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Sourcing Your Food

Your Food Comes From Farmers

We’ve come a long way since the days of Old MacDonald and his menagerie of barnyard animals. And yet, we understand that many people are curious about the process of agriculture and how their food makes it from farm to fork. We appreciate that and are glad to help out, because we understand that for many consumers, farming remains a complete mystery.

The fact is, 95 percent of U.S. farms are family farms – owned and operated by educated men and women with families just like yours. They too are concerned about maintaining the health of the land, animals and water in order to provide a bright future for generations to come. Not only do their livelihoods depend on it, but their families do as well.

The Field-to-Fork Process

For many consumers, growing crops may seem pretty simple. After all, anyone can plant some seed, watch it grow and then harvest when it’s ready. However, there’s a lot more that goes into feeding this hungry world than simply laying down some seed and watching it grow. Farmers do a large amount of prep work before planting can even begin, including testing and managing soil nutrients, working the fields and maintaining machinery, to name just a few. After all the planting has been done in the spring, the summer months are spent monitoring plant growth and health, and fighting invasive weeds and pests. In the fall, farmers harvest the crops while in peak condition and then transport them to local grain elevators or food processing plants where they undergo rigorous quality and safety testing. Only after all of this is complete is the crop processed or fed to animals so it can be delivered as food to grocery stores and restaurants for everyone to consume.

Soybeans are a crop that turns up in your local grocery store as cooking oil, tofu, edamame and other ingredients. Soybeans are also used as a healthy, protein-rich feed for livestock such as cattle, hogs and poultry before going to stores in the form of meat, eggs, milk and cheese. Soybean oil is also used to produce renewable products such as plastic, adhesives, foam, cleaning products and biofuels, to name a few.


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Healthy Foods for Everyone

Keeping Your Food Safe

Ohio farmers and their families are consumers as well, which means you can rest assured that they are dedicated to growing healthy, safe food for consumers to enjoy. Farmers are very careful to work with plants’ natural growth cycles when applying fertilizer to offer further nutrients or when crop protection products are necessary to prevent disease and fight off invasive weeds and pests to keep crops healthy. The same goes for treating livestock, with prompt veterinary care and antibiotics being applied only when needed for the health and well-being of the animals – and always at prescribed and safe levels.

Once the crops and livestock are ready, they go to grain elevators and food processing plants where they are prepared for grocery stores, markets and restaurants. These facilities have strict quality control standards, testing processes and stringent food handling procedures that help make the United States’ food safety system the most sophisticated in the world.

While Ohio farmers, and farmers across the country, believe it’s important for you to be vigilant and stay informed about the food you eat, they also take pride in providing you with healthy, safe food options while always working to improve their products and practices.

What’s the Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic?

Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher the facts in the conversation surrounding organic vs. non-organic food production. While it is always an individual choice of purchase, there are a few unfounded claims on the topic that you deserve to be aware of before determining which option is best for your family.

The bottom line is that organic foods aren’t necessarily healthier, safer or more nutritious just because they wear that label. In fact, the nutritional content is not altered in any way based on the methods in which it’s grown. The same can be said of food safety. Whether organic or non-organic, all foods must meet stringent health and safety regulations before being sold to consumers, including those of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So no matter your decision to consume organic or non-organic foods, you can rest assured that it is healthy, safe and nutritious.

For more answers to your food questions, please visit the Common Ground website.

What is Agricultural Biotechnology?

Agricultural biotechnology allows selected individual, naturally occurring genes to be transferred from one organism to another.

Today 94 percent of U.S. soybeans come from biotech seeds. The genes introduced to these plants help in a variety of ways, including:

  • Better protection from insects, weeds and diseases, which in turn reduces the use of pesticides and herbicides;
  • Ability for the plants to thrive in adverse conditions, such as drought, which could enable farmers in arid, developing countries to grow more food to feed their hungry populations;
  • Holding nutrients beneficial to the people and animals that eat them; and
  • Increasing crop yields so farmers in the U.S. and around the world can produce more with less – fewer acres, fewer crop protection chemicals less impact on natural resources, such as water and soil.

