Monday, August 25, 2014

Tommy the Tractor

Tommy the tractor lived on a farm in the state of Hoosier. He was a hardworking tractor with all the latest technology. Tommy played a very important role on the farm pulling all the important implements and helping to provide power to many of the machines on the farm. He took his work very seriously because he knew how much the farmer depended on him. He was up early and ready to go whenever the farmer came to get him.  He liked working in the field the best, pulling planters, cultivators, hay rakes, or whatever needed to be done. He liked to feel the fertile soil beneath his wheels and the farmer’s firm hand upon his controls.  But, one day, something happened that shock Tommy’s confidence and made him realize that not everyone valued him as much as the farmer did.

It was a pleasant spring morning. Tommy and the farmer were up early to begin to prepare one of the fields on the farm.  It was a field some distance from the shed where Tommy and the other farm equipment stayed, and Tommy was pulling a disc down the county road to get to the field. Tommy knew it was important to travel as fast as he could when on a road as to not tie up traffic from cars and trucks.  He knew that cars sometimes did not like being stuck behind him and his large load. They would sound their horns and sometimes race around him with very angry faces. When traveling on the road, Tommy always kept all his lights flashing and made sure his slow moving vehicle sticker was visible.

They were almost to the field when a car came up behind him.  The farmer had Tommy slide as far to one side of the road as he could and motioned the car to go around. It did not. Soon Tommy came to their field and turned in; the car followed.  Soon a second car pulled into the field; it was a police car. A woman got out of the car and began animatedly pointing at Tommy as the officer drove up.  The officer then walked over to the farmer and said he was going to give him a ticket. He said Tommy was causing a traffic hazard. The farmer got very red in the face, and Tommy felt very sad because he had never been given a ticket before. The farmer explained that Tommy was a tractor and had the right to move to and from the field on the roadway. The officer said that state law made special exemptions for harvesters and sprayers, but considered a tractor a vehicle and thus subject to traffic laws. Tommy was highly insulted; he was a working tractor not a common ordinary vehicle. 

After the officer and the woman who had called in the complaint had left, the farmer got on his cell phone and began calling other farmers. Several of them had also been given tickets for driving their tractors on the road. It turned out that, in the state of Hoosier, a tractor was described as a “motor vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement.” The farmer was told that, since the term vehicle was used, some law enforcement officers were applying vehicle regulations to tractors on the roads. Some farmers had even lost their licenses because of driving their tractors on the road. The farmer then used some words that Tommy had not heard before thus was unsure of their meaning. Throwing Tommy roughly into gear, the farmer began to work the field. Tommy was glad to be working and tried to forget what had just happened, but he was sad. From then on, he was very afraid each time he had to drive on the road.
At its annual policy meeting, Indiana Farm Bureau inserted a definition of a tractor into their policy book. In cooperation with the State Police, Farm Bureau intends to work for legislation to clarify the definition of a tractor as a “self-propelled implement of agriculture” and to provide protection for farmers operating equipment on the roads. It is hoped that this clarification will provide guidance for local law enforcement officers and traffic court judges.
By Gary Truitt

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

State Fair 4-H Livestock Champions

The Indiana State Fair named seven 4-H livestock exhibitors champion at tonight’s Grand Champion 4-H Drive in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.  The best of the best came together from different breeds, classes and weights to be in the running for champion.  Animals were judged in the following categories: breeding gilts, market barrows, market lambs, meat goat wethers, breeding heifers, beef steers and dairy steer.
Jaxon Parmley, 13, of Putnam County.
Jaxon Parmley, 13, of Putnam County.
Hardworking 4-H members from all over the state were represented on the Coliseum floor.  The first champion to be named was Jaxon Parmley, 13, of Putnam County.  He claimed the title of Grand Champion Breeding Gilt with his seven month old Duroc. “I was really excited to make it to the Grand Drive,” Parmley said.  “I was so anxious and nervous to be out there, but it was a lot of fun.” This wasn’t Parmley’s first appearance at the Grand Drive.  The five-year 4-H member participated in the competition last year with this Champion Duroc Gilt.
Here’s a complete listing of the exhibitors named Grand Champion with their animals:
  • Grand Champion Breeding Gilt: Jaxon Parmley, Putnam County
  • Grand Champion Breeding Heifer: Becca Chamberlin, Randolph County
  • Grand Champion Market Lamb: Alex Raute, Hamilton County
  • Grand Champion Dairy Steer: Jarred Templin, Kosciusko County
  • Grand Champion Beef Steer: Cole Wilcox, Lawrence County
  • Grand Champion Meat Goat Wether: Elizabeth Michel, Wabash County
  • Grand Champion Market Barrow: Abby Taylor, Wells County
Second place awards were given to:
  • Reserve Grand Champion Breeding Gilt: Tyler Schuerman, Jackson County
  • Reserve Grand Champion Breeding Heifer: Aubrun Harvey, Henry County
  • Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb: Eryn Schinbeckler, Whitley County
  • Reserve Grand Champion Beef Steer: Nathan Hayden, Jackson County
  • Reserve Grand Champion Meat Goat Wether: Sydney Mitchell, Boone County
  • Reserve Grand Champion Market Barrow: Luke Wechter, Noble County
The 4-Hers with the top six market lambs, market barrows, beef steers, top two meat goat wethers, and the champion dairy steer will be recognized and rewarded for their hard work again on Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Indiana State Fair Celebration of Champions in the Coliseum.  The event begins at 1p.m.      

