Tag Archives: agriculture

The Beginning of a Slippery Slope: Vermont Will Become the First U.S. State to Require the Labeling of GMO Foods.

Well, folks. It’s all downhill from here. After proposed legislations upon proposed legislations, Vermont has become the first state to pass a bill that will require all genetically-modified (GMO) foods to be labeled accordingly. Vermont Governor Pat Shumlin signed the bill last week, and it will become effective July 1, 2016. Why is this a terrible idea? Because there is a lack of credible scientific evidence suggesting that GMOs are unsafe. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization all have determined that GMO foods are not unsafe for human consumption. In fact, there is NOT even one mainstream scientifically-accurate study showing that GMOs are unsafe. So then why we would we even put a label on them? Because there is a ridiculous, scientifically-inaccurate conspiracy going around that GMO foods are harmful. There’s also a plethora of junk research studies out there suggesting that GMOs are unsafe, and a few select bloggers, journalists and anti-GMO activists have taken those scientifically-inaccurate studies and ran with them. Consumers often say that they want GMO foods to be labeled so that they have the right to choose what they purchase and put into their bodies. They want to make sure that they are eating the healthiest foods possible.

However, slapping on a label that says “GMO” won’t help them become any healthier. GMO labels will simply CONFUSE consumers. They will begin to think that GMO foods are unsafe and won’t want to buy them. Imagine walking into a grocery store and having the option of two different yogurts, one that says “GMO” and one that says “GMO-free.” My bet is that about 95% of consumers are going to grab the yogurt that says “GMO-free.” And they will be paying more. FOR NO REASON AT ALL. The GMO-free product will consist of the exact same nutrition as the non-GMO product. 

Passing this bill in Vermont is the start of a very slippery slope. The passing of this bill will change how consumers view not only GMO foods, but also agriculture as a whole. The passing of this bill may inevitably change how we feed America. And the passing of this bill may change how we feed the world. It makes my heart hurt. New York State looks like it may jump on the GMO-labeling bandwagon soon, as it has recently advanced its own version, and similar bills have also been proposed in states like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida and Connecticut. What will the result of all this nonsense be? Food prices everywhere will increase and consumers will end up paying higher prices for foods that are of the same nutritional value as their GMO counterparts. Families on budgets will be ripped of their money, even though little Charlie will be eating the same foods as before.

I also can’t even begin to imagine how messy things would be if every state develops its own individual policy regarding the labeling of GMOs! That 50-state framework would be a disaster because consumers wouldn’t know what the heck to believe.

So why are we confusing America’s families? It’s time to put a stop to this. We need a federal standard to prevent all of this unnecessary GMO-labeling nonsense, before it is too late. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) recently introduced a bill, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014” that would create a federal standard for the voluntary labeling of GMO foods. It would also give the FDA the sole authority to require mandatory labeling if GMO products are ever found to be unsafe or materially different than non-GMO foods. The bill would protect consumers and eliminate confusion so that farmers can continue to feed us in a safe, economical and efficient manner. Pompeo and Butterfield, you rock.

And what about that notion that GMOs are brand new to society and we can’t possibly have enough information suggesting that they are safe? THIS IS FALSE.

GMOs are grown from seeds whose genes have been altered just enough to best withstand our changing society’s needs. We have been doing this since the dawn of time. Ever heard of Gregor Mendel? He was a famous geneticist born in 1822, who I’m sure you learned about in high school biology class. Mendel used a Punnett Square to create new types of pea plants that contained desirable traits. THIS WAS IN THE YEAR 1822. We have been genetically-modifying our foods since at least the 1800’s. The only thing that is different now is that we have years of science and technology to help us do it better. Currently, about 80% of the foods in the United States are produced from genetic engineering. No GMOs = No food. Simple as that.

For a more thorough background on the importance of GMOs to our environment, health and global food security, check out the post that I wrote a few months back: https://mollsymoo.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/i-eat-gmos/

But in short, here are why GMOs are awesome:

1.) We can grow foods that are resistant to weeds and bugs and can withstand awful weather conditions like droughts. Farmers can produce higher yields of safer, quality foods this way.

2.) We can produce foods that are of higher nutritional value like Golden Rice, a crop that is high in Vitamin A and helps children with Vitamin A deficiencies so that they can see.

3.) We can produce foods that stay fresher longer. Otherwise, those fruits you are eating from Florida may be brown by the time they get to your table.

The U.S. has a responsibility to help feed the world. We have the tools in our hands. Now let’s STOP being silly, STOP listening to the activists, the junk studies, and the uninformed bloggers and journalists. Let’s START becoming informed about where out food comes from. And let’s START accepting the fact that GMOs are safe and beneficial to our world’s food supply.

For more information on GMOs and to review scientific literature, check out this informative article by Jon Entine, head of the Genetic Literacy Project and senior fellow at the Center for Risk & Health Communication and STATS (Statistical Assessment Service) at George Mason University: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/10/14/2000-reasons-why-gmos-are-safe-to-eat-and-environmentally-sustainable/

MollsyMoo

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Farmland: Finally a Positive Movie about the Food Industry

Well, it’s about time the entertainment industry made a movie that presents the honest facts about where our food comes from! I am sick and tired of hearing about biased, negative productions like Food Inc. and Fed Up. Those movies do not provide us with an accurate representation of our food system, and it is not fair to leave consumers thinking that our food is being produced in inhumane manners, by people who do not care about us. Farmers DO care about us. They care about us more than anyone I know. It takes a ridiculously special person to be a farmer! And Farmland shows this. Farmland shows us REAL farming. It’s not a bunch of biased misconceptions that you see on television or read about in the news.

A documentary film created by Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll, Farmland presents the TRUTHS about farming. The good, the bad and even the ugly. Moll follows the lives of six young farmers and ranchers involved in diverse areas of agriculture, all under the age of 30.

