Tag Archives: Small Farm Rant

Animal Husbandry- Doing What it Takes

As a farmer with livestock I feel it is my responsibility to do whatever it takes to try to keep my animals in the best of health.  Part of raising livestock is dealing with reproduction and the difficulties that may arise. Nature is not perfect, even with the best preparation, things we do not like, happen. Injuries, abnormalities, and even death can occur during the reproduction process. Having good animal husbandry means we need to deal with it the best we can and error in favor of the animal.

At Burnin R Farms we raise Pigs, Cows, Chickens, and Horses. Having babies is how we increase our herd and have stock to sell. Sometimes Mothers do not accept their babies and we need to bottle feed them until they take to solid food. There are times that we need to take in a baby that was injured and bottle feed it until it is healthy. The babies are our livelihood, their survival is very important to our business, but it is more than that. Our love for the animals makes us do whatever it takes to help an animal in need that is under our care.  When a farm gets too big to feel that need, then I believe that business stops being a farm.

New Babies Just Born
New Babies Just Born

We had 2 litters of pigs born within minutes of each other.  Due to weather coming in we decided to pen and shelter them together.  Unfortunately,  due to the mothers size and the number of babies, a couple were injured. Several babies were stepped on, one had skin torn away from its hip, another received a swollen and sore leg. It was our duty as the animal’s caretaker to do what we could to heal both babies. We are bottle feeding both, we stitched the one up and continue to rest the other. Both seem to be doing well and will eventually return to their litter at weaning.

This attitude towards the treatment of animals is the glue that has held many small farms together. Saving one animal can mean earning a profit on that litter or breeding. Even though almost all of our livestock will eventually enter the food market, while they are in our care they will be taken care of to the best of our ability. These  values  are lost within most big ag corporate farms, so I am proud to be on a small farm. If you support these values, it gives you one more reason to support your local farm.








More great news I found about Chinese food Imports

China’s dangerous culture of chemical adulteration and
counterfeit food products came into focus for American consumers in 2007, when China exported pet food ingredients
tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.
A byproduct of coal processing that is used frequently in
plastics, melamine has attracted the interest of unscrupulous
Chinese food processors and animal producers because of
its high nitrogen content and low price. The high nitrogen
of melamine-contaminated food, like milk, artificially raises
measurements of protein content in common laboratory
tests, leading to higher prices in the market.
But the use of melamine has meant that consumers — and their pets — get nutritionally inferior food laced with a deadly chemical.
In 2007, the FDA received reports of 17,000 pet illnesses,
including 4,000 dog and cat deaths, believed to be the result
of melamine contamination in the imported Chinese gluten
ingredients used to make pet food.
Sixty million packages of pet food were recalled in the United States, the largest in history. Some of the melamine-contaminated pet food
was redirected to hog farms; thousands of hogs that ate the
contaminated food were put to death in an effort to keep
melamine-contaminated meat from entering the food supply.
But the FDA and USDA still allowed 56,000 hogs that
ate melamine-tainted pet food to be processed into pork,
which was then sold at supermarkets.
What do you think the Chinese feed their livestock?
How did the FDA and USDA figure that this pork was safe?
More Greed based decisions by our government!
Just think, Congress has been making steps to hide the origin of imported foods. They are voting to end the country of origin labeling on meat and poultry sold in the US.  Read more here.
The more I read the more I am disgusted with our government and why they let this crap into our country. Our government needs to do more to protect us.
But until they do, start protecting yourself. Do your research and locate some local farms and start buying locally. Farm to Table is the best way.


Meat Processing Dilemma Rant

We are in a bad part of Missouri to be able to find a butcher that will process under USDA Inspection. We have tried 3 different processors and I am not satisfied with any of them. Unfortunately the closest processor is an hour and a half drive away. It usually takes 2 trips for each batch, but when they make mistakes it takes 3, and that really eats at the profits.

The first processor we used is over capacity and can’t keep up the pace without making mistakes on orders. They forgot to season the sausage, couldn’t find our customers order so they could pay over the phone, completely misinformed one of my customers of their order, and forgot to give us all of our order when we picked it up.

On to processor #2.  We sell Ossabaw Island Pigs for custom slaughter, not the usual pig that they see around here. I get that, but please be professional about it. They called my customer and told him he probably wouldn’t get any bacon because the pig was too small,  all without even looking at the carcass. When I called to figure out what was going on the person told me no bacon as well, eventually I ended up being scolded by the owner. The short of it,  I was told that my pigs were pot bellies( 3 times) and that it was not their fault that they misinformed my customer. No customer relations at all, I was not impressed. I ended up cancelling 2 other pigs I was going to take there the next week.  Oops, I forgot to call and tell them I cancelled.  I am sure that they didn’t miss some measly old “pot bellies” or any future pigs that I may have taken there.

Processor #3. I really like this processor other than the drive. They are really nice to work with, but they have also made some mistakes. They didn’t process my bacon under inspection on one order so it was all labeled “not for sale”. Another order had all jalapeno cheddar brats instead of mostly original brats with a few jalapeno. Plus this last time it has taken a month and a half to get my bacon back.

I am running out of options. I believe I have exhausted my choices for processors without traveling 2 plus hours in each direction. I would just like to be able to get my pork processed without drama and in a timely manner.

I hate having to rely on outside vendors when quality control is of importance. It seems that every aspect of quality is out of my control, being timely is out of my control, and I am tired of apologizing to my customers for my vendors faults. The only option I see to regain control, is to look into what parts of the processing can we feasibly take on ourselves.

Getting into meat processing is a costly undertaking. Plus the regulatory aspects of processing meat to be sold are daunting. I have been racking my brain, I know it can be done, but more research is needed. It looks like with my current situation I will need to have them killed under inspection at the very least, then find a way to cut and wrap under a retail exemption.

Why must I do this?

Because others can’t seem to handle their jobs!! — At least not to the standards that I want for my customers.

It may take a few headaches and some spilled blood ( from hard work), but I will find a way!!