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Old 01-05-2009, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Maine
6,075 posts, read 11,599,983 times
Reputation: 5687

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
Free range beef in Maine? I don't think so. Too many roads, woods and neighbor yards to keep out of, especially in Orland Maine. It gives you the idea that his cows frolic in endless fields without a barb wire fence in sight.
Free-range is a term most of us know. I hadn't heard of free-range beef until now but it's not hard to understand what A Wee Bit Farm is saying. Pastured is the commonly known term for animals raised on pasture. Technically, even the beef cattle that end up in CAFO spend most of their lives on pasture.

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Free Range.
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This USDA term applies only to poultry (and only means they were given “access” to the outdoors). On beef, it’s meaningless.
Unfortunately it doesn't have much meaning for poultry either. "Access" doesn't mean the birds ever go outside, touch grass or soil. It's misleading.

When I think of factory farms I'm thinking of cages stuffed with laying hens and pens of pigs raised on concrete in barns. A herd of 1000 milkers on pasture is great as long as they're well cared for. Twenty cows in an enclosure year round or in mud and never on pasture is factory farming in my mind.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:22 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,169,821 times
Reputation: 1506
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
Free-range is a term most of us know. I hadn't heard of free-range beef until now but it's not hard to understand what A Wee Bit Farm is saying. Pastured is the commonly known term for animals raised on pasture. Technically, even the beef cattle that end up in CAFO spend most of their lives on pasture.

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Unfortunately it doesn't have much meaning for poultry either. "Access" doesn't mean the birds ever go outside, touch grass or soil. It's misleading.

When I think of factory farms I'm thinking of cages stuffed with laying hens and pens of pigs raised on concrete in barns. A herd of 1000 milkers on pasture is great as long as they're well cared for. Twenty cows in an enclosure year round or in mud and never on pasture is factory farming in my mind.
I know just where you are coming from and I agree. Our cows are on pasture in the summer of course, but right now they are penned up because of the cold weather.

As for Free Range poultry, to most of the people where I live, that means their chickens and turkey's run rampant on their lawns, driveways and spill out into the street. When people complain they claim they are "free range birds" and then try to cite the Right to Farm Laws.

Orginally I thought this depressed economy was going to be good as it would get more people to get into livestock and get people connected with their food, but slowly I am realizing that maybe we are beyond hope. One woman over on the Backwoods Home Forum wanted to "free range her goats" and was planning on "leaving them at her cabin in the mountains and checking on them every few weeks." She wanted to know "how much milk they would give when she finally got around to milking them?"

Just a guess but seeing as how they are probably gone, not a whole lot.

I was nice and explained that livestock need to be checked at least daily and that it takes time, money and resources to care for livestock. I'm all for people getting animals to feed themselves...we need more of it of course...but I am wondering if we have become just too far removed from farming as a society to get back to our roots?

With the price of grain and hay still lagging at high prices, the horse shelters and rescue missions here in Maine are overflowing. I sincerely hope its better in other parts of the country. I know in Maine we just plain need more responsibility when it comes to livestock. This is meant for homesteaders, small scale farmers and mega-farms alike.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Maine
6,075 posts, read 11,599,983 times
Reputation: 5687
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
As for Free Range poultry, to most of the people where I live, that means their chickens and turkey's run rampant on their lawns, driveways and spill out into the street. When people complain they claim they are "free range birds" and then try to cite the Right to Farm Laws.
My birds are out all day but they're contained. I can't have them in the road and market garden and I can't be feeding the hawk. That's hard on the profit margin. Free range doesn't mean unfenced. That can be irresponsible.

Quote:
Orginally I thought this depressed economy was going to be good as it would get more people to get into livestock and get people connected with their food, but slowly I am realizing that maybe we are beyond hope.
Don't lose hope yet. I'd rather not see people with animals they don't know how to care for but if they're learning about food production there's hope. We do a lot of educating here in what used to be farm country. They're learning about unnecessary medications and humane treatment. We helped four families raise Thanksgiving turkeys last year. It was amusing at times. They learned about the difference between weights and flavors of their turkeys compared to factory farmed.
Quote:
I was nice and explained that livestock need to be checked at least daily and that it takes time, money and resources to care for livestock. I'm all for people getting animals to feed themselves...we need more of it of course...but I am wondering if we have become just too far removed from farming as a society to get back to our roots?
I've had a hard time explaining proper housing to someone with dairy goats. He just doesn't understand body mass and the inability to keep themselves warm when left without adequate housing. Some people shouldn't have animals. For those who do, I encourage them to start small. Raise some meat chickens and turkeys or some meat rabbits. Our view of meat tends to change when we see that it wasn't born on a styrofoam tray wrapped in Saran Wrap in the meat counter.

Quote:
With the price of grain and hay still lagging at high prices, the horse shelters and rescue missions here in Maine are overflowing. I sincerely hope its better in other parts of the country. I know in Maine we just plain need more responsibility when it comes to livestock. This is meant for homesteaders, small scale farmers and mega-farms alike.
Along with farming, I work in publishing. Some of what I do takes me to various farms. Most of what I see is excellent. The growth in small farms in fantastic. Their animals are well cared for, healthy and sound. Some of what I see is no better than the stuffed cages and unnatural pens of factory farms. My step-mother stopped at a new place to buy eggs. They were covered in manure. Not just dirty, caked. Those hens would have been better off in a clean cage than in the conditions they were living. That woman no longer has chickens.
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