New restrictions on the use of antibiotics in livestock feeding

by George Looby, DVM

For almost 60 years the use of antibiotics as additives in livestock and poultry feeds has been an accepted and recommended practice. It was found that such use increased feed efficiency and was thought to reduce the incidence of low grade infections. This practice did not go unnoticed by consumer groups who became concerned about the likelihood that such drugs would find their way into the human food chain with unknown consequences. For years this very active group made their concerns known to their legislators requesting that some sort of regulations be instituted that would control such activity. In time the medical community began to observe an increase in the number of antibiotic resistant strains they were observing in their practices. This was particularly evident in hospital settings where compromised patients were failing to to respond to conventional antibiotic therapy. This trend led to very real concern among physicians and hospital staff when the MRSA (Methacillin resistant Staph aureus) problem began to surface. [Read more…]

Meeting the challenge of the transition cow

CMN-MR-DY-2-Transition cows5056by Sally Colby

Cornell University extension veterinarian Dr. Daryl Nydam is interested in the management of close-up and just-fresh cows, and the importance of minimizing negative energy balance. He’s done a lot of research in this area, and says his best research collaborators are cows.

“Transition cows have all kinds of challenges,” said Nydam. “Social pressures, getting to the feed bunk. We re-group them, put them in a new group and it’s a challenge. And while they’re growing and in early lactation, there’s a negative protein balance. We’ve just started to crack that nut.” [Read more…]

Organic farming

by Jane Primerano

The term “organic farming” was coined by J. I. Rodale back in the 1940s. The institute he founded and the farms he started continue, now under the direction of Mark Smallwood.

The institute is housed at Kutztown University, not far from the Emmaus, PA, publishing company (think Organic Gardening) operated by members of the family, but a separate entity.

Smallwood was invited to be the keynote speaker for the 25th annual Winter Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association — New Jersey held at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. His address was a call to good stewardship and a delineation of the work being done at Rodale. [Read more…]

Land for Good

CN-MR-1-LAND FOR GOOD-field-staffby George Looby, DVM

Since the beginning of this century there has been a modest resurgence in the number of organizations whose mission is to encourage the preservation of farms and farmland and assist new farmers in acquiring land and gaining the knowledge to manage it successfully. Many young people are finding a career in farming satisfying in ways that cannot be achieved in other career fields. The pitfalls and obstacles this group faces are many and varied but help is available for those who know where to look. Land for Good will assist those who are searching for new resources to explore. [Read more…]