Here are the featured farmers’ biographies, as from the Farmland website (www.farmlandfilm.com):

  • Leighton Cooley- A fourth generation poultry farmer, operates four farms in Georgia with his father. In addition to chickens, he also has a cow-calf operation and grows hay. Leighton and his wife have two sons.
  • Brad Bellah- A sixth generation cattle rancher, runs beef and cattle operations in Texas and Colorado, including a natural beef herd. The 26-year old husband and father of a twin son and daughter earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech University. 
  • David Loberg- A fifth generation corn and soybean farmer in Nebraska, runs the family farm with his mother. The farm also custom feeds 500 head of cows for a local dairy operation and runs and irrigation business. The 25-year old and his wife have an infant son.
  • Sutton Morgan- A fourth generation farmer from California, grows, packs and sells onions and potatoes, and also grows melons, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower,  lettuces, chard, kale and alfalfa. Sutton holds a degree in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Margaret Schlass- A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable farmers based in Pennsylvania, farms on 18 acres with her two farms. During her senior year at the University of Delaware, Margaret studied abroad in peru, worked the fields harvesting corn and yucca, which introduced her to farming.
  • Ryan Veldhuizen- A fourth generation farmer, is taking over the operation of his family’s hog farm in Minnesota with his brother and sister. The farm grows hogs, corn and soybeans, which they use for feed.

The story of the film is told entirely by the individual farmers and their families. There isn’t a narrator for even a single line of the film. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the debut private screening of Farmland last March at the Ronald Reagan Ampitheater in Washington, D.C. I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a good year, so naturally I was bouncing off the walls the entire time when I was invited to tag along with my coworkers. Some pretty awesome leaders in the agricultural community were present including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kysta Harden, U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance CEO Randy Krotz and American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

Vilsack kicked off the premier by sharing some celebratory words about the state of the United States food industry. He mentioned that food is less expensive in the United States than it is anywhere else in the world. That is really special! Americans everywhere are able to accomplish their dreams because farmers are out in the fields, working hard, each and every day to produce our food for us.

I can tell you firsthand that this movie is different than other farming movies you may have seen in the past. It is a factual, honest and heartwarming depiction of what farming is all about. It will make you laugh. And it will make you cry… In fact, I balled like a baby at least four times.

It shows their struggles- whether that be poor weather conditions, broken equipment, people that don’t believe in them, negative attention from consumers and the media, or deaths in the family. It also shows how much farming means to each and every one of them. Farmers are farmers because they love what they do. They love their land, they love their animals and they love supporting their country. Farmers are people just like us. They have families, and sometimes they even “shop at J. Crew” and “drink too many Coors lights,” according to Bellah. In fact, 97% of farmers are family farmers. However, when many people visualize farming, they think that there’s traditional farming with a few cows running around outside in the grass or they think of “factory farming,” but they don’t think of anything in between. Yes, farming does look very different than it did in the 1950’s. The number of farms is decreasing and the size of farms is increasing. But there are many legitimate reasons for this, as you will see in the film. Farms are more sustainable and efficient, and food is being sold at a more affordable rate than it was years ago. Farmers have tools- technologies developed by science- to help them provide for our country. Watch this film and you will begin to understand.

As a girl who grew up surrounded by farmers in Wisconsin, I learned firsthand where my food comes from. But I realize that not everyone has easy access to farms like I did. I was blessed. And I am now blessed enough to be pursuing a career within agriculture, a field that I believe is the most loving, supportive and rewarding, and also instills the strongest work ethic among those involved. Did you know that today’s society is an average of three generations removed from the farm? That means that one in three people probably hasn’t even stepped foot on a farm. They haven’t petted a cow. They haven’t smelled the fresh cut hay. They haven’t used a pitch fork. A few days ago, a woman told me that she grew up in New York City and didn’t realize that “miles of just corn fields” existed until she ventured on out to the Midwest for a summer school program. For those growing up on farms, the average number of young people going back to their farms is decreasing. And the recent U.S. Census results indicate that the average age of a farmer is 58 years, and this number is rising. What is going to happen to the future of our food industry? Who is going to feed us? We need more young people to get involved in agriculture.

Most people acquire the knowledge that they have about agriculture from the media, and unfortunately the media often inaccurately presents the industry in an extremely negative light. As a result, there is a tremendous disconnect between the farming community and consumers. Yet, consumers have a strong desire to know where their food comes from and how it is produced. And the best way to help people understand where their food actually comes from is by showing them! It has never been more important than it is now for farmers to share their story by letting the public into their lives and showing them what they do every single day to produce safe, abundant and affordable food for our families. Farmland is a great way for farmers to spark this conversation with consumers. As Veldhuizen says in the film, “We aren’t hiding anything. But want do you want to know?” Farmers want you to be engaged!

A few of the featured young farmers attended the D.C. film premier, and afterwards they participated in a panel to discuss the movie with the audience. It was really wonderful seeing the farmers in person and hearing them talk about their experience with the creation of the film, and more importantly their everyday lives on the farm. When asked why he agreed to be filmed for the movie, Cooley declared that he grew up on a farm and established a love for agriculture. Farming captivated him and he has always been very passionate about it. He mentioned that farms are under attack, and participating in the film was an opportunity for him to get rid of misconceptions about farming. He wanted to ensure Americans that their food is safe. Bellah had a great answer as well. He stated that he did an internship in Washington, D.C. during college, and while he was there he realized that many people are clueless about agriculture and have no idea where their food comes from. Everyone had questions for him and he was anxious to answer them. This film is Bellah’s opportunity to link consumers to producers. (Also, I would just like to point out that Bellah wore fabulous cowboy boots to the movie premier. Yes, I noticed them).

Moll learned a thing or two about farming as well. “For everything I learned, there are ten more things I could learn. I hope that it prompts dialogue, discussions and questions” about the food industry. When asked about how filming this movie affected his food-buying decisions, Moll replied that he grew up in Los Angeles and purchased or avoided foods based on what he saw on Facebook. He has much stronger confidence in where his food comes from now.

Farmland will be released in public theaters across the country on May 1st. That’s just a few days from now, folks. Check out http://www.farmlandfilm.com for more details and to watch the trailer! I highly recommend that each and every person who cares about where their food comes from watches this movie.

Or as Cooley said at the D.C. screening: “If you eat, then this movie is for you.”

Farmland is about farmers coming together, no matter what type of farm they operate, and helping consumers to gain confidence about where their food comes from.

A plus film, James Moll. A plus.

-MollsyMoo

Meeting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the Washington, D.C. screening of Farmland. Photo by John Harrington Photography.

Meeting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the Washington, D.C. screening of Farmland. Photo by John Harrington Photography.