Biotechnology has brought significant positive advancements to the production of soybeans and other crops while lessening impacts on the environment. And it will continue to play a key role in meeting our future food, fuel, feed and fiber needs.

Is Biotechnology Safe?

Yes. Biotechnology is a safe and efficient way to improve food nutrition, increase the amount of food that can be grown on the same amount of land and sustain natural resources. It’s understandable that people become wary when the words science and technology are used in relation to food. However, farmers have been creating plant hybrids for as long as they’ve been growing plants. Biotechnology simply serves as a more technologically advanced method. It is also important to note that the FDA and EPA examine every plant improved through the use of biotechnology for potential health risks. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that current foods containing biotech ingredients have never been shown to have a negative effect on human health.

Should You Be Concerned About Antibiotics in Meat?

The FDA does not allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strictly safe limits. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) performs randomly scheduled testing of meat nationwide. According to FDA and FSIS regulations, livestock antibiotic use requires specific withdrawal times, or a set number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply. This ensures the drugs have sufficiently cleared an animal’s system and the meat you purchase in stores is safe for you and your family to eat.

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Doing What’s Right

Responsible Farmers Respect Responsible Regulation

Farming is regulated by local, state and federal government agencies through statutes on zoning, water quality, air quality, food safety and more. Ohio’s farmers recognize the importance of these regulations, and want to comply with and address the issues and concerns that are important to the state and local communities.

As in any profession, there have been a few “bad apples” in the farming community who choose to disregard best farming practices, mistreat their land and animals or do not comply with existing regulations. However, these people are in the extreme minority and deserve to be held accountable for their actions. The overwhelming majority of Ohio’s farmers strive to implement responsible, ethical farming practices to protect people, animals and the environment while producing safe, nutritious foods for everyone.

To be truly effective, regulations should be founded on common sense, science-based solutions. They should also be consistent, without overlap or contradiction, in order to prevent further complications or costs. Ohio farmers want to work with government agencies and the public to identify the best approach and solution to each issue, both through voluntary practices and regulation where necessary.

Doing Right By Our Families and Communities

Ohio’s farmers are active members in their communities, and they care about the local economy and the food that they provide. Farmers shop at the same grocery stores, set the dinner table with the same foods and get involved with the same community activities as non-farmers do. In fact, many farmers (57 percent) also work non-farming jobs while taking care of their farms. The main difference between farmers and the rest of the population is that a large part of their livelihoods involve living on, working with and loving the land.

The vast majority (97 percent) of farms in the United States are family-owned and operated, in many cases for multiple generations. In order to support their families today and pass on productive farmland to future generations, farmers must take good care of their animals and environment. To do that, they voluntarily implement best farming practices and new technologies that grow healthier crops and reduce farming’s impact on the environment by using the latest in conservation programs to protect the soil and keep the air and water clean.

They do all of this and more because they care about leaving the land better than when they started, so the generations to come can continue their families’ farming traditions if they choose to. And above all, they want the crops they grow to provide high-quality food, feed, fuel and fiber for their Ohio neighbors and people around the world.

Farmers Are Professionals in Their Field

Just like professionals in any field, farmers are good at what they do, and they are always seeking to improve. Whether it’s researching better farming techniques, creating and implementing new technologies, or applying more sustainable practices, farmers constantly seek to do better for their families, their communities and their customers.

Conservation tillage is a good example. This is a farming practice that keeps the ground covered with organic matter during the winter and helps maintain soil structure. It prevents wind and water from carrying the topsoil into waterways, and has resulted in successfully reducing the amount of soil that erodes from farm fields by more than one billion tons every year.

Advancements in soil testing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) operation of machinery and nutrient application have enabled farmers to pinpoint the exact treatments needed for their fields so they can apply fertilizer and crop protection resources on an as-needed basis.

There have been extensive advancements in animal care as well. Livestock are now kept in climate-controlled facilities and fed a balanced, nutritious diet to ensure proper health and comfort.

