MM Livestock Co

  (Wildomar, California)
It just makes sense.
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New Research Claims Roundup Ready Crops May Cause Animal Miscarriages

Here is an excerpt from Colleen Vanderlinden's article on Treehugger. Feb. 22, 2011 "Researchers claim Roundup Ready GE crops contain a previously unknown organism that has been shown to cause abortion in farm animals. The organism was detected only after researchers observed it using a 36,000x electron microscope. It is about the size of a virus. The scary part, IT CAN REPRODUCE! And possesses the rare ability to cause disease in both plants and animals." The research was performed by Dr Huber of Perdue University who is also a coordinator for the USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System. He wrote an open letter to Secretary Vilsack outlining the dangers, how it was discovered and urged an immediate moratorium on all RR crops. He States, "In Summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions we request the USDA's participation in a multi-agency investigation and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of Roundup Ready crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health. It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant or animal hosts. It is well documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated in the increase of more than 40 plant diseases." "An organism able to reproduce and cause disease in both plants and animals. If it's able to cause infertility and miscarriage in farm animals that are in contact with it, one can only wonder: What is it doing to us?" This is probably the scariest finding in recent years in my opinion and we as a Country need to say NO! We Don't Want GMO's. This is a big BIG issue that needs to be addressed. Please write the USDA and urge them to take action on this issue and place a moratorium on deregulating GM crops. Be sure to visit our website http://www.mmlivestockco.com Meg
 
 

Sunshine!

The sun is out and its BEAUTIFUL this morning. After feeding all the critters at the home place I loaded up Wallace, Grace, and the ATV and went out to check cows. Good thing I didn't try to drive the truck up the hill to the leases or I would have had a mess. The road washed out in one place and Tommy had to haul up some old landing ramps as a temporary fix. We can get up to the girls on ATV's or horseback but its going to be a few days before he can get a tractor in to fix the road. Good thing they're in close! 15 calves in this herd so far and everyone is doing well. They move back up to the higher pastures in late April and we are considering having a cattle drive and gathering for Farm Members to enjoy. We're still bouncing the idea around as access is difficult after you come off the paved road. The plans for sheep shearing day at the home place are lining out nicely and we'll have the date set as soon as Julie lets us know when they'll be here. It's always a fun day, john talks about shearing and sheep care, we put a lamb in the pit to roast, and after the work is done its party time! Speaking of party time. Our custom meat cutter is making Corned Beef from several of our Grassfed and finished Briskets just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Corned beef has no corn in it, the term refers to the process used to make it, usually a spiced brine. It's Delicious! And if there is any left after the Holiday, in the smoker it goes for a few hours and you have my favorite sandwich meat on the planet, PASTRAMI! Let me know if you want some as supply is limited. Easter lamb orders are being taken now as well. Whole and half lamb, or by the cut. I only kept back 30 lambs for Easter this year so order early. Grass fed and finished American Lamb is one of the healthiest meats you can eat. Naturally tender and flavorful as well as being hypoallergenic. This years breed choices are Suffolk X Dorper, Columbia x Suffolk, Khatadin, Dorper, and Ramboullet x Dorset x Dorper. Come on by and say hello, the farm flock has babies bouncing everywhere, and the pups are ready to go. For those of you following Mouse's antics, I will have an update for you all tomorrow. Back to work! Meg http://www.mmlivestockco.com
 
 

Re-Connecting

I have been talking with an old friend over the last week or so about some legal stuff and learned that he is a nutritionist and a naturopath. As we were catching up it dawned on both of us that his work meshes perfectly with ours! So now in addition to grass fed and finished beef and lamb, pastured pork and poultry, u-pick fruits and veggies, farm members and friends will have access to nutritional counseling and alternative therapies. This is such a blessing ! We will have a page up on the website in a week or so with consulting information and dates for seminars/ workshops. I have known Robert for over 30 years and his father was my "Pops" who passed away in2009. Pops would be so glad that we have renewed our friendship and proud that his son has joined our Farm Family to educate people and help them get healthy, in mind, body, and Spirit.Meg
 
 

