Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GAC to host reality show from down on the farm

American television hasn’t had a hit show about farming since Green Acres almost 50 years ago.’s all changing now! The August/September issue of Farm & Ranch Living—the magazine for readers who love the land—takes a look at the new television show Farm Kings to see how Joe King and his clan are making farming cool again.

Get a glimpse behind the scenes:

·         While Joe King, 29, and his 10 siblings, nine boys and one girl, grew up farming, they took things into their own hands by getting a loan to start Freedom Farms on a property their mother owns in Pennsylvania
·         Joe hopes the show will draw more young people back to the land, especially at a time when so many people are disconnected from where their food comes from
·         As you might expect, the Kings quickly discovered that farming with a camera crew takes some serious time and patience, but they think it's really worthwhile to inspire and encourage entrepreneurial spirit

To read the full feature, check out or download the August/September issue, now available for Google Play & Android, Nook, and Kindle. For more information on the show, go to or and tune in to the Great American Country cable network this Thursday, July 25 at 9 p.m. EDT for the show’s season premiere—including a special mention of Farm & Ranch Living!

Farm & Ranch Living features authentic, entertaining tales of life on the land. Each issue includes month-long diaries by farm or ranch families and stunning agricultural photographs. Readers range from seasoned farmers to second-generation ranchers who long to be back on the land. Each edition captures the spirit of these people and theirfascinating, first-hand memories of trial and triumph from “the good ol’ days.”

Published since 1978, Farm & Ranch Living’s heartfelt, warm and entertaining content can be found in the magazine and online at www.farmandranchliving.comA digital download of Farm & Ranch Living is also available for the Nook, Kindle, Google Play or Android.

Farm & Ranch Living is part of the Home & Garden Group of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., a global multi-brand media and marketing company that educates, entertains and connects consumers around the world with products and services from trusted brands.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

U of Ark. Animal Wellbeing Symposium set for Aug. 1

By The Cooperative Extension Service
U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:
·       3rd annual advances and current issues in animal wellbeing set for Aug. 1
·       Registration is free, deadline is July 26
·       Register online at

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A chef. A vet. A fast food chain administrator. Their careers and points of view are varied, but all share one link: animal agriculture. Hear them talk about that connection Aug. 1, at the third annual symposium on advances and issues in animal wellbeing.

The one-day symposium is presented by the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing, a unit of University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

Registration is free and those planning to attend should register by July 26. Online registration is available at

The event, being held on the University of Arkansas campus in the Leland Tollett Auditorium, opens at 7:30 a.m. with registration and continental breakfast.

“The objective is a better understanding of animal wellbeing/welfare and why so many are confused,” said Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, director for the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing.

Karen Christensen, chairman, Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, sees the symposium as the go-to meeting to bring all of the stakeholders together to discuss welfare.” 

“This meeting is for anyone who has an interest in animal welfare, from producers to retailers to consumers,” she said. “It brings everyone together in one room.”

Christensen will be speaking about auditing – the assessment of animal care  -- from a welfare perspective.

“What makes good audits and good auditors?” she said. “This is important information for anyone being audited, requesting audits or performing audits.”

The agenda for the event:
·       Why Animal Welfare and Why Now? - Jennifer Walker, director, Dairy Stewardship, Dean Foods
·       A Veterinarian’s View - Jeffrey Courtney, director of veterinarian services, Pilgrim’s Pride
·       Nuisance Law and Farming - Rusty W. Rumley, National Agricultural Law Center
·       A Chef’s View of Animal Welfare - Michael Formicella, president, co-owner of Chella Foods, Chicago
·       ABCs of Auditing Animal Welfare - Karen Christensen, chairman, Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, or PAACO
·       The Media – A fact of Life – Sara Lilygren, executive vice president of Corporate Affairs, Tyson Foods
·       A Customer’s Perspective - Bruce Feinberg, senior director, Global Quality, McDonald’s
·       Livestock Sales - Next Frontier- Laura Marks, director of Animal Handling,
Kansas Livestock Board, and Chris Ashworth, DVM, Chairman of Animal
Agriculture Alliance Board.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Texas A&M goat workshop July 13 in South Texas

WESLACO, Texas – Small-acreage landowners are turning to goats for profit, and consumers are enjoying the results, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert who has organized an upcoming goat conference to help more producers get involved.
AgriLife Extension and its Sustainable Ag Committee will host the AgriLife Extension Goat Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 13 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, 2415 E. Highway 83.
“Goats are a great way to introduce animals to a farm system, and consumers snap up the varied and high-quality products goats produce,” said Barbara Storz, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Edinburg. “This conference pulls in goat-raising experts whose talks will benefit everyone from the beginner to the veteran goat producer.”
The cost of the goat workshop is $20, which includes lunch. Seating is limited and preregistration is encouraged. For more information and registration, contact the AgriLife Extension office for Hidalgo County at (956) 383-1026.
“We held our first goat conference last year and found that many small landowners were very interested in both meat and dairy goats,” Storz said. “In fact, one of last year’s workshop participants just opened a goat milk dairy in Hidalgo County.”
Goat-related products are very popular among farmers market customers and chefs, Storz said.
“Goat products are so high in quality, they almost sell themselves,” she said. “Goat milk is popular with people who have allergies to cow’s milk, and dairy goats provide milk that makes excellent cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Goat-milk soap and lotions are also popular. And goat meat can be roasted on the barbecue pit or made into jerky, while the hides make beautiful rugs.”
The workshop program includes professionals from the International Goat Research Center at Prairie View A&M University, Storz said.
“We’re really excited to have these experts address us,” she said. “Two veterinarians from the center will share their expertise. Dr. Barbara Johnson will speak about managing overall goat health, and Dr. Kellye Thompson will discuss parasite prevention and treatment. Dr. Gary Newton, the research scientist leader at the goat research center, will give an introduction to goat breeding and reproductive health.”
Other speakers include Katie Carlson, a goat dairy operator who sells her products in Austin and Houston, will give a talk on operating a goat dairy and marketing goat milk products. Dr. Rick Machen, a professor and AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Uvalde, will provide information on forage and pasture management.
“After the final speaker, all the speakers will join in a panel discussion to answer questions from members of the audience,” Storz said.
Goat conference participants will also have the opportunity to help schedule a future workshop on artificial insemination.
“A survey of producers found that that’s what they were most interested in, so we’ll discuss setting up a separate workshop for that in October. It will be led by Dr. Newton, who specializes in reproductive health.”
The goat workshop July 13 is made possible by a grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency and the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Storz said.

Twilight goat tour Aug. 1 at Western Maryland buck test site

There will be a Twilight Goat Tour on Thursday, Aug., 1, from 5:30 p.m. to dark, at the Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Keedysville, Md.

In addition to wagon tours of the facility and research program, there will be an opportunity to taste recipes prepared with goat meat. 

The recipes will be prepared by a local chef.

To make sure there is enough meat, registration is required in advance. 

A small donation is requested to help cover the cost of the meat. 

Register by calling Pam Thomas at 301-432-2767, ext. 315, or send an email to The registration deadline is July 26.

The center is the location of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.

This year, there are 81 bucks, mostly Kiko, on test. 

The tour will also showcase the center’s pen vs. pasture study, a three-year project in which the performance and carcass characteristics of pen-fed and pasture-raised goats are being compared.