Thanks to the research and advancements over the last few decades, farmers have the ability to increase food production, implement new technologies and conservation practices and care for the land and animals more responsibly and efficiently than ever before.

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Sustaining Life

Supporting Communities Here at Home and Across the World

Farming today comes with many crucial responsibilities. Currently, one U.S. farmer raises enough food to feed 150 people. Compare that to 1930, when that number was only 10 people per farmer. This is an important statistic due to the fact that only two percent of today’s population farms for a living, versus 30 percent in 1930. U.S. farmers are not only producing food for their neighbors and fellow Americans, but they are feeding the world as well.

By continually improving their farming practices, Ohio and U.S. farmers are confident that in the coming years they will be able to sustain life here at home and around the world by growing more food on fewer acres while using less fuel, fertilizer and other resources. Farmers are truly doing their part to provide safe, plentiful food and a healthy environment for their local communities and communities across the globe.

Biofuels and Bioproducts—Building a Greener Tomorrow

For many years farmers have invested in research to produce new and different uses for soybeans and other agricultural products. These efforts to build a greener tomorrow have resulted in environmentally friendly products such as bioproducts and biodiesel, which are made from renewable agricultural resources right here in the United States. These investments are not only important in reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil, but they also help to create jobs and lessen the negative impacts of petroleum on the environment.

To learn more about biodiesel and bioproducts, go to www.soyinside.org and www.biodiesel.org.


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Respecting Nature

Good Stewardship of the Environment

The future success of any farm – both from an ethical and business standpoint – directly correlates with how farmers treat the land today. With 95 percent of farms being family owned and operated, the land is often a family legacy passed down through the generations. As a result, conservation is a top priority and farmers are some of the most dedicated when it comes to respecting our natural resources.

Farmers voluntarily implement conservation and best management practices while helping to fund research and apply the latest technologies to their farms. These practices help prevent soil erosion, protect water and air quality and preserve habitat for plants and wildlife. If one thing is certain, it’s that Ohio farmers are dedicated to sustaining life and respecting nature.

Research and Innovation Help Farmers Protect Soil, Water, Air and Habitat

Farming has come a long way since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, when drought and soil erosion caused major negative impacts on the land, air, water and wildlife habitat. Significant investments into agricultural research have led to innovations in the way farmers grow food and care for the land, animals and environment.

Today, farmers use conservation tillage practices and plant “buffer strips” of native trees and grass to prevent wind or water from carrying topsoil and nutrients off the fields. These “buffer strips” also serve as habitat and a food source for local wildlife.

In the case of fertilizer and crop protection products, farmers know that more does not equal better. They know that over-application only encourages negative effects on the land and water that they rely on, but it is also expensive. Innovations in GPS technology and soil testing enable farmers to customize fertilizer application nearly to the square foot. This prevents usage beyond what is absolutely necessary, and minimizes overlap, which helps reduce the amount of fuel being used as well.

These are just a few of the steps farmers are taking to sustain life and respect nature. They understand that improvements in farming, like in any other profession, are an ongoing process. And they are continually expanding their knowledge and adjusting their farming practices to provide the best quality food for your family and theirs.

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Nurturing Animals

Caring For Farm Animals

Farmers and ranchers are constantly adopting new ways of raising animals that keep animal well-being the top priority. Today’s methods of caring for livestock have been designed with the health and well-being of both animals and humans in mind. Simply put, healthy and content animals are the goal for farmers and ranchers, and many of the technological advancements ensure just that.

For example, housing for animals is designed to meet their specific needs through well ventilated, temperature controlled, clean environments with ready access to nutritious foods and fresh water. When animals do get sick, they are placed in separate housing and promptly treated through professional veterinary care. Housing design also makes giving birth less stressful and helps to protect young animals. These are only a few of many examples of steps farmers take daily to ensure they are doing right by the animals, land and environment.