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Chipotle: The Company with a False Sense of Integrity

INTEGRITY (Noun): “Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values” (Merriam-Webster). Chipotle Mexican Grill, a burgeoning chain restaurant founded in 1993 with 1500+ franchises across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany with a net income of $278 million, boasts their motto as “Food with Integrity.” To the average person, Chipotle may seem like it is an innovative, successful company that cares about their customers and more importantly, farmers and animals. Heck, I thought so too for a while. They are indeed, innovative. And they are indeed, successful. But I argue that they do not care about farmers and animals in the way that they want consumers to believe. Chipotle first and foremost cares about increasing their sales and they will do whatever it takes to do so, even if it means through deceiving their very own customers. I am going to share with you why I believe that Chipotle has a false sense of integrity, based on my current graduate school studies and knowledge of strategic communication and the marketing campaign process.

I used to like Chipotle, I really did. Just looking at their burritos made me salivate. But what’s more important to me than a measly burrito, is understanding the message that an organization or company uses to market their brand- their true motives, their true missions and their true values. Are the messages that they portray to the public consistent with their internal beliefs OR do they disguise their ulterior motives with deceptive imagery to give the public what they want to hear, as a tool for ultimately increasing sales? I have morals. I do NOT want to feel cheated or deceived, especially for some sad marketing excuse.

A few years ago, Chipotle began an anti-conventional farming campaign. They released two creative and emotional, yet scientifically-inaccurate YouTube videos entitled “Back to the Start” and “Scarecrow.” These videos contain powerful imagery of cartoon animals being raised in contrasting environments. I am not going to link to the videos or talk too much about them because I am going to focus more on their current Hulu video series, “Farmed and Dangerous.” Plus I see no need to increase Chipotle’s viewership.

But basically, Chipotle is not stupid. They are aware that the general public is generations-removed from farming and that many people lack an accurate understanding of what happens day-to-day on farms. Farming does not look the way that it used to many years ago; it is more efficient, sustainable, regulated and safer than it was when our grandparents and great-grandparents were farming. The land is different today. The climate is different today. We have better technology today including milking machines, solar panels, and manure management and nutrition systems. However, the public often is not able to understand this from first-hand experiences, so they are more susceptible to being influenced by the media. The media plays a huge role in telling the public what to think about. This is called agenda-setting. Throughout the past few years, the media has actively instilled in our minds that we should be wondering about where our food comes from (and we should care about where our food comes from…I wouldn’t have created this entire blog otherwise!). That gave Chipotle the opportunity to step in and take advantage of us. Chipotle uses political communication methods referred to as framing and scare tactics in their videos. These are actions in which a group or organization creates messages in biased manners to scare their custumers, thus manipulating the end result in their own favor. Chipotle simply uses the public’s lack of knowledge about agriculture to convince viewers that conventional farming is inhumane, unsustainable and unhealthy.

Chipotle recently released the newest aspect of their campaign, the first of a four-episode Hulu series entitled “Farmed and Dangerous.” This first episode is just over 20 minutes long, and it is absolutely, sensationally, horrendous. It focuses on a make-believe animal feed company named “Animoil.” The company creates pellets out of oil, which they then feed to dairy cows and other species. Obviously, that would be a terrible idea and no farmer would ever do that for at least five hundred thousand different reasons. The cows in the video blow up. POOF. And then the Animoil management team ceases to care. Chipotle, is this supposed to be humorous? Do you really think that it’s okay to joke about living creatures blowing up? How is that being a caring company with integrity? Ask America’s dairy farmers how they would feel about their cows blowing up. I don’t think you’ll get too many laughs out of them. The only thing that I find even mildly funny about it is the fact that Chipotle’s sales by members of the agricultural community will be significantly decreasing from this point forward.

Oh, and if you are interested in learning more about Animoil, be sure to check out their website. You can even apply for jobs there! WHAT?! Yes, Chipotle has created a fake website, with fake employees, for their fake company. Stay classy, Chipotle…

Another fun fact of the day: Chipotle claims to support family farms and buy from local sources when they can. That sounds great, right? Well, they are deceiving you. Chipotle is a 1500+ chain restaurant. I would love to be enlightened and learn how tiny farms would be able to produce enough food for Chipotle’s market demand. And here’s the real kicker- did you know that 97% of America’s farms are FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED? That’s right. Yet, these are the same family farms that Chipotle is knocking down with their campaign. They are attacking the very own farmers that produce their food. This just doesn’t make sense to me. I asked one of my graduate school professors about it, and he explained that Chipotle is employing the “theory of awesome.” They are aware that the general public has certain opinions on conventional agriculture, and since at this point in time television commercials are useless for social media sharing purposes, YouTube and Hulu videos are a way for their message to spread quickly. Their message really isn’t very compelling to the general public, but it IS memorable and most likely costs less than other campaign strategies. And apparently that’s where the “awesome” factor fits in…people watch it and they think “hey, that was kind of an awesome video.” And then Chipotle is stuck in their head, at least for a moment.

But this still doesn’t explain why a company would actively strive to cut down the farmers that produce their food. Honestly, I truly think that the only valid reason is because Chipotle knows that they can increase their sales through deception and influence public mindset to associate positive feelings with their products. It’s marketability. And in this case, it is ridiculously messed up.

I could sit here all day pin-pointing each individual thing that is wrong with Chipotle’s website and missions, but I am not going to do that. Instead, I am going to urge farmers to continue sharing their messages and family stories with consumers. How hard they work every day to produce healthy and safe food for us, while continuously loving their most prized possessions- their animals. And if you are not a farmer, I am going to urge you to check out your local farms and see if you can set up a visit with them so that you can learn more about what farmers do every day for you, even on holidays and weekends. Like I said before, 97% of all farms are family-owned and operated. Farms just look different today for a number of reasons. And we would love to show you those reasons. Most farmers are more than willing to invite people out to their farms to learn what they do. How many of you invite random strangers to your office at work? I don’t (although no one has ever really asked me…should I be offended?) Farmers are, in my opinion, the hardest-working, most intelligent, most caring people on this earth. And I know a lot of doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, researchers, etc. No one compares to farmers in my mind. In the mean time, check out Dairy Farming Today for some great information on how America’s dairy farmers take care of their cows and work hard to produce food for your family.

I used to love Chipotle’s burritos. But do you know what I love even more? America’s farmers. Which is why I simply cannot support Chipotle any longer aka I will be buying my burritos elsewhere or potentially starting my own brand called Molly’s Burritos (I’ll probably stick with the former idea unless someone firmly believes in my business capabilities and would like to invest in me, but I really do not recommend that for your sake). This may sound bizarre to some of you who are reading this because Chipotle is known for being “Food with Integrity.” However, a company that strives to convince its customers that America’s farmers, the very same people who are producing food for the Chipotle brand, are viscous and inhumane, is NOT a company that I will support. Taking advantage of the general public’s mistrust and lack of accurate understanding of the food system is unacceptable and the opposite of what integrity is all about. Instead, Chipotle should team up with their farmers to help share our positive message. Chipotle may have a creative and strategic marketing campaign, but they do NOT have integrity, no matter what they want us to believe. Let’s all take a stand for America’s hard-working farmers and thank them for providing our families with a safe, affordable and abundant food supply. Now THAT is INTEGRITY. So who’s with me?

