Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.


A chill in the air means the holiday season is fast-approaching, beginning with Thanksgiving. It’s a time to give thanks for our families, friends, health and prosperity. We should also be thankful for a food system that provides a safe, affordable and abundant food supply. Our Thanksgiving meal, whether the main course is turkey or tofurkey, is made possible by the dedicated people throughout the entire food chain – farmers, processors, grocers, and others – each of whom works hard to make it possible.

Since 1970, turkey consumption in the United States has increased by 102 percent. The ability of U.S. farmers to raise more birds using less land, water, and feed provides that turkey at Thanksgiving and year-round. In fact, from 1960 to 2010, the land required to produce all the meat, milk and eggs for every person in the U.S. declined by two thirds.

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This Thanksgiving season, people throughout the food system will be using social media to show their thanks for food and raise awareness of agriculture through the AgChat Foundation’s #foodthanks campaign. Last year more than 800 people participated in the campaign by blogging, adding the #foodthanks twibbon to their avatar photo, and sharing more than 2,000 Twitter posts.

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At this writing, the harvest season is here. The autumn temperatures and the cloudy days with slow drawn-out rains are right on schedule. I am home in Alma, Michigan, corn and soybean country, where harvest is underway. Most of the soybeans are harvested. Combines are working in corn fields.

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This article was #1 of the Top 25 most well-read articles on in 2012. to jump to the article. It was published in the November 21, 2011 issue. Click here for the full list of the Top 25.

When we put Leontien VandeLaar on the cover of our 2011 “Women in dairy” issue, we knew she had a powerful story – but we were blown away by just how many connected with the Indiana dairywoman.

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Post-Civil War, the nation’s industry rapidly grew and expanded throughout the continent. Telegraph lines linked every corner of the country, providing nearly instantaneous spread of news.

Railroads brought distant places within a few days’ train ride. Railroads required steel, coal and money. In the center of that expansion, geographically and financially, was Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s most notable citizens included the contemporaries William Thaw (Pennsylvania Railroad), Andrew Carnegie (U.S. Steel), Andrew Mellon (banking) and Henry Frick (all three).

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The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration held a hearing on Oct. 4 that focused on the agricultural labor crisis and the existential threat American agriculture faces by efforts in the House to pass mandatory E-Verify laws without addressing the immigration status of the current agricultural labor force.

Mandatory E-Verify legislation, H.R. 2885, was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 21. Pending E-Verify legislation has also been introduced in the Senate (S. 1196).

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