Market Day

It's a beautiful day and the market is bustling. Last nite we were afraid that it was going to be raining so we loaded everything into the horse trailer just in case. tables, chairs, freezers etc. We figured we could stay warm and dry in there and our customers would have a place to warm up! Our regulars brave the elements and we couldn't disappoint them. People want their grass fed beef, lamb, and their pastured pork, and poultry no matter the weather. The market in Murrieta has only been open a few months and more people find it every week. In addition to our meat, eggs and citrus, there are wonderful veggie stalls, flowers, bread, cheese, herbs, candy, killer BBQ, mexican foods, sauces, honey, salsa, and the list goes on! Come see us on Sundays at Village Walk. Its a fun way to spend a morning and take home local products for eating during the week. Starting in March Pauley will be back cooking delicious dishes from items exclusively available at the market. Yum! I can't wait for Lamb pita pockets! Meg http://www.mmlivestockco.com
 
 

There is a Chimera in the Pasture!

This morning I found a set of twin calves in the pasture (growl). As I went in to check they got up and hurried over to mom. As they moved away from me I noticed that one was a bull calf and the other a heifer. That means there is a better than 90 percent chance that the heifer is a Freemarten which is the sterile co-twin of male female twinning in cattle. The male hormones from the male calf share the common circulation and inhibit normal development of the reproductive organs of the female. The female is also what is called an erythrocytic Chimera, meaning she has both XY and XX chromosomes. A simple blood test will confirm this. We Never keep twin calves as breeders so both calves will be tagged for production and if the mother cow produces a second set of twins she will be culled. Twin calves don't seem to be as hardy in my experience and put an excessive amount of stress on the mother cow. Cattle usually have single births and this is only the 3rd Freemarten I've had in the last 15 years. It isn't that common but does happen and folks new to raising cattle need to be aware of the phenomenon. A Freemarten will finish out much the same as a steer and the male twin should be castrated as well as some studies have shown that Co-twin bull calves have a reduced sperm count and should not be kept for breeding. Twins usually stay smaller than single calves and tend to finish at lighter weights so at least from this grass based producers standpoint, I don't want twins in my herd. Meg http://www.mmlivestockco.com
 
 

Making a difference

One of our sustaining families has done a wonderful thing! They purchased a beef share for a local food bank. This is a great way to get great food to the people that need it the most. USDA inspected and graded source verified grass fed and finished beef is helping needy families! We have been helping military families for a while now but this is the first time our beef has been used as a gift to do "Gods Work". I was so touched when Joe came to pick up the beef and told me that it would be helping nearly 100 local families, amazing! To know that our cattle are helping feed the local community through the generosity of our members shows just what community is supposed to be! http://www.mmlivestockco.com
 
 

New Calves

We had 2 calves born overnite both to first time heifers. I like to have the first timers in close just in case there are any problems. Both girls did fine and the calves were up and nursing really quickly. I can only recall having to help on one or two occasions but better safe than sorry. We breed for ease of calving and good mothering in addition to grass conversion and I am ruthless when it comes to culling inferior animals or those with genetic markers for trouble. It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there that think any beef cow can produce superior grass finished beef. "Corn cows" will never finish out properly on grass. They don't have the genetics. What you end up with in that case is beef with no finish that won't grade. "Grass Cattle" will finish well in either production system. I'm proud of the fact that my beef grades Choice or better with a yield of 1-2. That's how grass finished beef should finish. Add in dry aging and artisanal butchering techniques and you have a product that is what people should expect from properly raised sustainable grass fed beef. I will be posting new pictures on the website http://www.mmlivestockco.com in a week or so and you'll be able to see the new calves. Meg
 
 

