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killing them with kindness

Farm Confessional: I Raise Livestock and I Think It May Be Wrong - "[Bob] Comis talked to Modern Farmer about the self-doubt he feels while raising animals for slaughter and his desire to see humanity evolve into a species that does not kill to eat." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 5, 2014 - 100 comments

McLeod's Daughters

The award-winning Australian television series McLeod's Daughters aired from 2001 – 2009. A drama, the story begins by following the lives of half sisters Claire and Tess McLeod, reunited after they inherit a vast outback cattle farm (“Drover’s Run”), that has been handed down through the men in their family for generations. 224 episodes were produced, and all are available on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 6, 2014 - 11 comments

The Brewstorian

"With over 200 breweries, Oregon is often considered the craft beer capital of America. Beer geeks and casual drinkers across the country can also thank the state’s farmers for their brews: hops, the essential ingredient that gives beer its bitter flavor, is a rare crop throughout the U.S. but not in Oregon. Last year, Oregon State University established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives (OHBA), the first archive in the U.S., dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hop and beer production and the craft brewing movement. They're posting materials from their collection to Tumblr, Flickr and Zotero.
posted by zarq on May 20, 2014 - 31 comments

Maple Syrup Revolution: New Discovery Could Change the Business Forever

"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 23, 2014 - 102 comments

Razing and burning: the costs of rapid urbanization in China

With 53 self-immolations since 2009, these Chinese villagers might bring to mind the self-immolation by Tibetans, but the Chinese villagers are highlighting a different issue. The rapid urbanization of China is having a number of impacts across the country, with rural communities being demolished to build new urban centers. While many people are moving from rural farms to cities to find more lucrative jobs, some are fighting back to keep their rural communities intact, or to retain their family farms. When other options are gone, desperate villagers turn to self-immolation (NPR). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 28, 2013 - 4 comments

"Certified humane raised."

This Is What Humane Slaughter Looks Like. Is It Good Enough? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 17, 2013 - 99 comments

"once having given a pig an enema there is no turning back,"

Death Of A Pig, E.B. White.
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting. Even now, so close to the event, I cannot recall the hours sharply and am not ready to say whether death came on the third night or the fourth night. This uncertainty afflicts me with a sense of personal deterioration; if I were in decent health I would know how many nights I had sat up with a pig.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 26, 2013 - 32 comments

2 BZY 4 TROOF

PixelJam's new platformer, Potatoman Seeks the Troof, has a charmingly incomprehensible trailer. (PREVIOUSLY: Gamma Bros., Ratmaze 2, Dino Run, Mountain Maniac, Dino Run: Marathon of Doom, Snowball Pinball)
posted by JHarris on Dec 23, 2012 - 5 comments

The players in a mutualistic symbiosis: insects, bacteria, viruses, and virulence genes.

One of the many problems farmers of various kinds of legumes need to deal with is the pea aphid. They reproduce incredibly fast and live by sucking the sap out of the plants, an electron micrograph of one in action. However, while they are terrifying parasites of legumes, they have their own yet more horrific parasites, a parasitoid wasp. Here is a really nice close up picture of one doing its thing, a video of the act, and here is a brain meltingly horrific video of a dissection of the mummified aftermath 8 days later. Essentially, these wasps deposit their eggs in a pea aphid and the growing larva feeds on it, developing there for about a week, and then consuming the host from the inside out like a Xenomorph. When it’s done, the wasp larva dries the aphid’s cuticle into a papery brittle shell and an adult wasp emerges from the aphid mummy. Legume farmers love them, and you can even order their mummies online these days. However, farmers noticed that the wasps didn't work as effectively on all of the aphids, and so researchers went to work figuring out why. It turns out that all aphids have a primary bacterial endosymbiont living inside their cells, in addition to and just like a mitochondria, and that many have some combination of five other secondary endosymbionts. Interestingly, two of those other five, Hamiltonella defensa and Serratia symbiotica have been shown to confer varying levels of resistance to the parasitoid wasp, allowing the aphid to survive infection. However, it turns out that there is yet one more layer to this story, [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 22, 2012 - 50 comments

Mittenless man discovers hidden talent

Farmer plays a song with ‘hand-farts’ (1933). (SLvideo / SFW)
posted by mudpuppie on Oct 12, 2012 - 28 comments

