Ozark Farm and Neighbor Presentation

This past week Lynzee Glass, from Ozark Farm and Neighbor, presented to my PR in Agriculture class. She shared with us her companies journey with social media through the years.

Ozark Farm and Neighbor utilizes Facebook and Twitter for their company. They started Facebook in 2007. Initially the company owner was not keen on the idea of Facebook. Some people still look at Facebook as only a social website, instead of a way to market to people while they are casually scrolling through their news feed. After convincing their boss that Facebook would benefit the company and profit them in some ways, they began their social media journey. The Facebook page was not kept very well up to date when Lynzee joined their team. Since then, however, they have grown to almost daily posts and they now have Twitter.

Social media has changed their business by allowing them to post breaking news and press releases immediately. Ozark Farm and Neighbor is a three week paper, so if they wait to share important information until the paper comes out, it is often old news. Social media eliminates this hurdle by allowing readers to keep up to date on current events through Facebook and Twitter. They post photos, OFN articles and community events as well.

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Just Some Information About Vaccines and Antibiotics

Last Wednesday me and my classmate Allie made a video to educate the general public on some common misconceptions about vaccines and routes of administration of them and other medications.  We used each of our experience in the veterinary industry to provide you with this information.  Watch:

In the video we talk about giving injection subcutaneously.  There are several ways medicine can be administered to an animal; orally, nasal, intravenous (IV), subcutaneous (SQ), and intramuscular (IM).  Generally when people think of an injection being given they assume it is IV or IM, since that is usually how humans are given medication if it is in shot form.

In the agricultural world producers generally chose not to give injections IM because they don’t want anything, like a needle, to change the outlook of that beautiful steak.  Therefore, they chose the route of a SQ injection.  As stated in the video a SQ injection is given under the skin, so it doesn’t protrude the muscle (or meat) at all.

Another common route of administering medication is orally.  When a medication is administered orally it is absorbed through the digestive tract.  Once again, posing no harm to the meat.

Vaccines and other medications such as antibiotics are critical to agriculture.  There has been a recent buzz about the misuse of antibiotics in agriculture.  Vaccines can greatly prevent the use of antibiotics by preventing disease altogether.  However, vaccine don’t prevent every illness.  In this situation (depending on the illness) the use of antibiotics is utilized by producers and veterinarians to combat the disease.  This is essential to maintaining a humane environment.  Choosing to not treat a sick animal is inhumane and could lead to that disease leaking into the food source.  This is why in agriculture we chose to utilize the use of vaccines and antibiotics!

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Degrading Conventional Agriculture

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Chipotle has recently launched a new advertisement that completely degrades conventional agriculture. The video can be watched at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE. The video shows a scarecrow wondering through a factory farm and watching the “horrors” that take place. Chickens are being injected with a mysterious substance and the cattle are very sadly trapped in a box being pumped full of who knows what. The Scarecrow then leaves the farm, picks some vegetables and serves them. Such a touching video…. Now I will admit that Chipotle did use clever marketing tactics in order to lure easily manipulated consumers. However, there are many things wrong with this video and a lot of things that consumers in general need to understand.

Factory farms are in existence for a reason. America is the bread basket of the world. Factory farms, or better known as CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), make possible the mass production of cattle, chickens, turkeys, and swine. Meat produced by CAFOs is often times much more affordable for the money conscious consumer. Organic and all natural food, in general, is EXPENSIVE. I myself can’t afford to even think about purchasing it. Also, the world simply cannot be fed by organically produced food alone. Agriculture is a group effort by conventional producers and non-conventional producers to feed the world and provide consumers with options. If you can afford to buy organic food or simply prefer it, great for you! The rest of consumers out there need to realize that conventionally produced food is just as good for you. Producers have regulations set by the USDA that they have to abide by.

Another important point to understand is that generally CAFOs are only finishing lots. Cattle are usually raised on smaller cow-calf feeder operations until they reach a certain age or weight. At that point they are sold to a “finisher” who puts the last extra pounds on them before they slaughtered for human consumption. So if your one of those people who the thought of a cow living its entire life in confinement bothers you, rest assured, most of the time that is not the case. Poultry is a vertically integrated market. Meaning they generally have one home before they are sent to slaughter. Chicken thrive in a more confined situation away from predators. If chickens are free ranging and running around in a field 24/7, they’re going to get eaten by coyotes before they reach the slaughter.

