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Is this thing on?

I’ve got some things to say, and I need a forum of more than 140 characters. Almost a year, huh. I’ve had a lot to keep me busy, wheat, beans, cattle, pigs, chickens, and even prawns. Wife got another bronze for her Syrah at the Okie State Fair, and in big news we’ll soon be a bonded winery.

Anyways, watch this space.

This is pretty much how I roll.

Shockingly accurate.

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys No Longer Top Dog

From Reason TV, a look at how a tradition of rules and regulation is killing the French wine industry, while the more agile California continues to take market share.

Food Gov.

We’ve heard of Food Inc., (which I have a review of coming soon) well how about Food Gov? It turns out that the USDA has less stringent testing standards for the food sent to school lunch programs than do the private testing regimens of most fast food chains.

In the past three years, the government has provided the nation’s schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn’t meet the quality or safety standards of many fast-food restaurants, from Jack in the Box and other burger places to chicken chains such as KFC, a USA TODAY investigation found.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program “meets or exceeds standards in commercial products.”

That isn’t always the case. McDonald’s, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.

And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef.

“We simply are not giving our kids in schools the same level of quality and safety as you get when you go to many fast-food restaurants,” says J. Glenn Morris, professor of medicine and director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. “We are not using those same standards.”

Whole article here.

Sounds like the “fast food nation” is a bit safer than the nation’s children. So much for Eric Schlosser’s default view that more government is the best answer to combat food borne illnesses.

Yes, I’m Let Loose From The Noose

It’s been more than a month since I left for Virginia, since then I’ve toured Polyface, shook hands with Joel Salatin, and saw what sorts of agriculture are possible when you jump off the commodity rails and strike out in your own direction. But once I got home I found myself with a broken computer, a broken truck, and 1500 acres of wheat to be sown. So now after getting a shiny new netbook, a shiny old truck, and knuckling down on the wheat, I find myself with time to start blogging. It’s not that issues haven’t come up that pertained, but prying my fingers from the DVR remote has proven more difficult than one would think.

So now I spend my days maintaining cattle, raising up 50 Rhode Island Red layers, and getting to work on renovating the school house. I plan to blog about that quite a bit, so the posts may take a This Old House Feel. I also recently watched Food Inc., so I’ve got some thoughts about that, as well as pitfalls of fraudulent science, ie Climategate.

Mecca Here I Come

It’s cold and dreary here. The rain has held up the wheat sowing, but there’s still time to get it in. In fact being a bit late gives you an edge when it comes to avoiding pest problems, and the ever threatening April freeze. But that’s not my big news, the big news is that in one week I board a plane for Virgina, to attend a conference on grass fed finishing and marketing. I’m pretty stoked about it, because I’m going to get to tour Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm. I will be in the presence of the libertarian lone wolf of agriculture, and I can’t wait. Plus I haven’t flown in about ten years, so I’ll get to experience all of the wonderful things the TSA has to offer.