Our Members, Uncategorized

Sharing Our Stories – Marsha Rogers Vaughan

We often talk about how being a member of the Western Nebraska Agri-Women does not require that you are actively involved in a farming operation.  The only membership requirement is that you share a passion for learning and sharing the truth about agriculture.  This entry highlights one of our consumer members and what brought her to join our group and her passion for sharing information.

Hello, readers. I’m Marsha Rogers Vaughan, a consumer member of Western Nebraska Agri-Women. A native of California, I grew up on a family ranch in the San Joaquin Valley. My small town had no stop lights back then, so moving to Nebraska 25 years ago was not a cultural adjustment, but more a matter of getting used to the cold! My husband of two years, Bill Vaughan, retired from vegetable farming in California’s Salinas Valley, and we live on a small farm west of the Monument.

I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Food Science. As young as junior high school, I remember reading food labels and looking at nutritional information that was available, and have always had an interest in the production of our food. After college I joined California Women for Agriculture, as it was a way to keep up with what was happening in Ag. I appreciate the formation of our local WNAW organization, where I can continue to work with ladies who have similar interests in agriculture, and further my “Ag education.”

A lot has changed in the food industry since I was in college, but one thing that doesn’t seem to have changed is the question of food safety. We have an abundant and low-cost food supply, but is it safe to feed our families? WNAW has purchased copies of a book by Michele Payn, FOOD TRUTHS FROM FARM TO TABLE, that addresses the concerns many of us have about our food. FOOD TRUTHS takes readers on an aisle by aisle trip through the grocery store, offering food facts that are grounded in science, and helps readers make informed choices when they shop.

Today’s blog looks at the milk section of Payn’s book. Should we worry about hormones or antibiotics in our milk? Is organic healthier? Should we even be drinking milk at all? Payn addresses these questions in the dairy section of FOOD TRUTHS FROM FARM TO TABLE.

On hormones in milk, Payn says, “Hormones are in everything. Hormones are the chemical messenger of life. They are in every product, including plant-based foods.” She says that only 15% of dairy farmers use the hormone rbST, which helps the cow produce about 7% more milk, however the resulting milk is the same…there is no test that has identified additional hormone levels in the cows given rbST.

On antibiotics in milk, Payn assures readers that our dairy products do not contain antibiotic residues. All USDA Grade A milk is tested extensively to ensure this.

And as to whether organic products are healthier, Payn states, “Organic farming is about production methods, not nutritional value. There is not a clear nutritional advantage of any production type. A $4 gallon of milk has just as much nutrition as the $8 gallon.”

Other sections of FOOD TRUTHS cover eggs fruits, vegetables, meats, cereals, snacks, and deli food. Book reviews say, “Smart grocery shopping shouldn’t require a science degree,” and, “A must-read for anyone interested in food, nutrition, and health.” A copy of the book is available to borrow from WNAW.


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