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Beyond the Bikini: What Carl’s Jr.’s Controversial Ad Could Mean for American Farmers

Whatever you think about Carl’s Jr.’s SuperBowl Ad (think “Victoria’s Secret hijacks your local farmers’ market”), the real news here is not whether sex still sells, provokes, or offends: The real news is the rise of grassfed beef.
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Stossel and Fox in the Sustainable Henhouse

Recently John Stossel of FOX Business Channel has aired a number of segments disparaging sustainable agriculture. His issues have included the use of herbicides and pesticides, grainfed vs. grassfed beef, genetically modified salmon and food safety. Is Stossel going out of his way to be outrageously provocative? To what end? And for whose benefit? Certainly we are not the only ones to condemn these reports as being inaccurate, unbalanced and biased, as the many comments to the reports attest. Stossel would no doubt accuse me of being unrealistic and only supporting small scale farms. However, the reality is that to keep the planet healthy and fed we will need to employ a wide range of solutions. Sadly, the last 40 years of ”big ag’s” version of the solution has shown chronic failure in the form of antibiotic resistance, tainted water and some of the largest food recalls in history. Too bad Stossel doesn’t recognize that we have to stop using the planet – a finite resource – as “big ag’s” test tube.
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Beware the Myths of Feedlot Marketeers

Beware the Myths of Feedlot MarketeersAn article which first appeared on the web back in January is doing the rounds again. This time it’s being used by the National Beef Packing Company to promote its “natural” beef. The National Beef Packing Company has a lot to say about the benefits of its feedlot-raised, grain-fed beef versus grassfed beef, and is currently using an edited version of an article by James E. McWilliams, entitled “Beware the Myths of Grassfed Beef,” to support its argument. I’m not sure if the editing of this newer version was done by McWilliams himself, or if National realized that if they printed the original article in its entirety they would at the very least find themselves promoting the animal welfare and health benefits of grassfed over feedlot beef. Because in his original article, McWilliams states that “the comparative health benefits of grass-fed beef are well documented” and that “scores of studies indicate that it's higher in omega 3s and lower in saturated fat.” He also says that grassfed systems are “kinder to the animals” – all points which have miraculously disappeared from the National Beef Packing Company’s current version. But let’s not worry about that now, and go straight to the “meat” of the article.
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Find AWA Grassfed Beef and Pastured Pork at 130 Whole Foods Market locations

In response to many ongoing requests asking whether Animal Welfare Approved products are available in Whole Foods Market stores, the answer is YES! This holiday season, in addition to purchasing your AWA meat directly from the farm, CSA, farmers’ markets, co-ops, or buying clubs, you can shop at more than 130 Whole Foods Market locations and find Animal Welfare Approved grassfed beef and pastured pork products. While Animal Welfare Approved farmers supply numerous Whole Foods Market locations, typically it has been difficult for consumers to find Animal Welfare Approved products at these stores because most AWA products will lack the familiar AWA label. And since Whole Foods Market stores offer a variety of meat products from a host of different sources, consumers need to ask for Animal Welfare Approved products by the specific farm or farm group where the animals were raised on pasture or range.
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Savvy shoppers Take Note: Place Your Bets on Grassfed Beef. You’ll Come Away a Winner.

Not that we like to gloat, but…. Grassfed beef from two Animal Welfare Approved farmers has gone head-to-head with conventional beef in separate taste tests. The results are in and, well, to be modest, SMACKDOWN! This past summer, AWA supporter Chef Bill Telepan issued a challenge to Mark and Dr. Patricia Whisnant of American Grass Fed Beef—bring him some grassfed beef that he deemed worthy of using in his famous burger and he would make the switch from the beef his customers had come to love. And so, on a muggy New York City afternoon, a small crowd gathered to see the gloves come off as 100% grassfed took on heavyweight conventional grain-fed. In a stunning upset, Chef Bill declared the upstart 100% grassfed beef the winner, bestowing the crown of onion rings and French fries that top the famous Telepan burger on the Whisnant’s American Grass Fed Beef.
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Look for Grazin’ Angus Acres’ Grassfed Beef and Eggs at the Greenmarket in NYC!

Despite the pouring rain at NYC's Union Square Greenmarket, customer after customer stopped by to ask Dan Gibson from Grazin' Angus Acres detailed questions about how he raises his animals. His new status as the first Animal Welfare Approved farmer in Greenmarket is something he's very proud of and it shows in his conversations. Dan said he gets these questions all the time, but that's why he loves having a farmstand at Greenmarket. He appreciates when people ask questions and come for tours on the farm. "Once they come for a tour of the farm," he said, "they're customers for life."
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Animal Welfare Approved at the Piedmont Farm Tour

We recently had the pleasure of attending the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's 14th annual Piedmont Farm Tour in the North Carolina triangle region. This is a self-guided tour encompassing 40 farms, where visitors pay by the carload to attend as many or as few as they wish. We had three farms on the tour this year: Baldwin Beef (grassfed Charolais cattle), Captain John S. Pope Farm (grassfed lamb), and Cane Creek Farm (pastured pigs). We met some wonderful people and had a great time talking with folks on the tour about Animal Welfare Approved and what being certified means (in between lamb burgers and popsicles!). Congratulations to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association for pulling of yet another successful tour. Each one gets better than the last!
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