Antibiotic Usage on Farms: Good or Bad?

Antibiotics have become a hot-button topic in both the agriculture industry and medical field. Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria continue to cause problems for both humans and animals, and many people are understandably concerned about antibiotic usage in farm animals.

First of all, it should be noted that all meat, milk, and eggs are free of antibiotics. All animal-based products that enter the food system are tested for antibiotic residue. If antibiotic residue is found, it can be traced back to the farm of origin. The farmer responsible will have to pay severe penalties, which may include losing their contract with the processor. As a result, farmers keep strict records of all antibiotic usage. They work closely with a veterinarian to ensure that the medication passes out of the animal before it is used for food.

Why are antibiotics used in the livestock industry? The same reason people take them; to fight infection. Antibiotics are often given to sick or injured animals to help them heal faster. Antibiotics have also historically been fed at sub-therapeutic levels to help animals grow faster by limiting the occurrence of diarrhea and other health challenges. Antibiotics can no longer be fed without a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). This is basically a prescription from a veterinarian which is only given when the animals really need it.

When I interned at a pig farm, we used antibiotics on piglets that had diarrhea or were lame. It was amazing how quickly they would heal after just one or two days of treatment. From an animal welfare standpoint, it was a no-brainer to use antibiotics if it limited the animal’s suffering.

When at the grocery store, you may see a label reading “Antibiotic Free” on a package of meat. Since all meat is free of antibiotics, this is just a marketing tactic to encourage consumers to purchase a particular product. Some labels may read something like, “Raised without antibiotics”. This means that the animal was never given antibiotics. Presumably, this animal was never sick or injured. It may have also been raised on an organic farm where antibiotics are not allowed for any reason.

With the movement for “all-natural” foods and medications, antibiotics are getting less and less popular. Some no longer work as effectively, and others can have negative effects on gut health. With the emergence of antibiotic resistance and the VFD law, many farmers have had to reevaluate their herd health program. Many have limited their antibiotic use or have stopped using them altogether in some cases. Unfortunately, this can lead to the unnecessary suffering of animals if not handled properly.

Personally, I think there should be a balance between limiting antibiotic use and treating animals that need it. When I worked on the pig farm, we were looking at alternative methods to treat mastitis in female pigs. We started using a calcium IV instead of treating her with an antibiotic right away in the hopes that it would decrease costs and antibiotic resistance. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t treat her with an antibiotic if she showed no signs of improvement.

If you’re still concerned about antibiotic use on farms, talk to a farmer. They’d be happy to share their management strategies. You can even ask them if they plan on limiting their antibiotic usage and finding alternative methods. We are always striving to improve in the agriculture industry!

Meat Judging Contest

When most students think about Halloween, they imagine spooky movies, candy, dressing up, and partying. While those are all fun and awesome parts of Halloween night, I did something a little different on the night of the 31st this year. I went to the Buckeye Classic Meat Judging Contest with a couple of my friends. The Meat Science club at Ohio State puts this contest on annually, and it’s meant for students who have never judged meat before to come try it out. I had heard of meat judging before, but I had always had more experience with the live side of the animal industry as I have been an active participant in livestock judging, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.

While seeing animal carcasses may sound spooky to some, it actually wasn’t that bad. There’s no blood or smell, and it’s much cleaner than a barn. Before we entered the cooler, the Meat Science club president gave a presentation on what to expect. It was extremely helpful since I had no idea what I was doing!


Me and My Team with the Beef Carcasses


The contest structure is fairly simple. There are five classes, and there are four products in each class. The classes we judged were whole beef carcasses, whole pork carcasses, whole lamb carcasses, beef loins, and fresh hams. The products are numbered, and the goal is to rank each product from best to worst. For example, if I thought ham number 1 was the best, I would rank it first and then follow it up with my second place and so on. There’s a point scoring system based on how well you placed each class, and the winner is the one who placed the classes the best. The meat is judged based on quality, leanness, and amount of consumable product. For example, in beef, intramuscular fat or marbling is considered good, but too much excess fat on the outside of the steak is considered waste product.

