FDA ruling on antibiotics in animal feed

by George Looby, DVM

For decades there has been a strong difference of opinion among various vested groups regarding the merits of adding antibiotics to animal feeds for the purpose of increasing feed efficiency and minimizing the effects of possible low grade infections especially in young growing animals. Animal scientists and those engaged in food animal production have long held that the economic benefits of feed additives outweigh any possible adverse effects to the consumer. Many consumers on the other hand view the use of antimicrobials in animal feed as leading to increased microbial resistance to those important antibiotics used on a regular basis in human medicine, leading to greater resistance. [Read more…]

What farmers can learn from mommy bloggers

CM-MR-3-What farmers 3by Sally Colby
The phrase ‘mommy bloggers unite’ will probably never be uttered because they’re a group that’s already as united as they could be. But who are mommy bloggers, and why should farmers care about what they think? [Read more…]

Savvy farmers communicate with customers and seek feedback

CEW-MR-1-Seek feedback6785by Sanne Kure-Jensen

Savvy businesspeople know that happy customers return and spend more money. Smart farmers ask loyal CSA, farmers market and restaurant customers what they liked. Smart businesspeople seek customer suggestions for the future.

Engaged customers are loyal customers. Always greet your customers personally at CSA pickups, farmers markets and on deliveries. Ask customers their opinions and take their advice when you can. Make them feel that your improvements or changes were their idea. It does not matter who gets the credit for a great idea. [Read more…]

Winter grazing: a hot topic

C4-MR-1-Winter grazingby Tamara Scully

The University of Vermont’s “Across the Fence” television program is the longest running locally-produced program in the United States, and  is produced by the University of Vermont Cooperative Extension. The show recently featured Jenn Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator at the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Colby, along with Vermont cattle farmer Bruce Hennessey and Jim Welch, UVM Professor Emeritus and beef cattle farmer, discussed winter beef cattle grazing. [Read more…]

Alternate ingredients for organic pastured broiler chickens

CEW-MR-1-Organic Chickens 1by Sanne Kure-Jensen

For small-scale organic farms, pastured broiler chickens may offer valuable contributions in a crop rotation program. Chickens contribute to soil fertility. Farm-produced cereal grains like Naked or Hulless Oats offer valuable supplements to organic poultry diets.

Organic produce growers will often raise non-organic pastured poultry because of the high costs of organic feed. Loyal customers who know their farmer and trust their practices buy these pastured birds rather than seek certified organic birds. [Read more…]