A former USDA employee who says she was forced to resign over videotaped remarks about a white farming family said that those comments were taken out of context. The family in question is supporting her, noting that she helped save their family farm.

A conservative Web site posted video of a speech from Shirley Sherrod, the former director of rural development in Georgia, at a NAACP event from March. Sherrod, who is African-American, describes meeting a white farmer when she worked for a nonprofit rural farm aid group and says on the video, "I didn't give him the full force of what I could do." The website posted the video to allege that the NAACP condones racism. Sherrod says that she was asked to resign shortly after the clip was posted, which she did.

Now that she has resigned, Sherrod says that the video was edited to misconstrue her comments, reports the Associated Press. She said the situation ultimately "opened my eyes" that helping farmers wasn't so much about race but was "about the poor vs. those who have." She added that she became friends with the family and spent more than two years working to save their farm.

The white farming family that was the subject of the story stood by Sherrod and said she should keep her job.

"We probably wouldn't have [our farm] today if it hadn't been for her leading us in the right direction," said Eloise Spooner, the wife of farmer Roger Spooner of Iron City, Ga. "I wish she could get her job back because she was good to us, I tell you."

Source: Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times

Perdue launches whole grain breaded chicken line

Perdue Farms Inc. debuted a new Whole Grain frozen product line to provide consumers with a convenient meal or snack option that is both nutritious and delicious, the company said in a statement.. Perdue's latest line of frozen chicken is made with whole grain breading and includes Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets, Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Breast Strips and Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders.

Each Whole Grain Perdue product features the Whole Grains Council's Stamp indicating that each serving provides at least one half-serving (8g) of whole grains. Additionally, the Perdue Whole Grain Chicken products provide 4 grams of daily fiber per serving and are a good source of Vitamin B1, B6 and Niacin. The whole grain line is made with only white meat chicken and contains no preservatives or fillers.

Perdue Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets and Tenders are also "child nutrition" labeled, clearly identifying the contribution of these products towards fulfilling the USDA's daily child nutrition meal pattern requirement.

Source: Perdue Farms Inc.

Sadler's expands Dinner for Two line

Sadler's Smokehouse Ltd. will add two new items to its successful Dinner for Two product line: Pulled Pork with Baked Beans and Shredded Beef Brisket with Macaroni. The new meal combinations build on the success of the Dinner for Two line, which was first introduced in 2009. The meals are fully cooked and ready to heat and serve in three minutes.

Each 20-ounce Dinner for Two meal features authentic, pit-smoked barbeque paired with a classic side dish portioned perfectly for the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population - one- and two-person households.

"We launched this product line in the second half of 2009, after consumer research pointed to a significant demand for quality, convenient BBQ meals. In that short time, we've seen Dinner for Two grow to represent more than 20 percent of our retail mix," said Greg Klein, executive vice president of marketing. "Our authentic pit-smoked BBQ delivers authentic taste in a convenient, value priced package. As a result, we're seeing strong growth, with double distribution for the Dinner for Two line since its initial introduction."

Source: Sadler’s Smokehouse Ltd.

Grains council elects new officers

A new slate of officers and Board of Directors were elected at the U.S. Grains Council’s 50th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting. Terry Vinduska, a corn farmer representing the Kansas Corn Commission, was elected chairman for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

A native of Kansas, Vinduska graduated with honors from Kansas State University in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. He’s had a varied career in agriculture since that time. He worked for Hesston Corp. in field test engineering before returning to the family farm. He currently grows corn, sorghum, soybeans and wheat and is vice-president of S and V Family Farms LLC. Vinduska also serves as a sales representative for Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.

Vinduska served on the USGC Rest of the World Advisory Team (A-Team) and was the Board liaison to the Biotech and Asia A-Teams. He also served as part of the Structure Task Force, the Funding Task Force and numerous other committees within the Council. He takes over the role of chairman as Rick Fruth, a farmer from Ohio representing the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, transitions into the past chairman position.

Thomas C. Dorr, USGC president and CEO, said, “As the U.S. Grains Council begins its 51st year, we are fortunate to have strong, active leadership in place. Our new chairman, Mr. Vinduska, the Board of Directors, Board of Delegates, A-Team leaders and state liaisons provide excellent insight into the challenges and opportunities in the international market arena. The Council’s success over its first five decades is attributable to a long tradition of farmer and agribusiness leadership that’s determined to see the Council succeed.”

Other officers elected include Wendell Shauman, representing Illinois Corn Marketing Board, as vice chairman; Don Fast, representing Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, as treasurer; and Julius Schaaf, representing Iowa Corn Promotion Board, as secretary.

Alan Tiemann, of the Nebraska Corn Board, was re-elected to the Council’s Board of Directors. Newly elected Board members include James Tobin of Monsanto; Bill Kubecka of United Sorghum Checkoff Program; and Jere White of Kansas Corn Commission.

Source: USGC

NFL player's farm earns humane animal certification

Shire Gate Farm of Owensville, Mo., owned by Tennessee Titan middle linebacker Will Witherspoon, has earned the Animal Welfare Approved seal. Animal Welfare Approved certification is an assurance to consumers that the cattle at Shire Gate Farm have been treated according to the highest welfare standards. Witherspoon raises 100% grassfed White Park cattle on his 500-acre farm.

Witherspoon, who played college ball at the University of Georgia, has been playing in the NFL since 2002, when he was drafted in the third round by the Carolina Panthers. In 2006, he signed with the St. Louis Rams, where he was named Team MVP in 2007. He played the 2009 season for the Philadelphia Eagles before being signed by the Tennessee Titans in March of 2010.

Witherspoon purchased Shire Gate Farm in 2007 as a home for his Shire horses, Rocky and Simon. As the farm expanded to include more horses, Witherspoon decided to turn Shire Gate into a working farm and added cattle. Intensive research led him to White Park cattle. He chose White Parks because they are docile, thrive in a grassfed environment and provide superior milk and meat. His research also led him to AWA and pasture-based farming. "I wanted Shire Gate Farm to be true to nature and true to the way things should be done," Witherspoon says. "That means putting the welfare and care of the animals first.

"I want my kids, and all kids, to grow up in a way that is more in touch with the natural environment. My cattle are raised as nature intended, on grass, and aren't fed growth hormones, antibiotics or other unnatural additives," he says. "As a pro football player, I can't take over-the-counter cold medicine without letting my trainer know about it. Why would I want my kids eating beef from cattle fed hormones or antibiotics?" Shire Gate Farm is duel certified by Animal Welfare Approved and the American Grassfed Association (AGA).

Source: Animal Welfare Institute