Newsletter 2016 0821

September 28, 2016

Upcoming Order Deadlines - Last weekend to order for pickup next Tuesday - Thursday!

Order by Sunday, August 21st, 2016
Pickup Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Hattiesburg & Hattiesburg Hwy 98 West
Order by Monday, August 22nd, 2016
Pickup Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Biloxi & Gulfport
Order by Monday August 22nd, 2016
Pickup Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Remember, you can place an order and or update an existing order until midnight of the order date. Visit our online store at

You may remember from last week I mentioned we would start a discussion on GMO's. However, I first need to answer a question that came up regarding weights. I will use the Iowa Whole Animal Buying Guide as reference. A copy can be found here:

Three Weights include:
1) Live weight - this is the animal weight before slaughter. We will use 1,000 pounds in our example
2) Hanging weight - this is the weight loss from the live animal when slaughtered (61%)
3) Finished cut weight - the weight that remains from the carcass weight when processed & packaged (67%)
So, a 1,000 steer x (61% Hanging wt. x 67% Finished wt.) = 410 lbs. of meat or 205 lbs. per half.
Custom Order cost is (1,000 x 61%) x ($3.50 + $0.50 processing) = $2440 for whole or $1220 per half

“People are fed by the food industry which pays no attention to health; and are treated by the health industry which pays no attention to food” – quote by Wendell Berry, farmer & author.

There are a lot of folks raising the red warning flag concerning GMO's - they include Dr. Don Huber, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, Steven Druker, Eric Herm, Jeffrey M. Smith, and Mark Schatzker to name a few. None of these as you may guess are associated with commercial ag companies, USDA, FDA, Land Grant colleges, and most medical folks.

So, what is the big deal? "Why We Don't Feed Our Animals GMO feed"? To answer that question I want to thank my friends at Seven Sons for letting me share a 3-part post they recently ran in their newsletter written my Jeff Apthorp.

Guest post by Jeff Apthorp of

Animals at Nature's Gourmet Farm are raised without feeding genetically modified organisms such as GMO corn or soybeans. I would like to explain why sustainable, pasture based farmers are so diligent about keeping GMOs out of your food.

Many people make the assumption that food companies, scientists and the government have our backs when it comes to food safety. They imagine that agencies are carefully taking note of health effects over time and would advise us if there was any legitimate concern.

It would be amazing if it worked that way, but a more accurate picture reveals that scientists have to be paid by someone. There's also lobbying, politics and cherry picking of studies to advance corporate agendas.

Despite a perception of complexity, the facts surrounding GMOs are well documented and can be boiled down to a brief summary. Here's what you need to know.

GMOs in 2 minutes

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The term typically refers to crops that have been genetically engineered to resist insects, herbicides (weed killer), viruses and fungal diseases.

The process of genetic engineering involves inserting DNA, from bacteria, into plant cells and then regenerating the plant from the modified cells. The resulting modified plant resists herbicides and/or contains a toxin that insects can't survive. When ingested, the toxin causes an insects gut to break down, which kills the insect.

This is very different from grafting two similar plants together to create a hybrid.

GMO Patents are owned by a few chemical companies, including Monsanto, Du Pont, Dow, Syngenta and Bayer. The most prevalent is Monsanto. They hold the patent for Glyphosate, an herbicide you probably know by the name "Roundup". They also hold the patent for plants resistant to Glyphosate and license the seeds to farmers annually.

USDA figures put about 90% of US crops as genetically engineered (88-94% depending on the crop). If your diet contains soy, corn, sugar, potato or packaged/processed foods, you are ingesting lots of GMOs.

Animal products can also be a major source of GMOs and pesticides if the animals were fed GMO feed at any time. Pesticide residue actually accumulates at far higher concentrations in animal fat than on produce, so if you are trying to avoid pesticides, it would be wise to start with 100% grass fed and pastured animal products.

The GMO patent holders claim genetic engineering is safe for humans. In fact, they gained FDA approval without the rigorous testing that is usually required by law. The term proponents used to persuade the FDA to allow GMOs is "GRAS", which means "Generally Recognized As Safe".

The FDA leaves it up to the patent owners to conduct their own safety testing and then takes their word for it. Those in favor of GMOs are spending millions of dollars to fight against any requirement to disclose GMO content on product labels.

GMO opponents take issue on a few fronts. First there are risks from the modified bacteria genes themselves. They are also concerned about toxicity from the herbicides sprayed directly on, and absorbed by, the plant.

Opponents point to non-industry studies that closely correlate GMO consumption to major diseases while pointing out that the FDA's current policy related to GMOs is illegal. Numerous countries even have total or partial GMO bans, including most of the European Union and Russia.

According to the May 2016 edition of Consumer Reports magazine, over 90% of Americans would like GMO disclosure on product labels.

My own review of available evidence has led me to avoid exposure to GMOs and support product labelling. In the coming posts, I'll share some of that evidence and offer some steps you can take to keep your family safe.

Spoiler alert: One of the most important recommendations is to buy only pastured meats or wild-caught fish. Get to know your farmer so you know the animals were never exposed to GMO feed.

Ben Simmons

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