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April 2012

Open letter from Occupy activists: Farmland is for farming

"As you read this letter, East Bay families and farmers continue to seed, weed and water at Occupy The Farm. Public events over this weekend have included workshops by members of the community and the opening of the “Ladybug Patch” children’s area ... In 1997, the UC walked away from the table during the final stages of deliberating a proposal for the Gill Tract drafted by a coalition of UC professors, residents, and more than 30 local non-profits known as the Bay Area Coalition for Urban Agriculture (BACUA). - Occupy activists


What remains unclear here is whether Occupy the Farm expects free squatter's rights for the Gill Tract agricultural land the group has "occupied", or whether "the public" plans to pay for its urban farm. The UC system had planned to develop the property to include, among other things, a Whole Foods store. From the UC and local government (property tax assessor) point of view, development would bring in more revenue. What is more valuabe? Preservation of agricultural and ranching land, or revenue from development? (Click on the link above for the full story.)

Updating ag land use policy before it's too late

"The general public is agreeing that agricultural land, particularly fertile land with access to water, is important to preserve."- Chrsitopher Kailing


Property owners need incentives to preserve agricultural or open lands. Otherwise, the high cost of property taxes makes maintaining pretty scenery, lower-density uses, or a place for food to grow an unaffordable proposition. (Click on the link for the full story.)

Read also: Agriculture survey reveals common concerns

Fed child farm rules abandoned

“The withdrawl of the proposed rule is another huge win for Colorado agriculture. Farm Bureau members across Colorado have sent a clear message to Washington: Stay away from our kids. We can all now sleep a little better knowing that our advocacy efforts have helped to save our industry and our rural way of life.” - Don Shawcroft, CFB President


Hooray for the Colorado Farm Bureau (where I get my insurance)! Hooray for the American Horse Council for taking a stance! Hooray for Investors Business Daily, which took a stance! Hooray for everybody who took the time to comment on this important issue! (Click on the link for the full story.)

Agriculture survey reveals common concerns

Declining farm and ranchland, increasing difficulty finding housing affordable for agrarian incomes, issues around regulations, farm interns and costs as well as access to land were common concerns ..


I would venture to say that the farmers and ranchers in the Half Moon Bay area of California are not the only ones with these concerns. One of the reasons hay prices continue to climb is that hay fields are fast disappearing. (Click on the link for the full story.)

Invasion of family farm and a ban on its character-building traditions

What farming also isn't is a domain of private life that the federal government can take over.


True. (Click on the link for the full story.) We wrote earlier about the "tweaks" to children working on the farm. When I queried my Congressmen last year, one answered back, basically saying this is a done deal. The public had its chance to comment. Perhaps he was wrong. You can find out what your Congress-persons are up to, and e-mail them by going to

Read also:

American Horse Council opposes new child farm-labor rules

Kids 15 & under could be banned from 4H, livestock projects

‘Horse whisperer’ on call for rescue

"You have to be patient, and that's what makes me like it a lot. It's the challenge of it all."
-- Ammon Mast, farrier


What better choice for emergency livestock calls than a horseshoer? They deal with all different types of horses on a daily basis. I wonder what other cities do for situations like this. (Click on the link above for the full story.)

Mustang Makeover: Argo goes on a neck string!

Hard to believe, but true! In just a few weeks of training, Cayla and Argo, a wild mustang she temporarily adopted for the Extreme Mustang Makeover, now work using nothing more than a neck string! Smart, smart horse!

Cayla continues to work Argo in traditional tack, as his best opportunity will be his ability to do something people can use - say for instance, be a child's three-day-eventing horse.

Read more about Cayla, Argo, and the Extreme Mustang Makeover program in The Fence Post.

Follow Argo and see more of his videos in our Mustang Makeover column.

Be sure to visit Argo's Facebook page: My Extreme Mustang Makeover!

Two horses euthanized at Grand National steeplechase

"I am not happy about drop fences and Becher's is a drop fence." - David Muir, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


When two horses go down at the same fence, it makes you wonder. You also have to wonder about racing in general. Is horse racing's fatality rate higher than other horse disciplines, or just more publicized? (Click on the link above for the full story on the two horse deaths at the Grand National.) The situation for Thoroughbreds breaks my heart. A tiny percentage of the more than 20,000 produced in North America each year make decent money, and of the leftovers, a minority make reliable pleasure or show horses. Final stop: the slaughterhouse.

Read also - Horse deaths: 24 per week on U.S. racetracks

4'10", weighing 86 lbs., teen girl saves 25 horses in barn fire

Stories like this remind me that there is still hope for humanity (even politicians). Madison did not give up on pulling horses out of the flames until the smoke hung so low that she could not even crawl into the burning building.

Somebody like the American Horse Council or the United States Equestrian Federation needs to give this girl a special award. Bravo, Madison! Click here for the full story.

Legends of Ranching Sale: A time for goodbyes and tears

“It’s going to be awful to say goodbye. There will be tears. But I’m excited for him to go to a home and get to do something.”

- Lorraine Johnston


Our very own Hobbes got his start at the CSU Legends of Ranching Sale, and what a happy adventure it has been! (Click on the link above for the full story on the Legends of Ranching Sale.)

(Karin Livingston is the author of the horse novel Winning Bet, available in hard copy and on the Kindle.)

Read also: Buying a horse: 14 questions you should ask