Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Pig Adventure" Breaks New Ground

Today I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure in Fair Oaks, Indiana.  The Pig Adventure will be a modern, 2500+ sow swine farm that will showcase the latest technology and production capabilities utilized by the pork industry.  More importantly though, the Pig Adventure will be open to the public.  Adults and school children will be able walk through the facility on an elevated platform to see how modern pigs are raised.  The farm will be coupled with a nearby education center that will seek to inform the public about modern swine raising.  To my knowledge, the Pig Adventure will be the first such facility in the nation, if not the world.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

EPA Drops CAFO Reporting Rule

In an about face, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dropped its proposed CAFO reporting rule. The rule was published last October and required CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) to report to the EPA the overall size of the farm and the total available manure application area. The reporting requirements were the result of a settlement agreement reached between the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Return of the Plow

In 1837, John Deere invented the steel moldboard plow.  In the years that followed, Midwestern and Great Plains' farmers plowed under prairie sod to plant corn, wheat, and other grains for humans and livestock consumption.  Prairie busting continued for years, gradually putting more and more grassland into grain production.  Not until the Great Depression and the coinciding Dust Bowl did use of the plow begin to diminish.  Use of herbicides, no-till and minimum till have further diminished the traditional moldboard plow's role in north american farming practices.

But I've read that in the last couple years the moldboard plow has returned to the Midwest--if not literally, at least figuratively.