Antibiotics: impact of production use

by Tamara Scully

Depending on what livestock you raise, and how you raise it, antibiotic use for anything other than treating a disease may not even be on your radar. But antibiotics are utilized for purposes other than disease control across livestock industries to varying degrees.

In livestock production, antibiotics are utilized for more than disease treatment. They are also used to prevent existing illness from spreading through the population, as well as prophylactically, to prevent illness from arising in the population. They are also used for production purposes. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists ~ Part 4

Part 4: Are employees performing their jobs properly?

by Sally Colby

Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance, says that good animal welfare begins with taking a good, hard look at your farm business.

“Take a look at animal care handling and if there are issues there,” said Smith. “Make sure equipment is in good working order and will help you perform routine animal care safely and humanely.” Smith suggests if a farmer is experiencing problems with equipment (or lack thereof) or in working with livestock, it’s worth seeking expert help. [Read more…]

Dealing with animal rights activists ~ Part 3

Part 3: how not to hire an activist plant

by Sally Colby

It’s no secret that animal activists are trying to access farms for the purpose of gaining video or photographs of animal abuse. Although cases of true abuse do exist, in many cases, the activist who makes his way onto a working farm is there to create the illusion of abuse through video or still photos. It’s important for farm employers to be cautious in hiring to protect themselves, their good name, and their animals.

“They’re very shrewd about getting hired,” said Kay Johnson-Smith, president and CEO of Animal Agriculture Alliance. “Many will say that they have farm experience, so when they tell you they have worked on farms, they have. They go from farm to farm or region to region around the country. If they worked on a farm in Nebraska today, six months from today, they’re going to show up trying to get hired on a farm in New York.” [Read more…]

Watch, ask and learn

CW-MR-3-Swine8024qby Sally Colby

As consumers learn more about modern agricultural production, they’re also asking questions about how livestock are raised. Many farmers have opened their doors to the non-ag public to show them what’s inside the barn and how daily operations take place, but the biosecurity that’s essential for swine and poultry operations disallows that.

Some consumers have an opportunity to see livestock, including swine and poultry, at fairs, but those animals aren’t in their normal setting and it’s hard for people to relate to the production side. The goal of an ag display is to show people where food comes from; that it doesn’t just show up on a grocery shelf, and that there are people devoted to taking care of these animals. But what’s the best way to accomplish that? [Read more…]

The Thurmont sale: The New Year’s Day tradition

by Hope Holland

Between the dips of the economy and the new-wave attitude that horses are no longer livestock but pets the good old horse auction has almost vanished from the agricultural scene. However, RSD Horse Auctions, LLC is proving to be the exception every first Friday of the month. This small community could not be better suited to the agricultural purpose of the sale with neighboring Pennsylvania barely 15 minutes north up Route 15 from Thurmont and West Virginia and Virginia easily less than an hour to the south along the same road. [Read more…]