COMMENTARY

It’s best to know who you’re dealing with
Sheep farmer makes a case for local food done right.

Posted May 12, 2006

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Twenty-one years of raising sheep organically without the use of worming medication has produced a flock with 27 lambs on this small 18 acre farm (10 acres in pasture, and 2 acres in organic vegetables). Organically grown animals do not get those nasty communicable diseases. They are free to roam the farm as they desire.

A few years ago, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Shepherd of the Year wrote a newspaper column advocating the feeding of chicken manure to sheep. Yikes, I was horrified and called her on the phone. Referred to the state government, I called them and was told that feeding chicken manure had been advocated since the big poultry houses were established in the 1930s.

Since I eat the high omega 3, exclusively grass-fed meat I produce, you can be sure I am not feeding the livestock anything I would not eat myself. But I do know people who feed corn, soybeans and worming medication to their sheep and still eat them. My meat does not have the "off taste" my customers notice in other meat. The advice to "eat local" and "know your farmer" still makes good sense. However, I want my local food to be organically produced by healthy people. I do not want my milk to be produced by local cows being fed local grains from the feed mill that puts cottonseed meal into the mix.

Since I do not want my nation's population to be poisoned by cottonseed-meal contaminated milk, I insist that my purchases be made on organically grown cotton. It is nice to be old, retired, married, healthy and happy producing food for my fellow Americans with the help of my husband. We can vote with our dollars. My website is http://pbaer.mystarband.net.

Janet Baer
Maryland