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Christmas on the Farm

Christmas on the Farm

By Gene Hall

It’s always a mistake to paint a mythological picture of farm life.  The Norman Rockwell image never really existed.  However, there are pieces of my childhood on the farm that my children never experienced, nor will my now three-month-old granddaughter. Christmas is one of those times.

My Christmas memories are of the farm because that’s where I grew up.  Our 235 acres were nestled in among walls of tall pines in deep East Texas, in Newton County.  We raised cattle and hay and for a time tried both the dairy and the hog business.  Christmas was never an extravagant affair, but my Mom and Dad always managed to make it special.

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IARC—A study in absurdity

IARC—A study in absurdity

By Gene Hall

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), has something of a credibility problem. That agency just released a report saying that processed meat is a definite carcinogen and red meat is “probably carcinogenic.” IARC’s classification with four groups is confusing and misleading.

In that Group 1 category, you have, among other things, cigarettes, asbestos, a host of very powerful chemicals and salami, bacon and cocktail weenies. It’s okay, you can say it. This is absurd. Processed meats are on the list because if you eat that every single day, cancer experts say you can increase your cancer risk by 1 percent. That’s not exactly like plutonium, is it?

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Cow burps: The rest of the story

Cow burps: The rest of the story

By Gene Hall

I’m a little miffed by a recent opinion video on CNN, “Why Beef is the New SUV.” It’s very fashionable to attack beef—all livestock really—and the reasons are not always transparent. But, give me the freedom to cherry pick the data I want to use, and I can spin a pretty good yarn.

According to the EPA, about 1.5 percent of greenhouse gasses are attributable to cows burping and, well, expending gas. That means that if you were to launch every cow in the world into high orbit around the sun, you’d be left with essentially the same greenhouse gas problem that you have in the first place.

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Godspeed, Governor Perry

Godspeed, Governor Perry

By Gene Hall

This is one of those occasions when I must say that the opinions here are mine alone.

I know Rick Perry a bit. My career as a spokesman for Texas Farm Bureau began almost exactly the same time as his first statewide political victory. Rick became Texas Commissioner of Agriculture in 1990. I was the moderator that year of a special satellite broadcast beamed to almost 200 county Farm Bureau offices in Texas. Karl Rove was on the stage that night. So were the real architects of Perry’s victory over Jim Hightower: TFB President S.M. True and Executive Director Vernie Glasson. We used primitive satellite technology to introduce Rick to Texas farmers and ranchers. They liked him. Many still do.

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What? A meatless corny dog? You’re kidding!

What? A meatless corny dog? You’re kidding!

By Gene Hall

No, I guess they are not. The State Fair of Texas will serve meatless corny dogs for this first time at this year’s event.

A Fletcher’s corny dog at the State Fair of Texas is, for that brief moment in time, “Texas on a stick.” It’s a rite of passage. A Texas moment that can even be experienced by those of you “not from around here.”

The news of a meatless corny dog shook me up a bit. I like veggies as much as the next omnivore and I salute the farmers who grew the ingredients for this experiment. But a corny dog without meat is like church without a prayer. You kind of know you’re there, but leave feeling a bit empty.

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