XO MollsyMoo (Yes, that’s an “S” in there. MollyMoo was already taken, dangnabbit!)

Side note (do I always have a side note?): I am actually so fired up and frustrated about this campaign that I am devoting one of my graduate school semester research projects to studying Chipotle’s campaign strategy and the effects that scare tactics have on customer loyalty after viewing the videos. I propose that customers who are involved with conventional agriculture will have decreased loyalty to Chipotle after viewing the videos, whereas customers removed from conventional agriculture will not be significantly influenced).

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“Got Milk? Throw it Away:” NO THANK YOU! But I’ll Gladly Throw Away your Infographic

Throw milk away? No thank you! I enjoy staying healthy, and America’s dairy farmers have worked far too hard for me throw their precious girls’ milk into the trash. Plus, my favorite cows would be so mad at me if they knew that I was wasting their milk! Your recently re-circulated anti-milk infographic is inaccurate on so many levels, as it uses deception and false statistics in order to encourage families to stop consuming America’s most nutrient-dense food. I’m not sure why you would provide innocent families with misinformation- potentially for some sad marketing excuse? Moms everywhere are being misguided right now, and this infographic is simply an unethical tactic.

This infographic is not new to the Internet; It circulated back in October 2012 through LearnStuff.com, but apparently you didn’t learn the first time how inaccurate these claims are. And quite frankly, I would be rather embarrassed if I were you for posting something like this. As an animal scientist, I see very little validity to this infographic. As a dairy expert, I see very little validity to this infographic. As a runner, I see very little validity to this infographic. And as an avid (more like obsessive) milk drinker, I see VERY LITTLE VALIDITY to this infographic. Let’s talk about why, and I think that it’s important to go through it statistic by statistic…

Claim: The USDA tells American kids to drink 3 servings of milk a day.

For optimal health and nutrition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends American adults to consume at least 3 servings of dairy each day- this can be in the form of fluid milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream (okaaaaay, so this last one isn’t the most nutritionally-sound option, but it’s obviously my personal favorite dairy product so I felt the need to include it- plus there are great low-fat ice cream options), whatever floats your boat. The dairy section at your local grocery store is packed with many different delicious options to fit your family’s needs! For fluid milk, this contains whole milk fat, low-fat, fat-free, and flavored options (YUM STRAWBERRY MILK!). The current USDA nutritional guideline chart is called “MyPlate.” I have included a description of the experts’ suggested nutritional guidelines for healthy living. Also, here is a great article to answer your questions about MyPlate and dairy. Or, if you would like to read an official USDA document.

myplate

Photo by MyPlate.gov

Claim: Per capita: The US drinks 9 times more milk than China

Did you know that there is currently a growing market demand for dairy products in China? My brother lives in China. He told me that if I want to get rich I need to increase U.S. dairy exports to China because everyone WANTS them. Dairy products used to be more popular there, but high prices, poor refrigeration, and limited production capacities made it difficult for the Chinese to have a consistent dairy supply. However, China has come a long way in advancing their technologies including improved pasteurization capabilities, better transportation and refrigeration methods, better feeding systems and management practices on the farm, and stronger genetics among the cows. In fact, milk production doubled from 1996 to 2002, and I expect that it will continue to increase exponentially over the next few decades.

Claim: Average dairy consumption: 593 lbs per year; Average vegetable consumption: 428 lbs per year

MyPlate recommends Americans to consume 2.5 cups of vegetables/day and 3 cups of milk/day. So, yes, it makes sense that we have a slightly higher consumption of dairy/year than we do vegetables/year. But did you know that many Americans are not getting enough calcium?

Claim: …but drinking milk is not natural

Says who? We have been drinking milk since the beginning of time. It’s referenced in the Bible many times. If you don’t believe that the Bible is real, fine; we still have been drinking milk for hundreds of years! We also choose to roast pumpkin seeds, pick coconuts off of trees, and sometimes we (NOT me) even suck the juices out of lobster antennae. We are humans. We are intelligent beings. We are far more intelligent than you may even realize. And we have learned, over many years, how to improve our genes and subsequently pass those genes on to future generations. It’s called “survival of the fittest,” and quite frankly, we wouldn’t still be drinking cow’s milk today if it wasn’t beneficial to our offspring.

Claim: Consider this: 4% of adults have food allergies.

Well, this sure is a vague statement! My best friend is allergic to peanuts. I bet she also fits into this 4% food allergy category? Oh, and another friend is allergic to chocolate. She must fit into that category as well!  Some people are indeed lactose-intolerant, and many of your favorite dairy companies produce tasty low-lactose or lactose-free options just for you! Although it is important to mention that there are many misconceptions about what lactose intolerance really is.

Claim: Cow’s milk is also the number one cause of food allergies among infants and children

I’m sorry; why are we not feeding infants human breast milk or formula?! Of course, if you try to feed an infant ANYTHING other than human breast milk they may not react positively…their body is only used to human breast milk at this very young age. Just like baby calves can only be fed their mothers’ milk until they reach a certain age and their stomachs become more developed and ready to digest grasses. We need to wean them, just like we need to wean our children to any new foods. We can’t consume human breast milk or formula forever.

Unless we are talking about allergies in older children. In this case, realize that allergies in children can be outgrown. I was allergic to pollen and straw/hay/dust when I was a child. It was terrible! I couldn’t even go outside in the summer…and don’t even get me started about walking into the barn when straw was being thrown around! End point: I grew out of it. And now I can stuff my face with flowers, no problem.

Claim: And a whopping 33% of American adults are lactose intolerant

Many misconceptions are circulating about lactose intolerance, so I am going to help to clear those up. Lactose is the natural sugar in milk. Let me explain the difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergies. Intolerance means that after a person consumes dairy products with lactose amounts greater than his or her body is able to digest, sensitivity occurs. This is NOT an allergy, and low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products are available in many different brands and varieties for consumers with this need! Milk allergies are triggered by the immune system in reaction to milk protein. Also, can I please just point out the number of people who probably aren’t even mildly lactose intolerant but claim that they are? It’s for some reason a bizarre trend right now that I will never understand.

