Cowboys and Indians and the Farm Bill
Mar 14, 2014
The latest farm bill has reopened some old wounds between Oklahoma’s Native Americans and politicians. The controversy surrounds a nearly 15-square mile tract of land carved out of an Indian reservation in 1883, which was 14 years after President Grant gave the same property to the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes. The Indians want the land back, but Section 7512 of the farm bill keeps the land under USDA control for another five years. The Grazinglands Research Laboratory operates on the full 6,700 acres now, and USDA is reluctant to abandon the site, especially if it’s just to be developed into another Indian casino. Other ventures, however, may be more lucrative to the Indian tribes. Major oil and gas drilling activities are in progress nearby.
Conservation is Not an "Aberration"
We’re quick to criticize folks who we believe have a distorted view of agriculture and who think we should just go back to farming with a team of mules. But we also think it’s important to recognize when one of modern agriculture’s critics makes an honest attempt to better understand just what he’s criticizing. That’s why we’re throwing out kudos to Grist’s Nathanael Johnson, who visited Iowa farmer David Ausberger and discovered conservation on the farm is not an "aberration." Johnson wrote, "Conservation, after all, means less waste: less soil flowing downstream, less petroleum burned, fewer costly pesticides sprayed. All that rhymes with profits." Whoa! Johnson acknowledged profits!
We know plenty of cowboys who believe one of life’s greatest pleasures is chasing down a prime T-bone with a glass of Kentucky bourbon. It’s our job to highlight the efforts of those cowboys who work hard to produce a better steak, but we’ve stumbled on this eighth-generation Kentucky distiller whose mission is to produce a better bourbon, and he thinks the ocean is the key. Trey Zoeller ages his Jefferson’s Bourbon in barrels floating on the sea. The exceptional color and flavor of this $200 per bottle bourbon comes from "rocking on the water" in the barrels. Zoeller has nearly 200 barrels traversing the globe, with official tasters monitoring the aging process and flavor at various ports along the journey. We’re investigating how one becomes an "official taster."
A Beef With Chipotle
Greg Peterson has a beef with Chipotle. Peterson, of the now famous Peterson Brother’s whose YouTube video "I’m Farming and I Grow It" went viral on the Internet a couple of years ago, takes Chipotle to task for misleading consumers. Specifically, Peterson says Chipotle’s commercial, "The Scarecrow" and their recent video series, "Farmed and Dangerous," get it all wrong. In a new post on The Peterson Farm Blog, he asks readers to keep an open mind when reading the post "because it will probably contradict a lot of different things you have heard about large agricultural operations."