Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Buy Local - The Fast Track to Change

Picture I have long been a proponent of voicing your opinion to government any chance you get. But for this issue there is a fast track to change.

Vote with your dollars.

According to a USA Today article, three plants producing pink slime have permanently shut down. While I feel sorry for the folks who lost their source of income, I rejoice that the demand for pink slime has fallen like a stone since it first went public a few weeks ago.

This is a prime example of what can be done to change the way food is grown, processed, labeled etc.

It's very simple: Companies don't produce what they can't sell.

I found it typical that the company producing pink slime has adopted the stance that they have got an unfair rap and people are misinformed about pink slime.

My opinion -Folks were informed of what is going on and said "no thanks" with their dollars.

This could happen to any company, good or bad.

The key to stopping it from happening- Transparency. Let people see behind the curtain and judge for themselves if they want to do business with you.

We saw behind the pink slime curtain and opted out.

You can bet other companies have been watching nervously as the pink slime story has unfolded wondering if they are next.

You will see more dollars spent on public relations as big agriculture and food companies work to convince the public they are on "our side."

Stop out and see your local farmers. Buy as much of your food from them as you can. 

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms

PS - Help force the issue on labeling genetically modified organisms in our foods. How? Go to the Institute for Responsible Technology and learn how you can vote with your dollars.


Farmers: Sell More Regardless of the Economy

 A recession is a transference of wealth from the meek to the bold - Dan Kennedy

I love Dan’s definition of a recession. While it seems hard to nail down the figure, the Fed says $878 billion dollars will circulate through the United States economy in 2012.

The question we have to asked ourselves is “how much of that will I capture for my business

Here’s some tips:

Check up on your attitude - W. Clement Stone said in the midst of the depression “I did know the opportunities were unlimited. For sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman—not the attitude of the prospect.”

It’s very common to have customers remark on fuel cost going up or food prices increasing or a million other topics that only accentuate the negative. Resist getting into these conversations.

 Work on being a place that is positive and upbeat. Customers buy more from those types of business.

Tap Into Consumer Mentality. Match It – Customers have money. They are just more reluctant to let go of it in a down economy. Their mentality has changed.  They are holding on to their money and less likely to spend it frivolously. That doesn’t mean they won’t spend it or they only want cheap food.  Actually quite the contrary. Many people are looking for a way to make themselves feel better in less expensive ways.

Talk to your customers about less expensive ways to have fun, feel good, etc. An example would be offering “special breakfast package” or a farm visit they can bring the kids to see your new baby goats etc.

Coach Your Employees or Helpers about How to Talk to Customers – Part of their job is to sell and influence buying decisions not talk about their life is or how rotten the state of the economy with customers.

 Customers don’t contact you or come to your farm to hear bad news. They can turn on the radio or read the newspaper if they want that. They come to you to find something they want and have a positive buying experience.

Farmers take heed: There’s enough bad news in the air, without adding fuel to the fire. When customers come to do business with you, they want to feel good. They want to feel good about buying.

 Action Tip: Spend the next few weeks thinking about positive ways to present your products as well as checking up on everyone’s attitude at your farm.

Until next time.....



When Organic Food Isn't Really Organic

Frequently I'm asked about the difference between local, sustainable food and Organic. Although you could find a small farm that is Organic and it be a great place to get your food, for the most part the Organic label is being adulterated at an alarming rate.

 Two of the biggest offenders: USDA and the FDA. [more]


More Proof - The FDA is Out to Get Farmers

Tamworth Duroc Cross Pigs 2005

In yet another move against farmers, the FDA recently took a "no holds barred" approach to being adversarial to farmers. They attacked one of their own.

If you were wondering if the FDA was your friend as a farmer...it looks like 'no'. The move  looks to be an attempt to rid the agency of anyone who might be sympathetic to farmers.

FDA Memo Threatens Agency’s Farmer Employees


12/25/2010 2:00 PM M.P. Taylor


 Maryland Correspondent

Just months short of his January retirement from the Food and Drug Administration, Lonnie Luther received word that his employer deemed his part-time farming operation a conflict of interest. He had, the memo said, 60 days to either sell his farm or quit his job.

Luther wasn’t alone. In fact, every FDA employee with any interest in farming received the same memo. And while FDA officials have put a hold on the order while the ethics rule on which it is based makes its way up the bureaucratic ladder for top-level reconsideration, employees fear the worst.

“I feared they might strip me of my retirement annuity” for refusing to sell or quit, and for going public with the memo, Luther said. “I still have anxieties and fears about what they might come up with.”

An FDA official, who would not speak to Lancaster Farming specifically about Luther’s case and could offer only background information on the policy, said the agency’s ethics rules are no different from those of any other government entity, although clearly they have never been enforced.

At issue is a new interpretation of the 10-year-old Supplemental Standards for Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Department of Health and Human Services. Should an “FDA regulated product” apply to farm crops and food animals?

Vincent Tolino, the ethics and integrity director who wrote the sell-or-quit memo, decided it did, although he told the Maryland Gazette newspapers that “there was really no exact point when an interpretation changed.”

