In Defense of Animal Agriculture

Dr. Francis Fluharty, Professor and Head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science at The University of Georgia and Ohio State University Professor Emeritus

When I read online media stories that blame animal agriculture for being a large part of the environmental problems we have, it troubles me that people are so far removed from agriculture and food production that they don’t realize how connected to nature farmers are. I’m thankful for animal agriculture, from the producers who raise the livestock, to the grain farmers who grow grains and other crops whose byproducts we feed to livestock and companion animals, to the companies who produce, and distribute byproducts, to the feed companies who formulate products so that animals receive the proper nutrition, to the companies and people involved in delivering high-quality animal-based products to consumers around the world. I have often considered speaking up in defense of animal agriculture, because globally protein-energy malnutrition is the largest cause of human deaths; and in 2020, the World Health Organization estimated that more than 149 million children under the age of five were too short for their age, and another 45 million were too thin for their height.  In fact, 45% of deaths of children under five years of age are attributed to undernutrition (

The agricultural system in the United States is Continue reading In Defense of Animal Agriculture

Increase the nitrogen in your pastures for increased quality and production

Kelli Boylen, Freelance Writer, Progressive Forage
(Previously published online: Progressive Forage – December 7, 2022)

Balancing nitrogen for the benefit of both [livestock] and the pasture can yield higher-performing pastures with the right management steps.

Nitrogen is necessary for high production, but what if you are looking to increase the production of pasture? Steve Norberg, Ph.D., regional forage specialist at Washington State University, has some guidance.

To best understand how to manage nitrogen, you must first understand what affects nitrogen. Nitrogen circulates in nature in several different forms known as the nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen changes into different forms through microbial transformations. The steps of the cycle, which are not necessarily sequential, include nitrogen fixation, nitrogen assimilation, ammonification, nitrification and denitrification.

Nitrogen fixation by Continue reading Increase the nitrogen in your pastures for increased quality and production

Preventing Drug Residues- Record Keeping

Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health, Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab

(Image Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture)

Why keep drug records?
There are numerous reasons to keep records regarding the medication use on your farm. For starters keeping records helps to prevent an accidental residue violation. Records can also help improve your veterinarian’s effectiveness and ensure an effective herd health plan. Records also reduce liability as drug records are required by law. In many ways keeping good records can help save money.

What should be included in drug records?

  • Treatment date
  • Name of drug
  • Animal identification
  • Dosage
  • Route of administration
  • Expected duration
  • Withdrawal time for milk and meat
  • Individual who administered the drug
  • Actual duration of therapy

Veterinarians must keep their records (written or electronic) for a minimum of two years. While it is not mandatory that producers keep records on animals treated with drugs for two years it is STRONGLY recommended they do. Some drug records are required by law. It is a sign of good management for producers to keep complete, accurate, and clear records- especially when dealing with drug use. Records can include but are not limited to: Drug inventory, drugs purchased, treatments, veterinary relevant information, and how drugs were disposed.

Examples of record keeping templates:


Thinking About Selling Home-based or Farm-raised Foods? See This!

The Ohio State University, Department of Extension

A recent USDA survey identified 7,107 farms in Ohio with direct food sales—the third highest state in the nation.  That might be why OSU’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program receives more legal inquiries about food sales than any other area of law.  “We are constantly surprised by the interest producers have in selling meat, produce, jams, baked goods, and similar foods directly to consumers and retailers,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, the program’s director.  To address the questions of those who want to directly market farm-raised and home-based food products to consumers, OSU Extension will host a webinar series this winter.

The “Starting a Food Business” webinar series will bring OSU’s expertise in food safety, law, product development, economics, and marketing together to help explain what a producer needs to know when planning to sell home-based and farm-raised foods.  Food businesses are challenging for many reasons, according to OSU Extension Educator Emily Marrison.

“We often see people who Continue reading Thinking About Selling Home-based or Farm-raised Foods? See This!

American Lamb Pricing Calculator

American Lamb Resource Center
(Previously published online: American Lamb Resource Center – Pricing Calculator)

Recently, I’ve had several conversations with lamb producers that are interested in adding value to their flock. As an example, to better connect them with their clientele, shepherds have investigated selling whole or half lamb carcasses or individual cuts. As this business venture continues to gain traction, I always encourage producers to investigate all marketing opportunities to ensure that they are getting the most out of their labors. The most common question I get when discussing this topic is: “How should I price my lamb”? Unfortunately, I can’t be the one to answer that as each operation is different in terms of overhead expenditures and operating costs. However, there is a tool available to help you in getting a fair price for your efforts. Thanks to the American Lamb Board, shepherds have a pricing calculator that can be used to set a fair market price for your meat products produced. This pricing tool also takes into consideration the live market value of your lamb to ensure that you added efforts of securing a harvest slot, storing meat, advertising, and etc. out weighs the value you would receive on the open market, thus allowing for added value of your end product.

For those interested in using this tool, please see the text provided below from the American Lamb Board. Question upon how to use this tool or how to interpret the results, let me know – I would be more than happy to help!

Pricing lamb – whether from simple or complex cutting instructions – can be a challenge. Tracking lamb produced over time at busy local lockers can also be a challenge. This Direct Marketing Lamb Business Management Tool (DMLBMT) is intended to help the direct marketer monitor productions and price product.

This DMLBMT is comprised of various components:

  • Yield Collection Template (which can also serve as an order sheet for your processor)

  • Yield Tracking Template

  • Cost/Margin/Markup Worksheet

  • Pricing/Cutout Calculator

The following will offer a chronological explanation of how to use the various components of this tool, which will require Mircosoft Excel. Downloads for both the Pricing Calculator Instructions and Pricing Calculator Excel fie can be found at

Be Picky about Purchased Hay

Amber Friedrichsen, Hay and Forage Grower 2021 and 2022 editorial intern
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: December 6, 2021)

Some farmers may have lower hay supplies this winter following a dry growing season. Buying hay might seem like a simple solution to fill feed gaps, but the decision to do so can be complex.

While sale price tends to be hay buyers’ biggest concern, Ben Beckman with University of Nebraska Extension says there are other factors that could incur additional costs down the road. The extension educator encourages farmers to consider forage quality, potential pests, toxicity issues, and current hay inventories before buying bales.

1. Take a look at test results
Hay quality might be listed in advertisements, but these values may be mere estimates. Beckman notes quality can be influenced by plant species, growing conditions, and maturity at harvest, as well as curing tactics and storage methods. Request to see hay test results to ensure the product will meet animals’ requirements. Continue reading Be Picky about Purchased Hay