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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Category Archives: soapbox

As issues arise in livestock, grain, forage and equine industries, I compile the best information and send it our to local producers. If you are interested in receiving the update by email, please subscribe here:

I will continue to publish the Ag News blog. The updates contain additional weather information, calendar and more in-depth articles.



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On May 5, 1868, John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union Civil War veterans, issued General Orders No. 11 which called upon all members to observe a day or memorial to their fallen comrades. General Orders No. 11 reads:

“The 30th day of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind of fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic. If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us. Let us, then at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

Growing up in a family of veterans and now having a son serving in the Marine Corps I find Memorial Day is especially meaningful for my family. I extend a heartfelt “thank you” to the families who have lost sons and daughters in service to our county. I ask that everyone reflect upon the ultimate sacrifices made by those in service to our country.

Just one day out of the year to honor our loved ones, our ancestors, our friends who died in conflicts and wars — not to honor war, but those that died in those conflicts and wars.

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The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture reports USDA’s “Know Your Farmer” campaign, designed to educate the public about where their food comes from, has drawn the ire of U.S. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), for its heavy focus on “hobbyist and organic producers,” rather than major conventional farmers. It seems to me that these senators are dividing producers at a time when we all need to speak with one voice.

Organic producers have found a niche that the public is willing to pay a premium for- good for them. I see McCain’s lips moving but I wonde3r if the words are coming from the big chemical companies. I wonder if the Senators would be better off objecting to “seed police” who are changing the age-old system in agriculture of saving seed to plant in the upcoming year. But that would be biting the hand that feeds them!!

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will begin issuing press releases announcing the outcome of enforcement actions it has taken in response to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

“It is clear that certain repeat offenders are not taking issues of animal welfare and humane treatment seriously enough,” APHIS Administrator Cindy Smith said.  “In turn, APHIS will not only be moving more swiftly to take enforcement action, but we will be making information about those enforcement actions available to the public on our Web site.”

Beginning in June, APHIS will issue monthly press releases that include case summaries where the agency is charging people and businesses with violations of the AWA.  The press releases will also provide summary information about closed enforcement cases and penalties levied.
The agency previously issued press releases of this nature, but discontinued the practice in 2002.

I agree with one blooger who asks, “Pardon my ignorance, but what does APHIS have to do with humane handling? That’s the FSIS, is it not? APHIS has authority for enforcement? When did that happen? ” While protecting ensuring the himane treatment of animals is every producers resposibility, I wonder if this scramble to make headlines is driven by the need to make headlines or animal welfare.

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