Claim: Lactose intolerant statistics

Some people DO have lactose intolerance. However, I personally find it low and racist that you use lactose intolerance statistics among ethnic groups to boost your anti-dairy agenda. I’m going to let the expert handle this one…Here are some words of wisdom from a pretty smart guy in the field: “Primary lactase deficiency is common. However, the incidence varies according to ethnicity and is related to the use of dairy products in the diet. In populations consuming a predominantly “dairy” diet, such as Northern Europeans, the incidence of primary lactase deficiency is low compared to that in Hispanic, Asian, or African American children. Even these children should be able to tolerate small amounts of milk or other dairy products, which is important for bone health and development” -Jatinder J.S. Bhatia, M.D., FAAP (Professor and Chief at Section of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics: Medical College of Georgia). If you have more questions about lactose intolerance, check out this article by the National Dairy Council.

You hear that? Everyone can digest dairy in small amounts. And we ALL need dairy to be healthy. Plus, don’t forget about low lactose and lactose free dairy options.

Claim: Only 13.1% of American adults don’t drink milk

Good! That means that 86.9% of American adults value the importance of drinking milk! I hope that more Americans will think about introducing milk back into their diets. I also hope that they will give their children the option of drinking milk. Did you know that the government has reported that only 5% of girls and 25% of boys ages 9-13 get the calcium that their body needs? Milk is the most important source of calcium in the food supply.

Claim: And cows get the raw end of the deal: In 1970 one cow produced 9,700 lbs of milk. Now one cow produces 19,000 lbs of milk/Average milk yields by year/How are cows producing more milk?

Well, let me see here. I can think of at least twenty different reasons off of the top of my head that explain why cows are producing more milk now than they did in the 1970’s, but I’m sure that no one wants to listen to me ramble all day long (If you do, please let me know and I will gladly personally do that for you. I really like to talk. Especially about dairy. Duh). So I’ll just give you a few reasons here:

#1: Cows are producing more milk today than they did in the 1950’s because animal scientists and universities have done extensive research on ways to improve everything that happens day-to-day on the farm. This is why farms may not look quite the same today as they did in the 1950’s when there were little red barns on top of hills. Which brings me to point #2….

#2: Farms have better resources and technologies today than they had in the 1950’s. One example is the milking machine! Milking machines allow farmers to milk their cows using technology, rather than using their hands. It would take all day long to milk cows by hand! And cows naturally need to be milked twice per day. Milking cows by hand would be really rough on their teats. To the ladies reading this: I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t like someone tugging on my teats all day long (there, I said it!) The milking machines are very gentle on the cows’ teats, and they also help to prevent disease or infection because they are cleaned before each cow comes in to be milked!

#3: Healthier Cows = Higher Milk Production. Farmers work very closely with their veterinarians to prevent and treat any sicknesses. Cows getting sick is a serious matter that farmers and veterinarians do not take lightly. In conventional dairy, when a cow sadly becomes sick, we NEED to treat her. We like happy cows. And happy cows produce lots of high-quality, wholesome milk.

#4: Better Diet = Higher Milk Production. Dairy farmers work with dairy nutritionists to formulate a specific diet for each cow group, to ensure that the girls are getting all of the nutrients that they need in order to stay healthy and happy. For example, a pregnant cow needs to be fed a different diet than a cow who is in her teenage years or a cow that is just trying to maintain her body weight for growth. Calves are fed even different diets! They are the special babies. Some farmers even put collars on their cows to help monitor what each individual cow is eating. This way, he or she will know right away if a specific cow needs additional nutrients. A healthy and happy cow is a cow that produces milk. I repeat, unhappy cows will NOT let down healthy or productive amounts of milk. It is in a farmer’s best interest to feed his or her cows the best feed possible!

The U.S. has significantly fewer dairy cows today than we had in the 1950’s, yet we have significantly higher milk production today. That is a huge accomplishment because we require less cows, which in turn means that we need less land to grow feed for the cows…whiiiiiiich means that the dairy industry is more sustainable and efficient than we were in the 1950’s. The entire agricultural community only contributes to TWO PERCENT of carbon emissions. If that’s not sustainability, then I don’t know what is! The dairy industry is doing wonderful things, and I cannot wait to see the progress that we will continue to make in the future!

Claim: Cows doped on growth hormones produce 10 more pounds of milk per year. And the growth hormones go into your milk too

First, studies have been confirmed since 1993 showing that milk from cows treated with supplemental hormone rbsT is no different from milk from cows not treated with rbST; either way, it is the same wholesome product that we have been enjoying for generations! The FDA, the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization Committe, American Medical Association, and regulatory agencies in 50 countries agree.

Let me make sure I get this right; You’re suggesting that one cow that has been given a growth hormone produces TEN more pounds of milk per year than she would have produced if she had not been given the growth hormone? Well, since one cow produces about an average of 75 pounds of milk/day, that means she will produce about 27,375 pounds of milk/year. And you’re saying that an additional TEN pounds of milk production for that entire year is horrendous? Interesting.

Here is a brief background on why dairy farmers sometimes give their cows growth hormones, such as rbST: Cows naturally produce rbST in their bodies, but sometimes their internal hormones act strange so we need to give them a little help by giving a recommended amount of rBST. We are not introducing anything foreign into the cows’ bodies. Think of it like women and menstruation; some women get really bad cramps and therefore the doctor prescribes a birth control medication or some sort of hormone-regulator to help make her hormone levels more normal so that the woman can be herself. rbST simply helps cows to reach their full potentials.

As far as hormones transferring into your milk is concerned- ALL milk NATURALLY contains small amounts of hormones. So do your vegetables. Studied have shown that cows treated with rbST produce milk within the normal range for SAFE consumption. I love this blog post comparing hormones in beef to popular vegetables. One pound of beef that was given the hormone estradiol contains 15 THOUSAND times LESS estradiol than is produced DAILY by an average women. That hormone is like a little grain of sand on the beach within your system. (Yes, I know my blog post is about dairy, but it’s a great visual that will hopefully help you understand the concept that giving hormones to animals does not make the final product unsafe).

However, if you are looking for rbST-free products, there are PLENTY of options available at your local supermarket. Dairy companies provide these options because of market demand, NOT because of health or safety issues.

