Tag Archives: Agriculture

WA Ecology Dept: Salad Oil as Dangerous as Crude Petroleum Oil

WA Ecology Dept. now fears salad oil as much as crude oil

The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) has found a new villain.

Tossed on your salad greens.

DOE doesn’t see vegetable oil as any less of a threat to the environment than crude petroleum oil.  And they are ready to act on their latest fears.

The agency proposed in mid-January that short-line railroads in Eastern Washington that haul animal fats and vegetable oils will have the same requirements as interstate crude oil carriers.

Railroads that haul vegetable oils already must follow rules set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But apparently the state didn’t trust the EPA to control all their imagined  hazards associated with transporting closed containers of  Saffola.

DOE has given no evidence that food oils have caused environmental damage, or are any conceivable threat that requires new regulations. Continue reading WA Ecology Dept: Salad Oil as Dangerous as Crude Petroleum Oil

The sad story of PMU mares and their foals–you can help them

“See, the foals — and the mares which can’t get pregnant any more — they are the byproduct of the PMU industry. … We crush ’em and recycle ’em, just like cans.”  —Canadian Slaughterhouse Buyer
Urine collection from a PMU mare
Urine collection from a PMU mare
More information at the HorseFund.org

The Mares

Premarin PMU mares are typically Belgian – Quarter Horses crosses.  PMU stands for “pregnant mare urine,” which is the only function these mares are allowed to have.  They are impregnated for the hormones that will be produced in their urine.

For most of their 11-month pregnancies, these horses are confined to stalls so small that they cannot turn around or take more than one step in any direction.

The animals must wear rubber urine-collection bags at all times, which causes chafing and lesions.

Once the foals are born, the horses are re-impregnated; this cycle continues for about 12 years.

How Premarin PMU mares live
How Premarin PMU mares live

Continue reading The sad story of PMU mares and their foals–you can help them

Dairy technology: happy cows, clean environment, and better milk

Better dairies through technology

Washington’s family dairy farmers are finding creative new ways to use technology to produce a higher quality milk at a lower cost.

That is particularly important now, with world dairy prices again sinking downward.

Our state’s dairy farmers also work to make the best use of dairy manure, while minimizing the farm’s impact on the environment.

Robotic milking

Austin Farm
Austin Farm, 320 Elma Gt Rd

Austin Dairy Farm near Oakville has been in the family for nearly 140 years.  They are located just west of the southwest corner of Thurston County, right off Highway 12 at 320 Elma Gate Road.

Austin Farm produces certified organic milk for Organic Valley.  They are proud to be a Washington Dairy Farmer’s “Dairy of Merit.”

In a move that would have astounded his grandparents, Jim Austin brought robotic milking to their farm, with the DeLaval automated milking machine.  The video below features the Austin family and their farm, and explains how this dairy technology works.

Besides saving Austin Farm a lot of money in the long run, the machine makes for happier cows, a superior product, and a more sanitary operation.

Continue reading Dairy technology: happy cows, clean environment, and better milk

Lapland’s Sami reindeer people–simple life, superfood diet

Simple life, superfood diet of Lapland’s Sami people

lapland mapLapland is a cultural region that spans the arctic areas of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the northwest tip of mainland Russia.

Traditional Laplanders are called the Sami people.  Many of them still live the way their ancestors did, herding reindeer that forage across the wide arctic expanse for lichens in the winter and green plants in the summer.

The Sami lifestyle is simple and peaceful.  The diet is rich in an array of superfoods.

The Sami people rely on reindeer for their very existence.  They eat reindeer meat, use the milk for cheese, and the skins for clothing, blankets, and shelter.  They create tools and decorations from the bones and antlers.

sami people

The Sami also use reindeer as pack and harness animals.  Even the Lapland police use reindeer!  In arctic weather, reindeer are more reliable than motorized vehicles or other animals.

lapland police

All reindeer are considered domesticated in Lapland.  Reindeer hunting is illegal.

In this two minute video, a young Sami reindeer herder explains the connection he feels to his reindeer:

Continue reading Lapland’s Sami reindeer people–simple life, superfood diet

Could space experiments help us have healthier food here on earth?

Fresh Veggies in Space

Go Veggie Team!  To infinity and beyond!

NASA has launched its own “Veggie Team.”  Their goal is to develop ways for astronauts to grow their own fresh greenhouse produce while staying at the International Space Station, and other future out of this world locations.red lettuce snip 2

Record breaking astronaut Scott Kelly who spent a year in space tweeted: “I missed the color green most during my year in space.  Great to see it again on earth!”scott kelley green in spaceIn the following video, NASA Commentator Brandi Dean talks with Dr. Gioia Massa, a Veggie project scientist, about the team’s space experiments, including a recent crop of zinnias. Continue reading Could space experiments help us have healthier food here on earth?