Protecting Animal Health With Antibiotics

Healthy animals provide healthy food, so ensuring the proper care for livestock is not only good for the consumer but for the farmer as well. Sensible and judicious use of antibiotics helps to prevent and control disease, and keep animals comfortable and well-cared for. This in turn reduces the risk of unhealthy animals entering our food supply.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) proper animal care includes making sure animals are healthy, comfortable, well nourished and able to express the natural behaviors of their species without pain, fear or distress. Furthermore, the AVMA notes that banning or severely restricting the use of antibiotics in animals would negatively impact a veterinarian’s ability to protect animal health and prevent suffering from disease.

If you’d like to read more about specific animal welfare practices and standards, please visit the Common Ground website.


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Agriculture & You

responsible-farmers

Responsible Farmers Respect Responsible Regulation

Farming is regulated by local, state and federal government agencies through statutes on zoning, water quality, air quality, food safety and more. Ohio soybean farmers recognize the importance of these regulations, and want to comply with and address the issues and concerns that are important to the state and local communities.

As in any profession, there have been a few “bad apples” in the farming community who choose to disregard best farming practices, mistreat their land and animals or do not comply with existing regulations. However, these people are in the extreme minority and deserve to be held accountable for their actions. The overwhelming majority of Ohio’s farmers strive to implement responsible, ethical farming practices to protect people, animals and the environment while producing safe, nutritious foods for everyone.

To be truly effective, regulations should be founded on common sense, science-based solutions. They should also be consistent, without overlap or contradiction, in order to prevent further complications or costs. Ohio farmers want to work with government agencies and the public to identify the best approach and solution to each issue, both through voluntary practices and regulation where necessary.

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Doing Right By Our Families and Communities

Ohio’s soybean farmers are active members in their communities, and they care about the local economy and the food that they provide. Farmers shop at the same grocery stores, set the dinner table with the same foods and get involved with the same community activities as non-farmers do. In fact, many farmers (57 percent) also work non-farming jobs while taking care of their farms. The main difference between farmers and the rest of the population is that a large part of their livelihoods involve living on, working with and loving the land.

The vast majority (95 percent) of farms in the United States are family-owned and operated, in many cases for multiple generations. In order to support their families today and pass on productive farmland to future generations, farmers must take good care of their animals and environment. To do that, they voluntarily implement best farming practices and new technologies that grow healthier crops and reduce farming’s impact on the environment by using the latest in conservation practices to protect the soil and keep the air and water clean.

Terry McClure, a farmer from northwest Ohio, works hard to implement best farming practices and to maintain the land for many years to come.

“We sustain life in this country–in the world really–on a thin sliver of productive topsoil.  Protecting that soil for the future is so important.  There’s too much value not to utilize the land and care for it the best ways we can.”

Learn more about Terry and other Ohio soybean farmers here.

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Farmers Are Professionals in Their Field

Just like professionals in any field, soybean farmers are good at what they do, and they are always seeking to improve. Whether it’s researching better farming techniques, creating and implementing new technologies, or applying more sustainable practices, farmers constantly seek to do better for their families, their communities and their customers.

Conservation tillage is a good example. This is a farming practice that keeps the ground covered with organic matter during the winter and helps maintain soil structure. It prevents wind and water from carrying the topsoil into waterways, and has resulted in successfully reducing the amount of soil that erodes from farm fields by more than one billion tons every year.

Advancements in soil testing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) operation of machinery and nutrient application have enabled farmers to pinpoint the exact treatments needed for their fields so they can apply fertilizer and crop protection resources on an as-needed basis.

There have been extensive advancements in animal care as well. Livestock are now kept in climate-controlled facilities and fed a balanced, nutritious diet to ensure proper health and comfort.

Thanks to the research and advancements over the last few decades, farmers have the ability to increase food production, implement new technologies and conservation practices and care for the land and animals more responsibly and efficiently than ever before.

Dan Corcoran, a fourth generation farmer knows there is always more to learn in farming.

“It’s not just about how hard you work; it’s about how smart you work.  Knowledge gained it what helps us progress in agriculture.  Like anything else, I think there are always things to improve.”

Learn more about Dan’s farm and other Ohio soybean farmers here.

