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‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

By Jay Bragg

Recently, 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio were without drinking water due to dangerously high levels of cyanotoxin in Lake Erie, produced by excessive amounts of blue-green algae.  National news outlets were quick to point their fingers at agriculture, picking up on the talking points of local politicians, activist groups, and pseudo-scientists.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins was quoted by the Los Angeles Times: “Once we clear this problem up, that is not going to eliminate the algae problem in the western basin of Lake Erie; that is not going to eliminate the agricultural runoff; that is not going to eliminate mega-farming.”

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Farmers, ranchers and State of Texas win whooping crane case

Farmers, ranchers and State of Texas win whooping crane case

By Regan Beck

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a district court decision on July 30 and ruled in favor of the State of Texas in a lawsuit concerning the whooping crane.

It was the classic example of water for people weighed against an environmental group suing under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Fifth Circuit concluded the environmental group, The Aransas Project (TAP), failed to prove the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) management of water permits resulted in the deaths of whooping cranes.

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Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

By Kenneth Dierschke
TFB President

I read recently that climatologists are predicting a 70 percent chance for El Niño to develop this year in the Pacific Ocean. I hope they are wrong. What we need is a 100 percent chance.

El Niño is the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Oceans. It alters the jet stream flow across the United States and helps bring wetter-than-normal weather to Texas.

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Hey, EPA, it’s time to ditch the rule!

Hey, EPA, it’s time to ditch the rule!

By Mike Barnett

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to clarify the Clean Water Act (CWA) is muddying the water for farmers and ranchers in Texas and across the U.S.

That’s not much of a surprise knowing EPA’s history, but their new proposed rule could be bad news for your land use decisions and farming practices.

The CWA was established to give EPA and the Corps the authority to regulate navigable waters, such as interstate rivers.  The law calls these “waters of the U.S.” State and local governments have jurisdiction over smaller, more remote waters, such as ponds and isolated wetlands, because state and local governments are more accountable to their citizens.

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The American farmer: Growing capitalism

The American farmer: Growing capitalism

By Layne and Jamie Chapman

Feral chickens, hand-pulled kale and a steer fed to perfection that is marketed in its home state. What do they all have in common? Capitalism.

These products were introduced into a functioning market to better a company’s financial standing and to capitalize on a situation. They are also part of modern agriculture. Grocery stores of all kinds have found different routes of product differentiation and market themselves according to what they think the consumer needs. The new consumer is targeted well after the raw products have left the hands of a farmer or rancher, who are commonly so removed from the consumer that they are often misrepresented by the advertising of the product. The ones determining how the end product is situated in the market are no more connected to the product than the chicken that came in the bag.

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Telling ‘the’ story or telling ‘a’ story?

Telling ‘the’ story or telling ‘a’ story?

By Gene Hall

Does it bother anyone but me that a major restaurant chain is using made-up themes, complete with scripts, to attack agriculture? Such is the case with Chipotle, a company that has made attacking farmers and ranchers a part of their marketing strategy.

Cartoon scarecrows and exploding cows abound in their online fantasy land. This somehow proves that modern agriculture is a “bad thing?” I guess it’s funny in a mean-spirited kind of way. That’s the thing about a script. It can turn out however you like.

Reality has no script. Serious people deal with reality. Unserious people write a script they like better.

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