In my thinking the goal would be to connect members of the public with
the farmers...so direct sales for the farmers and consumer education
would be the major goals of the event.
If the end of October works for everybody by that time local sustainable
food should be red-hot, judging by all the media concerning local food
and the state of the world economy. So, perhaps we could see 500 or more
people who are serious about purchasing local and sustainable meat come
to this event.
People are in to it, they want to meet the farmers.
From: Nettie Wiebe [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: March 6, 2009 11:52 AM
To: Local Food Directory Project; Jason Freeman
Cc: Local Food Directory Project
Subject: Re: [lofo List] Dubious 'Scientific' Study Grass Fed versus
Grain Fed Livestock
Thanks for your input, Jason. As a small cow-calf organic beef
operation, we would be interested in the kind of workshop you are
proposing - at least if it is organized during a season when we can take
time away from the farm.
Quoting Jason Freeman <email@example.com>:
I'm a little concerned with the thread regarding the supposed GHG
benefits of grain versus grass fed livestock.
The article did not go into enough detail regarding how the
derived the volume of methane produced between Grass and grain fed
cattle. It appeared they simply derived volume based on a calorie per
A study last year pointed out that lamb raised in New Zealand but
consumed in the UK represented less GHG than lamb raised and consumed
in the UK. The main reason was that the New Zealand lamb was raised
and finished on grass and the UK on grain.
Mammals, including ourselves, tend not to emit that much methane when
we eat a diet consistent with our physiology...meaning we fart and
burp less. Cows are no different. It is extremely dubious to claim
that cows designed to eat grass actually contribute to GHG versus
grain fed cattle especially in feed lots where you have all sorts of
health problems such as acidosis.
The proper management of manure and pasture actually increases the
farms soil organic matter and therefore one should see a net reduction
of GHG from a properly managed grass fed operation. I would absolutely
agree that multi-species livestock management is the way to go but
this needs the development of a local food system to make it
Of course over grazing damages pastures but the whole point is to
manage your farm properly.
I believe grain fed can also reduce GHG by increasing soil organic
matter if the feeding is done on an organic farm from grain grown on
the farm with proper manure and pasture management. This is my
experience at farmer direct which needs to be further quantified. A
hybrid of grass/grain may end up being the most efficient way for an
organic family farm, on the prairies, to utilize all of their
resources to achieve economic sustainability given various market and
weather fluctuations. For example, if you have a mixed operation,
growing grain and raising grass-fed cattle, but your crop ends up
being feed quality and the feed market price is unprofitable...what do
you do, because you are a grass operation you can't feed the grain to
So you other option is to hold over the grain until the feed markets
increase which then puts you in a speculative position.
Maybe its time for a one day symposium regarding a local organic meat
system up at the University. There is a lot of really exciting
activity going on in Saskatchewan with people like Mark, Clear Creek,
Keith Neu and a number of other groups who are raising organic
livestock for sale in local/Sask markets. The farmers could share
their visions on what constitutes healthy and sustainable livestock
production and sale and where they want to head in the future. The
goal would be to attract as many members of the public as possible so
we can make the links to build this market.
Just some thoughts.
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