Back to the Market

Yesterday was our first day back at the Murrieta Farmers Market. It was great to see all of our market friends! Now that there is room on the permit for us things should just keep clicking along. Our county changed their interpretation of the Veterans exemption so we had to wait for the market to be able to expand their permit to accommodate the 10 of us that were affected. We got some interesting questions yesterday that bear repeating (Ted I know your going to argue about this but hear me out.) One we got several times was, " Is the PORK grass fed?" No. Pigs cannot survive on grass or hay alone. They are a single stomached animal and cannot break down the cellulose enough to get proper nutrition. The pork we offer is Pastured. That means that they live outside, on living feed but it is not strictly grass. Root vegetables, as well as forbes, legumes and tubers are planted for them to eat. We also give them milk from the local dairy, and all the goodies that the farmers send home with us after the markets each week. This weeks load included beets, pumpkins, green beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, herbs, and squash. The chickens get their share of the loot too. I think people that use the terms Grass fed or Grass Finished when referring to pork or poultry are misleading consumers. it chips away at the very credibility of the claim of livestock being Grass Fed and Finished. Ruminants are the only animals capable of surviving on a total grass diet. If these claims keep being made pretty soon Grass Fed and Finished will have no more importance than the terms Natural, and Free Range. Another question that came up was "Is the Pork and Chicken Hormone Free?" Yes, it has been illegal to use hormones or steroids in pork and poultry production since the 1960's. We were also asked about GMO's. The question doesn't apply to grass fed catlle and sheep since they receive no grain in their diet. We have never fed GMO grains, in fact we feed no corn or soy at all because the probability of those grains being genetically modified is a near certainty, even Organic Corn and Soy products likely contain GMO's because the fact that the seed is modified does not have to be disclosed. Truly Local is putting together some literature for producers to take to Markets or place in their stores that details species appropriate diets as well as Source Verification information. This is a great thing for small producers! It gets the information out there to help educate consumers, and it does away with many of the myths and blatant falsehoods they sometimes come across. Always ask questions, get to know your farmers and ranchers, and above all,remember that if someone claims Grass Fed Pork or Poultry, odds are it's a bum steer! Meg
 
 

Oscar's Hens Are Laying

After 2 weeks of mud and yuck I got one heck of a chuckle. Oscars little Game Hens laid their first eggs! He was so proud of those 2 little eggs. As everyone who knows me will tell you, I am NOT a bird person. It's worth putting up with them to see the sheer delight on that mans face when he gets those eggs. I ordered him more egg layers from McMurray Hatchery and since they were only a little more expensive I got him a selection of "Heritage" birds as well as the tried and true sex links. Thank goodness for Peggy! She is teaching us (me) how to raise chickens properly, building pasture enclosures, coops, brooders, etc. I'm still not completely sold on the chicken thing but that may be because what I know about chickens you could put in a thimble and still have room for an olympic size pool! I know beef, I know lamb, I know genetics, range management etc. Chickens are a whole new world. I think it was Jimmy Williams that said it best. "It's what you learn after you know it all that's important". On a more somber note AQHA legend First Down Dash died on Thanksgiving Day at Vessels Stallion Farm. This great horse will be missed, but we all know that he's up there with Scoop snacking on sunflower seeds! Memorials can be sent to AQHA Foundation. Time for me to head out and check cows. Meg
 
 

Beef Harvest

Our field harvest yesterday was remarkably well attended and those that came out had some great questions for the butcher! They got a lesson in live wt. vs hanging wt. & how to "judge" a carcass for quality. What I feel was the biggest lesson learned was just how humane field harvesting is. The animal is relaxed in its home setting until the moment it is dispatched. That alone has an impact on the quality of the finished product. Dan came out and gave a little talk on grass vs hay vs grain and what the differences really are. It was interesting to see when people "got it" one gal asked if there was any way to tell the difference between grass & hay finished animals. Yes! It is in the finish, fat, & flavor profile. You can e-mail me for a copy of his lecture. Fascinating stuff! These beeves will be ready for pick up in 5 weeks. USDA Beeves are still 3 weeks out but we have our holiday cuts available. Lambs come back from the butcher Friday and will be ready for pick up 12/21 at the winter gathering. Thank you for your support! Meg
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Custom Harvesting

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been trying to get cows tested so we can move them, working to save the home place, plus the daily routine of checking livestock and rotating pastures. Dealing with the loss of a good friend(more on that later). We are custom harvesting 2 steers for our cowpoolers on Tuesday so if anyone wants to see how it's done be here by 10. We've been having a blast at the Markets as well. Saturday in Temecula is always fun, even in the rain. but if a more laid back market is your thing come see us on Sundays in Fallbrook from 11-3 we're always cooking up something, and John the hotdog Guy has at least 1 kind of our sausage each week. Tony's there with his killer Hummus and the cake lady's stuff is to die for! Teri will be back next week with her fish and don't forget the honey gal! Let's see what else? Oh, the Velociraptor (aka Gracie) had her pups! 6 little BC babies! 4 girls 2 boys. All are spoken for but 2. She's one heck of a young dog and daddy is probably the 2nd most Talented cowdog I know. Grace is back to work and motherhood seems to have given her focus. She's settling in to the stockdog routine nicely and will likely start trialling next spring. Thanks again for all of your support. I'll post more regularly I promise! Meg
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keeping it in the family

