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Posts Tagged ‘livestock’

After my two half-Swedish grandchildren were off breast milk — or even before — they started on bottles of a ground-up oat concoction that I’m told all Swedish children drink rather than cow’s milk. Välling. We can’t get along without it.

So the following story from the Guardian is not as curious to me as it might be to others.

Tom Levitt reports, “Adam Arnesson, 27, is not your usual milk producer. For starters, he doesn’t have any dairy cattle. Our first photo opportunity is in the middle of one of his fields of oats.

“Until last year all these oats went into animal feed, either sold or fed to the sheep, pigs and cows he rears on his organic farm in Örebro county, central Sweden.

“With the support of Swedish drinks company Oatly, they are now being used to produce an oat milk drink …

“ ‘The natural thing for us would be to increase our livestock numbers, but I don’t want a factory,’ he says. ‘The number of animals has to be emotionally right so I know each of them.’ …

“The rearing of livestock and meat consumption accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Alongside carbon emissions from deforestation (for pasture or crops to feed animals), the livestock sector is also the single biggest human-related source of methane (from cattle) and nitrous oxide emissions (from fertiliser and manure), two particularly potent greenhouse gases. …

“ ‘I had a lot of arguments on social media with other farmers, because I thought what Oatly was doing could bring better opportunities to our sector,’ says Arnesson, who decided to contact the company in 2015 to see if they could help him switch away from livestock. …

“After the first year of producing oats, analysis by researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that Arnesson’s farm was producing double the amount of calories for human consumption per hectare and had halved the climate impact of each calorie produced. …

“ ‘I don’t want to take pride from having a tractor or producing 10 tonnes of wheat or a sow with 10 piglets, but in feeding and preserving the planet – that is one of the big things I want as a farmer to be involved in changing,’ says Arnesson.

“Oatly said it plans to work with three more farmers to demonstrate the environmental benefits of switching from livestock to more crop production. But Arnesson says livestock farmers need government support in order to do so in large numbers.”

More at the Guardian , here.

Photo: Tom Levitt for the Guardian 
Adam Arnesson in a field of oats at his organic farm in Örebro country, Sweden.

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Photograph: Leah Nash for the NY Times
Tyler and Alicia Jones on their farm in Corvallis, Ore.

I’ve blogged before about young people who are attracted to farming. Here, I wrote about a friend’s great niece raising organic chickens on a farm in Connecticut.

At the same time, I have been reading about the phenomenon. For example, Dawn Thilmany and S. Sureshwaran wrote in a publication called Choices about “Innovations to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.” And the USDA has increased the numbers of programs they have for beginners.

Recently, Isolde Raftery wrote in the NY Times about a young farming couple in Corvallis, Oregon.

“For years, Tyler Jones, a livestock farmer,” Raftery wrote, “avoided telling his grandfather how disillusioned he had become with industrial farming.

“After all, his grandfather had worked closely with Earl L. Butz, the former federal secretary of agriculture who was known for saying, ‘Get big or get out.’

“But several weeks before his grandfather died, Mr. Jones broached the subject. His grandfather surprised him. ‘You have to fix what Earl and I messed up,’ Mr. Jones said his grandfather told him.

“Now, Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and list punk rock, Karl Marx and the food journalist Michael Pollan as their influences. The Joneses say they and their peers are succeeding because of Oregon’s farmer-foodie culture, which demands grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. …

“Garry Stephenson, coordinator of the Small Farms Program at Oregon State University, said he had not seen so much interest among young people in decades. ‘It’s kind of exciting,’ Mr. Stephenson said. ‘They’re young, they’re energetic and idealist, and they’re willing to make the sacrifices.’ ” Read more.

Check out the National Young Farmers Coalition, here.

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