Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Antibiotic Soapbox

I just watched this CBS News report and thought you might be interested in seeing what big factory farms are doing...... and the risks involved in eating food that comes from these big corporations. You can see the video here:

One of my New Years Resolutions was to eat local meat- Meat that I knew the person growing and taking care of the animals. I want to know that what I am putting in my body is from antibiotic, steroid, and hormone free animals. We the consumer have been led to believe that the ONLY way to farm is to add to what nature provides. Big business has come in and convinced the farmers to add fertilizers, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals to our food system.
What did farmers do before the invention of these chemicals? They farmed in a way that was in harmony with nature. They planted in rotational beds. Perhaps one year in bed 1they grew corn but year 2 in bed 1 they would rotate and grow beans. This kept the pesky bugs confused as they had a hard time following where you moved their favorite vegetable. They rotational grazed their animals so that they had fresh grass to eat everyday. This cut down their need to feed them anything else but grass and hay. These animals were meant to eat grass- God didn't say Grass and Antibiotics, No he just gave them grass.
Our problem really lays in the fact that in order to make any money farming in this manner you have to produce large quantities of product. We as consumers want cheap food. Unfortunately cheap comes with a cost! The farmer cannot absorb the costs of losing half his crop to bugs and is forced to use a pesticide to keep them at bay. In order to make any money in raising hogs he needs to raise hundreds at a time in close quarters. Eventually one gets sick, and before you know it they all are sick and need medications. Because in most cases these animals are not out on fresh grasses all day, every day, but instead locked in small paddocks with way too many bodies to a stall. Not exposed to the freshest air and food. Why on earth would we think they would be healthy animals? Would we allow our children to be treated this way? Definitely not! Animals need the same things we do. Food, shelter, and to be treated with respect and love.
It is a shame that most conventional farmers are so far in debt trying to make a living and failing because they cannot compete with the big corporations that are now running a huge percentage of our countries farms today, that they are getting out of the business.
There is a better way! I am convinced of that! Eat locally- Eat food that you know where it comes from. Get to know your farmer and what he stands for. Visit the farm and see how he treats his animals. We must make time in our lives to do these things. It is for the welfare of our bodies and our children's bodies and the future of our planet.
Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Things Are Coming Right Along

My dear husband finished putting up the shed last night. It is a cute 7x7 plastic model that we got on clearance from Home Depot. Now I need to build the brooder boxes and get them in there. Chicks will be arriving around the 17th of this month. I am so excited I can hardly stand it!

I am pasting a picture of what I think the boxes will look like- although this picture DOES NOT belong to me, I just wanted you to see what I am thinking about.

We will be making a shelving unit first and then making the boxes a separate piece so we can remove them and clean them out. I anticipate our boxes being 6.5ft x 4ft which will give us a little over 25 square feet. Supposedly you can fit 100 chicks in 25 square feet of space. Sounds small to me, but I am taking the experts opinions on this. So we will be building 2 units to begin with and then adding a third unit later on when we are ready to start turkeys. Gone are the days of the pool in the kitchen with little chicks in it.

I will miss having them so close by, but not the stink that they created. I am also moving to pine shavings, as I have read that these will decompose quicker and help with the smell issues.

I am having some issues finding farm insurance and it is starting to stress me out a bit. Part of my contract with Farmer D is that I have insurance on the property but also product liability too. I would have gotten both on my own, but now it is a necessity. Most companies say I do not have enough stuff for them to cover for what I want protection on. Let me clarify..... I do not want to insure a chicken house, a farm house, a tractor or any other big ticket item. I just want them to cover liability on 2 little acres and product liability. Big insurance companies want to cover the big things- but I don't have anything big. See my problem? I still have some companies looking into it for me- and I do have one bid, but it is high $$$.

I am off to plan my brooder boxes now- Hopefully I will have pictures of my boxes to you soon.