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Your Food Comes From Our Farmers–Large and Small

We’ve come a long way since the days of Old MacDonald and his menagerie of barnyard animals. And yet, we understand that many people are curious about the process of agriculture and how their food makes it from farm to fork. We appreciate that and are glad to help out, because we understand that for many consumers, farming remains a complete mystery.

The fact is, 95 percent of U.S. farms are family farms – owned and operated by educated men and women with families just like yours. They too are concerned about maintaining the health of the land, animals and water in order to provide a bright future for generations to come. Not only do their livelihoods depend on it, but their families do as well.

Kristin Reese and her family work on a smaller scale farm south of Columbus, Ohio, but she is quick to point out that no matter the size of the farming operation, every farmer has the consumers’ best interests in mind.

“People involved in agriculture farm because they love it.  We all have a real connection with what we’re growing.  We want to provide a product that is safe, affordable and healthy.  What we grow, whether on farms large or small, we know we are feeding our own families and other families too.”

Want to know more about Kristen and her farm?  Click here.

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The Field-to-Fork Process

There is a lot more that goes into feeding this hungry world than simply laying down some seed and watching it grow.  Soybean farmers do a large amount of prep work before planting can even begin, including testing and managing soil nutrients, working the fields and maintaining machinery, to name just a few. After all the planting has been done in the spring, the summer months are spent monitoring plant growth and health, and fighting invasive weeds and pests. In the fall, farmers harvest the crops while in peak condition and then transport them to local grain elevators or food processing plants where they undergo rigorous quality and safety testing. Only after all of this is complete is the crop processed or fed to animals so it can be delivered as food to grocery stores and restaurants for everyone to consume.

 

Soybeans are a crop that turns up in your local grocery store as cooking oil, tofu, edamame and other ingredients. Soybeans are also used as a healthy, protein-rich feed for livestock such as cattle, hogs and poultry before going to stores in the form of meat, eggs, milk and cheese. Soybean oil is also used to produce renewable products such as plastic, adhesives, foam, cleaning products and biofuels, to name a few.

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Soybeans and Agriculture In Your Daily Life

Whether you grew up on a farm or live in the city or suburbs, Ohio soybeans and all of Ohio agriculture play a key part in your life every day.

Soybeans are used as food for people, feed for animals, and a valuable ingredient to make environmentally friendly products such as biodiesel, foams, plastics and paints–just to name a few.

Agriculture improves your quality of life by providing a variety of safe, healthy, nutritious foods. Americans spend just 9.5 percent of our disposable income on food, which is less than consumers in any other country.

Some of the lesser known ways in which agriculture affects everyone is creation of jobs and providing tax support for schools. In Ohio, one in seven jobs is provided by agriculture. Property and income taxes from farmers help to improve local schools and other services. School districts throughout Ohio are using biodiesel made from soybean oil to drive children to and from school every day.

Trent Profit from northwest Ohio takes great pride in being a farmer and producing crops that affect so many lives.

“It’s rewarding to see all of your hard work come to fruition and the positive affects it has on people.  To think that our products are making a difference in the lives of others, at home and overseas, is very gratifying.”

Want to know more about Trent and other Ohio soybean farmers?  Click here

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The Economic Footprint Of Ohio and U.S. Soybeans

In addition to feeding families across the country and the world, soybeans feed local economies by creating jobs, contributing to public services through tax revenue and bringing value to the U.S. economy.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that agriculture and food is the top contributor to Ohio’s economy, generating approximately $98 billion annually. Of the state’s total principle crop value, 51 percent comes from soybeans. In addition to the property and income taxes from Ohio farmers that feed local economies, agricultural trade is a shining star in the U.S. economy as well. Soybean and soy product exports alone exceeded $21.5 billion last year.

Approximately 21 million American jobs are rooted in U.S. agriculture, which is more than five times as many workers as the U.S. automotive manufacturing, sales and service sectors combined. According to the USDA, agricultural exports alone generate 920,000 full-time jobs, 608,000 of those in the non-farming sector. The meat and poultry industry generate an astounding $864.2 billion annually for the U.S. economy and 27.3 million short tons (54.6 million pounds) of U.S. soybean meal was used to feed that livestock.

