is chock-full of substantial insights gained from the vast experiences of pioneering women business leaders.
Each section begins with a description of their personal business trajectory then proceeds to their own nuggets of wisdom.
It’s easy to just read a few entries at a time for those of us who are too busy to read the entirety in a single session. Jim

Jennifer Schwab: ““1. Forgive yourself. I’ve worked in corporate America, the nonprofit sector and currently I’ve taken the entrepreneurial route of founding my own women’s mentorship company, Entity Mag. No matter where I worked one thing was for sure: mistakes happen. Failure at some point, at something, is inevitable. Whether it’s screwing up an account, making a poor hiring decision, or messing up on live TV you can’t be perfect all the time. This can be a tough pill for people to swallow and an important lesson I learned is you simply have to forgive yourself. Learn from your mistake and move on. Otherwise you’ll never get anything done!”

Briana Valdez: “The phrase ‘it’s not personal, it’s just business’ is a complete lie. Business is personal. It’s about people, and interaction, and empathy. It’s about individuals with specific desires and needs, which is a truth that applies to guests, to coworkers and to vendors alike. It’s our job as hospitality professionals to invest time in learning about those desires and needs, and to work to fulfill and, if possible, to anticipate them. This is the very core of good hospitality, and should be the cornerstone of any great business.”

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In a matter of just mere generations we’ve lost the ability for most everyone to see the same night-time-stars that hundreds of generations before of have experienced.
Now National Parks are being recognized for an additional grand attribute: refuges from light pollution.
This article also contains four USA maps detailing the recent historical advance of light pollution – excellent so Don’t Miss It!
Locally, the new ‘Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’ in Northern Maine is undergoing a jurying process which – assuming success – will establish it as a rare refuge allowing world class spectacular star viewing. Jim…/ne…/dark-skies-a-resource-to-protect/

“’We’re losing the stars,’ the 45-year-old astronomer told me. ‘Think about it this way: For 4.5 billion years, Earth has been a planet with a day and a night. Since the electric light bulb was invented, we’ve progressively lit up the night, and have gotten rid of it. Now 99 percent of the population lives under skies filled with light pollution.’

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The fact is Monsanto, Dow and BASF’s “Dicamba” herbicides are all fatally flawed and readily volatilize and disperse off-site which then causes unwanted trespass and severe harm or destruction to neighboring crops.
All too often GE soy farmers who use this deadly chemical feel justified in using Dicamba on their Dicamba-Resistant GE Soy and pooh-pooh the right of neighbors to be free of unwanted – and extremely costly – chemical trespass.
EPA has royally failed in its central role to “protect the environment” and in doing so has created ugly civil-war-like strife in rural America pitting neighbor against neighbor.
‘Civil Eats’ reports. Jim

“Dicamba was first registered in the U.S. in 1967. Known to be volatile, becoming vapor at high temperatures, it was typically only used to clear fields of weeds before planting in late fall or early winter—at times when it would do little damage to nearby plants and didn’t impact growing crops. The new formulations, introduced by Monsanto (now Bayer), Dupont, and BASF in 2016 and 2017, claimed to lower dicamba’s volatility, and therefore its drift potential, in warm spring and summer weather. But the herbicides have proved so problematic for neighboring farms that both Arkansas and Missouri placed temporary bans on them in 2017.

“Independent researchers were not allowed to test the products’ volatility before they were registered, and many are still struggling to get a clear picture of how it moves and under which conditions it volatilizes. Many pesticide experts shared a common a sense of dread when dicamba was first registered for use on soybeans and cotton—but the ensuing damage exceeded their fears. ‘Even the most pessimistic pesticide specialist was shocked by the amount of off-target movement and damage in 2017,’ says Andrew Thostenson, a pesticide specialist at North Dakota State University Extension Service in Fargo…

“But impacted neighbors throughout soybean and cotton country are, in a word, pissed. ‘I have never seen an issue that has divided agriculture, as a whole, like this issue has,’ says Jason Norsworthy, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas. North Dakota State’s Thostenson agrees. In fact, he says he was physically threatened on social media for expressing his views as a university pesticide specialist. ‘I couldn’t have imagined some of the things that have been done and said to me,’ says Thostenson. ‘It’s jarring. It’s scary,’ he says…

“While specialty crops like fruit and vegetables have no defense against pesticide drift, the risk of damage has motivated soybean farmers to adopt dicamba-resistant soybeans to avoid their own losses.”

