Posts Tagged With: pork

Farmers, chefs, nutrition professionals unite for downtown restaurant crawl

Craig and Amy Good explain how they raise pigs to meet a unique niche market.

Craig and Amy Good explain how they raise pigs to meet a unique niche market.

CommonGround Kansas joined nutrition professionals, chefs and fellow farmers for a restaurant crawl in downtown Manhattan, Kan., on Wednesday, March 30.

The event preceded the Kansas Nutrition Council’s annual meeting, which gathers up to 150 Kansas professionals actively involved in nutrition education and health promotion. Their work takes place in colleges and universities, government agencies, cooperative extension, communications and public relations firms, the food industry, voluntary and service organizations and with other reliable places of nutrition and health education information.

About 65 participants visited three restaurants to sample a pairing of spirits and cuisine representing the Kansas farmers and ranchers who help produce it. Each group was escorted by Kansas farmers, including Michael and Christy Springer, who raise pork and row crops near Sycamore, Bob and Mary Mertz, who raise beef and row crops near Zeandale, and Jeff Grossenbacher, who raises row crops near Bern.

At Harry’s Restaurant, guests sampled wine and a prime strip loin with baguettes. They heard from executive chef Cadell Bynum, managing partner Evan Grier and farmers Glenn and Jennifer Brunkow, who raise crops and livestock near Westmoreland.

Tallgrass Taphouse featured pretzel breadsticks with a cheesy beer dipping sauce with a sample of a fruit-infused wheat beer. Brewmaster Brandon Gunn discussed the brewery’s history and rapid rise to success and wheat farmer Ken Wood shared how he raises wheat near Chapman.

At 4 Olives, guests enjoyed red wine with a savory Duroc pork belly over grits and heard from farmers Craig and Amy Good, who raised the meat near Olsburg. Chef Benjamin Scott discussed his restaurant’s relationship with the Goods and the inspiration behind the dish.

The groups reunited at the Tallgrass Taphouse Firkin Room for door prizes, beer flights and conversation to conclude the evening.

Funding Partners included the Kansas Pork Association, Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Wheat. Planning Partners included Midwest Dairy, Kansas Beef Council, Kansas Soybean Commission and CommonGround Kansas.

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Kids’ Reading List: Pigs & Pork in the Story of Agriculture

This little piggy went to the market,

Pigs & Pork Book

This little piggy stayed home,

This little piggy had roast beef,

This little piggy had none,

And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.

This little rhyme my mom used to tell me, and maybe you tell your kids too, was the first thing that came to mind when I began reading the tenth book in our Kid’s Reading List series, Pigs & Pork in the Story of Agriculture. Authors Susan Anderson and JuAnne Buggey talk about pigs and pork from the farm to the grocery store. This book for elementary and middle school students is filled with fun facts, photos and easy to read information.

Did you know each person in the U.S. consumes around 50 pounds of pork per year?  Find our more interesting facts with each turn of the page. Colorful charts, graphs and photographs help the reader understand pork’s role in the agricultural industry.

Thanks to Holly Spangler for compiling this list, which was featured in the March 2012 issue of Farm Futures magazine.

Check out the past selections in the reading list:

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What’s in a Label? The Question of Antibiotic Use

Each morning, we might take a multi-vitamin. Some of us take our prescriptions with breakfast. When our loved ones get sick, we encourage them to go to the doctor. We take care of ourselves and our families with prescribed medicines.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that U.S. farmers and ranchers must maintain good animal care. This means making sure animals are healthy; well nourished; comfortable; safe; able to express natural behaviors; and not experiencing pain, fear, or distress. Farmers and ranchers administer antibiotics to their animals out of concern for their wellbeing, just as we are concerned about the health of ourselves and our loved ones.

There are some very mixed messages about the food-choices we make. The latest Panera commercial may make us question the use of antibiotics and become concerned about the use of antibiotics in raising animals. It’s perfectly natural to questions where our food comes from and how it is raised. Here’s what you need to know:

The FDA does not allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strict safety limits.

You do not have to be concerned about antibiotics being present in the meat you eat. The Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety and Inspection Service require specific withdrawal times, which means a set number of dates that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply. Farmers and ranchers keep detailed records of antibiotic administration to make sure they are following these regulations. The FSIS also conducts random, scheduled testing of meat nationwide.

