Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 26 (March 11, 2013 - SPRING BREAK)

This week we are off of school for Spring Break.  Unfortunately my wife said I could not go to Florida for spring break with the rest of the college students.  What she actually said was you cannot go to Florida for spring break if I cann't go.

Fortunately I did not have to worry about sitting around and doing nothing for the week as our Sociology of Agriculture instructor was thoughtful enough to assign us two chapters from the text book with worksheet questions to answer, a video on the Hutterites and our sociological observation paper on our visit to the Fergus Falls Livestock Auction is also due the week we return from spring break.

On I also had an opportunity to attend a workshop on Raw Milk Production by Tim Wightman.  Mr. Wightman is the President and founding board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation.  This is a very controversial topic and I would suggest you go to the Weston A. Price Foundation website and their real milk website for additional information.  However, the workshop itself was about what it take to produce a safe unprocessed milk product.  In addition to a milk handling it also covered animal selection, feeding, pasture management, soil health.  Another important aspect was selection and education of consumers.  You want your consumer to understand the product and risks and what they need to do to both select the right farmer to partner with to provide them with unprocessed milk, as well as their responsibilities in handling their milk and providing sanitized containers for their milk.  In case you didn't know it is legal to sell raw milk (real milk) in Minnesota.  You just cannot advertise it for sale and the consumer has to come to the farm, provide their own container.  One thing to think about if you are considering drinking real milk is that when milk is pasteurized it kills all the good and bad organisms but you still drink them, they are just dead.  It might be better to buy the milk from a farmer who doesn't let the bad organisms get into the milk in the first place.  So in the case of real milk it is very important to know your farmer.  A good reference for the consumer thinking about buying real milk is "Safe Handling - Consumers' Guide - Preserving the Quality of Fresh, Unprocessed Whole Milk" by Peggy Beals, RN.
On Friday I went to the Lakes Cafe in Perham, MN for a workshop on "Cover Crops for Soul Health and Farm Profitability" featuring Paul Brown, Son of Gabe Brown.  Paul and his father own and operate Brown;s Ranch in Burleigh County North Dakota.  Brown's Ranch is a 5,300-acre integrated crop and cattle operation that focuses on soil health using diverse crop rotations, complex cover crop cocktail mixes, no-till & holistic grazing.  This workshop was sponsored by the Minnesota Dairy Iniative, NRCS, Sustainable Farming Assoication of Minnesota and the Sustainable Food Production Program at M-State Fergus Falls.

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