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Breezy Hill Farm Update Jul 26, 2020

Posted 7/26/2020 10:27pm by Art Ozias.


  • Ticks.  We have our guineas to take care of ticks.  They seem to be doing a great job.  We rarely have a tick, however this year and somewhat last year, we now have ticks so small that you don't know you've been bitten.  But there it is.  Almost need a magnifying glass.  They are about the size of a flake of ground pepper.  It takes a sharp pointed set of tweezers to extract them.  Then you have a red itchy bump for a couple of days.  I guess they are evolving to avoid the guineas.
  • Purple martins are still here and my, have we been successful this year.  We have thirty or forty, seems like, at each gourd complex.  There's a bunch of martins.  I wonder, will I have to raise some mosquitos for them next year?  I'm sure they feed on more than mosquitos. 
  • I'm reading Food Fix, by Dr Mark Hyman. Yes, I'm aware of everything I've read so far.  It's just that this stuff has happened over two or three decades, a drip at a time.  It's nice to have someone do the research, dig up all the references and put it in paragraphs that are readable.   Putting it ALL into context and in book form is essential to understanding just how bad our food system has become.  Should you buy the book?   Well, if nobody buys a book, then no one will write a book.  It falls into the same idea as voting with your dollars and forks in hoping to affect change .
  • I have stopped buying books as my book shelves are full.   I now use Kindle.  It is so convenient.  Highlight a word and get the definition.  Click on a reference and voila, you have the text of the reference.  Highlight a passage and I can share it via the internet.  Oh, and I can store a million books on an old tablet that cost about $150.  How much would a bookcase cost??  And how long does it take to find a book in a bookcase??
  • I am pausing this UPDATE to watch, United Shades of America, on CNN.  It will be rebroadcast next Saturday.  W.Kamau Bell does a great job with his program which was about family farms this week. Look it up and watch it.


We Don’t Even Choose ‘Herd Immunity’ For Livestock 

Alan Guebert      

Two generations ago, no one in the cattle business ever thought “herd immunity” was a solution to bovine brucellosis. Instead, farmers and ranchers, often with the help of U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarians, blood-tested every animal they could find to discover, trace, and isolate the disease’s source and spread.      It was hard, dirty work but it was the best science available until a vaccine virtually eliminated the costly disease.      Today, more than a few politicians suggest herd immunity as an effective way to fight America’s again-raging Covid-19 pandemic. These folks can’t be farmers or ranchers because, if they were, they’d know rural people aren’t as cavalier about the lives of their animals as some politicians seem to be about the lives of their constituents.      Besides, herd immunity, according to experts at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, often is deadly to acquire. An adequate level of herd immunity against Covid-19 requires 60 to 70 percent of the world to become infected and—here’s the hard part—survive coronavirus over a period of 18 to 24 months. During that time, they estimate, 800,000 Americans would die before our herd—you and me—would become modestly immune.      So, who wants to go first?      I don’t remember one cow ever dying before, during, or after “bangs” testing. I do remember, though, that everyone—we, our neighbors, and the nation—benefited from our safe, collective efforts.      Today’s collective Covid effort has been anything but collective and now millions of Americans face years of untold hardship. Even rural America, that vast sea of cultural tranquility, is shaking at its financial roots.      For example, on July 14, the ag economists at the University of Illinois’ farmdocDAILY published an eye-popping report on how our toxic omelet of declining crop insurance benefits, terrible export policy, and Covid-19 has smashed Illinois farm income.      According to Illinois farm records, “Overall, incomes averaged $189,000 per farm per year for the years 2006 to 2013. From 2014 to 2019, incomes… [were] $100,000 less per farm, with a $78,000 yearly average.”      But now, “trade disputes”—a phrase that softens our woodenheaded tariff fights with key American ag customers—and a continuation of ever- declining crop insurance coverage, 2020 farm income pre-Covid is projected at a puny $44,330.      Post-Covid 2020 farm income is worse: a knee-buckling, negative $25,033.      That estimate, the economists quickly add, “does not include other forms of assistance… [including] additional Federal aid currently being discussed in Congress…”      True, but “More worrisome is 2021, which likely will have lower levels of Federal aid. Given recent setbacks in Coronavirus control, it seems reasonable [that]… 2021 could be a very low-income year for Illinois grain farmers.”      Not everyone in American ag, however, is getting plucked. Take the chicken kings, for example.      On late Friday, July 17, USDA’s “Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced its approval of a petition filed by the National Chicken Council,” reported Food & Water Watch, “to permit chicken that is infected with the avian disease Leukosis to be fit for human consumption.”      Prior to the rule change, chicken “carcasses found to have this disease were to be condemned and removed from further processing.”      Who, other than the owners and shareholders of chicken processors, thinks allowing formerly condemned chicken carcasses into the American and export food chains is a good idea anytime let alone during a global pandemic?       But it’s doubtful many will ever know because that day FSIS also approved an industry request to increase chicken kill line speeds from “140 birds per minute to 175 birds.”      At three birds per second, it’s hard to “inspect” any chicken for the right number of body parts, let alone for Leukosis, “a tumor-causing (neoplastic) viral infection of young chickens.”      But hey, as awful but lawful as the FSIS’s actions are, in 18 to 24 months we should develop herd immunity to any new pathogen we’re dining on, right?      Well, some of us anyway. 



Hi – I'm reading "Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet--One Bite at a Time" by Mark Hyman M.D. and wanted to share this quote with you.

"When I was in medical school, I thought science was a beautiful, pristine field full of integrity and truth. But as I’ve paid closer attention, I’ve discovered that nutrition studies are highly corrupted by the food industry. Big Food is furiously promoting false science. The food industry also buys loyalty from a wide range of prominent organizations we believe to be credible and independent sources of advice. Industry spends billions on corporate social responsibility programs that make strange bedfellows, but that spending achieves two important objectives for the food industry: It can generate outspoken support, and it can buy silence. But most important, it can trick and deceive you, the consumer. After all, the industry’s ultimate goal is to get you to buy more of their products. Follow along, but be warned: What you’re about to read will shock you."


"The “research” contracts allow Coca-Cola to review research prior to publication and maintain control over study data, whether the study gets published, and any acknowledgment of Coca-Cola’s funding of the study. If they don’t like the results, Coke gets to bury the findings. And they support front groups that pose as independent organizations to mislead consumers. How is that real science? So much for the purity of science and independent researchers! Big Food’s ironclad plan to fool you with junk science and bogus claims is once again reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s efforts to subvert the truth in past decades. The many ways in which Big Food is borrowing the tactics of Big Tobacco were documented in a landmark 2008 paper written by Kelly Brownell, which was titled The Perils of Ignoring History: Big Tobacco Played Dirty and Millions Died. How Similar Is Big Food? As Brownell noted, “Disputing science has been a key strategy of many industries, including tobacco. Beginning with denials that smoking causes lung cancer and progressing to attacks on studies of secondhand smoke, the industry instilled doubt. Likewise, groups and scientists funded by the food industry have disputed whether the prevalence figures for obesity are correct, whether obesity causes disease, and whether foods like soft drinks cause harm.”"

Start reading this book for free:


Start reading this book for free:



Art Ozias