“The use of medicated feeds in food-producing animals is evaluated and regulated to prevent harmful effects on both animal and human health,” said Steven D. Vaughn, D.V.M., director of the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

No difference in taste has been proven.

Panera claims that there is “an issue of taste” association with antibiotic free meat. No research has proven this perspective to be true. If you decide to make the choice of antibiotic-free meat, make sure to check the label.

A study by Food Safety News found that many antibiotic-free labels are not verified by USDA. Learn the USDA requirements for food labels. Look for the USDA-verified symbol when shopping. Look out for unapproved labels: No Antibiotic Grown Promotants, Antibiotic-Free, No Antibiotic Residues.

The USDA states “no antibiotics added” may only be used on labels for products if the farmer provides documentation that proves the animals were raised without antibiotics.

We care about the health of our families and our animals, just like you!

We want our animals to be healthy and we want to feed our families with nutritious and safe food. Sadly, the media doesn’t share our story of deep commitment to providing excellent care for our animals. We are very proud of how we care for our animals and welcome the opportunities to talk with everyone about how keep our animals healthy and safe.

Have questions? Please ask!

How and what you eat is your choice and we respect that freedom. All viewpoints are welcome. You can submit questions via our website or contact one of our volunteers.

Farmers and ranchers, including CommonGround volunteers, want to talk to you about how we raise your food. We want everyone to be educated and feel confident in every food choice.

Categories: In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Farmers Care About Their Animals?

Cattle

Photo © CommonGround Kansas

Do farmers care about their animals? Absolutely, we do!

But Americans are getting a different story today with a post on Yahoo! titled “8 Cruelest Foods You Eat” from Prevention magazine. The article includes a sufficiently terrifying dose of buzzwords like factory farms, animal abuse, gestation crates and inhumane conditions. As consumers, it’s easy to get swept up in the wave of fear.

In our nation today, most folks are many generations removed from the farm. It’s perfectly natural to be concerned about where your food comes from and how it was raised. Here’s what we want you to know:

As farmers and ranchers, we absolutely agree that the treatment of our food matters.

You might be surprised to learn that we put our animals’ health and safety first. In fact, guests at our recent dinner at the Kansas State Fair were fascinated to hear how our ranching volunteers care for newborn beef calves, even bringing them inside their own homes to stay warm in the cold winter birthing months.

We watch over our livestock and ensure they are comfortable and content. We provide veterinary care when needed. We make sure they have all of the food, water and shelter they need. These animals are our livelihood, and they deserve to be treated with the utmost care and respect. As an example, volunteer Katie Sawyer talks about how they care for their beef cattle in this video.

Simply put, healthy animals are good for business. We are family farms, many of which have been handed down from generation to generation. We simply could not stay in business without providing excellent care for our livestock.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s nice that you take care of your animals, but what about all those undercover videos? You must be in the minority.”

Actually, quite the contrary. The overwhelming majority of farmers and ranchers practice great care and respect for their animals. As in any industry, there are isolated cases of the “bad apples” … but American agriculture is making great strides every day to help eliminate these outliers. They simply do not represent the industry as a whole, and we are as passionate as you are about creating positive change among these offenders.

Remember, in the media, sensationalism reigns.

Think about how reports of crime and car accidents all too often trump good news happening in our communities. As consumers, we only seem to hear about animal care when an undercover crew exposes mistreatment.

Guess what? Those stories upset us, too! We never want to animals to be mistreated.

Sadly, the media never shares the other side of the story — stories of how we go to great lengths to provide excellent care for our livestock. We’re very proud of the way we care for our animals and very comfortable in talking with folks off-the-farm about how we ensure our animals are healthy and safe.

Do your homework.

Instead of simply taking what you hear in the media at face value, we encourage you to seek out your own information from sources based on research and science, as well as asking the folks who actually raise food. In fact, in the most recent Yahoo! article, we can’t find any citations of even a single farmer being consulted. Perhaps that’s because the facts that truly represent the agriculture industry aren’t nearly as sensational.

If you have a question, just ask. We won’t tell you how to eat or what to eat, and all viewpoints are welcome. You can submit questions via our website or contact one of our volunteers.

Farmers across the nation, including volunteers in the CommonGround program, are eager to talk to consumers about how we raise your food. We want everyone to feel confident in their food choices. Most importantly, we want you to have all the information you need to make educated decisions about how you feed your family.

Categories: In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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