When considering organic food keep a few things in mind. To be an organic product the product must have at least 95% organically produced ingredients. A product is “natural” only if there are no artificial ingredients and it is minimally processed. Being labeled as “natural” does not give any whereabouts as to how the animal was raised. If you’re buying something that says free-range, it does NOT mean the animal was raised outdoors. No hormones means that hormones were not administered to the animal. The USDA prohibits the use of growth promoting hormones in poultry and swine. http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/healthservices/EatSmart/pdfs/UnderstandingMeatAndPoultryLabels.pdf.

In agriculture antibiotics are used. Before you go freaking out I want you to consider one thing, if an animal is sick are you going to let it stay sick? Die from disease? Infect the rest of the herd? Suffer? When you bash the use of antibiotics in agriculture you essentially are condoning all of these points. Oh, and are you okay with eating a diseased animal? Animals need treatment for disease just like humans do!

To sum all of this up, conventional agriculture is not big and scary like Chipotle is making it out to be. Animals are raised to be eaten, but as farmers we ensure that the time they spend here is humane. When production animals are sick, we treat them for the illness just like you take your dog to the vet to be treated. CAFOs are present because our growing population demands for them to be there. Farmers are just trying to feed the growing human population adequately.

Becoming an Ag Student

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My name is Tiffany Faughn and I am an agriculture student at Missouri State University. I’m currently majoring in Agriculture Business with a minor in Animal Science. Agriculture, everything agriculture related, hunting, fishing, horses and the great outdoors are not only my hobbies, but my passions.

I was born in Kansas City, MO and spent the next twelve years of my young life in Garden City, MO. I have an older sister (Jess) and twin brother (Mike) who have greatly impacted my life and played a major role in who I am today. My parents owned five acres that were surrounded by corn and soybean fields. My sister first put me up on a horse when I was three years old and from that day forward I never stopped begging to ride. By the time I was five my parents bought me and her our first horse, a bay Arabian mare. When we ran out of fun, adventurous things to do on our own land the neighboring farmers let us ride around their fields as long as we didn’t actually ride into the crops. By age eight me and Jess were entering local horse shows almost every weekend. I was the happiest kid alive. We did various disciplines of riding ranging from trail riding to western pleasure to trying our hand at running barrels.

When I wasn’t busy with the horses and my sister I was out hunting and target practicing with my twin brother. My brother is due the most credit for my passionate love of hunting. I had to keep up with him somehow! Our dad bought us our first gun when we started Kindergarten. Once again, the awesome neighbor farmers let us hunt their fields and surrounding tree lines as long as we didn’t damage the crops. Little did I know that the interaction I had with those farmers at such a young age would impact me so much as I chose the career I wanted for the rest of my life.

The summer I was twelve my parents decided to move away from Cass County and make a new home in little tiny Shell Knob, MO. My sister and horses stayed in Cass County and I was forced to start over. After a few years of saving and meeting new people I bought a new horse and ventured into the world of dressage, stadium jumping and eventing. I competed and trained all through high school. When it came time to choose where to go to college and what to major in I caught myself feeling torn. At that point, I wanted to take my horse to college with me, participate in a show team and major in physical therapy. Turns out, those plans weren’t for me. I ended up selling my dressage horse during my senior year of high school. I had come to grips with just how expensive it would be to take him to college with me.

I started college at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS and majored in physical therapy. I wasn’t there long before I realized I wasn’t majoring in what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and Pittsburg was not the town for me. With the encouragement of my good friend, Lance Eley, I made the transfer to Missouri State were I initially started as an animal science major.

I love Missouri State and I especially love how much it has taught me about agriculture, the importance of it, the careers it offers, and most of all the importance of educating the general public about what goes on in agriculture. There is a misconception today that since you didn’t grow up as a farmer, you don’t know what farming is, how it works, and what goes on at the small, medium and large farm levels. Also, that agriculture is just “farming.” Well, I’m here to tell you agriculture is MUCH more that just “farming,” and you didn’t have to grow up on a farm to understand agriculture and be a part of it. My goal is that through this blog I can educate the general public on various parts of agriculture and the importance of them.