Tag Archives: agriculture

Sterling Heritage Farm Instruction for Veterans

With a growing number of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life, the need for vocational rehabilitation is in high demand. While the Department of Veterans Affairs has made significant strides in improving access for veterans and providing them with various options to restore employability, there are several cases in which the veteran is either unaware of the options, or unable to utilize the resources available. The VA is aware of these challenges and has made the necessary adjustments, taking into account those veterans who are unable to easily access training courses.

Sterling Heritage is working with the Veterans Benefits Administration to provide effective, personalized, and encouraging one-on-one instruction to farmers in Biloxi and Philadelphia, Mississippi. Our farm instructors have been working with veterans to assess farm conditions and offer recommendations on how best to combat any challenges the veteran farmer may face. Our instructors also offer their expertise on a multitude of farming skills, all of which aid in making the veteran’s farm operational and revenue-generating.

Sterling Heritage’s farming instructors have been working with community youth in Mississippi for several years and are now working with veterans in not only offering instruction and expertise on their existing farms, but also working to educate the veteran on the benefits of transitioning from conventional to organic farming. With the instructor’s extensive knowledge in organic farming, the veteran now has the opportunity to work side-by-side with an established organic farmer and community educator.

In assisting the veterans with their farms, our instructors have also been successful in significantly improving farm conditions for veteran farms. The photo on the right shows several piglets on a veteran’s farm in Biloxi,MS. Because of its geographically location, farmers in Biloxi have greater setbacks in overall farming due to less-than favorable soil conditions. The abundant rainfall and relative humidity oftentimes leads to flooding, which makes it much more difficult for the veteran to effectively use all his or her land for operational farming. Because of this, the veteran’s piglets were at risk of drowning in the flooded farm land. With the help of our farm instructor, the veteran was able to successfully build a safe area for water to quickly drain and reduce the risk of the piglets drowning. The photo on the right shows the happy and healthy piglets that have survived the harmful soil conditions in Biloxi.

Sterling Heritage as a whole is extremely excited and honored to aid the VA in their mission to enhance benefits for veterans, specifically in the area of sustainable farming. To ensure success in this effort, Sterling Heritage VP, Sue Walsh, is in constant contact with case managers at the VBA and our farming instructors to meet the needs of veteran farmers and offer the best possible support to the veteran, our instructors, and our government client. We hope to continue working with the VA on efforts to increase veteran participation in VR&E programs and illustrate our dedication to providing better standards of living for our nation’s veterans. With the right education and instruction, we believe veterans can be the next generation of organic farmers, and we are honored to take part in that journey.

MS farmers

The Problems With Factory Farming

Did you know that about 80% of the nation’s antibiotics use in total are added to animal feed every year? And these antibiotics aren’t serving as medicine to save the lives of the poor animals, but to speed livestock growth. Factory farming has been dominating the world of agriculture and food production for years, mainly due to the economic gains associated with fast production of meat products. But what many fail to realize is that this quick production of meat and poultry can cause serious harm to the human immune system. What goes into the animal feed ultimately ends up in our stomachs, and the antibiotics used to speed livestock growth can impact our body’s immune system by making us resistant to certain antibiotics. By constantly consuming this chemically modified food, we are decreasing the effectiveness of certain antibiotics used to treat human illnesses. Other issues associated with factory farming include the high risk of foodborne illness like E. coli and Salmonella. The unhealthy conditions in factory farms make animals more prone to disease and infection and pose serious threats to the animals themselves. Not only does factory farm harm our public health and create unimaginably horrendous conditions for livestock, but it also negatively impacts our environment by producing high methane emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, factory farming accounts for 37% of methane emissions, and methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2. These serious threats to public health, animal welfare, and the air we breathe should outweigh the economic gains by factory farming and more needs to be done to prevent the growth of industrialized farming.

This is why Sterling Heritage Solutions hopes to push and promote local organic farming and sustainable agriculture. We believe that organic farming is one of the most important factors in promoting healthy lifestyles and achieving overall better health for humans, animals, and our environment. By helping local organic farms grow we will help in reducing the need for factory farming little by little. It is our goal to promote local organic farming by educating the public of its benefits and encouraging support of local farms.

What Impacts Organic Food Trends?

Sterling Heritage Solutions aims to discover local organic food trends and factors that may be serving as the underlying influences of healthy lifestyles, and how these factors can be replicated across the country to reduce the prevalence of obesity in the United States, and to increase awareness of the health benefits in organic farming.

Just by looking at people walking down the street, on the subway, and most commonly in restaurants, the problem is obvious. People are overeating and literally poisoning themselves with too much sugar and fat. Recent health coverage currently under debate is focused primarily obesity, which is probably a good idea given that most of our illnesses stem from unhealthy lifestyles and poor food choices. But how about we couple that with stopping the millions of ad campaigns to purchase and eat at restaurants that serve junk food. Have you ever gone out to dinner and not weighed 5 pounds more the next morning?

The United States has been identified as one of the most overweight countries in the world for years, and it is no secret that our unhealthy reputation stems from the lack of nutritional value in easily accessible and most affordable food options. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. For decades, the United States has experienced a growing number of adult and childhood obesity, thus also suffering a drastic increase in obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, some of which are the leading causes of preventable death (cdc.gov). Whether fast food chains, sedentary lifestyles, or industrialized farming is to blame, there is no denying that the United States is in desperate need of a change.

A growing number of areas like Brooklyn, NY, and other well-known cities in the United States are already taking action towards improving the health and well-being of their residents by promoting organic foods and local farming. Now, the question is: what makes some cities more likely to engage in organic farming and healthy living than others? Sure, we can all agree that socioeconomic status is a clear indicator that some might argue is the only reason for richer (and “hipper”) areas to be more likely to promote nutrition and healthy lifestyles, but can we really only link it to economic constraints? What else is behind this divide?

A recent White House press conference featuring Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, released a study showing that while obesity is still on the rise, a growing number of Americans are becoming physically active. Dr. Murray’s findings suggest that there has been a significant increase in the percentage of people becoming physically active and claims, “If communities in the U.S. can replicate this success and tackle the ongoing obesity impact, it will see more substantial health gains” (medicaldaliy.com). Murray’s study reflects our desire to understand the motivating factors that make some areas more health conscious than others, and how those factors can be replicated in areas that have lagged behind in health and nutrition.