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Today’s Chicken: A Sickening Situation

Today’s Chicken: A Sickening Situation | Animal Sciences | Scoop.it
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 317 people in 20 states had confirmed cases of Salmonella caused by chicken traced to a California processor.
Kendra Nance's insight:

Just a month ago the Centers for Disease Control found cases of Salmonella caused by Chickens in 20 states! About 317 people were affected and this case traced entirely back to a California processor. People are starting to wonder if we need to change how chickens are raised and housed in factory farming. In most factory farming they practice spreed breeding, and this has now caused many chickens to be weak and they struggle to stand. Many things like standing in their feces, stress, and this speed breeding is making them more susceptible to getting diseases, like Salmonella.

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"Extinct" Pinocchio lizard spotted again in Ecuador's cloud forests

"Extinct" Pinocchio lizard spotted again in Ecuador's cloud forests | Animal Sciences | Scoop.it
Thought to be exinct for at least 50 years, it turns out this unusual and beautiful lizard is still alive in a stretch of still-pristine cloud forest.
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Old Ways Help Iowa Farmer Beat Drought

Old Ways Help Iowa Farmer Beat Drought | Animal Sciences | Scoop.it
BOONE, Iowa — Unlike most of his Iowa neighbors, farmer Dick Thompson isn't expecting the US government to help him survive the drought.

While others depend upon federally subsidized cro.p insurance, Thompson relies on old-fashioned farming methods to see him through.

As drought scorches U.S. corn and soybean harvests, most American farmers protect themselves from major financial losses with federally subsidized crop insurance.

This year's insurance payouts are expected to top last year's $10.8 billion in damage from droughts and floods.

The federally backed program is the backbone of the farmer safety net Congress is considering as it debates the Farm Bill, an enormous five-year package of legislation encompassing agriculture and nutrition policy.

 

..Thompson, 80, says he will see none of it.

"I have never bought crop insurance since we started to farm," he says.

On his own

Thompson also foregoes many of the tools of modern agriculture. He uses few chemical fertilizers and weed killers. He doesn't grow genetically modified crops.

"I'm old-fashioned and I'm proud of it," he says.

And yet, Thompson says his farm is more profitable than his modern-farming neighbors.

That success has inspired researchers like Matt Liebman at Iowa State University to study how farmers can succeed with such a contrarian approach.

"The reason we're doing this is because of what he's doing," Liebman says. His research fields at Iowa State University mimic much of what you find on Thompson's farm.

Diversity

One explanation is crop diversity, something lacking on many Iowa farms today.

Corn and soybeans carpet the Iowa landscape.  Many farmers grow nothing else. And when those crops do poorly, as they will in this year's drought, payments from crop insurance keep farmers in business.

Instead of crop insurance, Thompson protects himself the old-fashioned way.  

While he grows corn and soybeans, he also raises hay and oats, along with cattle and hogs.  

His oat crop was harvested before the drought hit. His third crop of hay sits scattered in round, shoulder-high bales on what will be next year’s corn field.

"I think it's common sense," Thompson says. "You've got diversity and you've got some protection there. If one crop doesn't do well, maybe the other one will make up for the difference."

Losing ground

What Thompson calls common sense used to be common practice on Iowa farms. 

But the amount of land used to grow hay is half what it was two decades ago. Oats have fallen by nearly 95 percent.

Livestock disappeared, too. The number of farms with cows decreased by half between 1982 and 2007. The number with hogs fell by more than 80 percent.

Thompson says that is a mistake. "If I'd sell the cows, I would be like everybody else around me, corn and [soy] beans," he says.

The livestock difference

Thompson will not sell off his herds because his cows and hogs are good for more than income. They also provide the manure to fertilize the soil, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers.

And the manure helps the soil hold water, another form of insurance in a drought, according to Iowa State University researcher Rick Cruse.

"It really adds to the condition of that soil that does favor crop growth, particularly under stress conditions," Cruse says. "And that's the kind of conditions we're experiencing this year."

And they are conditions farmers everywhere are more likely to face in the future with climate change.

Triple win

Matt Liebman says his research shows that Thompson has lessons for everyone.

