CAFO subsidies no help for rural economies

Discharge from an Idaho CAFO...

Discharge from an Idaho CAFO…

Things are changing in the ‘heartland’ as industrial farming transforms the landscape; literally and figuratively. CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are gaining a stranglehold on farming across the US and it’s an issue we all should be concerned about – even if your food comes from the grocer’s freezer…

CAFO owners will frequently cite the benefits they bring to a community to offset the massive amounts of water they consume and bacteria-laden effluent they produce but the reality is quite different according to Bill Weida and John Ikerd:

As reported by the Associated Press, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., has earmarked a bundle of money — about $250,000 — to Premium Standard Farms on the dubious premise that concentrated animal feeding operations are a boost to the rural economy. PSF plans to use the money to find ways to reduce the amount of hog poop it produces via a dewatering procedure.

I examined the economic benefits issue and quickly learned that CAFOs harm the local economy rather than help it. What Kit “Earmarks” Bond has done is the reverse of what President Barack Obama’s stimulus package is supposed to accomplish.

Retired rural economists Bill Weida and John Ikerd have separately studied rural development, and both have concluded that CAFOs do more harm than good to the rural economy.

For indicators, they cite…

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What Factory Farms Are Doing to Fish

You might think this is a departure from my normal fare, but it’s all related to quality of life — especially if you live in a rural area like I do:

What to do with animal poop? It’s a question that plagues organic and factory farmers alike, and in areas with lots of factory farms (also called concentrated animal-feeding operations, or CAFOs), animal manure is accused of adding high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous to nearby waterways, robbing them of oxygen and killing the fish that call them home.

Animal-farm owners have attempted to solve the problem by selling all that manure off to farmers, who can apply the nutrient-rich manure from CAFOs to their fields as fertilizer. But in doing so, the farmers introduce another problem to the beleaguered streams, according to a new study in Environmental Science & Technology—that of too many hormones.

Full story at:  What Factory Farms Are Doing to Fish | Rodale News.

Our county only has about 20,000 people but thanks to the factory farms in our area, the county has a ‘poop equvalent’ of a city of 1.3 million people as cattle alone produce the effluent of 43 humans. There’s a double whammy for us here in Kewaunee County as a large part of our economy depends on sport fishing during the summer [we are the salmon and trout capital of the Great Lakes here in Algoma]. Concerned citizens need to ask if factory farms or CAFOs are killing a huge segment of the local economy [in addition to all the other damage they are doing] while lining their own pockets. Unconcerned citizens need to wake up!

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The Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else . . . NOT!

Tony Meindl shares some great insight here:

The grass is greener syndrome.

If you suffer from it, it’s yet another way of postponing your life. Putting the things you desire on the back burner. When we covet another person’s journey, we think if only we had what they had, our life would be more fun. Or more exciting. Or more magical.

Your life already is magical.

We’re just not awake to it, so it feels as if we’re moving around in a monochromatic haze while everyone else seems to be living in Technicolor.

That’s the illusion.

The truth is that your grass is very green. It’s lush and tropical and exotic and fertile and full of possibilities. But it requires you to fully embrace it. All of it. Even the stuff you don’t like, because actually, that’s the stuff that becomes the catalyst for change.

That stuff is your grass’s fertilizer. It’s the essential stuff needed for your growth and expansion. And it holds the potential to unlock the doors you’ve shut to the things you’re seeking:  your joy, your passion, your peace of mind, your self-acceptance.

We can never get to where we’d like to be except by starting in the place we’re currently residing – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. There’s no escaping you.

Wherever you are, there you are.

We can move to another city, or get another girlfriend or change jobs, but the common denominator in all these experiences is you.

So if you don’t like where you are, then change who you are. But don’t think that being somewhere else, or having a different lover or having a career like someone else is the answer.

The transformation occurs from the inside out. Not the outside in.

Start with your stuff. And watch how green your grass will grow.

Source: The Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else . . . NOT!

I’ve always heard that the grass is greener where you water it! Take care of your own lawn today…

Do You Need A Bad News Detox?

Terri Cole writes:

The onslaught of bad news in the media continues to fester. The climate of fear has reached epic proportions. We are inundated with bad news about our crumbling economy, the rising unemployment rate, executive greed, lack of affordable healthcare, etc. So the question is how can YOU stay positive and productive in a relentlessly negative climate and NOT drink the Armageddon Kool-Aid?

Well, as you may have guessed, I have a few ideas.” Get Terri’s ideas here: Do You Need A Bad News Detox?.

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Denouncing

“There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it takes some eyesight to see what will put it right again.” Will Rogers.

We come to this day with a choice of whether to be for something or against it. Shall we put energy into what we seek and admire or shall we give our energy to opposition and resistance of what we dislike? If someone asks a favor, we have a choice to resent and resist the intrusion or to engage with the person and see where it might lead. If a project we are working on is frustrating, we can wallow in criticizing it or try to get a clearer picture of what will work and what we want.

Criticizing may be a helpful first stage in learning, but it is seductive because it holds little risk and we feel safe doing it. In that comfort we forget to go forward to create what we really want. Our negative energy, when we are seduced by it, creates negative results. When we look back upon today, we will admire those choices that risked creating something positive.

Today, I will not give my energy to denouncing but to creating what I believe is worthwhile.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 30, 2012.

6 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Energy

Getting things done quickly and well requires mental and physical energy. The better more you have the better your results. This applies to all every area of life from getting in a good workout to performing your best at your job. Unfortunately, energy isn’t something we always possess. This is especially true when we’re under stress, haven’t gotten enough sleep, or are distracted by having too many things to get done.

In this article I provide 6 tips to increase energy. Some work immediately and others provide their benefit over time. I use all of them regularly myself. They’ve helped me get through 80 hour work weeks while running a start-up business without having to overstimulate myself with too much caffeine.” Get more here: 6 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Energy.

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…on 12 of life’s most important lessons

David Kanigan knocks it out of the part with this one…

“The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to behave better. Humility is underrated. We each have an infinite capacity for self-deception — countless unconscious ways we protect ourselves from pain, uncertainty, and responsibility — often at the expense of others and of ourselves. Endless introspection can turn into self-indulgence, but deepening self-awareness is essential to freeing ourselves from our reactive, habitual behaviors.” Go to the source for 11 more: Twelve of life’s most important lessons… – Lead.Learn.Live..

15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~ Native American Proverb via 15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Every Day « Positively Positive.

Follow the ‘via’ link above if you want the 15 ways. I’m not much of a tree hugger, but I am becoming more and more concerned about the environment especially a phenomenon that affects rural folks more directly than city folks, but it affects us all the same. The issue is CAFOs…

A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a term that was first coined by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to describe animal agricultural facilities that have a potential pollution profile. Specifically, the EPA defines a CAFO as an animal feeding operation (AFO) that (a) confines animals for more than 45 days during a growing season, (b) in an area that does not produce vegetation, and (c) meets certain size thresholds. The EPA’s definition of the term “captures key elements of the transformations” observed in the animal agriculture sector over the course of the 20th century: “a production process that concentrates large numbers of animals in relatively small and confined places, and that substitutes structures and equipment (for feeding, temperature controls, and manure management) for land and labor.”[1]

via Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Kewaunee County, Wisconsin is a paradise of sorts, but we have 17 CAFOs in our county. Although our population is only 20,000, CAFOs produce the effluent [manure] equivalent of a population of 1.3 million people. Futhermore, Wisconsin law does little to protect its citizens against these big operations. I’m celebrating Earth Day by learning more about CAFOs and their impact on my family and community…