Claim: This growth hormone contains IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) which humans already have

IGF-1 is a naturally-occurring growth hormone in humans. It is present in all milk, whether the cows were given rbST or not, and it is safe. If a human consumes IGF-1, it is completely digested within the body because the IGF-1 from the milk would represent less than 1% of the amount that is already present within the intestines. That’s 1/1000th of the amount that the body NATURALLY produces. That’s like a grain of sand on the beach, folks. Therefore, consuming small amounts of it does not affect human health! The American Cancer Society states that there have been no direct comparisons of IGF-1 levels in people who drink cow’s milk from cows that were given rbST.

Claim: Increased IGF-1 is linked to early puberty in girls

All milk has the same composition, whether it be organic, regular, or rbST-free. One of the contributing factors to early puberty onset in females is MALNUTRITION. Which is in large part a result of the LACK of consumption of dairy products. Other reasons include chronic infections and illnesses. Check out Global Dairy Innovation for more information!

Claim: And men with increased levels of IGF1: 4X more likely to get prostate cancer

Research has shown that there is NO conclusive association between milk consumption and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is often asscoiated with age, family history, and ethnicity.

Claim: Milk, it does a body harm.

NO. Just, no.

Claim: Milk has the same calorie load as soda.

Really? You’re comparing milk to soda. SODA, of all things? I find it rather depressing that I even have to spell out the differences between soda and milk. I would go grab a can of soda from my fridge to provide you with a firsthand observation but oh wait, I don’t drink soda. Just LOTS of milk…About 3-4 gallons/week to be exact. So, here is a chart from the USDA comparing the nutritional content of milk with soda. Sure, soda and milk may both have a relatively similar calorie count, but milk also contains NINE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS: potassium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-12, phosphorous, and calcium. Milk is the #1 food source of 3/4 of the nutrients that Americans are not getting enough of: calicum, vitamin D, and potassium. And did you know that legally, the only added ingredient to white milk is vitamins? Milk is truly the purest of all food sources.

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Photo via dairymoos.com

Claim: In a study of 20 countries, high milk consumption meant higher rates of Type 1 diabetes and heart disease.

Interesting. Because I can name plenty of studies showing that dairy foods consumed as a part of a HEALTHY diet aid in bone health, improve diet quality, and may also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, colon cancer and metabolic syndrome (conditions that can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes). Want to see a study that suggest high-fat dairy is associated with a LOWER risk of obesity? Here you go!! Oh, and here’s another one. That’s right, current research shows that a whole fat dairy diet is healthy!

Protein is an essential part of the human diet, and milk is an excellent source. Nutrition research shows that protein helps maintain muscle mass when aging or losing weight, as well as promotes satiety and exercise recovery (especially chocolate milk!)

Here is a great article, describing several studies that show the many benefits of milk!

Claim: One serving of 2% milk has the same saturated fat count as a serving of french fries.

If you don’t like milkfat, pick a low fat or fat free option! Milk is available in many different varieties and flavors to meet your family’s needs. I personally prefer 2% milkfat. Chocolate milk is the best (and tastiest!) milk to drink after exercise because it has the ideal carbohydrate to protein ratio for ultimate refueling and rehydrating of the muscles and body.

A recent study comparing results of the consumption of high protein or high soy protein breakfast drinks was performed on obese adults for 20 weeks. The adults who consumed the dairy breakfast drinks lost significantly more abdominal fat (total of 20% loss) than those who consumed the soy drinks. The researchers suggest that protein and calcium in milk played active roles in this weight loss among milk drinkers.

The key is that we should be eating overall HEALTHY diets. It’s okay to drink whole milk. It’s okay for your children to drink higher-fat content chocolate milk. Everything is about moderation and making sure that your overall diet is healthy. Because if you eat cheeseburgers and french fries every day with your milk, well that’s not an overall healthy diet. You should still be eating lots of yummy fruits and veggies along with your milk!

Claim: Women who upped lactose intake equal to one glass of milk per day: 13% more likely to get ovarian cancer

Current evidence does not support any association between milk consumption adn an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Factors likely contributing to ovarian cancer include: age, personal history of cancer, family history of cancer, and never being pregnant. The World Cancer Research Fund showed in a 2007 study that there was NO association between milk consumption and increased risk of ovarian cancer. If you would like examples of more studies, click here.

Claim: So the next time you have a bowl of cereal and your only option is cow’s milk, eat it dry. You’ll be doing your body a favor.

Like, I said before: No thank you! Milk is wholesome, nutritious, safe, and of course- delicious! I would never give up my healthiest food source. (In fact, I don’t think that I would survive if I was stranded on a desert island and there were no cows. Coconut milk just wouldn’t cut it for me). Milk is nature’s most PURE food source available, and it is also the most nutritious! It contains nine essential nutrients that your body needs in order to stay healthy. Milk is also available in diverse options to meet your family’s needs- whole milkfat, 2%, 1%, skim, as well as chocolate and strawberry flavors. If you are lactose-intolerant, have no fear! Many dairy farms provide milk for low lactose or lactose free products, to be easily digested by lactose-intolerant individuals.

I think it’s pretty obvious that this infographic is inaccurate. Milk is truly an exceptional gift from nature! We have been drinking it since the beginning of time, and I sincerely hope that you will continue drinking milk in your home; I know that dairy will be a very valuable aspect of my dinner table when I have a family someday. Milk is important for your health and well-being, and at a mere 25 cents per glass, you really can’t get any better than that! So let’s share the love, share the health, and share the MILK!

-MollsyMoo

PS THE FARM BILL PASSED LAST WEEK!!!! (See below post to understand why I am so excited)

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Why EVERY American Should Care About The Farm Bill

First, I would like to apologize for my lack of blogging lately. I recently moved to Washington, D.C. to begin graduate school and I have been very busy finding internships and trying not to get lost on the Metro (I’ve been successful with both, thus far. Cross your fingers on the latter though). I am thrilled to be in a city with so much passion for policy and leadership! I plan to support America’s hard-working farmers while educating the public about agriculture. Which brings me to the point of this blog post- THE FARM BILL.

You have probably heard the phrase “farm bill” mentioned at least a few times throughout your lifetime, most prevalently within these last few months. But do you know what it is, and honestly- do you really care? I’m hoping that this post will provide you with some insight into agriculture and why the farm bill is important for EVERY American, whether he or she be a cattle farmer in South Dakota, an organic-loving vegan living in a NYC high-rise, a cheese-enthusiast (like me), an avid hiker, an individual living in a small town, a university researcher, a hobby gardener, or a low-income single parent needing to provide for his or her children.

