Dairy farmers hear ‘truth’ about agriculture at Tusc. County meeting

SUGARCREEK, Ohio — U.S. milk and dairy products have long been considered some of the safest, most wholesome foods available. But to maintain such a positive reputation, farmers and milk handlers need to give increased attention to how they medicate their animals and use modern technology.

That was part of the message at a Feb. 15 dairy information event sponsored by Sugarcreek Veterinary Clinic, Pfizer Animal Health and OSU Extension, on the importance of proper antibiotic use on livestock.

“At this point, we have a great trust by our customers. Almost anybody you ask on the street — milk is the most wholesome food we have,” said Pfizer veterinarian Gregory Edwards. “We need to keep that; we can’t risk that at all.”

“It’s very important that you follow the label when treating animals so that the residue potential is not going to be there for humans,” he said.

Preventing residue

In addition to following the label, Edwards said producers should use medications only with a veterinarian’s guidance, administer all drugs properly and identify animals treated, maintain and use proper treatment records and promote proper drug use among farm workers.

He said the top sources of beef carcass residue are dairy cows that have been culled, and veal calves. The company’s literature says dairy cows are 400 times more likely than feedlot cattle to be flagged for a carcass residue.

Good records and employee training help ensure drugs are administered safely for the animals and our food supply.

“You need to make sure that they (farm workers) have training on how it has to be done; not what they think or what they want,” he said.

More than 150 attended the event, held in a banquet room at Dutch Valley Restaurant in Sugarcreek. In the morning, Chris Zoller, Tuscarawas County OSU Extension educator, talked about the importance of dairy planning and management.

Jerry Lahmers, a farmer from Newcomerstown and a member of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, gave an update on new animal care rules.

Telling the truth

In the afternoon, featured speaker Greg Quakenbush, a Pfizer veterinarian, presented Truth and Agriculture — an entertaining look at what is true about agriculture, and what consumers believe.

Despite concerns about hormones in dairy milk, particularly estrogen, Quakenbush said milk is surprisingly healthier than many other foods. For instance, 3 ounces of milk non-BST contains the same amount of estrogen as milk from BST-enhanced cows — about 11 nanograms.

And, milk contains far less estrogen than popular vegetables, he said, and considerable less than soy milk, which contains 30,000 nanograms per cup. Beef contains 1.2 nanograms, and beef from cattle given implants contain 1.6 nanograms.

He estimated one birth control pill to contain the same amount of estrogen as 125,000 pounds of implanted beef.
“Our culture picks some of the dangedest things to get freaked out about,” he said.

But Quakenbush still stressed the importance of proper medication use, which determines the safety of milk and meat. He warned farmers about not following labels and veterinary recommendations.

“The most expensive thing you can do to yourself or to us as an industry is to try and save a nickel. … Don’t go out and trip any triggers over residues. It’s the last thing we need.”

Seek the truth

Quakenbush said the truth about agriculture is encouraging, but the public has been frightened by activists and so-called scientists and who do not understand truth.

“I believe science has been hijacked,” he said. “It’s overrun by pseudo-science.”

He encouraged farmers to become more critical thinkers and find the truth in arguments, not just the politically correct view.

“Find your ethical voice and begin to speak out because there’s a freight train coming of people who never even stepped in a cow pie — they have no concept,” he said.

Absolute truth does exist, he said, and in a world full of lies and misinformation, farmers should seek to defend truth as much as possible. It’s what should determine our ethics and morals, he said, and how farmers should run their business.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

7 Comments

  1. Bea Elliott says:

    Wholesome??? A product that rips a mother from her baby so adult humans can steal the milk??? Wholesome? Anything but!

  2. K Griffith says:

    Animals were created by God to support humans. The baby calves don’t starve, they are bottle fed – much like most human babies. It’s time we valued animals for what they were created for…food.

  3. Bea Elliott says:

    Hi K Griffith… Let me get this straight – A God created human breast milk so their children could drink the milk from another mammal… Umm so we could bottle feed that baby too. Do I have that right?

    But we could also say that no “gOd” ever intended such a thing – But it sure was profitable for man to think and say he/she did! ;)

  4. BlessUsAll says:

    Dear K Griffith,

    I see you have a silhouetted horse as your avatar. I mean no disrespect when I ask, based on what you have written: Will you send your horse to auction, where kill buyers will pay you a few hundred dollars to ship him to slaughter? Will he be served up on a plate when he’s no longer serviceable in the saddle?

    Another question, good sir: If your thought about the purpose of animals is Biblically correct, why did the Hebrews record the message from God in Genesis 1:29, 30?

    And why would the prophet Isaiah have foreseen a kingdom where all earth’s inhabitants live in peace? Do you think world peace is possible when men commit violence against any of God’s little ones? I do not. I believe God loves each individual in the endless variety of species He created, and He causes them to love one another, not prey upon one another.

    If cows were really intended by God to be milked by humans and for humans, our Creator would not have put it in a bovine mother’s heart to feel forlorn when she and her crying baby are ripped from one another. Is not their devastation obvious to any caring human?

    It seems to me that only someone thoroughly desensitized to the practices of the dairy business — say, a farmer, his family, his vet and everyone educated in that culture — would call it NOT cruel, inhumane and unjust to separate, confine, restrain, exploit and ultimately kill mother and child.

    A final thought: What Bea Elliott said about man profiting from what he interprets God as saying reminds me of Upton Sinclair’s famous line, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    Thank you for listening.

    • K Griffith says:

      Genesis 1:29 was the commandment before man sinned and needed a Savior.
      “…and on the 8th day God made a farmer” Paul Harvey

      • Bea Elliott says:

        If indeed we have our own “God-given” free will to act independent of the thoughts and wants of others… Than we each can make the choice that NOW and FINALLY the nonhumans have suffered enough for our sins. We can opt to provide them with the mercy we beg for. There is no need aside from greed and gluttony to task them any longer.

        “If a man earnestly seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food.” – Leo Tolstoy

  5. Bea Elliott says:

    “Than” should be “Then”.

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