With all of these facts present, it’s hard to ignore the far-reaching effect that agriculture and soybean production has on the U.S. and communities around the world. This means it’s more crucial now than ever before that we help protect, nurture and advance agriculture and soybean production while preparing for future generations and an ever-growing population.

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Good Stewardship of the Environment

The future success of any farm – both from an ethical and business standpoint – directly correlates with how farmers treat the land today. With 95 percent of farms being family owned and operated, the land is often a family legacy passed down through the generations. As a result, conservation is a top priority and soybean farmers are some of the most dedicated when it comes to respecting our natural resources.

Soybean farmers voluntarily implement conservation and best management practices while helping to fund research and apply the latest technologies to their farms. These practices help prevent soil erosion, protect water and air quality and preserve habitat for plants and wildlife. If one thing is certain, it’s that Ohio farmers are dedicated to sustaining life and respecting nature.

John Motter’s father taught him to be a ‘conservation farmer.’

“Dad said,’You have to be a steward of the land.  It’s your job to leave the land better than you found it.’  Doing things like no-till, installing drainage and filter strips, and grass waterways aren’t optional.  There always has to be a balance between what we need to do to preserve nature and what we have to do to feed a growing population.”

Learn more about John’s farming practices here.

research-and-innovation

Research and Innovation Help Farmers Protect Soil, Water, Air and Habitat

Farming has come a long way since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, when drought and soil erosion caused major negative impacts on the land, air, water and wildlife habitat. Significant investments into agricultural and soybean research have led to innovations in the way farmers grow soybeans and care for the land, animals and environment.

Today, farmers use conservation tillage practices and plant “buffer strips” of native trees and grass to prevent wind or water from carrying topsoil and nutrients off the fields. These “buffer strips” also serve as habitat and a food source for local wildlife.

In the case of fertilizer and crop protection products, farmers know that more does not equal better. They know that over-application only encourages negative effects on the land and water that they rely on, but it is also expensive. Innovations in GPS technology and soil testing enable farmers to customize fertilizer application nearly to the square foot. This prevents usage beyond what is absolutely necessary, and minimizes overlap, which helps reduce the amount of fuel being used as well.

These are just a few of the steps farmers are taking to sustain life and respect nature. They understand that improvements in farming, like in any other profession, are an ongoing process. And they are continually expanding their knowledge and adjusting their farming practices to provide the best quality food for your family and theirs.

nurturinganimals_web

Caring For Farm Animals

Farmers and ranchers are constantly adopting new ways of raising animals that keep animal well-being the top priority. Today’s methods of caring for livestock have been designed with the health and well-being of both animals and humans in mind. Simply put, healthy and content animals are the goal for farmers and ranchers, and many of the technological advancements ensure just that.

For example, housing for animals is designed to meet their specific needs through well ventilated, temperature controlled, clean environments with ready access to nutritious foods and fresh water. When animals do get sick, they are placed in separate housing and promptly treated through professional veterinary care. Housing design also makes giving birth less stressful and helps to protect young animals. These are only a few of many examples of steps farmers take daily to ensure they are doing right by the animals, land and environment.

Learn more about the different ways animals are raised, please visit these pages:

Stages of beef production

Dairy farmer’s caring for their cows

Poultry animal care

The Modern hog farmer

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Protecting Animal Health With Antibiotics

Healthy animals provide healthy food, so ensuring the proper care for livestock is not only good for the consumer but for the farmer as well. Sensible and judicious use of antibiotics helps to prevent and control disease, and keep animals comfortable and well-cared for. This in turn reduces the risk of unhealthy animals entering our food supply.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) proper animal care includes making sure animals are healthy, comfortable, well nourished and able to express the natural behaviors of their species without pain, fear or distress. Furthermore, the AVMA notes that banning or severely restricting the use of antibiotics in animals would negatively impact a veterinarian’s ability to protect animal health and prevent suffering from disease.