"Looking toward diversity, crop-livestock integration, the careful stewardship of the soil, making the best use of every drop of rain that falls, those are lessons that we should know here.  And they're even more important elsewhere," he says.

Thompson says it takes more work to farm this way than with chemicals and crop insurance, but he thinks it's worth it.

"I think it's a better way of taking care of the land and the environment and the pocketbook," he says. "You can have all three."

Thompson says the old-fashioned ways might still be the best.

 


Via Giri Kumar
Kendra Nance's insight:

      To summerize this up, this article was all about how doing things the old fashioned way still may be better. Dick Thompson is one guy who has old fashioned ways of farmer and succeds sometimes more than someone who has more modern technology. Also many of these ways keep his farm safe from many problems that could occur.

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Elephant attacks and kills zookeeper in Mo.

Elephant attacks and kills zookeeper in Mo. | Animal Sciences | Scoop.it
Veteran zookeeper John Bradford killed when he was charged by 41-year-old female elephant named Patience at the Dickinson Park Zoo

Via Ellen Diane
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Ellen Diane's curator insight, October 12, 2013 3:11 PM

experienced zookeepers getting maimed/killed as of late- why?

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Determining losses: Cattle become casualties of snowstorm - Dickinson Press

Determining losses: Cattle become casualties of snowstorm - Dickinson Press | Animal Sciences | Scoop.it
Determining losses: Cattle become casualties of snowstorm
Dickinson Press
Last week's massive snowstorm along the North Dakota-South Dakota border turned deadly for a large, yet still unknown number of cattle, according to an Adams County rancher.
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Genetically Modified Food Isn't As Scary As You Think - PolicyMic

Genetically Modified Food Isn't As Scary As You Think - PolicyMic | Animal Sciences | Scoop.it
PolicyMic Genetically Modified Food Isn't As Scary As You Think PolicyMic While Washington State has been in the news more for one of its initiatives which passed last year, another recent legislative battle has caught the attention of some of the...
Kendra Nance's insight:

        This article was all about the opinion on genetically modified food, or GMO. Modifying foods can create many positive things including growing more food and less pesticides to deal with. Many people though are worried about the health effects from these modified foods. A scientist named Gilles-Eric Séralini conducted an expirement with rats eating the geneticaly modifided corn. In conclustion, he found out that the rats who ate the modified corn had much higher levels of cancer and died earlier. So, he concluded that GMO have a possiblity to cause cancer. His information may not be too accurate though. One big fear about using GMOs is that they could completly put to extintion the non geneticaly modified organisms. Although many people are frightened about GMOs, there is really no need. There is no true evidence that GMOs can hurt us and the environment. There are actually a lot more true evidence towards positive affects of GMOs than negative.

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Almedin Cajlak's curator insight, November 5, 2013 1:27 PM

Wow! I didn't know about this one. After reading this article, I feel like unsafe because the farmers didn't do their job to protect their food crops. It is kinda scary because the rat thing will strike them that you can't see because they're tiny. Having modified food causing tumors which is really scary because I feel like they should do their job to see what happend to their food crops they grew on the farms.

Sydney Bolyard's curator insight, December 6, 2013 8:28 AM

-       In this particular article, there is a “see-saw” discussion, per say, as to whether or not GMOs are safe or not. As far as I am concerned, I was under the impression that genetically modified foods are processed and are questionable when it comes to consumption. It is mentioned in the article that an individual has gathered information that it is possible GMOs cause cancer. It is not said whether that is true or not, but anything is possible. I, myself, prefer organic produce because I know it has not undergone any ‘voodoo’ production.

Josh Nelson's curator insight, December 9, 2013 3:36 PM

Cassie Chriswell: 

This article is about people responce to GMO's and if they are good or not in there eyes.  GMO's  stand for genetically modified organisms.  When you modifie food that is bacially the job that the GMO's in food do.  It could harm animals and even humans if they have to much GMO stuff in it.. But at the same time it could save a person's life.  Bacially all they do it to help grow and reproduce in the food industry. it helps us (humans) by helping us grow crops!