Friday, December 18, 2009
We have heard in the media over again about how the swine flu has spread through the world. Because of this consumers have moved away from pork products for the wrong reasons. Let's face it, from a virus standpoint there has to be enough human genetic code in the virus to infect a human. Since most human flu we see is multi-species (avian/human/swine) lets just use the classification of H&N (e.g. H1N1) to describe this and give the animal producers a chance. Since this is NOT a food borne issue we should be able to enjoy fully cooked pork and pork products without scare.
To protect ourselves from human transmission, be sure to use good hygiene and cough control, especially as we head into the holiday season. Wash your hands including the backs of your hands with warm water and soap. Rub your hands with soap for at least 20-30 seconds before rinsing. Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or elbow if you must to keep your hands from being contaminated.
Lastly, stay home if you are sick. I was sick for two days and stayed home until fever was normal for 24 hours. By doing so, I was able to recover quickly and without lasting effects.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Be sure to have adequate materials at hand to compost, so to be at the ready for when its necessary to handle mortality on the farm.
Monday, September 14, 2009
With fall harvest comes fall spreading of poultry manure before cover crops or winter fallow of fields. Poultry farmers and manure haulers need to look at these loads as far as their house fly status to determine if further actions are needed. Heavy fly infested manure should be piled and covered for 14 days in order to kill any further fly larvae. By paying attention to these simple steps, fly levels on the farm can be kept to a minimum.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
On Balanced Reporting....
I guess I am a little hardened to what we have seen in Time Magazine lately. Time has not been a good friend to food groups or farming for that matter for many years. You may remember the frowning plate cover years back?
The cover story Bryan Walsh wrote was extremely unbalanced in covering anything to do with conventional agricultural production. This got me so steamed, that I did something I usually do not do. I wrote a letter to the editor. Since I don't think it will be published I am reprinting what I submitted below.
Just an aside here I let my subscription to Time Lapse a long while ago.... Looks like I'm not missing much.
Email Subjet Line: Let's Get Real About Food in General
I found your story regarding cheap food [Aug 21, 2009] an unbalanced folly on what U.S. consumers have but fail to realize – A Choice! Conventional agricultural production (sustained now for decades) has allowed U.S. consumers to have more disposable income than any other culture in the world. Enough so to even allow us the luxury to demand greener, designer foods, and dictate what is to be produced. Two points we need to consider: If it is ok to buy a car, refrigerator, toothpaste, shoes, lumber, and ketchup made in a large factory why is it a crime to buy foods that were produced with the same economies of scale or organization? Secondly, if your kid were sick with a bacterial infection would you withhold antibiotic treatment? Even the range cattle need medication from time to time and there are laws that prohibit antibiotic residues from reaching the consuming public (all meat sources, always). It is disappointing to see the hard work of the American Farmer being dragged through the mud in biased articles such as this. Considering the time and risk to family livelihoods farmers take, few others are willing to follow them in the hard work they do to feed the rest of us (including you too Mr. Walsh).
Gregory P. Martin, Ph.D., PASPoultry Scientist
Friday, August 28, 2009
Much of the rhetoric surrounding the push for for enriched and cage free layer systems surrounds the idea of supporting repressed common poultry behavior. The question that should be asked is "Do we really have to support every behavior that the birds possess? Humans used to be hunter gatherers that would move in groups to hunt, kill and maintain territorial bounds by force. We obviously no longer do all that, but are we frustrating ourselves as other groups feel we are imposing on chickens in cages?
If we are placing birds on wire, not in dirt do they really need to bathe in dust? In my years of work I have seen most behaviors exhibited in both cage and cage free systems. Yes, layers will simulate dust bathing, wing & leg stretching and so forth. I have also seen gang picking in larger aviary and range situations as well.
The answer to housing poultry is to look to bird behavior that we wish to support, and more importantly pay to support. If US consumers wish to have cage free production, they will need to support all the requirements of such production. If humane caged (e.g. UEP) systems are important then consumers should financially support those activities as well. There is no free lunch and each system has both positive and negative aspects. What is needed is choice; pushing for markets without choice in the US is against the tenets of capitalism itself. The market will ultimately tell the consumers choice of what is important to them.