So what exactly is this infamous “farm bill?” The “Agriculture, Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013,” more commonly known as the farm bill, is legislative policy that covers anything and everything related to agriculture and rural America. Yes, pretty much ALL of agriculture and rural America. It includes laws and policies related to supporting our country through nutrition programs, forestry, conservation, crop insurance, environmentalism and sustainability practices, international trade, and research. The bill is passed once every five years or so, and the previous bill expired on September 30th, 2013. This means that farmers have been without any long-term support for the past few months. Congress and support groups are currently working hard to establish an agreement so that the bill can be passed.

With a growing global population expected to reach approximately 9.6 billion by the year 2050 (according to the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs), we will inevitably have a lot of mouths to feed! This means that farmers and ranchers will be increasingly essential to our health and well-being in the years to come. The farm bill ensures that we have the ability to feed our country in a safe, sustainable, and economical manner. Everyone benefits from the farm bill.

The entire farm bill represents about only 2% of federal funding. Although according to the Congressional Budget Office, the farm bill‘s cost will be $969 billion over 10 years, the vast majority of this budget (~80%) will go towards the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps, or SNAP). This program has been one of the impasses in passing the bill; Democrats wanted to increase the amount of funding for SNAP, while Republicans strived for a decrease. SNAP affects many low-income and struggling families who need to provide their children with healthy, safe meals.

You might be thinking: “But I don’t need to use food stamps. How does the farm bill affect ME?” The rest of the bill, or approximately 20% supports America’s farmers, ranchers, and CONSUMERS through various commodity programs. Let’s break the farm bill down by some of the areas that it covers…

Commodities and Natural Disaster Relief: This provides insurance, or a safety net, for farmers that grow things that we find in our everyday food and clothing staples like sugar, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, dairy, and cotton. As we all know, the weather is out of our control. When Hurricane Sandy happened, farmers all over the northeast were affected. This past fall, South Dakota cattle farmers were devastated as tens of thousands of cattle were killed because of a severe blizzard and extreme freezing temperatures. As a result, meat prices rose, which in turn affected CONSUMERS when they bought their meat at the grocery store or farmers’ markets. A farm bill would provide farmers and ranchers with insurance and support- whether it be for crops, cattle, etc.- in the cases when Mother Nature decides to be unforgiving. As a Wisconsinite who is literally obsessed with dairy, I personally do not want to see milk prices skyrocket to ~$6-8/gallon (which is what may happen if a farm bill is not passed.) I drink 3-4 gallons of milk per week, and as a graduate student I cannot afford to pay $32 every week for milk! I vote for stable food prices.

Conservation: The farm bill encourages sustainable farming practices that preserve our water, land, air, and soil. I plan to have children. And grandchildren. And I hope to be alive someday to meet my great-grandchildren. And maybe even my great-great grandchildren. I do NOT want them to live in a polluted and destructed world; I want for them to experience the world’s beauty. Therefore, I feel that the conservation portion of the farm is bill is a necessary tool for a healthy future generation.

Rural Development: This aspect of the farm bill provides communities with technological, business, and infrastructure improvements so that we can build our rural communities. As a result, this increases economic growth in rural America and opens up new job opportunities in diverse subject areas. Amen for job-creation.

Research:  A lot more happens at universities than students simply going to class. Research is also performed at many universities, and a portion of this research is focused on improving the agricultural and food industries. Cornell, Penn State, UW-Madison, Ohio State, and Minnesota are just a few of the top research universities that aid in discovering better food safety, conservation, nutrition, pest management, and sustainability methods. With funding for high-quality research, we are able to help our farmers to become more sustainable, efficient, and productive! Producing more, using fewer resources, is key for a sustainable future.

Farm Credit: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, less than 1% of the U.S. population claims to be farmers and the average age of farmers is rising, with about 60% of farmers in the U.S. being 55 years or older. Within the next few decades, most of our current farmers will be either too old to farm productively or have passed away. It is increasingly essential that young people continue to take over their family farms, as well as agricultural education be taught to young people to spark interest in careers within agriculture. Farm credit programs provide direct and guaranteed loans to farmers, which helps beginning farmers and ranchers to begin their new careers in feeding America’s families.

Forestry/Recreation: I am a runner…Therefore, I like to stay hydrated by drinking ridiculous amounts of water throughout the day. I am blessed that we have the fortune of clean drinking water in the U.S. I enjoy running on trails as well as going for long, beautiful hikes. Nothing beats an afternoon walking through a national or state park, with the smells and sounds of wilderness surrounding me. And everyone who knows me also knows that I am an animal-lover. The farm bill will help provide support for all of these things- including ensuring that we have clean drinking water, national parks, wildlife habitats, as well as access to camping, hunting/conservation, and other recreational activities.

Agricultural Trade and Food Aid: Exporting agricultural products creates one million jobs in the U.S.!!!!! The U.S. also participates in humanitarianism efforts in developing countries by providing aid in times of agricultural crises.

Now that I’ve explained some of the major ways that the farm bill improves not only the food industry, but also society as a whole, I hope that you can see how significant it is. The farm bill truly impacts EVERY American, no matter what he or she does for a living, no matter how old he or she is, and no matter what type of foods he or she eats. As the House Committee on Agriculture Chairman, Frank Lucas, said: “The work of the Agriculture Committee, including reauthorizing the Farm Bill, affects every American; ensuring that our farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to produce an abundant and affordable food and fiber supply is as important to our country as national defense.” The world’s population is expanding, and it is our country’s duty to provide our people with a safe and consistent food supply. So next time you go to your local grocery store or farmers market, think about not only the hard work that farmers must engage in to provide us with our food, but also think about the legislative policies that we need in order to enjoy life as we know it for many years to come.

Until next time (when I pray to God that the farm bill will be passed),

-MollsyMoo

Ps- (I can use that terminology on a blog, right?!) If you are a numbers nerd like me, you may find this report by the USDA on the economic importance of passing a farm bill interesting: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2013/11/0223.xml

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I Eat GMOs.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They’re everywhere. Your papaya. Your “all-natural foods.” Your corn-on-the-cob. The feed that the cows whose milk you drink were fed. And they are NOT harming us. In fact, they are providing our country with a more efficient, sustainable method of feeding our people.

