• Holly Spangler

    Hey, Remember Home Ec?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 25, 2014

    Last Friday, I sat through a USFRA Food Dialogues panel, where they were asking and answering the question, "Who is shaping America's nutrition choices?" They talked about media and commercials. They talked about food production, specifically land, water and energy. They talked about our crazy-busy lifestyle and processed foods. They talked about a knowledge gap in food production, and about dieticians. And I had a crazy thought: what about the fact that (a lot of) Americans…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Worth the Read

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 14, 2014

    It's been one of those weeks where I've seen a lot of good stuff float across the Internet. Granted, a lot was in response to bad stuff on the Internet, but alas, that is the way of agriculture these days. So if you have a few minutes to spare, these are worth the read. 1. Dr. Oz's GMO Global Conspiracy…Debunked:  Point-by-point, Katie Pratt offers up the facts that Dr. Oz (surprisingly missed during his show this week on "Stealth GMOs," designed to leave…

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  • Holly Spangler

    How Dairy Carrie Wrote a Viral Blog Post

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 27, 2013

    If you were anywhere near social media earlier this month, there's a good chance you saw a blog post by "Dairy Carrie" floating around. It was titled, "Sometimes we are mean to our cows," and it detailed all the reasons a bovine might go down, and what a farmer might have to do (and why) in order to help her back to her feet. Complete with photos. Along with about 300,000 other people who visited her blog to read about downed cows, I read it and thought it was so well…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Farmers Need to Know about Consumers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 25, 2013

    1. Consumers are concerned about the long-term health effects of biotechnology and pesticides. They're looking at down-the-road diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, the "unknown." I sat and talked about some of those questions with a group of Chicago field moms during the Larson Farms tour earlier this fall. This is not based on any research and is completely anecdotal, but I shared with them that I really believe if pesticides and biotech were causing cancer we would see…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Misleading Food Labels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 13, 2013

    1. "No high fructose corn syrup!" The question to ask here is whether the product had any high fructose corn syrup to start with. Because like any good marketing ploy, companies have been known to jump on the band wagon and declare their product free of something it never had to start with. Also, if you've been told HFCS is bad because of all the processing, consider this: sugar cubes do not grow on trees. It's all been processed, people. Incidentally, we may see less of this…

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  • Holly Spangler

    M&Ms and Nanograms and Beef

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 10, 2013

    Two years ago, I watched Mike Martz explain marbling and steak selection to the first class of Illinois Farm Families Field Moms and for two years, I told anyone who would listen that it was one of the best demonstrations I'd ever seen. Until this year. Mike outdid himself. Last time around, he talked about hormones in steak and how a 3 oz. steak from a steer not treated with growth promotants (hormones) had 1.3 nanograms of estrogen in it; how a 3 oz. steak from a steer treated…

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  • Holly Spangler

    CAFO: "The Auschwitz of Livestock?"

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 30, 2013

    It wasn't exactly what we expected to hear at a farm tour sponsored by the Illinois Farm Families program. What we expected when George Kalogridis, an Indiana-based organic certification manager, stepped in front of the crowd of Chicago Field Moms and downstate (cattle raising) farm moms a couple weekends ago during our tour of the Larson/Martz grain and cattle operation, was a few details on what's allowed and not allowed on certified organic farms. Maybe a little on the types…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When Chicago Moms Talk Back

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 12, 2013

    With Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair set to kick off today and with a Chicago mom blog making the news recently, it feels like a good time to talk a little about Illinois Farm Families. It was three years ago on this day that five Illinois farm and commodity groups announced they had banded together to form the Illinois Farm Families program. At that time, it was a first-ever coalition of farm groups: Illinois Pork, Illinois Beef, Illinois Corn, Illinois Soybean and Illinois Farm…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Fluffy Cows Equal Ag Ed Opportunity

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 2, 2013

    My latest column in the July Prairie Farmer takes a look at fluffy cows, and how our show cattle kids are on the front lines of consumer education this show season. If you haven't gotten yours in the mailbox yet, here's a look at what they might need to know this summer! Click here for the link, or read below. And good luck in the show ring! Fluffy Cows: They're Still Beef When I was a kid and my family was showing and selling Shorthorn cattle, we exhibited at the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Culver's Gets Farms and Food Right

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 24, 2013

    It was a busy weekend at the Spangler household and one that culminated in a trip to Champaign after church for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to a Nabor House board meeting, Monsters University and a family photo shoot with my new favorite photographer. The trip also included a swing through Culver's for lunch, which, given their burgers and frozen custard, is already one of our favorite places. And then we looked at the kid's meal bag. It was awesome…

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