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Articles by Mark Winne

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New Mexico is the nation’s seventh largest producer of milk. More importantly, it is the fastest growing dairy state, and, as of this year, home to North America’s largest cheese plant, a facility that extrudes one truckload of processed cheese every hour.

In some ways the dairy industry is easy to forget about, even if you live here. Its activity is concentrated in the eastern and southern part of the state, sections of which are so remote that their only neighbors are Air Force bases and a weapons-testing range. But given the impact this industrial-scale production of nature’s “most perfect food” is having on human, animal, and environmental health, it’s worth keeping a close eye on.

Dirty Water

I have written on the subject of New Mexico’s dairy industry on other occasions, and will have a longer piece appearing in the Sierra Club magazine later this year. But it seems no matter which you way you turn these days in the so-called Land of Enchantment, you’re can’t help but step in some cow-related substance. For instance, groundwater contamination is so severe at approximately 100 ... Read more

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  • New Union of Concerned Scientists report finds grass-raised beef healthier

    The latest health, diet, and environmental news all came from one place yesterday: the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    The Union's report -- "Greener Pastures: How grass-fed beef and milk contribute to healthy eating" -- finds that grass-fed cows produce meat and milk lower in unhealthy fats and higher in beneficial fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), than grain-fed livestock. The report also notes that grass-fed livestock farming methods do a better job of protecting water, air, and the communities that support family farms.

    For those of us who routinely argue in favor of sustainable food production, the report doesn't provide any shocking revelations. Smaller herds of animals that are treated humanely, allowed to move about freely, and eat what nature intended -- grass, not grain -- are naturally going to produce healthier food. So how is it that we've reached the point where we need a team of Ph.Ds and a respected research institution to prove it?

    Carefully hidden from the view of the 99% of us who aren't farmers lies the coiled serpent we call the industrial food system. In depopulated and increasingly desperate rural communities across America, remaining locals and immigrant workers have been forced into a kind of modern servitude to factory dairy, hog, cattle, and poultry farms. It is from these places that most of our food is produced today.