Monthly Archives: January 2015

Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics

I’m grateful for antibiotics. I’m even more grateful when I don’t need them. I try hard to keep my kids out of the doctor’s office, but when my son came down with scarlet fever, I was grateful to live in a century where a quick stop at the pharmacy dealt with a once life-threatening condition.

Same goes for the animals in my care. First I’ll take good care of them– food, water, shelter, etc.. But when they get sick– really, truly sick, they get medication.

For Lizzie it happened when she was just a few weeks old. It was super cold out and the poor little lamb got so, so sad. See the heartbreaking eyes.

sick little lamb

And just a few weeks ago Harriett started limping. At first it was minor, but a day or two later it took her ten minutes to stand up. So she got a shot.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

Then there are the baby chicks who get starter feed with a low level of medication. Baby chicks die seemingly without cause and I’m not happy about loosing a single one.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

These are backyard animals, but the same principles apply for livestock producers.

This may surprise you, but healthy animals are good for the farmer too. Sick animals require more time and money. If you don’t like co-pays for your family of four or five imagine vet bills for herds of four or five hundred (or thousand!).

That doesn’t mean antibiotics are never used. But perhaps understanding when they are used will help you make the right choices for your family.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

Farm families eat the food they grow as well!

For one rancher it might make the most sense to give all the animals some level of medication in their feed when they are weaned from their mothers. This is a decision a producer/friend of ours makes because 10-12 days after this transition the calves often become sick, even die.

A friend whose calves are born in the fall rather than the spring gives medication when they are young to help them through crazy temperature changes—you know, the ones that make everyone sick.

Here’s the nice thing though. Repeatedly I heard from livestock producers that keeping an animal from getting sick resulted in an animal more likely to stay healthy later.   Then they can grow for the next 9 months to a year before butchering with very little need for more medication.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

Did you also know there are regulations about how soon after being given antibiotics a steer can be butchered or milk from a dairy cow can be sold?

But every farm is unique, every farmer different. If you’re a farmer leave a comment about what works on your farm. If you’re not, resolve to learn about antibiotics and join the conversation. Maybe you’ll come to a better understanding of what it takes to get food to the table.


Don’t miss Resolve to Learn About Your Food in the New Year

and Resolve to Learn About Organics

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Resolve to Learn about Organics

Organics. What are they and are really healthier?

First, organic is a term that can mean anything living or made of carbon compounds. It can refer to how something is organized, as in “growing a business organically.” But you’ll hear it most as the production of food without laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

Here’s a piece of information you need to know, however. The USDA, (United States Department of Agriculture) is in charge of the term “organic” as it is labeled on food, just like “low in sugar” or “high in fiber.” On their website they outline what is required to be “organic.”

This document lists the fertilizers, substances, and pesticides allowed for growing organic food.

So while Webster might disagree, organic foods are grown with chemicals. I find this surprises a lot of people.

Fact two of What You Really Need to Know. Studies show that organic buyers are not healthier than non-organic buyers. Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medicine, and the University of Arizona all state that there is no scientific evidence showing organic food is more nutritious or that the difference in the level of chemicals is safer.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

It won’t take more than a quick Google search to “disprove” these studies with a thousand articles showing organic food is safer, healthier, and will save the planet. It’s important to know all sides of an argument, so by all means, read these articles. Then check the source. I quickly found a post by Eating Well magazine, which sounds trustworthy. But the study proving organics are better was done by the Organic Center. It would be hard for them not to be biased!

The third major reason people choose organics is that they feel the practices used by organic farmers are better for the environment. While lumping a large group of people into one category is never a good idea, I’d guess many organic farmers really do care about the land, water, and air around them.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

But that leads me to fact three. Non-organic farmers care about the land too. Okay, so that is also a stereotype, but farmers own the land. Who would benefit more from taking care of the soil than they do? And consider this. Some chemicals allowed in organic farming are not as effective as conventional ones, which means a farmer needs more of it. Every time a tractor or sprayer goes over the plants it compacts the soil, uses diesel fuel, and costs the farmer money. So sometimes conventional farming is better for the environment.

Obviously what you put in your shopping cart is your decision. If you choose organics, fine. I’m not going to stop my kids from playing with your kids. But if the price of organics deter you, or you’d prefer to spend your energy getting your kids to eat a banana rather than stressing over which bananas to buy, then put some of that mommy guilt away.

These are just the facts.


Don’t miss Resolve to Learn About Your Food in the New Year

Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics

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