Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


If the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has their way, we will. Or the eggs could come from Mexican farms. Either choice is a bad one. The HSUS should not be confused with local humane societies. They use the name that most people associate with their local pet shelters in order to garner good will and most of all CASH. The HSUS goals are eliminate caged layers and also crates for sows. If they get their way, the egg and hog industry will not be competitive here in the United States and driving out the cages will also drive out the hens, eggs, and sows. If you think this cannot happen, think again. It has happened in Europe.
The argument is that chickens should be raised using free range and it sounds good. But like most of these issues when you look at the real life picture and the details, it just does not work. Why? The answer is that hens on grass eat much more corn in order to produce eggs. This presents several problems in getting the same number of eggs to the consumer. First of all is the increased cost to the farmer. Second of all the U.S. would have to increase corn plantings by thousands of acres to get more corn. Third this would mean putting marginal land into production and more land would be needed to graze the chickens. Fourth that would mean jeopardizing water quality because of more soil loss from cultivated fields and open lots. Fifth of all, more corn would mean more fertilizer, which is petroleum, based. Sixth of all this would raise the cost of fertilizer, corn, and eggs. This last point cannot be stressed enough. Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrients including protein and iron. Eggs are a very low cost food source and their importance in feeding low-income people cannot be overstated. There are many other negatives to this picture including the increased ease of transferring disease – example bird flu.
The HSUS places their emphasis on ballot initiatives and lobbying. And they are good at it, spending millions of dollars doing their job. Many people are sucked into giving them money thinking that they are helping abandoned cats and dogs. Oh yes, the HSUS throws a pittance to those causes, just so they are not bald-faced liars. But the Meat Trade News Daily points out that the IRS new rules in the filing of the Form 990 have exposed the HSUS for what they really are. They are out to promote their cause and most of their dollars go to lobbying, advertising, and to administrators like Wayne Pacelle who got a salary of $250,000 in 2008. Chad Gregory of the United Egg Producers stated that the HSUS is so powerful that 12 Congressmen did not get re-elected because of the organization’s influence. The organization has a yearly revenue source of $131,000,000. They love conflict and have 112 attorney's working for them. One hundred of them are pro bono.
In 2007 the United States became a net importer of food for the first time in history. Is this what we really want? Do we want to be dependent on foreign countries to feed our people? I think not. Now is the time to establish a national Food Policy to assure that we will not regulate agriculture out of business and ourselves into being poorly fed by substandard products from other countries. end

Saturday, January 02, 2010


On a morning like this, I do not care if my power comes from "dirty coal plants", "dangerous nuclear plants", wind, solar, or hydro power. I am just thankful everytime I hear the furnace fan start to run and am grateful to have electrical power at my fingertips. end