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Beth Legan Tharp to be honored in D.C.

Tharp among 15 to be honored by White House and USDA

Friday, July 25, 2014

Beth Legan Tharp carries daughter Kate, 1, along a path on the family farm east of Greencastle earlier this week as representatives of the National Association of Conservation Districts visit the property to view conservation practices implemented on the farm.
(photo by ERIC BERNSEE)
A second-generation Putnam County farmer is one of 15 "Champions of Change" headed to Washington, D.C., Monday and Tuesday.
The White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will honor Beth Legan Tharp and 14 other young farmer Champions of Change, leaders from across the country who are doing extraordinary things to build the bridge to the next generation of farming and ranching.
The champions are leading in their industries and communities, the USDA said, inspiring others who want to find careers and a life on the land, and providing food, fiber, fuel and flora around the world.
The Champions of Change program, as announced by President Obama during his State of the Union address, was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
Tharp, along with her husband Nick and parents Mark and Phyllis Legan, owns and operates Legan Livestock and Grain, a commercial swine, corn and soybean farm east of Greencastle off State Road 240 (1498 S. CR 775 East, Coatesville).
She serves as chief financial officer of the Legan operation.
In listing her as one of the Champions of Change, the USDA noted that Tharp "lends her voice and experience to local community boards representing agriculture to connect her community with her passion for agriculture."
The White House program, which begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday, will feature USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden discussing efforts to ensure that beginning farmers and the growing ranks of agriculture -- women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees -- have access to the programs and support they need.
The event will include a discussion about how to continue growing and supporting the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers.
Besides Beth Legan Tharp, the other agricultural Champions of Change are:
Ryan and Tiffany Batalden,
Lamberton, Minn. -- Fifth-generation beginning farmers in Cottonwood County, Minn. Along with their three young children they grow certified organic corn, soybeans, oilseeds and small grains on 380 acres, raise a small number of livestock, and have a direct-market popcorn business called Patriot Pops.
Bill Bridgeforth, National Black Growers Council, Tanner, Ala. -- A fourth-generation farmer, he is employed by Darden Bridgeforth & Sons, which grows cotton, corn, wheat, soybeans and canola using a variety of cutting-edge agronomic techniques and land conservation practices. He is chairman of the National Black Growers Council, he advocates on behalf of Black farmers in the U.S. and abroad.
Jake Carter, American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, McDonough, Ga. -- He operates Southern Belle Farm, located 30 miles outside of Atlanta. It consists of U-Pick strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and peaches, as well as a fall corn maze and educational school tours. He was recently elected American Farm Bureau's Young Farmer and Rancher Committee chairman.
Kristin Fritz Kubiszak, MBG Marketing "The Blueberry People," Paw Paw, Mich. -- She is the retail manager for Brookside Farms, a fifth-generation family farm in southwest Michigan. After obtaining her bachelor's degree in social work, she returned home to her family farm that focuses on growing and packing blueberries for distribution through MBG's cooperative marketing network.
Lee Haynes, Nature's Best Egg Co., Cullman, Ala. -- An egg farmer from north Alabama, he returned to the farm after graduating from the University of Alabama and has held a key management role in his family farm ever since.
Melinda Litvinas and Jacob Hunt, University of Delaware Creamery and Windy Brow Farms, Newark, Del., and Newton, N.J. -- Melinda manages the UDairy Creamery at Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and leads student interns and employees through their hands-on experience at the Creamery. Hunt is managing partner at Windy Brow Farms and Cow's Brow Creamery. After receiving a degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Marketing from the University of Delaware, he returned home to expand his family's small business by opening his own creamery. Each year 30,000 people visit the farm.
Lindsey Lusher Shute, National Young Farmers Coalition, Clermont, N.Y. -- She is executive director of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). Led by young farmers, NYFC advocates for policy change, provides business services, and creates networking opportunities for new growers. She and her husband also own and manage Hearty Roots Community Farm, a diversified vegetable farm.
Adam McClung, vice president, Arkansas Cattlemen's Association, Vilonia, Ark. -- McClung was raised on a cow/calf operation in central Arkansas and received his bachelor's degree in Animal Science with emphasis on Business and Agriculture Economics. His wife works for Farm Credit of Western Arkansas. Together they run 7 Diamond 3 McClung Cattle Company near El Paso, Ark.
Fabiola Nizigiyimana, Worcester, Mass. -- Fabiola is a Burundian refugee farmer and a single mother of five who speaks five languages. In 2013, she was a founding member of the Immigrant Farmer Marketing Cooperative, a USDA-Rural Development project to assist socially disadvantaged farmers.
Quint Pottinger, owner of Affinity Farms, New Haven, Ky. -- Owner of Affinity Farms, a mixed row-crop and herb far, he pursued his education at the University of Kentucky, majoring in agriculture economics. Quint currently serves on the Kentucky Soybean Association board and has just started a year of service with the Corn Farmers Coalition.
Jesus Rodriguez, Washington State -- Born in Los Angeles, he is the son of Mexican and El Salvadoran immigrants. His family moved to Central Washington before he entered school to work in the tree fruit industry. Jesus will enter college this fall, pursuing a degree in horticulture, and hopes to be a field representative for a fruit warehouse or chemical company, and one day, own his own orchard.
Vena A-dae Romero, Cochiti Youth Experience, Cochiti Pueblo, N.M. -- Romero, who is Cochiti Puebloan and Kiowa Indian, is the granddaughter of a Pueblo farmer. She attended the University of Arkansas School of Law's Food and Agricultural Law Program, and now consults for First Nations Development Institute, a leading Native American nonprofit whose mission is to strengthen American Indian economies.
Pierre Sleiman, founder of Go Green Agriculture, Encinitas, Calif. -- CEO of Go Green Agriculture, an innovative company that grows produce inside climate-controlled greenhouses using hydroponics. He also sits on the board of directors of the San Diego County Farm Bureau and will graduate this year from the California Leadership Farm Bureau program.
Desiree Wineland, Cambridge, Neb. -- Born in Sweden, she became a U.S. citizen and served in the U.S. Army. Desiree and her family call Cambridge, Neb., home, where she raises grapes and operates a butcher shop.

