Friday, September 26, 2003

Saying anything just to get my way

Just like a little kid trying to talk their parents into a piece of candy or new pair of shoes, some people will say anything to get their way. Wisconsin State Rep. Tom Hebl must be no different. Check out what he said in an attempt to pass a bait law in the Manitowoc Herald.

Rep. Tom Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, said the bill didn’t go far enough, preferring a statewide ban on baiting and feeding as backed by the state’s professional wildlife experts. He feared the disease (CWD) could spread to the state’s dairy industry, though there have been no reported cases of that happening.

I am certain he would love to hear from you. Send him a message to quit attempting to use fear instead of science to make laws. His address is

For over 10 years scientists have been trying to inflict cattle with Chronic Wasting Disease and have not been successful. Not to mention the fact that CWD has a fifteen-year incubation period. Rep. Hebl, you need to call your local dairyman and ask him how old his average cow is. Not many make it to fifteen. Furthermore, one of Wisconsin's own associations has the facts about CWD very well presented. Click here to learn more from the Wisconsin Commercial Deer and Elk Farmer’s Association.
According to public health officials and wildlife experts, there is no scientific evidence indicating that CWD can be transmitted to humans. In fact research conducted has determined a molecular barrier exists that significantly limits the susceptibility of humans, cattle and sheep.

Dr. Daniel H. Gould of Colorado State University

• Geographically targeted survey of adult-age cattle (five years or older) on 22 ranches where
cattle were co-mingled with free-roaming deer.

• No indications of chronic wasting disease, and no evidence of prion proteins detected in
any animal tissue.

"There are perceptions that CWD may somehow threaten human or traditional domestic livestock health. These perceptions clearly factor into motivations for managing CWD, even though data and experiences to date suggest those threats appear vanishingly small."

Weenie Roaster of the week

This week I had a ton of letters sent to me for submission for the Weenie Roaster but this one is just awesome. Click here to read the RFK, Jr. I shared with you on Monday that precipitated this letter. Congratulations to Oscar T Wenholm Jr, of Raymond, SD.

I am a small family farmer from South Dakota and I operate one of the supposed "factory farms" that Robert Kennedy speaks of in this article. However, my farm bears absolutely no resemblance to the fictitious description that Kennedy gives to my farm. My family and I would not trade the air we breathe, the water we drink or the land we live on for the urban atmosphere that city residents live in. The vast majority of university studies on air quality show that livestock operations do not pose a risk to their neighbors.

The manure generated from my 3300 head swine finishing operation never touches the soil until it is applied as organic fertilizer to my cropland in accordance with a state approved Nutrient Management Plan.

Kennedy states "Much of this production is handled through contract farms whose corporate owners dictate how animals will be raised, housed and fed while disclaiming any environmental responsibility and living far away from the consequences." This statement is pure baloney and demonstrates that he has never been on a contract farm. The environmental responsibility rests with the permit holder. That is the farmer landowner. That is exactly where responsibility should be, for no farmer is going to intentionally pollute his own land. That said, the company I contract feed for (Murphy Farms) has the finest environmental record of any in the country. MF company farms
have received Environmental Stewardship Awards from the National Pork Producers Council and all companies and contract farms under the Smithfield umbrella are moving toward ISO 14001 Environmental Certification (International Organization for Standardization) as well as ISO 9001 certification in production and USDA third party certification in Animal Welfare.

Oscar T Wenholm Jr
Raymond, SD

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Cheese-Q Answer: How'd You Do?

In 1802, a small cheesemaker delivered a 1,235-pound wheel of cheese to President Thomas Jefferson to impress the main man. Onlookers were so amazed by the wheel, they called it "The Big Cheese" and the name stuck as a nickname for da boss. Get more information at

I can’t go outside when the sun is shining someone always follows me

I don’t know who she is or where she came from but Anne Applebaum has written the most common sense piece I have ever read in the Washington Post. It is a “must read” and I even sent her a thank you. Here is my favorite excerpt but read the entire piece here.

