A Nose for News (And Take Our Pop Quiz!)

In our newest blog, farmer/writer Lisa Munniksma digs around in the dirty world of sustainable ag news and politics.

by Lisa Munniksma
A Nose for News (And Take Our Pop Quiz!) - Photo courtesy iStock/Thinkstock (HobbyFarms.com)
Courtesy iStock/Thinkstock

My parents tell me that when I was a child, I could sleep through everything but the news. If I heard the jingle for a news program on the radio or television, I had to be awake to hear what was happening, and then I’d ask 100 questions. It didn’t surprise anyone when I became a writer.

When I was introduced to horses as a teenager, I was transformed. A life with horses led to a degree in animal science and my own questions about where my food comes from. This took me down an admittedly twisted path to being a farmer. Becoming a farmer might have surprised a few people.

But now I combine the two—part-time writer, part-time farmer (and part-time traveler)—so when HobbyFarms.com managing editor Rachael Brugger asked me to write a blog about current ag issues, of course I said yes. I’ve been traveling around the world to learn about sustainable living, agriculture and food systems everywhere. I’ve seen things done in other countries different than how we do them in the U.S. and realized how very small the world is—especially in the world of sustainable agriculture.

I get excited about issues like genetically modified foods labeling, GM crop bans and deregulation, infectious diseases, National Organic Program changes, beginning-farmer programs, rural-living news, and ag issues of all kinds. This is a big period of change and renewal in sustainable agriculture in the U.S. There’s lots to keep track of, and I, The News Hog, am here at your service to help you out!

If there’s a hot-button ag issue you’d like me to cover, please let me know! The News Hog has a national scope, but local-ag news is often worth digging around in. Please send me an email at hobbyfarms@i5publishing.com or leave a comment below.

The News Hog is going to be about all of the above and more, including what you can do about it. I plan to make you think of your role in our food system in a different way. Some entries will make you laugh. (Sometimes, I can be funny.) Some will make you shake your head at the idiocy of it all. (Sometimes, I can be snarky.) Some will make you stand on your chair and yell with frustration. (Often, I do the same.) I hope every entry will lead you to some form of action, even in the smallest way.

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Quiz Time
To start, here’s a pop quiz! (Everyone loves a pop quiz on the first day, right?)

  1. Who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry?
  2. Who is the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture?
  3. Do you have a state representative in either legislative ag committee?
  4. Who are your congressmen, congresswomen and senators?
  5. Who are your local state and county legislative representatives?


  1. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  2. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
  3. House Ag Committee members can be found here. Senate Ag Committee members can be found here.
  4. Find your Congress and Senate representatives and their contact information.
  5. Each state and county has its own website that lists representatives. Do an Internet search for yours.

Now write down your answers and keep them handy. You’re going to want to use them again soon!

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