Friday, July 11, 2014

HSUS going down.....................

Halfway Through 2014, HSUS is Reeling

We recently passed the halfway point of 2014. And what news so far this year regarding the Humane Society of the United States? Let’s review:
  • HouseofCardsFallingThe Oklahoma Attorney General announced that his office was opening an investigationinto HSUS’s fundraising, issuing a consumer alert along the way.
  • HSUS released its latest annual report, showing that its contributions were down $20 million in 2013.
  • The federal racketeering lawsuit naming HSUS and two of its employees came to an end after HSUS agreed to settle the case, paying up to $15.75 million in the process. Not only that, but we discovered (and the press later reported) that HSUS was denied insurance coverage for this litigation, something HSUS “failed to tell reporters” when announcing the settlement.
  • Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator, lowered HSUS’s rating after we exposed HSUS’s incorrect tax filings, in which HSUS had inflated its revenue. (HSUS also filed years’ worth of amended returns with the IRS.)
  • Then, Charity Navigator replaced its rating of HSUS entirely, issuing a “Donor Advisory” against HSUS, which indicates “extreme concern.”
  • HSUS tried to flex its fundraising muscle on Capitol Hill, and hardly anyone showed up. Then, Capitol Hill pub POLITICO wrote not one, but two embarrassing blurbs about HSUS in the following weeks, noting in one instance that HSUS was holding a lobby day while Congress was in recess.
  • Quadriga Art, one of HSUS’s top contractors—HSUS has given it over $30 million in the past few years—reached a $25 million settlement with the New York Attorney General after Quadriga was exposed for keeping most of the money it raised for a veterans charity. Sound like a familiar refrain?
  • We blew the lid off of HSUS’s Cayman Islands scheme—exposing the tens of millions of dollars that HSUS has socked away offshore instead of giving that money to pet shelters. (By the way, have you entered our contest?)
  • In statehouses, HSUS anti-farmer legislation has been stymied. Actually, it’s not just agriculture issues—we can hardly think of any HSUS bills that have passed.
All in all, it’s been a bad year so far for America’s self-described “most effective” animal rights group, and an especially trying time for HSUS CEO Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle.
When your opponent has taken a blow (or nine), it’s not the time to let up. It’s the time to stay on offense. We have a few things planned for the second half of 2014. Stay tuned.
Posted on 07/10/2014 at 5:57 pm by Humane Watch Team.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Organic Farming the untold story