Finding things to Fear

This week children in Washington were not allowed to go to school for a whole day because streets were blocked by fallen trees and power lines, and because traffic lights at some intersections weren't working. A previous generation might have walked around the fallen trees and looked both ways before crossing the street, but the children of this generation clearly live in a much more dangerous world than did its parents, and we need to protect them.

Or maybe a previous generation was simply better at calculating risks than this one is. Consider this: In 1996 British scientists claimed, on fairly flimsy evidence, to have established links between mad cow disease in cattle, the human consumption of hamburgers and a fatal brain disease called CJD in humans. "We could virtually lose a whole generation of people," one scientist infamously intoned, predicting a CJD epidemic of "biblical proportions."

Nebraska Fur Harvesters

On Friday evening I will address those gathered for the Nebraska Fur Harvester’s Annual Convention in Valentine, NE. What a great group. I am really looking forward to spending time with them again this year. Get more information by clicking here. These may be some facts you haven’t considered:

Fur is a renewable resource (naturally replenished), a product of long traditional use, valued by many for its beauty, durability, insulative and natural qualities. Fur is only one of many values that people ascribe to furbearers. People have continuously used furbearers in North America for clothing, food and religious ceremonies for the past 11,000 years.

You might also be interested to know that there is a “fur bikini style show” on Saturday evening!

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Pennsylvania heritage and farming

This week, I was fortunate to spend two days at the Penn Ag Industries 125th anniversary convention. For 125 years they have been impacting agriculture and really having a true impact. When you talk about the urbanization of America, no state has had to deal with more of this than Pennsylvania. But the leadership and the “get the message out” attitude of every member I met sets this group apart. They do not sit back waiting and wishing the issue away. They address it and hit it square between the eyes. Thanks for asking me to be a part of it and congratulations on 125 years.

The mission of PennAg Industries "Working to create and maintain an effective, viable and competitive environment for Pennsylvania agribusinesses to grow and prosper."

We all talk about educating the consumer, the kid in the grocery store and the law maker. Well to do that we must get much more aggressive with websites and virtual tours. Check out PennAg Industry website and virtual tour by clicking here.

Little by little

With 99% of the media attention blaming animal agriculture for human resistance to antibiotics, I have found this small report that tells the truth. Few in agriculture are willing to take this on because I think some us wonder if it might be true. What we can be sure about is that human consumption of antibiotics has increased exponentially. The fear of the unknown is just too powerful isn’t? Click here for entire story.

A new study finds little risk to humans of contracting bacterial infections resistant to common antibiotics by eating meat from animals given two widely used livestock antibiotics.

Results show people "are much more likely to die of a bee sting" than to pick up a resistant infection from meat, said lead author H. Scott Hurd, an epidemiologist and veterinarian who runs Hurd-Health Consulting in Roland, Iowa.

Hurd said he and a panel of experts from Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, Penn State University, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Minnesota analyzed existing data on bacteria-contaminated meat and cases of resistant bacteria in humans. They concluded the risk of someone in the United States acquiring bacteria that resist common treatment by eating contaminated meat from animals treated with the two Elanco products to be less than one case in 10 million per year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Veg City Diner

As a 6th generation United States livestock farmer, I feel compelled to let you know, on behalf of all American farmers in this country, we are offended! I met an acquaintance in your diner for what I expected would be a vegetarian meal. This was my first time in such an establishment. What I witnessed was a menu that included such items as chicken nuggets, meatloaf and numerous other meat items. I was certainly puzzled by this because I was led to believe that I was dining in a strictly vegetarian restaurant. When I inquired about these menu items, I was informed, “indeed these were plant based proteins but they were so named because we are a society in transition.”

As a business owner, I believe you have the right to serve only vegan and vegetarian items if you choose. However, I take great issue with the manner in which you misrepresent these food items. Those of us the farming community have invested endless hours and countless dollars in an effort to improve the quality of meat products available to the public. As a result of those efforts, United States consumers have developed high expectations for our products and now consume more meat per capita than at any time in the history of this country. Actually, the U.S. citizen eats 212 lbs of meat annually.

Farmers and ranchers place tremendous emphasis on genetic selection, feed quality, feed efficiency and the eating quality of our product. In addition, millions of dollars are spent by the meat industry to educate health-conscious consumers about the improved nutritional qualities of today’s meat products.

