WeWork, the co-working mega-giant, recently instituted a new policy at its office spaces across the world: No more meat. Amid some backlash, the company said the decision was an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment. And while this is a truly noble mission, if you take a deep dive into the science of climate and carbon emissions, the policy starts to look half-baked. For one thing, it perpetuates a ubiquitous myth in climate change messaging that individual decisions are more important than the actions of industry.Worst of all, the growing campaign against meat is shifting the focus away from the world’s worst carbon emitter — the fossil fuel industry. (One popular Netflix documentary in particular has gotten a lot of attention, despite its egregious factual errors.) Caring about the planet — and trying to do something about it — is a noble cause. But with the stakes as high as they are, accuracy in messaging is important. But according to renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann, who has worked on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Assessment Report — the report that gives a status report on the global climate — the way WeWork has framed its message is misleading. “It let’s fossil fuels off the hook. It’s implicitly accepting the notion that climate solutions are voluntary measures,” Mann told me. “They’re important. But it’s really frustrating to me when they say eating less meat. When it's framed as if influencing the political process isn’t part of the constellation.”
A group of Bloomer dairy farmers is suing Cornell-based Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative, claiming that stray voltage from the cooperative’s equipment is harming the dairy herd.The lawsuit was brought by LaGesse Dairy Farms. Thomas C., Catherine J. and Deanne M. LaGesse and Conrad Willi, all of Bloomer.Stray voltage levels are small degrees of voltage traveling through parts of livestock buildings or equipment, according to a 2010 report from the nonprofit Midwest Rural Energy Council.
As portions of the U.S. endure scorching drought, livestock owners struggle to locate feed supplies. Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and several more western states range from D0 (abnormally dry) to D4 (exceptional drought).
There have been recent discussions about a cheese factory in Centre County.Some say that such a factory could be a positive factor to help dairy farms in the area, but farmers in Centre County say it may be too little, too late. Harry Wasson, who has been a dairy farmer for 50 years, said 2018 may be his toughest year yet in terms of profitability. “There’s not much left after the milk check so we have to dip into savings to pay expenses,” said Wasson. Doug Wasson said they are probably being paid less than a dollar for each gallon of milk they produce.
Dairy farmers are caught in a vortex that includes low milk prices, uncertainty about export markets and President Donald Trump’s tariffs, among other factors, that have created “pretty near crisis time,” says U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.The Wisconsin Democrat made that assessment during a press conference Monday after she toured Organic Valley’s Cashton distribution center and spoke with officials, members and employees of the cooperative. The export market is especially concerning, with 90 percent of the milk in Wisconsin being used in cheese, and 25 percent of the cheese going to Mexico, which may increase tariffs as pushback against Trump’s tariffs, Baldwin said.
Last week, Financial Times writer Emiko Terazono reported that, “The wheat market is feeling the heat, with key global producers sweating over a drought that has curbed output. After several years of bumper harvests, the wheat market is poised to tighten sharply as Russia, Australia and EU countries contend with scorching temperatures. “In Australia, the state of New South Wales has announced a A$500m aid package for struggling farmers, while Germany’s farming association has called for €1bn in financial assistance from federal and state authorities.The FT article noted, “Europe’s wheat production is forecast to fall below 130m tonnes for the first time in six years, according to Strategie Grains, while the German harvest has been downgraded to about 20m tonnes, the lowest since 2003. The consultancy sees further downgrades in the near future.”
Germany’s grape harvest is officially under way on its earliest date yet after a scorching summer that has many other farmers groaning but — so far — is promising to be good for vintners. At a vineyard in Loerzweiler, south of Mainz in southwestern Germany near the Rhine River, workers started plucking white grapes off rows of vines Monday.The first grapes go to make Federweisser, a young wine that gives the first clues about the potential quality of a vintage. The main harvest is expected to start in late August or early September.
A new animal rights group is urging lawmakers to pass a series of bills targeting the use of laboratory animals in biomedical research. Just last week, a group of lawmakers, at the urging of animal rights group White Coast Waste, sent a letter calling for the release of information on retired research animals.The letter was mailed to the Department of Interior, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense. "The adoption of former research animals is already a common practice across the United States. Research institutions work closely with staff and trusted adoption groups to ensure that specialized attention is given to devoted these animals the right home the first time," Michael Dingell, the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Association for Biomedical Research, explained to ALN.
A west central Indiana farmer and a member of Farmers for Free Trade says the $12 billion trade relief package is not a sustainable solution. Brent Bible grows corn, soybeans, and popcorn in Tippecanoe and Montgomery counties.“$12 billion is not going to bail out the financial inequities that have been created in the past 2-3 months,” he says. “Farmers would rather have free and fair trade negotiated and reap the benefits of a market that allows them to sell their goods.”He tells Brownfield that’s why Farmers for Free Trade launched the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign.“The message from the current campaign is that any type of tariff or trade restrictions that take place are having an immediate and a direct impact on producers and consumers,” he says.Bible says he is supportive of the Trump administration but thinks that the strategy to address the trade imbalance has been ill-executed.
Farmland values have been resilient to low commodity prices, but an official with Farm Credit Services of America says the market is softening. Angie Treptow says Iowa farmland values increased slightly in 2017, and that momentum continued into this year.“The first six months of 2018 (farmland values) have slightly increased or stayed the same. But I will say in the last 30 days we’ve seen some sales that have taken place at auctions that have shown that maybe it’s going to soften a little bit.”