The Biggest Myth About Organic Farming

The majority of Americans believe that organic foods are healthier than food grown using conventional methods. The majority of Americans are wrong. Two systematic reviews, one from Stanford University and the other by a team of researchers based out of the United Kingdom, turned up no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or lead to better health-related outcomes for consumers.
But the idea that organic foods are healthier isn't even the largest myth out there. That title belongs to the widely held belief that organic farming does not use pesticides. A 2010 poll found that 69% of consumers believe that to be true. Among those who regularly purchase organic food, the notion is even more prevalent. A survey from the Soil Association found that as many as 95% of organic consumers in the UK buy organic to "avoid pesticides."
In fact, organic farmers do use pesticides. The only difference is that they're "natural" instead of "synthetic." At face value, the labels make it sound like the products they describe are worlds apart, but they aren't. A pesticide, whether it's natural or not, is a chemical with the purpose of killing insects (or warding off animals, or destroying weeds, or mitigating any other kind of pest, as our watchful commenters have correctly pointed out). Sadly, however,"natural" pesticides aren't as effective, so organic farmers actually end up using more of them!*
Moreover, we actually know less about the effects of "natural" pesticides. Conventional "synthetic" pesticides are highly regulated and have been for some time. We know that any remaining pesticide residues on both conventional and organic produce aren't harmful to consumers. But, writes agricultural technologist Steve Savage, "we still have no real data about the most likely pesticide residues that occur on organic crops and we are unlikely to get any."
Scientists can examine pesticides before they are sprayed on fields, however. And what do these analyses show?
"Organic pesticides that are studied have been found to be as toxic as synthetic pesticides," Steven Novella, president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, recently wrote.
Organic foods are no safer than conventional foods. Even Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), recognizes this as fact. An “organic label does not promise a necessarily safer product," she once remarked (PDF).
So why are the misconceptions so pervasive? According to an in-depth report by Academics Review, a group founded by University of Illinois nutritional scientist Bruce M. Chassy and University of Melbourne food scientist David Tribe, the organic and natural-products industry -- which is worth an estimated $63 billion worldwide -- has engaged in a "pattern of research-informed and intentionally-deceptive marketing and advocacy related practices with the implied use and approval of the U.S. government endorsed USDA Organic Seal." Like their succulent fruits and scrumptious vegetables that we eat, the organic industry has given consumers a nibble of untruth and a taste of fear, and have allowed misunderstanding to sow and spread while they reap the benefits.
Commenting on the extensive report on his popular podcast, The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, Novella had some blunt words for the organic industry.
"People buy organic because they think it's better for the environment; it's not. It's safer; it's not. It tastes better; it doesn't. It's more nutritious; it isn't. And these are all misconceptions that have been deliberately promoted -- according to these authors -- by organic farmers and organic proponents despite the fact that scientific evidence doesn't support any of these claims."
(Image: AP)
*Section updated 6/6

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Succession Planning Seminar

IALF to offer estate, succession planning seminar

A seminar on estate and succession planning will be presented by the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation on July 17. The seminar will provide basic resources for families considering the future of their farm.
“Conversations about what happens to the farm after someone’s death can be uncomfortable,” said John Shoup, IALF director. “If families let that discomfort prevent the conversation from happening, it can end poorly for everyone. This is an opportunity to hear from two of the most highly regarded attorneys in the state that deal with these family-farm issues.”
The day-long event will feature sessions on why a succession plan is necessary for a farm, basics of estate planning, choosing a business structure, Medicare planning and insurance.
The seminar will end with a question-and-answer panel with three of the day’s presenters, which include attorneys Gary Chapman of Bose McKinney and Evans and Dan Gordon of Gordon and Associates, and Ken Roney of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. Ken Foster, Purdue Department of Agricultural Economics, is also on the agenda.
Early registration is available for $50 until June 16. If space is still available, the registration cost after June 16 will be $75. Space is limited for this event. Early sign-up is encouraged.
Future seminars on estate and succession planning are being designed; this seminar provides a foundation for those in the future.
Indiana Farm Bureau is a sponsor of the seminar, which will be held at the IFB home office in downtown Indianapolis. Registration and additional information is available on the IALF website,, or by calling Maria Spellman, 317-692-7840.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Winning Drink at the 500

Farmers get ready for milk hand-off

Two Indiana dairy farmers are preparing to be the most sought-after people at the Indianapolis 500. Ken Hoeing, a dairy farmer and Farm Bureau member from Rushville, and Alan Wright, a dairy farmer from Muncie, are this year’s Indy 500 Milkman and Rookie Milkman.
Hoeing lives and works on the dairy farm his grandparents established in 1947. He and four of his brothers take care of 400 dairy cows and raise crops on 3,000 acres. He and his wife, Denise, have two children, Kim and Chris.
Hoeing will hand the coveted Bottle of Milk (once chosen as the "Sports World's Coolest Prize") to the winning driver. Wright will hand a bottle of milk to the winning team owner and chief mechanic.
The 2014 race will mark the 59th consecutive year that milk has been presented to the winner of the Indy 500.