Speak Up is a series of blogs where CommonGround volunteers from all over the U.S. speak up to answer questions from consumers.
Farm women who are CommonGround volunteers say last week’s announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals will not affect their farms.
In documents published today in the Federal Register, the FDA recommends phasing out the use of growth promoting antibiotics and antibiotics that increase feed efficiency in food animals.
Here is what CommonGround volunteers in Nebraska and across the U.S. say about antibiotics in their beef cattle herds.
“I am a mother, grandmother and cattle feeder in northeast Nebraska. When we use antibiotics in cattle it is for sickness. We do not use long-term antibiotics for cattle performance. The type of antibiotics we do use are not used in human medicine. People need to know that we utilize antibiotics to take better care of the cattle. It is really all about animal welfare.”
– Joan Ruskamp, CommonGround volunteer and cattle feeder in Dodge, NE
“Right now we have ten head of cattle in a pen that have been vaccinated against diseases, but have not received any antibiotics because we don’t give them any until they’re sick.”
– Diane Becker, CommonGround volunteer and beef cattle farmer in Madison, NE
“We manage about 85 head of beef cattle each year on our farm – momma cows and their calves. It’s really important that we keep every one of them healthy. Antibiotics given to our cattle are always prescribed by a veterinarian. Overall, you should know that our animals are on a stringent herd health program. We give them vaccinations to prevent disease and only use antibiotics to treat them when there is a problem.”
– Teresa Brandenburg, CommonGround volunteer and beef cattle farmer in Russell, Kansas
“We don’t use antibiotics in our operation unless the cattle are diseased, so this announcement will not affect our operation.”
– Karra James, CommonGround volunteer and beef cattle farmer in Clay Center, KS
“On our farm, animals are given antibiotics in the same manner I would give them to my son…if they are sick and in the correct dosage and time frame. We follow the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) guidelines: avoid using antibiotics that are important in human medicine; use a narrow spectrum of antimicrobials whenever possible; treat the fewest number of animals possible; and antibiotic use should be limited to prevent or control disease and should not be used if the primary intent is to improve performance.” – Caci Nance, CommonGround volunteer and farmer in York, South Carolina
Watch this video about Farm Animals and Antibiotics from Teresa in Kansas!