Saturday, February 22, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Thank you Matt. Great questions.
Yes, the majority of gestating (pregnant) sows are kept in individual stalls so they don’t mingle with other sows. The two cruelest things to mother pigs are weather and other sows. By stalling them individually in a temperature and humidity controlled building, you provide protection from both dangers. We know for a fact that this minimizes stress based upon the performance of the animals.
I am 47 years old and have been in the livestock business since my own birth. When I started really engaging in the business of pig farming, we expected to raise about 16 pigs/sow/year. Today some of the best herds have doubled that and produce about 33 pigs/sow/ year. That is accomplished only by protecting the sow and keeping her life stress-free. Our job as farmers is to minimize stress. A stressed animal will not produce period.
Antibiotic resistance is indeed a problem in human beings. Ironically, it does not appear to be a problem in food animals. Dr. Richard Raymond, former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, has clearly demonstrated that 82% of the antibiotics used in food animal production are not used in human medicine. So it is that remaining 18% that we need to talk about. Those drugs are used only for treatment purposes and not one bit of evidence exists to document that there is any link between the use of these drugs in food animals and a carryover in human beings.
Just a point to consider. Today pet owners treat their dogs more like kids than animals. You might find the amount of drugs from the carbonpenem family being used in dogs to be both interesting and concerning. I can provide more information on that if you desire.
Nicholas Kristof typically presents a very selective portrayal of the truth. There is one point that I would like to leave you with that I believe to be the most important. This type of rhetoric typically blames the large, most highly-confined operations for being evil and cruel. That simply is not true. Where is the “other side of the story” in his article?
Today animal agriculture, as it has always been, is dependent upon proper management. Size of the operation does not matter. It simply comes back to how well good animal husbandry practices are being implemented. For example, my wife and I own and manage a 40 sow (tiny size) operation mostly outdoors. The day to day management decisions we make are very different than those of a large confined operation. There is not one “best way” to manage animals in different situations and we simply cannot overlook the human element in making the best decision for those animals based upon the circumstances that we deal with day after day, whether it be diseases, weather or animal interactions.
I appreciate your concern and am willing to provide much more detailed information if you have additional questions. Keep in mind that we know the purpose for which our animals are produced and we feed that meat to our own children as well. We would NEVER compromise that in any way!
Loup City NE
515 418 8185
I encourage you to sent a note or call your Senator now. I have just emailed Senator Kate Sullivan again these words.
That is not true Kate in Sherman and Buffalo counties alone numerous livestock have been attacked including my 25 goats killed.
Two miles south of my house a llama was attacked and killed my a lion...
In addition I remind you that a lion was killed near a school in Kearney in 2011. They have no fear of humans and need to be hunting in accordance with biologist recommendations not some Urban Senator.
Please set the record straight.
Loup City NE
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Modern age agriculture nor confinement buildings have anything to do with pigs being cannibals. Pigs have been cannibals since the beginning of time. This is why criminals have used pigs as means of disposing of murder victims through the years.
The practice of introducing dead pigs back to the mothers is not a new-age, modern agricultural method of immunization. In fact, as a 4-H livestock producer in the early 1980's I had pigs infected with Transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) in my herd. At that time, I had no pigs in confinement; all of them were raised on dirt outside. TGE and the current PEDv are cousins for which no vaccine is currently available.
Animal diseases always have and always will be a component of producing animals for food. Today, pig farmers of all sizes and types are breaking with PEDv. It does not discriminate against one type or size.
I would close by reminding all of you that if you have ever been given a vaccination, you to have had the disease given to you as a means of immunization. Fortunately vaccine companies have made it convenient for humans so we can get it in the form of a shot instead of eating it from another diseased human. Both physiological processes work in the same manner.
It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of American Agriculture in that these disease outbreaks have been rare thanks to modern technologies. However, it is but a grim reminder that when you raise livestock, you will inevitably have deadstock.
For more information about what is really going on with pig farmers of all sizes link to
Rural Route Radio with Dr. Steve Dritz from Kansas State University who is a true expert in the field.
Link to the show that aired Feb 18, 2014
6th Generation Nebraska Farmer
Loup City NE
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
What the researchers found was that, similar to the OSU study, the overriding features in shopper selections of animal products remain strongly in the categories of taste, safety, freshness and price. Characteristics like hormone and antibiotic-free, animal welfare, traceability, etc., only drew single-digit responses.
Hi Senator Sullivan.
I am calling to express my concern over discussion that may take place on the floor this week about a ban on Mountain Lion hunting season. We need a hunting season very badly.
It is only good management to have a hunting season when you have the healthy population that we do here in the State.
A couple of years ago we lost 25 goats over a six week period of time to a mountain lion. In fact one morning while my then 12 year old daughter was saddling her horse in our barn yard a lion killed a goat only 50 feet away. Libbi could not stop talking about the tail. It made quite the impression on this young lady.
I am not opposed to having lions in the state but think it is vitally important we manage them to the best of our ability. A hunting season is part of that management program.
Loup City, NE