If you’d like to read more about animal antibiotic use, please visit the Common Ground website.

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Keeping Your Food Safe

Ohio farmers and their families are consumers as well, which means you can rest assured that they are dedicated to growing healthy, safe food for consumers to enjoy. Farmers are very careful to work with plants’ natural growth cycles when applying fertilizer to offer further nutrients or when crop protection products are necessary to prevent disease and fight off invasive weeds and pests to keep crops healthy. The same goes for treating livestock, with prompt veterinary care and antibiotics being applied only when needed for the health and well-being of the animals – and always at prescribed and safe levels.

Once the crops and livestock are ready, they go to grain elevators and food processing plants where they are prepared for grocery stores, markets and restaurants. These facilities have strict quality control standards, testing processes and stringent food handling procedures that help make the United States’ food safety system the most sophisticated in the world.

While Ohio farmers, and farmers across the country, believe it’s important for you to be vigilant and stay informed about the food you eat, they also take pride in providing you with healthy, safe food options while always working to improve their products and practices.

reese_42_web

What’s the Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic?

Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher the facts in the conversation surrounding organic vs. non-organic food production. While it is always an individual choice of purchase, there are a few unfounded claims on the topic that you deserve to be aware of before determining which option is best for your family.

The bottom line is that organic foods aren’t necessarily healthier, safer or more nutritious just because they wear that label. In fact, the nutritional content is not altered in any way based on the methods in which it’s grown. The same can be said of food safety. Whether organic or non-organic, all foods must meet stringent health and safety regulations before being sold to consumers, including those of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So no matter your decision to consume organic or non-organic foods, you can rest assured that it is healthy, safe and nutritious.

For more answers to your food questions, please visit the Common Ground website.

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What is Agricultural Biotechnology?

Agricultural biotechnology allows selected individual, naturally occurring genes to be transferred from one organism to another.

Today 94 percent of U.S. soybeans come from biotech seeds. The genes introduced to these plants help in a variety of ways, including:

Better protection from insects, weeds and diseases, which in turn reduces the use of pesticides and herbicides;

Ability for the plants to thrive in adverse conditions, such as drought, which could enable farmers in arid, developing countries to grow more food to feed their hungry populations;

Holding nutrients beneficial to the people and animals that eat them; and

Increasing crop yields so farmers in the U.S. and around the world can produce more with less – fewer acres, fewer crop protection chemicals less impact on natural resources, such as water and soil.

Biotechnology has brought significant positive advancements to the production of soybeans and other crops while lessening impacts on the environment. And it will continue to play a key role in meeting our future food, fuel, feed and fiber needs.

To learn more, visit the USDA’s website.

is-biotech-safe

Is Biotechnology Safe?

Biotechnology is a safe and efficient way to improve food nutrition, increase the amount of food that can be grown on the same amount of land and sustain natural resources. It’s understandable that people become wary when the words science and technology are used in relation to food. However, farmers have been creating plant hybrids for as long as they’ve been growing plants. Biotechnology simply serves as a more technologically advanced method. It is also important to note that the FDA and EPA examine every plant improved through the use of biotechnology for potential health risks. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that current foods containing biotech ingredients have never been shown to have a negative effect on human health.

When making the decision to grow GMO crops (which stands for genetically modified organism), John Motter, a soybean farmer from northwest Ohio, considered several things, safety being the most important.

“Putting traits in the genetics that keep bugs off cuts down on treatments.  That’s better for the environment and the public.”

Learn more about John and his farming practices here.

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Should You Be Concerned About Antibiotics in Meat?

The FDA does not allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strictly safe limits. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) performs randomly scheduled testing of meat nationwide. According to FDA and FSIS regulations, livestock antibiotic use requires specific withdrawal times, or a set number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply. This ensures the drugs have sufficiently cleared an animal’s system and the meat you purchase in stores is safe for you and your family to eat.

To get more of your questions answered, check out this brochure from American Meat Institute.