JoAnn Alumbaugh
JoAnn Alumbaugh

Getting Social for Ag: Create social media "crop circles"

Written by Katie Olthoff

My sons love "The Backyardigans." The characters play pretend in their backyard, imagining that they are someone else, somewhere else. In one episode, they pretend to be two Iowa farmers trying to convince the local reporters that their corn is newsworthy. “It’s growing quickly! It’s the best crop we’ve ever had!” they plead. They even have a song and dance about how special their corn is.

But they just cannot convince the news station that their corn is worth reporting on. Do you ever feel like that? Does it ever seem as though we have information to share about agriculture, but no one cares? Or no one will listen to us? The Backyardigans struggled to get the news team out to their farm. We struggle to get readers and followers to see our social media efforts.

How did The Backyardigans solve their problem? Crop circles. They “decorated” their field with a crop circle, and suddenly the news station was interested.

Read more here.


Food. Man. Chew. This thing called competition barbecue!

Written by Darren Warth

I used to be into hunting, fishing and golfing – those were our hobbies – until I got into the world of competition barbecue. I went to pick up my deer sausage at the locker one day and the bill was $1,200. I thought to myself, “Wow, I really should be able to do this myself,” so I began investigating. I learned about how to smoke sausage, what kind of smokers to use, etc. While doing that, I came across this thing called competition barbecue. I had no idea what it was but I found information about the American Royal Barbecue Contest in Kansas City. I told my wife that we should go down there – it sounded like fun – and we were just in heaven.

We’d been big tailgaters at Iowa State and this was a way to bring in “cooking in the backyard” with the tailgating atmosphere and the social network. With the competitive spirit that I’ve always had, we were instantly hooked. A few days after we got back from the American Royal, I called up and ordered our first custom-built smoker out of Houston, Texas.

Read more here.


Penning Pigs: To HSUS: Your members should be furious

Written by JoAnn Alumbaugh

This past Wednesday was a great day for pork producers, as a U.S. District Court judge threw out a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The lawsuit was in regard to the sale of the “Pork, The Other White Meat” trademark from the National Pork Producers Council to the National Pork Board. In its petition, HSUS lawyers accused the Pork Board and NPPC of “evading federal restrictions against the use of pork checkoff dollars for purposes of influencing legislation and government policy.”

It was interesting to read the words HSUS lawyers used in their petition, since in reality the verbiage applies more accurately to HSUS itself.

Read more here.


Legal Outlook: Will EPA rewrite Midwest runoff regs?

Written by Gary H. Baise

A U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana has ordered EPA to decide whether to regulate nitrogen and phosphorus runoff (nutrients) from farm fields using the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The court decision discusses grounds for motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. The decision is not an easy one to follow, but the result of the case is very clear.

The case is Gulf Restoration Network v. Lisa Jackson and EPA and was handed down on Sept. 20. The environmentalists' eventual goal is to set new nutrient standards for all the stream and river waters throughout the Mississippi River basin.

Read more here.


Cyclone Connection: Farm innovations improve worker, pig safety

Written by Allison Zabel

Farm innovation is often overshadowed by front-page news or controversies that animal activists have brought up. We often don’t hear about the interesting things that are up and coming for pork producers. Animal agriculturists do more than promote, defend, and raise our product. Innovation is what we look for in this ever changing world.

Needle-free injection technology has been in research and development for several years. Needle injection has been used to a great extent because of its low cost, but needle-free administration is becoming more prominent on farms because of pork quality assurance. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this product.

Advantages include: a decrease in bent/broken needles, consistency of vaccine delivery, decrease in vaccine amount, decrease in disease spread, and minimization of worker accidents. These are all great advantages to have on a farm, as owners and managers strive to have a safe and efficient workplace.