Perhaps you should consider this anti-meat campaign from the farm animals’ point of view. Every farm animal produced for human consumption must take pride in the fact that their generation has excelled beyond the quality and nutrition standards of previous generations. It is a shame for you to thumb your nose at the goal these animals have to be the “center of the plate” in an American’s well-rounded meal.

On behalf of all farmers and farm animals who are proud of the meat products produced on American farms, please consider re-naming the plant-based protein items on your menu to something that more accurately reflects their true origins.


Trent D. Loos

For reference on this issue please go to Veg City Diner website for more information. Veg City Diner is located on 14th Street Manhattan, NY. Please forward this letter to everyone on your list and also send to the Veg City Diner at this address

Monday, September 22, 2003

Cashing in on the family name

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hasn’t talked about animal agriculture since we shut him up at the June 2003 Hog Summit in Gettysburg, PA, until this weekend. Saturday the New Times printed an op-ed by him and Eric Shaffer. Click here to read about RFK, Jr. and my last meeting in June called "Living Rent Free." Here is an excerpt from the NY Times piece and I would like one single person to tell me where the science is. No, instead he is just throwing out suggestions without substance and because his name is “Kennedy” any printer that throws ink on paper will print it. Oh, but wait. Isn’t this the same paper that recently admitted making up stories and falsifying information to sell papers? Well, now it all makes sense. I will be submitting a letter to the New York Times, please join me. The address is

An Ill Wind From Factory Farms

These farms emit an enormous amount of pollutants that taint air, land and water. Their noxious gases, studies suggest, contribute to respiratory problems, gastrointestinal diseases, eye infections, depression and other ailments. Department of Agriculture research has shown that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are carried daily across property lines from corporate hog farms into homes and small farms. The thousands of animals crowded together on each giant feedlot produce waste that pollutes waterways and contaminates drinking water.

Land use

I featured this link one day last week to the original story. Federal judge Haddon said “farm owners have no "absolute or unfettered right to operate an alternative livestock ranch as they see fit,"

What happens when all us have to use our property as the state or government sees fit? I don’t think we call it “freedom”.

The North American Elk Breeders Association have released a press release identifying the problems with this initiative. Click here to read the entire press release.

The North American Elk Breeders Association wants to issue an alert to all business owners across the country. A federal judge’s decision this week to uphold Montana Initiative-143 will prohibit the issuance of new game farm licenses, prohibit the transfer of existing licenses and prohibit the shooting of game-farm animals for a fee.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

North American Elk Breeders Association
1708 North Prairie View Road

Platte City MO 64079
Phone: 318-871-8256 Fax: 318-871-5065


For Immediate Release
Please contact:Trent Loos
Phone: 970-481-1389

MAlert to All Business Owners Across the Country.
Could your Business Be Next?

September 19 2003

(Platte City, MO) The North American Elk Breeders Association wants to issue an alert to all business owners across the country. A federal judge’s decision this week to uphold Montana Initiative-143 will prohibit the issuance of new game farm licenses, prohibit the transfer of existing licenses and prohibit the shooting of game-farm animals for a fee.

The issue of greatest concern in regard to this ruling may be the judge’s comments. He stated that farm owners have no "absolute or unfettered right to operate an alternative livestock ranch as they see fit.” Also of great concern are comments from, Sarah McMillan, an attorney representing the Wildlife Federation who said "There is no fundamental right to run your business as you see fit. A game-farm license is a privilege, not a vested right. It can be taken away or modified." The farmers they are speaking of are all licensed by the state. These farmers are producing livestock for consumptive use on private property. This should serve as a warning to all farmers and ranchers that your investment could be in jeopardy because of someone else’s agenda.

Kim Kafka, a petitioner in the lawsuit from Havre, MT, says, “The public was sold a bill of goods that doesn’t exist”. The ruling has a strong negative effect on ranchers like Kafka who have diversified in order to increase the profitability of their ranches. He added elk farming to his crop and beef operation several years ago.