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Right after Monsanto’s deadly ‘Roundup,’ Syngenta’s dangerous ‘Atrazine’ is America’s #2 herbicide.
If you need background on sick Syngenta, find it here in this MUST READ 2014 expose’ in ‘The New Yorker’ about Syngenta’s unforgiveable abuse of Atrazine-researcher, courageous Dr. Tyrone Hayes (…/2014/02/10/a-valuable-reputation).
Fraudulent water testing like this is nothing short of outrageous. Deadly toxins are deadly toxins.
It’s good to remember, in this era of unrestrained self-serving Industrial Ag corporations and dishonest public water utilities, that for MANY decades honest Organic Family Farmers have been growing organic corn – and EVERY other crop – without using a single drop of Atrazine or Roundup or Chlorpyrifos. Crops that have been grown organically mean NONE of those toxins will be in the environment or in your family’s water or diet.
Organic farmers have the know-how of successfully growing healthy crops without needing persistent synthetic chemical inputs. All we really need to transition American ag over to organic farming is the political will and the visionary leadership to get us there. Jim

“Seasonal spikes of atrazine – a weed killer that can disrupt hormones and harm developing fetuses – contaminate drinking water in corn-growing areas of the Midwest and beyond, according to an analysis of federal records by the Environmental Working Group.

“Environmental Protection Agency data show that in some Corn Belt communities, atrazine levels can spike three to seven times above the legal limit in late spring and early summer. But by avoiding water testing during peak periods, some water utilities stay in compliance with drinking water regulations – and don’t have to tell customers they were exposed to a hazardous chemical in their tap water.

“’Our investigation found that nearly 30 million Americans have atrazine in their tap water’…

“EWG’s investigation is the most comprehensive analysis to date of national data on the pervasive contamination of drinking water by this chemical. EWG found that last year, utilities in Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio had atrazine spikes much higher than the federal legal limit of three parts per billion, or ppb. The two highest spikes were reported in Evansville, Ill., at 22 ppb, and Piqua, Ohio, at 16 ppb…

“Atrazine is the second-most heavily used herbicide in the U.S., with more than 70 million pounds sprayed in 2016. It is used mostly to control weeds in cornfields, but it is also applied to sorghum, sugarcane and other crops.

“Studies show that atrazine and similar chemicals harm the reproductive system and disrupt the nerve and hormone systems, affecting the brain, behavior and hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and dopamine. Even short-term exposure to elevated levels of atrazine can pose health risks to expectant mothers and their babies, including an increase in the risk of preterm delivery and lower birth weight…

“The European Union banned atrazine in 2003 because of its potential to contaminate drinking water sources. In 2016, California state scientists listed atrazine, simazine and related chemicals as substances ‘known to cause reproductive toxicity.’ According to EWG’s Tap Water Database, which aggregates testing data from utilities nationwide, in 2015, atrazine was found in water systems serving nearly 30 million Americans in 27 states.”

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Seed supplies for the new Non-GMO ‘Caribou Russet’ – named after the nearby potato town in Aroostook County – will continue to be tight in the potato industry for the next couple of years as seed growers multiply up supplies.
We grew a good supply of Organic Maine Certified Seed Caribou Russet this year (…/certified-organic-seed-potatoes) and have been shipping them steadily to customers since September. We know we’ll sell out, it’s just a matter of when.
Caribou Russet’s new found fame is detailed in this article (…/caribou-russet-is-now-a-main…/…). Jim

“The Caribou Russet hit store shelves with limited supply in 2016. A year later, Hannaford stores began stocking the new variety in produce sections throughout Maine. This year, more Hannaford stores will carry the Caribou Russet, as well as Stop and Shop stores, making it widely available throughout New England.”