In conclusion, I tied for second as an individual, just missing first by 2 points! Not too bad for my first meats contest. I’ve raised livestock, and it was really neat to see the end product while also seeing where food like steaks, hams, and pork chops actually come from. There’s definitely a disconnect between consumers and food production. Nobody likes to think that their bacon was once a pig that had to die so that they could enjoy it. We may not want to think about it, but I believe it’s important that we all understand the hard work and sacrifices it takes to produce food. I feel that even livestock producers are often disconnected. They raise the animals, but they often never see what happens after they send their animals to market. Whether or not you agree with eating meat, I think we can all agree that people have the right to know where their food comes from and verify that it is safe, nutritious, delicious, and humanely raised. I’d recommend to anyone to go to the meat science lab at least once. It’s a great experience whether you’ve grown up raising animals for food your whole life as I had or if you’ve never set foot on a farm.

Putting God First – What Faith Means to Me

Faith. Faith has always been a part of my life, but its place of importance has greatly varied throughout. I grew up going to church all my life, and I can remember all the Sunday school teachers telling me to ‘put God first’. I never really knew what that meant until I started coming to college.

There was a person (a pastor) I used to know that seemed to think putting God first meant going to church for every single service: Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I was a busy person at the time. I was active in 4-H and my academics, so it was hard to go to church three times a week every week. This person also believed that if you went to a secular college (e.g. Ohio State) that you couldn’t really be following God because putting God first meant going into the ministry or Bible college after high school. This hurt because I knew I wanted to study Animal Science and become a veterinarian, and Bible colleges don’t offer programs like those. It didn’t seem right that I would have to choose between religion and my passion for animals. My family stopped going to that church, and although I didn’t really believe the things that guy said, it put a damper on my faith. I kept putting my personal relationship with Him to the side.

During my senior year in high school, a major event that completely shook my mental and emotional world occurred. (It would take too long to explain now). It hurt like hell, and I felt like I would never recover. My parents and friends were there to support me, but I only got through it because I turned to God. Through Him, I found a strength inside myself I forgot I had. I finally found a great support group of real friends that shared my faith and supported me, and that seedling of a faith finally got the nourishment it needed. That’s when I realized that I really wanted to walk this Christian walk every day of my life. It was also when I discovered what it truly means to put God first.

Putting God first means trusting Him in all things and living your life in a way that honors him. It’s not about where you go to college, what you do for a living, or how many times you go to church. It’s about loving and serving others and giving God the glory for all the blessings in your life. That’s the life I want to live. One that honors God and puts him first. God can’t be put in one little box. He belongs in every aspect of life, the big and small. Having faith in something bigger than myself gives my life meaning and purpose. I was put here for a reason, and I am going to work hard everyday to live out the plan God has for me. As a new friend of mine recently said to me “You are a child of God. Everything in your life is spiritual.” I can live out my faith being a vet or a missionary. A Bible scholar or a farmer. I can serve God being a brain surgeon, a nutritionist, a counselor, an ag teacher, or a youth leader. I’m living out my faith right here, right now, being an Animal Science student at THE Ohio State University. I’m not perfect, and I don’t have it all figured out. I’m just trying to do the right thing one step at a time.

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.

  • Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc.
  • Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
  • Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
  • Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
  • Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me – An Introduction

Hello! My name is Maggie Miller. I am an Honors student studying Animal Sciences with an Industries specialization. I am in the graduating class of 2023, and I hope to double major in Animal Science and Agribusiness. Originally from a small town in rural Ohio, I graduated from Indian Valley High School in Tuscarawas County. I grew up showing hogs and goats in 4-H and FFA, and I plan on growing my knowledge and passion for the agricultural industry through my time here at Ohio State. I hope to become an industry professional in livestock nutrition or genetics. I am excited for what the future holds!