Kafka added, “In Montana we hear so much talk about saving the Montana heritage, yet when I drive down roads that used to have a farm on every corner, those places are gone. What about the heritage of agriculture? Montana has worldwide appeal because of its distinct forage production that is so well suited for grazing animals. This ruling thumbs its nose at the economically sustaining portion of our heritage.”

Voters in Montana were given misleading information regarding the unfounded fears about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) on deer and elk farms. This misrepresentation of facts played a huge role in garnering support for I-143. In fact, the domestic elk and deer industry has tested 35,000 animals for CWD in the last two years. Approximately 100 of those tested positive. That means that only 0.28% of all farmed deer and elk tested were infected with CWD.

Elk and deer in controlled farming operations are monitored on a regular basis for the presence of disease. The ability to manage these animals allows veterinary professionals to ensure the health and immune status of deer and elk on these farms to a much greater extent than animals can be managed in the wild.

Montana Initiative-143, the judge’s ruling and his comments are a direct attack on personal property rights. We hope that this will serve as a wake up call for the entire animal agriculture industry. We must relentlessly present the facts in order to ensure that the decisions of voters and consumers are based on truth rather than the agenda of special interest group.


Living Rent Free

I just attended the 3rd annual Waterkeeper Alliance Hog Summit of Sustainable Agriculture in Gettysburg, PA. I did get a chance to ask Waterkeeper president Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. the question that I posed in my earlier press release. Since one-fourth of the food processed in the United States goes into landfills, costing the industry 31 billion dollars annually, and food is the third most prevalent item in the pollution stream, I wanted to know if the Waterkeeper Alliance planned to address the real pollution problem in this country or just continue to file frivolous lawsuits against livestock farmers. Bobby’s response was less than pleasant.

After a barrage of personal attacks, Mr. Kennedy responded to my question with hostility and said, “Yes, we are suing landfills.” That response goes a long way in explaining his mindset about how to deal with issues. “Who can I sue next?” Never once did it occur to him that he could use the millions he gathers, prancing around the country cashing in on his family name, to purchase this wasted food. This solution would prevent pollution and redistribute the food to some of the 12 million people in the U.S. designated as “food insecure.” NO, that would provide a real solution! This group, like most other special interest groups, is more interested in fundraising, spin doctoring and litigating than making a real difference.

To hear Kennedy’s rhetoric, one could easily be persuaded to join their camp and maybe even write a check of support. You will hear statements such as: “We must save the family farm,” and “this country was built on the morals of farm families”. I, more than anyone, am interested in promoting and ensuring the ability of farm families, such as mine, to have a place in the best industry in the world. I simple don’t believe you need to operate as my grandfather did in 1955 to classify as a family farm. So here is where our views diverge.

If you question Kennedy or anyone else in this movement, “factory farms” are the root of all evil. “Factory farms” have replaced “family farms.” But what is their definition of a “factory farm”? In their mind, any producer that must obtain a permit to operate a livestock feeding operation is considered a “factory farm,” regardless of size. If you raise pigs that do not have access to bedding, you are a factory farmer. If your beef or dairy cattle do not have access to grass at all times, you operate a factory farm.

When you write a check in support of organizations like the Waterkeeper Alliance, you are funding frivolous lawsuits and increasing environmental restrictions on the entire industry, not addressing honest issues. When you agree to help Kennedy “sue that fat cat Joe Luter,” it may sound like a great idea, but the resulting legislation and negative publicity hurts everyone in the industry, especially small and mid-sized producers.

When it is all said and done, those of us involved in the daily production of food are going to have no choice but to be much more aggressive in holding people like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. accountable for the lies he spreads about our livelihood. That is the sole reason that I show up when he speaks. He did eventually apologize for losing his cool with me and saying things he shouldn’t have said. I represent the truth about food production and that is what irritates him the most. If he were accurately describing livestock agriculture, there is nothing I could say that would make him uneasy. His reaction to all of our conversations proves that he is anything but comfortable discussing the issue with me.

In fact, I was so shocked when he apologized that I thanked him and let him know how unexpected it was. To that he replied, “Trent, I have to live with myself and I don’t want you living in my head rent free”. Sorry, Bobby. I am there now!