Monday, July 29, 2013

Why We Use Antibiotics on our Farm

There has been a lot of talk about antibiotics in the news again lately, especially with Panera's horrible EZ Chicken marketing campaign that implies those farmers that use antibiotics are taking the easy route.

A couple days ago we noticed one of our cows, Cici, had a swollen eye, that way very irritated. Her symptoms implied that she likely had pinkeye. Pinkeye in cattle can occur when the eye is irritated by long grass, dust or flies, and if not treated it can lead to blindness.

Just looking at Cici's eye you can't tell that it is hurting her? If you were in pain like this or a family member was would you opt for an antibiotic treatment? 

Cici's treatment was a two step process. First we gave her a injection of Penicillin. Since Cici is a cow raising a calf right now so she won't be entering the food chain. However, if she was, we would have to wait 10 days withdrawal period (these instructions are found on the bottle and this Beef Quality Assurance chart) for any antibiotic residues to leave her system so that the any meat entering the food system would be safe.

Next we prepared a patch for Cici to wear so that nothing (wind, flies, dirt, grass) would continue to irritate her eye. 

Old worn out jeans make the perfect cow eye patches.

Cici the "Pirate" cow is now on the road to recovery. 

I don't think any of what the Boy and I did to Cici was lazy or irresponsible. Instead we are making sure the animal health and welfare of our herd is closely watched. There is tons of misinformation and fear tactics that groups like Panera and Food Babe try to use to market a product. If you have questions about antibiotics ask a farmer or vet for some help sorting out the answers. We are the ones that are raising the food that is feeding our family and our communities. 

If you are looking for more information on common questions like antibiotics, GMOs, hormones, corporate farms, etc, check out this awesome website called Finding Common Ground. Tons of great resources! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your thoughts on Panera and Antibiotics

Panera, you just had to go there. Using slick marketing terms like Chipotle to try and convince the consumer that you are doing the "right thing" in terms of the food you are serving in your stores.

Completely confused about what I am talking about? For awhile Panera has used the statement that they serve antibiotic free chicken in their stores. This statement in itself is confusing as all the meat that you consumer, whether it comes from a farmer's market, Wal-Mart, McDonalds or Panera, is antibiotic free. There are strict withdrawal times that farmers and ranchers must adhere to. It is illegal to sell meat that has antibiotic residues.

Now there is a difference in how livestock can be raised. On our farm we only administer antibiotics when a calf or cow is sick. I don't want to see them suffer and I don't want them to infect other calves or cows.

Now back to Panera and their claims. Yes, what they are posting on their menu upsets me, but what infuriates is their new marketing campaign. Introducing Ez Chicken.

EZ Chicken is the new character that Panera Bread has created. He portrays that farmers want to take the easy route aka too lazy to do its Panera's "right way." 

As blogging friend and dairy farmer Dairy Carrie points out...
She/he seems to be guilty of sloth. I mean who knew that they even made chicken sized hammocks? Of course chickens aren’t really out there holding up pharmacies to get drugs. Even if they somehow pulled off looking intimidating, chickens can’t get the pill bottles open. While you can order some chicken fingers with your fries, chicken thumbs aren’t on the menu. It doesn’t take a genius to understand what you’re really saying here.

But wait you say, Panera isn’t calling all farmers and ranchers lazy! They are just calling the ones that use antibiotics lazy! I used antibiotics to help a sick calf get better last week, my friends the organic farmers had a cow with pneumonia and they gave that cow antibiotics to make her better. They had to sell her, but she lived. Does that mean we are lazy? Is it lazy to take care of our sick animals?
Panera let me tell you one thing: Even though the boy and I choose to farm conventionally (use antibiotics) we are not lazy! I hope you will read Dairy Carrie's entire blog post about Panera, the Ez Chicken and antibiotics as she makes some really good points. And as consumers I hope that you continue to seek farmers out and ask questions about where your food is coming from and what these marketing campaigns really mean. 
Update (7/25/13): Thanks to Carrie Dairy kicking off this speak up campaign and all those who followed Panera Bread started removing all the references to Ez Chicken on their Facebook page and deleted the Twitter account! When we speak up together we are heard. 

Update: (7/25/13): Carrie Dairy was promised that someone from Panera Bread would contact her and that has not happened. They almost have only removed a couple of the Ex Chicken pictures. If you want to show support to farmers of all kinds use the hashtag #pluckexchicken whether you are on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Let's continue to make our voices heard! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two weeks worth of laundry in an afternoon

A little update... we moved to our farm, and it is AWESOME. I can't wait to share with you more about it but my travel schedule is still crazy, and when I am not on the road we are unpacking boxes or rearranging furniture.

Part of that furniture included a brand new Maytag Bravos XL washer and dryer. And although I will try and refrain from staying awesome a million times in this blog post, this washer and dryer are truly AWESOME.

When we took a trip to our local appliance store (always trying to support local business) I was instantly drawn to the color of this washer and dryer. It also comes in white for those that aren't looking for quite as much adventure.

But now that my beauties are home what really is selling me on this set is the speed and efficiency. In one afternoon I had the laundry from both myself and the boy completely done. The wash bin is huge! The washer is so much faster than our old one, and same story with the dryer. One feature that we haven't used yet, but my sister-in-law says she loves on her Bravos is the steam feature. You can throw a wrinkly shirt in, in the morning, and by the time you are done your shower you have a perfectly steamed shirt.

And even though I have only have had my set for three days I think I made the right decision because when I posted this picture on my Facebook page all kinds of friends and family commented that they recently bought the Bravos and loved it too!

So for those that were asking this is my official review. Buy the Maytag Bravos XL and you'll be happy.

p.s. We paid way less than the price listed on the Maytag site so make sure you do some shopping around.
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