Operation Flood

India mourns Dr Verghese Kurien who passed away today at age 90. If you have eaten butter in India, or been able to add a spot of milk to your tea, then you've experienced the impact of Operation Flood — the largest dairy development program in the world. Operation Flood helped India become the world's largest milk producer by 2010–11, with close to 17 percent of the global production. Gujarat-based co-operative, the "Anand Milk Union Limited", often called Amul, was the engine behind the success of the programme. While much more can be said about Dr Kurien's work with dairy farmers, cooperatives, milk production as well as his awards and honours, his best known legacy is perhaps the creation of the Amul brand. The little girl who knew just how to poke India's funny bone has her very own Previously.
posted by infini on Sep 8, 2012 - 12 comments

Pew Pew Pew!

In Bolivia's jungles and steep cliffs the Yungas people do not walk. They fly. On ropes. Like birds. Faster than astronauts.
posted by lemuring on Feb 22, 2012 - 37 comments

On Karma and building web reputation systems

On Karma: Top-line Lessons on User Reputation Design is an excellent overview of reputation system design concepts from the excellent-in-general blog of Randy Farmer and Bryce Glass, authors of the recently-released O'Reilly book Building Web Reputation Systems.
posted by cortex on Mar 23, 2010 - 17 comments

A Good Man

A Good Man. A struggling Australian sheep farmer and his quadriplegic wife open a brothel.
posted by Extopalopaketle on Feb 2, 2010 - 15 comments

Messy, Painful, Bloody and Dirty

Critics of modern farming practice have swayed popular opinion in recent years. Now farmers are talking back. Farmer Blake Harris takes critics of farming to task for misrepresenting his trade. Another farmer says it's not so simple.
posted by chrchr on Sep 2, 2009 - 41 comments

A diet of sunshine

Will the White House have its own farmer? Back in October, Michael Pollan called upon the president-elect to rip up a 5-acre section of the White House's south-facing lawns and hire a farmer to cultivate it. Over 55,000 Americans have nominated Claire Strader to be that farmer, if the Obamas decide to take up a new Victory Garden initiative. The question now is will they? [more inside]
posted by Stewriffic on Feb 2, 2009 - 92 comments

Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India

A recent study shows that farmer suicides in India have not increased due to introduction of GM crops The Washington based research organization IFPRI claims that "Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides. In contrast, many other factors have likely played a prominent role." Their study has been wielded in the empirical arms race by big pharmaceutical corporations such as Monsanto against NGOs that oppose GM modified crops in India such as Gene Campaign and activists such as Vandana Shiva.
posted by bodywithoutorgans on Nov 8, 2008 - 13 comments

An ironic infestation of Japanese beetles

Young Americans are leaving the city to return to the land, and the New York Times is on it, well the Style section is covering the trend. Is this just some fashion trend or are these the young Americans Emerson was looking for? [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 16, 2008 - 87 comments

Extended extension post

The Cooperative Extension Service, founded in 1914 in the US by the Smith-Lever Act, was established in concert with the land-grant universities to develop practical applications of agricultural research, and spread them to farmers and others throughout the country. As part of this education program, the extension programs have produced and collected an extraordinary amount of practical advice, easily accessible to the layman... [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good on Sep 18, 2007 - 12 comments

Monsanto vs. US Farmers

Farmer Homer McFarland is being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Monsanto corporation. His crime? Replanting his crops' own seed, as farmers have done for millennia, which violates the biotech giant's intellectual property rights, the company claims. Quietly, Monsanto's aggressive "seed police" have been suing farmers in 25 states for years, often settling out of court for huge sums, according to the Center for Food Safety's new report, Monsanto vs. US farmers [PDF link]. For more information, also see a new documentary called The Future of Food.
posted by digaman on Jan 15, 2005 - 55 comments

Cruelest Farmer Gets Two Years for Vet Attack

'Cruelest Farmer' Jailed for Vet Attack
Roger Baker, dubbed Britain's "cruelest" farmer, has just gotten a two year sentence for attacking a vet and pushing her into "a mire of manure and cow urine." He then held her down in the nasty muck.
Given his history of violence and cruelty, doesn't two years seem a little light?
posted by fenriq on Mar 1, 2004 - 30 comments

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