When the temperature drops below zero or a blizzard brings blowing snow, livestock farmers have to take extra measures to ensure the safety and comfort of their animals.
Find out how Bane Family Pork Farm works to keep their pigs warm, dry & toasty when the weather outside gets frightful in this week’s Farm Fresh Podcast with local farmer Pat Bane. Plus check out the video clip of baby piglets on Pat’s farm (above).
Tune in every Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. for the Farm to Table segment on WJBC radio.
Quality beef starts on the farm with quality care and feed. In this week’s Farm Fresh Podcast, local farmer, Rick Dean, talks about the two new beef barns his family recently constructed to expand their cattle operation.
From keeping the animals comfortable to managing the manure for use as fertilizer, listen to the clip to hear the whole story about how the Dean family raises beef cattle.
Tune in to WJBC radio or stream it live online every Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. for the Farm to Table segment.
On Tuesday, another restaurant chain joined the ranks of the farmer-maddening crowd. If you have farmer friends on social media you may have noticed a flurry of comments and commentary about Subway’s announcement to source meat from animals raised without antibiotics.
Farmers are a little fed up with the rhetoric and fear mongering surrounding antibiotic use. The frustration stems from the fact that while farmers provide the raw ingredients for our food, most of the time they get left out of these conversations and are villianized by corporate marketing decisions driven by misguided opinions rather than real food safety risks.
To take a look at the meat of the matter, check out five reasons you can rest easy about antibiotics used for animals for this week’s Friday Five:
ALL meat is antibiotic free. Any animal treated with an antibiotic must be held out of the food supply until the withdrawal time for the drug administered is up. Just like any drug used by people, after a certain number of days the antibiotic is no longer present in the animal’s body. Specific withdrawal times for each drug are set by USDA & FDA, plus meat is also inspected & tested for the presence of antibiotics. For more about withdrawal times and how antibiotics are used on the farm, check out this video from the North American Meat Institute.
Veterinary Oversight: Similar to prescription drugs for people, antibiotics can only be given to animals with a directive from a veterinarian. To learn more, check out this info from the Animal Health Institute.
Quality Animal Care to Limit Antibiotic Use: Did you know that on many of today’s pig farms, workers must shower before entering the farm everyday? That’s just one way farmers work to limit the need for antibiotics by limiting exposure to disease. Other tools farmers use to keep animals healthy include vaccinations, feeding animals a balanced diet specifically formulated for their age and needs and providing shelter from inclement weather or extreme heat. Take a closer look at antibiotics & animal care on the farm here, here or here.
Most Animal Antibiotics are not used in Human Medicine: Antibiotics are classified into different categories and about 70% of the antibiotics used in animals are rarely used for people (Tetracyclines) or not used for people at all (Ionophores). Check out this infographic for a more detailed breakdown.
Sometimes words we use on the farm can be confusing….and create funny conversations.
I’m a pig farmer and the other day I was talking to an interested mom who asked me “Do you eat the pork you raise?”
“No,” I replied, “I only raise weaners.” (which she heard as ‘wieners’)
“What!?!” she asked, a little bit shocked. “You only have wieners?”
After some nervous laughter and a bit of embarrassment, we sorted out the confusion. I wasn’t talking about hot dogs, and it wasn’t a euphemism!
Allow me to explain. On my farm we have mother pigs (called sows) they give birth (called farrowing) to piglets. At 20 days the baby pigs (weighing 12-15 lbs.) are weaned, which means moved from their mother and transitioned to solid feed.
I don’t think it is actually a word in the dictionary but on the farm, we refer to each group of piglets moved from their mothers as “weaners” or pigs that have been weaned.
My farm is a specialized farrow to wean operation, so the piglets go to a different farm to grow to market weight (280 lbs.) Because we don’t have pigs ready for market, I don’t have pork (meat) straight from my farm
So if you ask me why I don’t eat my own pork it because I only have weaners, is NOT wieners!! Get it?
And if you ask me for a wiener (hot dog), be sure to be clear or you may get a piglet that is no longer with it’s mother, also called a weaner!