So what exactly are GMOs? GMOs are organisms whose genetic material has been modified or altered through genetic engineering techniques. In simple terms, we are able to take an organism and change its genetic code just enough so that the organism is more suitable for our changing society’s needs. GMOs are often used in research with an example being introducing a fluorescent gene of a jellyfish into a mammal, which can help us discover valuable traits about human diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease. But they are also used in agriculture. And that is the primary purpose of this blog post.

SUSTAINABILITY. Find a photo of a farm out in the country in the 1950’s. Now compare it to a picture of that same spot in 2013. Chances are that the land will look quite different. Or it may not look different at all, depending where the picture was taken. But my point is that the world is changing due to an increasingly growing population, development in rural areas, advancements in technologies, and the ability to conduct superior scientific research. With changing climates, less open land for farming, and poorer quality soil, insects and pests have become a predominant issue when it comes to growing crops in fields. Scientists and farmers began to use advancements in technology to create seeds that are resistant to pests/insects/weeds as well as seeds that can survive in more harsh conditions such as droughts. This means that by producing crops from GMO seeds, we are able to reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides that we need to spray on our crops, which results in less chemical runoff into the waterways. Reports by the Council for Agricultural Technology also indicate that GMO crops have decreased soil erosion, preserved top soil, and provided reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, we are HELPING our environment to become a more sustainable place by using GMOs.

GMOs also help farmers to grow a greater amount of healthy crops so that our families can be fed. Now, I am not a farmer. I will NEVER pretend that I am a farmer or take credit for being a farmer. I do not have to milk cows at 4:00 A.M. or be out in the fields all day, and I can only imagine the amount of time and prayers for good weather that it takes to grow crops. GMOs help famers to grow more crops with their limited amount of time and land, all for the purpose of ultimately feeding us.

HEALTH. Another awesome advantage of GMO crops is that we can produce crops that have higher nutrient profiles, such as foods that are higher in Vitamin A. GOLDEN RICE. Better eyesight? Uhm, yes please.

QUALITY. According to the USDA, GMOs allows us to produce fruits and vegetables that are better tasting and that stay fresh longer. In a country that must rely on long transportation times to deliver foods from areas like California to New York, a product that has a longer shelf life is undoubtedly ideal.

SAFETY. Are GMOs safe? The primary reason that the public is concerned about consuming GMOs is because of safety. Putting substances into our bodies that have been changed using technology just seems questionable for many people. And in this media-indulged society, I can understand the desire to question it. Heck, I question a lot of what I hear in life. That is why I recommend that everyone researches both sides of an issue before making an educated decision, and I am going to recommend that you do that for GMOs as well. Just make sure to understand where the information is coming from and whether or not that person or organization they belong to is biased. Much of the information that the media shares about GMOs is extremely biased and false. But unfortunately that’s politics, folks.

Back to GMOs… There has been little to NO evidence that GMOs cause any harm to the environment, nor evidence in introducing unique allergens or toxins into the food system, nor threats to public health. In fact, GMO foods are one of the most studied areas of science, and all crops are tested by the FDA and approved by the World Health Organization. Here is a recent article by Forbes that will give you some additional information (more like 2,000+ reasons) informing us why GMOs are safe: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/10/14/2000-reasons-why-gmos-are-safe-to-eat-and-environmentally-sustainable/2/. I posted this article on my Facebook page a few days ago, and I found it very interesting who “liked” it. It wasn’t geneticists or employees of big corporations that liked it, but rather it was farmers, food scientists, natural resources students, environmentalists, and medical/veterinary students from respectable institutions. That right there, says something, people. It’s not large companies or corporations that are “trying to take over the world” by creating GMO seeds. But rather, it’s the doctors, the agriculturalists, the scientists, the environmentalists who understand the need for a safe method of bettering our health system in an efficient and sustainable way.

So why are we so afraid of GMOs? People are constantly searching for “non-GMO” products at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. I was in charge of dairy product sales for a farm in New Jersey for a year, and I should have really kept a tally of the number of times that customers/potential restaurant owners asked if our products were non-GMO. Despite the benefits of GMOs, they are consistently given a bad reputation and quite frankly, it’s a result of the media, politics, paranoia, and society’s current obsession with “health” trends. This frustrates me beyond belief because I understand the reasons that we use GMOs, the substantial credible scientific research that has been performed to validate their presence, and the many benefits that aid in a more sustainable country resulting from GMO use.

I am just fine with eating a cob of corn from a genetically-modified seed or cheese made from milk of cows fed GMO feed. That may sound absurd to the many consumers out there who strive to buy only non-GMO products, but when you compare the concrete facts with the misconceptions, it makes sense.

Thank you to GMOs for making our country a more sustainable place, for helping us to feed a growing population, and for providing us with the ability to study and prevent diseases to better our society. Hats off to you, GMOs.

Until next time (which I PROMISE will not be three months from now),

MollsyMoo

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Pilot

Family and friends have encouraged me for the past year to create a blog for sharing my “this-would-only-ever-happen-to-Molly” moments, because apparently the awkward situations that occur in my life on a regular basis are relatively humorous. Thus, I have spent the past year contemplating on not only a name for my blog, but also what I shall write about in my entries. Because, come on, I am not literally going to bore you with stories about my everyday activities. I need to write about something deeper, something tangible. But who in their right mind would ever want to read what I have to say?!

It’s not rocket science to know that social media plays an integral role in society, with many viewers gaining knowledge from the 74839020883893 bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers, blah blahh blahhh on the Internet (side note: please do not cite me on that number). And then I got to thinking… This social-media indulged society creates a grand opportunity for me to make a difference, an actual difference, in a subject that I truly care about. And what exactly is it that I would like more than anything to make a difference in? DAIRY. Yes; cows, milk, cheese, farming, agriculture. BOOM, all of it. Agriculture drives this world, and we would not survive without it. Everyone who knows me can attest that I am an enthusiastic, dairy-obsessed individual who thrives on sharing my experiences and knowledge with each and every person that I happen to cross paths with. I grew up in the dairy industry, and I have dedicated my career to supporting it, through policy and communication (I’ll share more about my life goals- pssshhttt make that PLANS…the sky is the limit- in a later blog post).

Maybe only a few people will read my blog posts towards the beginning, but if I am making a difference in just one person’s life, then I have succeeded. I plan to expand my blog through time, ultimately existing as an entertaining resource for educating consumers, creating discussions on current happenings in agriculture, and providing answers to dairy-related questions.

So. This was my first blog entry. I promise that the next one will be much more interesting…! Stay tuned, and stay cheesy.

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-MollsyMoo

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