Texas Agriculture March 17, 2017 : Page 2

Your Texas Agriculture Minute

Gene Hall

Chickens and our food choices

I read an interesting piece on the Internet recently about the top five reasons to keep chickens in the backyard.

To summarize, they consume food and yard waste. They eat a lot of bugs. They contribute to soil health via composting. You can help preserve the heritage breeds of chickens and, maybe most important, they’re fun.

My mom kept chickens back on the farm. I was eating free-range eggs and chickens before they were called that. We enjoyed the antics of the flock, and we certainly enjoyed the eggs and drumsticks.

Food is one of the most personal of choices. Keeping chickens of your own can be a rewarding experience.

I guess the point is there are choices. If you don’t want to have a coop out back—and I don’t, been there and done it—that’s okay, too. A wide range of food— organic, cage-free, grass fed or not—awaits you at a modern grocery store. All of it is safe and you can choose to pay a little, or more for convenience and preference. Or, grow your own.

Is this a great country or what?

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Your+Texas+Agriculture+Minute/2736936/392072/article.html.

Keeping Up with the Speed of Agriculture

Julie Tomascik

We’ve always known farmers and ranchers work hard and work efficiently, but farmers truly out-hustle everyone else, a recent study shows.

Sun up to sun down, farmers and ranchers take on the day’s tasks. They toil the soil, tend to livestock, repair equipment and even master new skills. Not to mention, the after-hours work of financial planning and learning new technologies.

It’s hard work. It takes time. And time is money.

That money impacts the bottom line of a farm and ranch, and you won’t catch the operators napping on the job.

A recent study conducted by Trinity College surveyed nearly 6,000 people from a variety of backgrounds. The study looked to examine the relationship between changes in occupation and physical functionality later in life.

What did the study determine?

That survey participants with a farm and ranch background walked faster—0.04 m/s faster—than other occupational groups. Now that’s not much, but when you’re on your feet most of the day, that’s saying something!

This applied to survey participants regardless of changes in social standing or occupation later in life.

The speed, according to the study, comes from proper nutrition at a young age.

The authors of the study also reference evidence from the Irish National Nutrition Survey in the late 1940s that found children from farming backgrounds consumed more potatoes, milk and eggs.

The study, which was published in the Journals of Gerontology, concluded: “It is not inconceivable therefore that better nutritional intake among the children of farmers would translate into a performance advantage on functional measures more than 50 years later.”

Other studies have reported milk consumption as a child was associated with a faster walking speed later in life, according to an article published in The Bullvine.

The study also analyzed grip strength. It found that farmers’ grip strengths ranged between 0.86kg and 1.5kg higher compared to other occupational groups.

Even when the chore list may seem never ending, farmers and ranchers are efficient and make the most of the time on the job.

It takes many hours of hard work to grow a crop and raise livestock. But the hustle, determination and efficiency of farmers and ranchers prove the task isn’t so daunting, especially considering the nutritional head start as a youngster.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Keeping+Up+with+the+Speed+of+Agriculture/2736937/392072/article.html.

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