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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Safe Grilling this Memorial Day Weekend

With Memorial Day weekend approaching I plan to spend some quality time outdoors. What better to do than grab a few steaks and hamburger from the freezer and prep the grill for some cooking!

Throw some friends and family into the equation and I think it's a party! If you and your family are planning on firing up the grills this weekend I thought I would remind you of a few important tips to ensure your Memorial Day cookouts will be a fun and safe start to the summer.
  • Use a separate cutting board when prepping raw beef. Wash the board thoroughly in hot, soap water before using the same board for any other ingredients.
  • Never put cooked beef back on the same plate you used for raw meat, and make sure to use clean utensils as well.
  • Don’t leave cooked food sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Use an ovenproof or instant-read thermometer to prevent over- or under cooking. Refer to safe cooking temperatures below.
  • Always use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the side of burgers and steaks to check doneness. And remember, the thermometer should penetrate the thickest part or center of the burger or steak. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature.
  • Cook steaks to 145°F (medium rare) or 160°F (medium). Cook burgers to at least 160°F.
3 Easy Steps for Grilling
Step 1: Prepare gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer’s directions for medium heat.
Step 2: Remove beef from refrigerator and season with herbs or spices as desired. Place on cooking grid.
Step 3: Grill according to chart, turning occasionally. After cooking, season beef with salt, if desired.

Keep your family healthy when cooking outdoors this summer...Grill it Safe!

Have a safe Holiday!
Kiley Stinson

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Commitment to Care

Photo: Andrew Meares

Today, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an “undercover video” attacking the practice and alleging cruelty at a sow production unit in Wyoming.
Livestock producers are committed to providing humane and compassionate care for their pigs at every stage of life. In fact it is one of the ethical principles to which U.S. pork producers adhere to.  The National Pork Producers Council provides best practices training and education as part of its Pork Quality Assurance Plus program which outlines firm animal well-being standards in addition to incorporating the industry’s ‘We Care’ responsible pork initiative.

This behavior upsets us when we hear about an isolated event such as this, has taken place. Simply put, it is extremely heart breaking that these individuals who are few and far between do not share the compassion and respect the remaining 99% of pork producers in the US provide. In fact it is downright appalling.
 If you have questions about how your food is raised and how animals are cared for please don’t hesitate to ask us. That’s our mission as Food For Thought members. We will provide consumers with answers about where their food comes, inform consumers, and confront myths about modern agriculture.

We fully support our nation’s producers who provide the up most care and compassion for their animals. However, individuals who are responsible for abuse and unethical treatment to animals must be held accountable for their actions.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Draft Day: Agriculture Picks Kids in the First Round.

If you think that the recent announcement by the United States Department of Labor to drop its proposed legislation aimed at severely limiting the activities of kids on farms and ranches is solely a major win for agriculture you're forgetting that if someone wins, someone also loses.

That loser is anti-agriculture. While not frontline proponents of these proposed rules, you can bet that they were licking their chops in hopes that the Obama administration would get them shoved through.  The reason they had their pom poms out and cheerleading skirts on is simple: whenever the gap between producers and consumers gets bigger, they score. It is pivotal for their team's survival to maintain a large gap between producers and consumers.  Had the rule gone through, farmers and ranchers would have lost a major player for telling the true story of agriculture, our youth. Getting hands on experience in day-to-day operations of farms and ranches is vital for teaching kids a myriad of life lessons including responsibility, hard work, and trust not just the tangible skills of driving a tractor or pulling a calf, all of which seem to be an endangered species in today's society.  Kids take these lessons and skills from the farm and share them with the rest of America.  Groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recognize the power of youth to influence the outcomes of both the present and the future and have developed programs the implement their ideologies for children and teachers alike.

However, if anti-Ag was looking for a close game, they were surely disappointed.  With a stellar performance from our star running backs like Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts along with the hard work of many industry groups and individual farmers and ranchers, DOL dropped the rule and announced that is has no intention of pursuing it further during the Obama administration.  Instead they will focus on the development of educational programs to increase safety for kids in agriculture. Everyone that submitted comments, wrote letters, testified, or tweeted about the rule to increase awareness deserves a pat on the back was and integral part of chalking up another "W".

- DJ


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