Do you use any antibiotics?
I use antibiotics judiciously and rarely. In my experience, attention to basic good animal husbandry
makes antibiotics mostly unnecessary. The animals stay healthy. If an animal is sick or has an infected wound, I use
antibiotics to treat that problem. That animal is not then sold as meat from my farm. I have used antibiotics a few times in the past twelve
- In 2004, A sow sick with a bacterial infection called Erisypelas was given a series of antibiotic shots. She recovered, but then
failed to breed. We butchered her for our own use.
- A Black Angus bull tore his foot on the side of the tractor's loader bucket, and the foot became infected. He received
two shots of a long-lasting antibiotic, and fully recovered.
- A piglet was stepped on by his mother and had a large flap of skin torn loose from his shoulder. I cleaned the wound
and applied an antibiotic ointment. He was cared for in the house at first, then moved to the yard, and eventually rejoined
the pig herd as a breeding boar. His name was Ulysses.
- In the flooded spring of 2012, one heifer contracted a case of footrot. She received a single dose of a
long-lasting antibiotic called LA200, and made a full recovery. She was a lousy mother, though, and was later shipped to a
livestock auction after abandoning her calf.
- We saw more footrot in the fall of 2014, and one cow and one heifer were each given shots of LA200. Both recovered and are still
in the herd.
- Footrot also showed up in summer of 2015. One cow had it in two feet simultaneously. Two cows and one heifer calf were treated with
antibiotics for footrot in 2015. One heifer calf was treated for pinkeye. Those heifers will join the herd as mother cows and will
not be sold for meat.
Is your meat organic?
I am not a certified organic farmer. The main reason for this is that organic feed
is far more costly and harder to get than regular feed. I would have to nearly double the price that I charge for my
animals in order to cover the cost of organic feed, and that would price the meat out of reach for a lot of my
I prefer to focus my attention on providing good living conditions for the animals, and on buying feed locally.
I buy grain from farmers in the area whenever I can, and I buy a blended feed from the Itasca County Farm Service co-op feed store in
Grand Rapids, MN.