Olthoff: I’ll take my supper with a side of the truth, hold the BS

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I know many people think that conventional farmers are anti-organic.  And some probably are.  But truly, I support organic agriculture. What I don’t support is the misleading advertising that goes with it.

I recently met a woman who owns an organic feed mill and asked her a few questions.  I probably should have just kept my mouth shut. After all, chances were good that she and I wouldn’t agree on some things.  But, I must have been feeling a little frisky, because I asked anyway.

“What are the benefits of organic feed?”

“Well, for one thing, if you have cancer, one of the first things the doctors will tell you to do is to detox, and that means avoiding pesticides, so then, obviously, you have to go organic.”

Um, really? Did she forget about this list of pesticides approved for organic production? After we clarified that she was talking about synthetic pesticides vs. natural pesticides, and that natural pesticides are not necessarily safer than synthetic, she moved on.

“Well, I want my antibiotics to work when I need them.”

This is another favorite of the media and organic crowd.  Yes, we use antibiotics on farms.  No, there is not a link between farm use and human antibiotic resistance.  We went on to discuss the details of our antibiotic use and she admitted that times had changed and farmers were no longer feeding antibiotics the same way they had in the past.

I encouraged her to focus on those changes and the ways that farmers are working to make things better for animals and humans, and celebrate that, and we agreed that organic is just another choice.  (And then she jokingly said she didn’t want everyone to go organic, because then she wouldn’t get the premium she gets for growing that way!)

While I appreciate the variety on the menu in the United States today, I’ll take mine with a side of the truth. And please hold the B.S.

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Illinois  |  August, 20, 2014 at 08:18 AM

Being an organic farmer I don't disagree with your blog, but are you sure about your link about farm use anitbiotics and human anitbiotic resistance.. Below is from the CDC. I think you ought to do a bit more homework. . Antibiotic Use in Agriculture “Resistant bacteria in food-producing animals are of particular concern because these animals serve as carriers.” Threats report Antibiotics are widely used in food-producing animals. The 2013 Threats report points out that according to data published by FDA, there are more kilograms of antibiotics sold in the United States for food-producing animals than for people.1,2 This use contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals.1

kansas  |  August, 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM

Same ole", same ole', and proving the point of this column are we, Maria? Twisted fear-mongering in service to your Mulit-Billion Dollar Organic Industry's Sales, and Idiotic, out-of-context comparisons are the best you can do? A "threat report" is not, and is not presented as(even by the politicized CDC & FDA) proof or evidence. As Mr. Olthoff stated, there are NO STUDIES - NONE, that have definitively proven a link between antibiotic resistant diseases in humans & animals and you didn't cite any here, either. And to the idiocy of your referencing the amount of antibiotics by weight… ANY FOOL knows that antibiotics are prescribed by WEIGHT, and livestock are far, far heavier than humans. And livestock outnumber humans by millions in the US alone, e.g. therapeutic use requires large volume - by weight. So, selling your over-priced, over-valued organic products as an alternative offering is fine. And if those with more money than brains are willing to pay for them, great. However, if you have to LIE, and LIE about Lying, to sell your Expensive Products, you are an unethical and immoral exploiter of the gullible, plain and simple. Anyone in the Mulit-Billion Dollar Organic Industry doing thus is just another sleazy huckster. (Thanks for demonstrating this, maria)

Florida  |  August, 21, 2014 at 07:01 AM


Minnesota  |  August, 22, 2014 at 08:27 AM

I live in farm country in Minnesota and I'm getting concerned with even the possibility of raising pesticide free apples and garden. I spent hours and hours covering my apple crop with maggot barriers this spring to be able to protect it from the bugs so I wouldn't have to spray it. The day before yesterday, I was driving down my road at the same time as an airplane was spraying (for the 4th day in a row mind you) and my windshield got a fine mist of the stuff. I used to have lots of bees, but this year I think I've only seen a dozen or so. Whether or not you believe in the organics, everyone has a right to grow crops the way they please on their own property. When the crap (pesticides, weed killers and yes, even pollen) crosses the property line, then it is a problem. You can laugh all you like at the crazy hippies growing stuff (as Michael has below), but when your farming interferes with theirs, they have every right to complain and even sue if it hurts their bottom line.

Florida  |  September, 12, 2014 at 11:27 AM

The best way to remove the mercury and other toxic heavy metals in pesticides, contaminated fish, seafood and dental amalgams is with the natural mineral detox called Zeolite which is proven to safely remove all heavy metals and radiation from the body. For more information so an online search for the single word Zeolite.


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