In a recent test of pork chop and ground-pork samples from six U.S. cities, Consumer Reports found low levels of ractopamine in almost one-fifth of the 240 pork products analyzed, as well as a range of other nasties – including several strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Ractopamine is a growth promoter drug. It is widely used on intensive livestock farms in the U.S. because it increases the rate of weight gain and carcass leanness in pigs, cattle and turkey. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of the U.S. pig herd is fed the drug every year. Of course, the drug doesn’t come without its costs.
With fall harvest season in full swing, there was good news from the USDA for consumers who prefer to buy their produce, meat, dairy and eggs directly from farmers: the number of farmer’s markets in the United States has grown by 13% over the past year. According to the agency, 5,274 farmer’s markets are now operating nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008 (a gain of 589 markets).
The USDA has just launched the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity. But at AWA, we know that much of the growth of farmer’s markets can be attributed directly to you, our supporters. People who care about the food they eat and how farm animals are raised know that when it comes to buying food for themselves and their families, getting to know farmers and supporting those who align with their values is just good sense.
We expect the number of farmer’s markets to continue to climb. Many of our farmers depend on their local markets to make their farms viable and all cherish the relationships they have with their customers. By demanding transparency, high-welfare standards and backing our farmers, AWA supporters are an integral part of transforming the American agricultural landscape.
See you at the market!