Frosini receives environmental award

Valley Ford rancher Guido Frosini was recognized last week for an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Frosini, who with his great aunt Ione Conlan operate Conlan Ranches California and True Grass Farms, was one of seven regional winners honored at the association’s Cattle Industry Summer Meeting in Denver.

“The cattlemen and women of this country take seriously their responsibility to the environment. Each of these award recipients serves as a shining example of how the beef industry is working to preserve open space and leave the land better than they found it,” said association President Bob McCan.

The industry group has given out the awards for 24 years.

Farmers markets popular in California

California continues to lead the nation in farmers markets, according to a new report released on the eve of National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 3-9.

The Golden State has 764 of the nation’s 8,268 farmers markets, the USDA reports. The other top five states are New York, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.

In the last decade, the number of markets has increased 66 percent in the state and 123 percent nationally. They continue to play an important role in American agriculture, a USDA official said.

“They bring urban and rural communities together while creating economic growth and increasing access to fresh, healthy foods,” said Anne Alonzo, administrator of the department’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

USDA overhauls poultry plant inspection rules

The Obama administration is moving to cut down on the thousands of food borne illnesses linked to chicken and turkey each year with an overhaul of poultry plant inspection rules that are more than 50 years old.

Final rules announced last week would reduce the number of government poultry inspectors. But those who remain will focus more on food safety than on quality, requiring them to pull more birds off the line for closer inspections and encouraging more testing for pathogens. More inspectors would check the facilities to make sure they are clean.

The U.S. Agriculture Department says the changes would be voluntary, but many of the country’s largest poultry companies are expected to opt in.

Salmonella and campylobacter are commonly found in poultry and are the two top food-borne pathogens that make people sick in the United States. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that salmonella causes around 1.2 million illnesses in the United States every year, including 450 deaths.

In July, California-based Foster Farms issued a recall after salmonella illnesses had been linked to their products for more than a year.

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