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 (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malnutrition).

The agricultural system in the United States is Continue reading

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:

 

Using Heat Lamps: Proceed with Caution!

Sabrina Schirtzinger, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Knox County

As temperatures get cold livestock owners search for ways to keep their livestock warm. Often livestock owners are in a hurry and think hanging a heat lamp will be temporary. In a hurry they quickly hang the heat lamp up in the corner of a stall using baling twine to keep a newborn kid or day-old chicks warm for the night. This is an accident waiting to happen! With any electrical appliance or heating source they need to be used carefully.

If you must use a heat lamp, follow these tips: Continue reading

Constructively Thankful

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County

In the season of Thanksgiving, we gravitate to each other to express gratitude for blessings of all kinds. It feels good to be thankful and to be with grateful people. I hope that as you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday that you take the time to meditate on the blessings in your life and on the farm and that it fills you with satisfaction.

When listing our many blessings, we often skip expressing thankfulness toward our learning experiences we gain through less than perfect scenarios. Yet, I think those scenarios are often more worthy of recognition than our obvious successes, because through challenges, we grow.

Along with your lists of blessings, I suggest making a list of things that went less than perfect in your operation this season, recognizing lessons learned in the process, and identifying ways to improve moving forward. It sounds a lot like “constructive criticism”, but I prefer to think of it as “constructive thankfulness”.

Here are some examples: Continue reading

3 Challenges in Ohio Sheep Production Systems

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

Ohio sheep production faces many challenges, however, in my opinion, some of the greatest arise from environmental changes, land mass availability, and predators. To start, we’ll discuss the environmental challenges that producers commonly face. The biggest environmental challenge in my opinion is directly related to excessive rainfall that much of the state has experienced in the recent past. As of late, because of excessive and unpredictable rainfall events, both crop and livestock producers have been unable to harvest and store quality feedstuffs in a timely fashion. Arguably, the spring of 2020 alone presented the greatest challenge as excessive rain events led to delayed planting of crop fields, making of hay, in addition to resuming normal pasture grazing. As a result, crop planting and harvesting was delay, if at all. Excessive moisture in the fall of 2020 was just as challenging during harvest as it was during planting. As a result, issues with mold at harvest became a quick reality. Over the last 5 years, hay of adequate quality has become scarce, mainly due to delayed harvest resulting in the production of poor-quality hay as the result of increased forage maturity. Pastures in general also took a hard hit as excessive rainfall in the spring seemed to have drowned out pasture growth, thus resulting in a lack of  a ‘spring flush’ as we are normally accustomed to. In 2022, the saga continues. Pop up showers with enough moisture to ruin the chances of dry hay production seemed to foil the most well thought out plans. As we have discussed here in the past, prior to making hay you must decide if Continue reading

Cammy Wilson and The Sheep Game

Dr. Brady Campbell, Assistant Professor, OSU State Small Ruminant Extension Specialist

Hello folks, it’s great to be back! Sorry for my absence here on the page as of late. I finally decided to step out of the office for a few weeks and unplugged from everything. While away, I had the opportunity to take a trip to England with a group of Lincoln sheep producers from the United States. The premise of the trip was to attend the Great Yorkshire Show to take in the sights of British agriculture, watch the Lincoln show, as well as tour the country side meeting with fellow Lincoln sheep producers on their home operations. There were many highlights to this trip, but one that I wanted to share with all of you was my opportunity to meet with Cammy Wilson. For those that don’t recognize his name, I encourage you to jump onto Youtube and search for ‘The Sheep Game’. Cammy, along with his wife Lizzy, are professional sheep shearers from Scotland. In his previous life, Cammy served his local community as a police officer but quickly found his passion in working with sheep. In addition to shearing, Cammy and his family also raise several breeds of sheep as well as dabbles in pregnancy ultrasounding on the side.

Although a bit unconventional for our regular postings, I wanted to bring light to the work Cammy is currently doing through social media to support the global sheep industry. During our quick 10 minute chat, Cammy and I discussed the woes of global wool prices, the similarities and differences between sheep breeds found in our respective countries, and of course the hardships and victories or raising sheep. Just like you and I, Cammy is a shepherd and shearer himself that appreciates science and learning something new each day. On his channel, Cammy brings viewers along with him in his daily life, sharing questions and answers as he learns along the way. Cammy has videos on ultrasounding, shearing, dystocia, lambing, selling sheep, and much more. For those interested in learning about sheep production in a different country, I encourage you to take a look at his page: The Sheep Game.

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve selected a few videos from his playlist and plugged them below that highlights his character and support of the industry. Enjoy! Continue reading