But change it did and, in his memo to Luther, Tolino stated that “because the ... operations you are involved in are significantly regulated by FDA, you are prohibited from retaining this financial interest.”

Luther, a special assistant to the director of the FDA’s Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation, has been with the agency since 1974 and the owner of a Damascus, Md., farm for almost as long. He said that every year he has filed papers declaring his interest in the farm, where he and wife, Mina, raise corn, soybeans, hay, beef cattle and show chickens.

Where, he asked FDA officials, is the conflict of interest? It was a question to which he said he received no satisfactory answer.

He has never, he insists, attempted to parlay his position with FDA into an unfair marketing advantage for his small farming operation. He owns the farm “because this is how I want to live. I grew up on a farm and wanted to continue that lifestyle.”

Katherine Weld, a colleague of Luther’s who is nowhere near retirement, raises meat goats on her 26-acre farm just outside Frederick, Md. She admits to being “off the deep end” over the memo and is planning to leave the agency if it ultimately becomes necessary.

“I’m not going to give up this lifestyle,” she said of the farm. “I like the hard work and satisfaction of raising an animal, and I have started to look for jobs.”

Like Luther, she sees no conflict of interest in her farming operation and job.

“I’m not saying the meat is FDA-approved, and I don’t tell anyone I work for the FDA,” she said. “Using that information for marketing would be a problem, and it would be wrong.”

However, she said the ethics rule has been bent so far that “you can’t sell a tomato out of your backyard garden,” and she also believes it would bar children from participating in 4-H activities.

“This isn’t Enron,” she said of the alleged ethics violations.

Although Weld doesn’t personally know of any employee who has sold a farm, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened since the memo was sent to FDA employees nationwide.

While they wait for the bureaucracy to work its will on the ethics rule interpretation, they all live in “fear the ax is going to fall,” she said.

Since so many of the agency’s most valued professionals may choose to quit, she thinks the agency is making a big mistake in beefing up its ethics rule interpretation.

“If they’re afraid of losing their institutional knowledge, pushing people out the door is not the way to keep them,” she said.

Luther is far less diplomatic in his assessment of the situation, calling the agency’s ethics staff “a bunch of idiots who have decided to exercise their intelligence. It’s just nonsense, unbelievable stuff.”



Smaller Livestock Producers May Get a Fair Deal


It's all about the money
Several years ago I was reading something, I don't remember what now. I was shocked to find out that there has been a law on the books since 1921 that would stop a lot of the "sweetheart" deals that exist in the corporate livestock industry.

You may not know it, but much of the deals that take place in the meat packing industry keep all but the biggest players at a serious disadvantage in the marketplace.

As the outbreak of World War I occurred and the cost of living rose, president Woodrow Wilson ordered the FTC to investigate the industry from the "hoof to the table" to determine whether or not there were any "manipulations, controls, trusts, combinations, or restraints out of harmony with the law or the public interest."

The FTC reported packers were manipulating markets, restricting flow of foods, controlling the price of dressed meat, defrauding producers and consumers of food and crushing competition. The FTC, in fact, recommended governmental ownership of the stockyards and their related facilities. (source)

Congress passed the Packers and Stockyards Act on August 15, 1921 as H.R. 6320 and the law went into effect in September 1921.

It has never been enforced to any degree of effectiveness and the same things and worse are still going today.

Recently the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proposed a bill that would establish rules to enforce the act. This is a major move in the right direction.

The Center for Rural Affairs has the details [more]




What's Wrong With Our Food System - Speech by 11 yr old boy.

Excellent speech by Birke Baehr an eleven year old boy.




Monsanto in the spotlight again

Blood on our Farms: Is Monsanto Responsible for 1 Suicide Every 30 Minutes?


Click Here


A Great Way to See/Share Why to buy from a Local Farm

I love this little video! It really brings home what's going on in the industrial farming sector.

When I go through the grocery store I see so many pretty, pastoral labels all designed to make me think my food is actually coming from a real farm somewhere...

Opt out of that system buy from a local farmer!


See it here


I'm ashamed it took me this long...

A couple of days ago a close friend of mine called me to ask if I had watched Food Inc.

 Watch the trailer here.

I immediately knew what he was talking about as I had seen the reviews in Acres USA and a several other small farm, sustainable farming publications.

He had been exposed to it on the academy awards show, rented it on a whim, and was now calling me to see if I had seen it.

His reaction to the movie was pretty intense. I know him well enough to know he isn't easily impressed, so I thought I'd better get the thing and watch it.

My wife and sat down to watch it last night and by the time it was over I had experienced a host of emotions.

It made me mad enough to yell at the TV, I was enlightened, I cried at one point...this movie is an absolute MUST SEE if you want to see the truth about the food industry in America.

It was tastefully put together and doesn't have a visual shock value element where you can't watch certain scenes like some other things of this nature I have watched. 

Watch the trailer and get a copy you won't be sorry.

Until next time...

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