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Kicking off Sunday with agriculture

Kicking off Sunday with agriculture

By Gary Joiner

The biggest game of the year is just days away. About 115 million folks—myself included—will turn on the TV for Super Bowl 50.

The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will battle it out on the field.

But Texas chicken growers will be among the big winners Sunday. Because the food of choice for many is chicken wings. And a lot of them. More than 1.6 billion chicken wing portions will fly through the fingers of football fans across the country. That’s about 14 wings per viewer.

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In agriculture, labels matter—until they don’t

In agriculture, labels matter—until they don’t

By Gene Hall

In my more cynical moments, I suspect that the great confusion and controversy surrounding agriculture today is on purpose.

In this mindset, I can easily conclude that those organizations that survive by demonizing modern agriculture manipulate the language and the labels to suit their own purposes. In this way, passions are inflamed. Money is raised. A public is misled. Calling you “Big Ag” could mean “Big Bucks” for me even though all I’ve contributed to the debate are a couple of politically charged words.

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Cage-free eggs not all they’re cracked up to be

Cage-free eggs not all they’re cracked up to be

By Mike Barnett

Cage-free eggs. Sounds good. But is it really better for the chickens that lay them?

Maybe if you believe in live free and die hard.

Cage-free eggs are the new rage. Driven by consumer perception that cage-free chickens are happier and healthier, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Costco and, most recently, Panera Bread will require suppliers to go cage-free over the next decade.

That leaves the egg industry—worth $10 billion a year—struggling to figure out how to shift from confined hen laying to cage-free.

It’s not as simple as turning chickens loose. Cage-free doesn’t mean problem-free.

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GMOs are saving Hawaiian farms and forests from extinction

GMOs are saving Hawaiian farms and forests from extinction

By Joni Kamiya

More evidence is cropping up all the time to support the environmentally friendly nature of biotech seeds and crops. As we’ve learned in Hawaii, GM papayas are a great example of how biotechnology keeps forests intact and decreases the amount of pesticides needed to grow marketable fruits. I call this “GMOrganic” because it’s earth-friendly, farmer-friendly and good for the consumer.

Our three-generation farm has been growing papayas since the 1960s and continues to grow this delicious, highly sought after Hawaiian staple. The papaya is a fruit that many locals buy religiously, every week for years. But for a long time, this local favorite was under constant threat.

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5 things ag is doing wrong (and how to correct them)

5 things ag is doing wrong (and how to correct them)

By Mike Barnett

When it comes to new machinery, new cropping methods or new herbicides and pesticides, farmers and ranchers are on top of their game.

No doubt that’s why American agriculture is the most progressive in the world.

Not so much, though, when it comes to communicating. We have work to do. Farmers and ranchers have talked about “educating” the public for all of my 30-year career in Farm Bureau.

Truth. The public doesn’t want to be “educated.” They want answers. To their concerns about food. How you grow it. And what you do to ensure their family’s safety.

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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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