We are adding 40 head of Registered Aberdeen Angus Cows to our program. the beauty of this decision is we are keeping it in the family! My Cousin has the last of the cattle that carry the Genetics that my Grandfather was using until his death. We were able to secure bred cows with traceable Genetics that have an uninterrupted family ownership going back 80 + years. These girls are old timey cows topping out at 1200-1400lb. Not the little guys that are dominating todays market. The fact that these new cows have never seen grain and finish out at 18 to 22 months makes them pretty special. Combine that with the gene pool we already have in place and we have unbroken familial genetics that go back 140 years. There aren't very many operations that can back that claim. With our focus being traceability and superior Genetics it wonderful to be able to keep it in the family.
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Clean Meat

I had a gal join our CSA and she asked a question that needs to be addressed again. She asked how we prove that our meat is "Clean". I asked her to define what she meant by Clean ans she said,"Can you prove what they eat is safe?" Yes We Can! While we are waiting for final approval from Animal Welfare Approved and American Grass fed. We adhere to the USDA Natural Guidlines and our stock is certified under that umbrella. That means: Livestock receive a plant based diet free of animal by-products, genetically modified grains, hormones, and antibiotics. Since our Cattle and Sheep are grass fed they exceed the criteria set by the USDA. The pigs are on a certified Organic diet as well as being pasture raised. Same for the birds. I offered to let her come and review our test results if she liked. We test our water and our Pastures annually for the health of the land and the animals that graze it. She asked about corn and soy. We don't feed either grain to any of our stock because gen-mo disclosure is not mandatory and I'm not taking chances. We pay a bit extra to have our meat graded and tested. Our Food supply has been so severly adulterated that we feel we must be able to prove that our products are safe, free from additives, and grown the way Nature intended it to grow. It may take our animals a little longer to get to your plate but I think is worth the wait.
 
 

more youngsters, dutch oven fun

This has been a BUSY week! More lambs and goat kids have been born, 20 lambs and 3 kids. Everyone is doing well. This weeks dutch oven class was based around beef. We did some large roasts over the coals and grilled up some steaks just for fun. Everyone was shocked when I brought the steaks out still frozen. I explained that starting steaks frozen on the grill actually protects the tenderness of the meat. You don't lose any of the good juices that collect in the bag during during defrosting and it only adds about 10 minutes to the total cooking time. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to steaks and don't use anything but salt pepper and garlic on mine. If you want to marinade that's fine. I just usually don't. They all thought I was nuts until they sat down to eat. 10 converts! If it was only always that easy! This week we did Matimbres, classic roast beef, and dutch oven Wellingtons. As soon as the website is finished we'll start posting recipes, until then you can e-mail me and I'll send em to you. Next week I am at the Green Feast In San Juan Capistrano so class will be Monday nite. Some of the cooking students are getting more interested in other aspects of ranching and livestock care so we're going to allow the general public to attend some of our seminars and are developing a couple of classes for newcomers to country life. As soon as we have the schedule set I'll post it. If there are specific things you all are intereste in let me know and we'll do our best to get someone out here to talk about it. All the slots are filled for Branding Day. I had no idea people wanted to watch calves get branded, doctored and castrated. I'm glad they do though. If more people took the time to learn the how and why of where the meat they are eating comes from they would have a deeper appreciation for their food and the land that produces it. If I can show one person the difference between living with the land instead of just on it, I've done my job. Time to bring the sheep in. talk to you all soon. Meg
 
 

Banking on Belties

Ok I'm convinced! I know I said it would be a couple of months before we had informaton on our belties, but when we weighed and ultrasounded steers one was ready to go. 1,200 lb on the hoof and 791 hot hanging wt. so far so Great! The best thing is he graded Prime on GRASS! This is amazing! I knew these were good efficient cattle but Hot Dawg! We usually grade Choice + but to get one to make Prime is cause for celebration. We looked at several Heritage breeds to bring into our operation and knew that the belties fit well with our rotational grazing program. We were sceptical about the information we received about the efficiency of the breed on grass (You know Ranchers, No way can it be better than what we've been doing since before the Dead Sea Got Sick.) I'm sorry I doubted you Gene! Mea culpa, Mea Culpa. If this is any indication of what we are going to produce consistently I'm one happy camper! We have always had very strict standards for our production animals and this is a Prime(pun intended) example of what Superior Genetics coupled with Superior Stewardship can produce. Meg
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