Sunday, October 7, 2012

GMO's, Soy, and Organic...OH MY!

Our chicks have been on Purina Mills feeds since their arrival as wee chicks.  Although I feel Purina has great products....I am very skeptical on 'big business' products.  We took in a cat early last year.  He was about 2 years old and was found pan handling at my co-worker's house, not far from us as the crow flies.  We agreed to take him in.  He was an ear-tipped kitty so was probably an inside/outside cat or a totally outside cat.  He's super sweet and friendly but he had horrible gas.  Like clear the room 3-4 times a day gas.  I gave him afew weeks to get used to his new diet of Iams, which is what I had my other cat eating.  It did not seem to make a difference.  Out of desperation and after some research, I learned many kitties have allergies to grains.  Well, if you pull out any brand of cat food....they are all loaded with grains!  When is the last time you saw a kitty hanging out in a wheat field?  Oh, they were probably just looking for a mouse!  Cats eat meat.  So I ended up finding a brand that makes totally grain free cat food.  There are potatoes and other nutritious vegetables and meat protein, but no grains.  Guess what?  I rarely smell him these days.  I always thought of Iams as a high quality food.  But after paying attention to the actual ingredients, I have to agree that the pet food industry doesn't always seem to be acting in the best interest for the pets. 

I'm thinking the same thing is true in the farm animal industry as well.  If I am going to the trouble of raising my own chickens, I want to get eggs that are far superior to what I can buy in the supermarket.  SO far, I have discovered that organic feed quite possibly will be a better solution than big commerical feeds.  Most organic feed producers are smaller operations.  Also, it seems to me, that the Organic certification system works very much like the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) system which I am very involved with at my job.  Every piece of FSC wood can be traced back to the forest it came from via the 'Chain of Custody'.  The forest in turn follows a strict list of practices to ensure sustainability and well managed forestry.  I also can tell you that our certification cost our company $15,000 over 3 years and includes annual inspections.  That's alot of money for a small company.  So it doesn't surprise me that when I caught wind of a local Amish farmer mixing his own 'organic' feed and it is not a 'certified' organic product.  I intend to visit his farm in the future to find out about his feed and I am gathering info right now so I know what I want in the feed and I plan on interviewing him about his product.  Besides soy free (which i heard his feed is) and non-GMO, I also am interested in having Diatomaceous Earth as an ingredient.  Diatomaceous Earth is a wonderful thing.  It is used to help prevent caking in feed, but it is also a natural pesticide and also treats/prevents internal parasites.  Look it up on Wiki.....it's amazing and used for so many things.  I can offer food grade diatomaceous earth to my chickens for their dirt bath and it will help with mites and lice prevention.  If ingested, will help keep them free for internal parasites and is a natural wormer.  I plan on stopping by to visit him in the near future and will report back on what I find.  The organic feed I can buy at the feed mill will probably be suitable, but it will cost 2 times as much as the Purina I have them on now.  The price from the Amish farmer will end up being the same....but for 30 lbs more of feed, so that is a significant savings. 

One other thing to mention on Certified Organic.  They get a little squirrelly when committing to the GMO issue.  Certified Organic does not allow the use of GMO/Bioengineered plants.....but they cannot say that 100% that there is no GMO in their products because of the fact of CROSS POLLINATION.  Scarry.  Hope that some day soon we follow Europe and ban the GMO's.  Agriculture is BIG BIG business.  Do you know what your food is made of??