Currently Browsing: Farm animals

Goats: An overlooked pasture-raised animal

Goat meat is already very popular around the world – the Washington Post claims that goat makes up almost 70 percent of the red meat eaten globally – and its popularity could increase in the U.S. because of the convergence of several things:  renewed interest in grass-fed animals; openings of new butcher...

Tipping sacred cows: Reviewing “Meat: A Benign Extravagance”

Mainstream culture and news abound with broad statements about our food system and the choices we make about what we put on the dinner table. Surely you’ve heard that if you want to save the planet, you should eat a vegan diet, since raising livestock contributes significantly to carbon emissions and thus...

Olney Friends School in Ohio grows food to grow enrollment

The farm-to-school movement has been gaining ground lately as advocates encourage administrators to bring more local food into school cafeterias. But at Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio, eating locally goes beyond farm-to-school: for this small college-prep boarding school, it's farm-AT-school all...

One sick chicken

With a few exceptions, the animals on my farm are not pets. My sheep and chickens have jobs to do -- eating grass and bugs, making eggs and meat and babies. If they don't do their job, they don't stay on my farm. That isn't to say that I don't treat them well or care what happens to them. In stark contrast...

The first rule of farming: Be prepared

(Steph Larsen photos)Everyone knows the Boy Scouts' motto: Be Prepared. While my immediate inclination is to ask "For what?", it's as good a command as any to live by. One at which I failed miserably last week. I came home from work and went out to the sheep paddocks to make sure they looked healthy and had...

Dairy cows’ feed exacerbates air pollution in central California

Although it has a relatively low population density, California's San Joaquin Valley has some of the worst air pollution in the nation, especially when it comes to ozone (O3), a gas that can cause respiratory and cardiac problems. To counteract the air pollution, California and San Joaquin Valley regulators...

The Marin Carbon Project studies carbon sequestration

Soil carbon sequestration — the process of converting gaseous carbon dioxide into carbon in the soil — offers a promising (and possibly necessary) route to addressing climate change because it could be a massive carbon sink. Indeed, a report by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change estimated that use of...

The manurification of America

A perfect shitstorm: On some farms, animal manure can be a valuable asset, a way to improve the soil in the fields. But for today's massive factory farms — and, increasingly, the nation's air and waterways — manure is a huge liability, reports the Post's David A. Fahrenthold. Decomposing manure from factory...

Manure digesters clash with air quality requirements

Cracking down on methane labs: When animal manure decomposes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide (on a mass basis). To avoid these emissions, some are installing manure digesters, in which bacteria convert the waste to methane gas. The methane is then burned in an...

What does asthma have to do with farm animals — or food?

When government officials hear the words "backyard livestock," they tend to worry about disease outbreaks and sanitation crises. And for good reason, as improperly managed animals — including dogs and cats — can be the source of all sorts of public health problems. When it comes to asthma, however, recent...

Pets vs. livestock: Cracking open the myths about backyard chickens

Last spring I decided that this was the year I was going to finally get some chickens. On a snowy Saturday in March I brought home six tiny cheepers that I bought at my local ranch store in Livingston, Montana. Two of them died right off, which didn’t entirely surprise me: those fluffballs didn’t look like...

Leaving the city to live the dream of goats

Not kidding around: Writer Brad Kessler talks about his and his wife's decision to leave New York City for Vermont, raise goats, and make cheese, chronicled in his memoir "Goat Song." They now have 17 animals and a licensed operation that sells chevre to a few of New York's most cheese-famous restaurants....

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