Knee-Deep in Pig Manure

Published on: 18:31PM Sep 15, 2014

We just learned about this new ag-related job description: sustainability consultant. What, pray tell, is that? Rebecca Thistlethwaite claims to be one, and along with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management and a M.S. in International Agricultural Development and Agroecology, she claims to "have a holistic understanding of the human and ecological dimensions of the food system." She gives "bootstrapping" seminars to aspiring new farmers – mostly telling them farming is not the idyllic, stress-free life they envision. She tries to prepare farmer wannabes for "standing knee-deep in pig manure."

Vaccine Wars

What the hell are they thinking? Nearly 10% of school-age children living in Hollywood, Calif., attendance areas are not being immunized against childhood diseases.

California law allows parents to file Personal Belief Exemptions (PBE) so they don't have to vaccinate kids before sending them to school, leaving some school's vaccination rates on a par with South Sudan. The result is exactly what you would expect – there's a near-epidemic of whooping cough, measles and other diseases in Southern California. The epicenter of this anti-vaxx stupidity is the affluent Westside – where kids attend exclusive, entertainment-industry-favored child care centers, preschools and kindergartens. One "alternative-friendly" doctor is fueling the anti-vaxx fire.

Cowboy College

More than 130 cowboys from 17 states attended Beef Today's first Cowboy College last week in Omaha. The two-day educational program was designed specifically for feedlot cattle crews – processing teams, cowboy doctors and others involved in the day-to-day care and welfare of beef feedlot animals.

Risk Ranch App

Cattle feeding is not for the faint of heart. The market is prone to volatile swings up and down, and many fortunes have been made and lost. If you need a cattle feeding fix, but don't want the financial risk, there's a new app just for you. The CME group and 4-H developed a game called Risk Ranch that you can download for free. The game is designed to help folks better understand agriculture by moving through the process of raising a cartoon steer for market.