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Animal health and well-being are farmers’ top concern

Veterinary care and appropriate housing address animals’ needs

Farmers want to give animals the best quality care, knowing that’s what it takes to provide the best quality meat and milk for all of our families.

Our priority: safe, healthy animals:

  • Precautions are the same as humans
  • A healthy diet
  • Sanitation/hygiene
  • Medical care from licensed veterinarians when needed

We take biosecurity seriously on the farm:

  • Take steps  to keep our herds healthy
  • Prevent the spread of disease on the farm
  • Work with our farm veterinarians to care for sick animals
  • Use antibiotics sparingly to treat/prevent disease

Perspectives

Amina Nevels

Amina Nevels

Chicago, IL

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About Me

I’m a wife and mother of two girls, and I’m an active blogger and knitter. My family relies on me to make healthy food decisions for them which sometimes proves challenging. When I'm not wrecking my brain about food, we spend our time reading, singing and dancing and cuddling!

Why I'm touring farms

The combination of healthy food and budgeting is important to me. I want to learn more about the process by which food arrives at my grocery store as well as the inside scoop on genetically modified foods. I look forward to learning more about the ABC's of food production and am hoping to dispel some of the myths that influence my shopping practices.

From a Mom

While visiting the Larson Farm I didn't witness any signs of animal abuse (no excessive mooing, cow bullying-yes it happens amongst cattle too, and no fear of people). I don't believe anyone these days is naive to the mistreatment of animals in the farming industry, but what I can attest to is that not ALL farmers treat their animals cruelly. In fact, cruelty is not a matter of size or conventional versus organic. It's a matter of the moral fiber of the farmer raising the animal.

Carrie Pollard

Carrie Pollard

Rockford, IL

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From a Farmer

When we remodeled our barn, we spent a great deal of time deciding all the little things that will make our cows' lives better. Unlike our house (or most other farmhouses I know), the cows' house has ceramic tile under the feed bunk for easy plate-lickin'. We also added almost twice as much of everything to keep the cows cool in the heat: natural air flow, forced air flow (fans), and water space. We are always learning, and we have to change or adapt whenever we learn something new. The old adage holds very true. If we take care of the cows, they'll take care of us.

Elizabeth Rago

Elizabeth Rago

North Aurora, IL

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About Me

I'm a mom of three children, ages 1, 4 and 6, and we love being active and enjoying the outdoors. We have a small garden, and my children love to help me dig in the dirt and care for our plants.

Why I'm visiting farms

I want to know more about the food I serve my family. I'm interested in seeing produce and meat before it arrives on our plates. With all the conflicting information about hormones and chemicals, I want to learn more from the farmers themselves.

From a Mom

This might be a stretch, but the pigs responded in such a positive way to Steve, that it is worth mentioning. I think if the farmers treated the livestock in a negative way, the pigs would scatter from him, but they did not. I personally think animals are pretty smart!

Jill Thurmond

Jill Thurmond

Deer Park, IL

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About Me

I’m a wife and mother of two boys. I love to cook, bake and read, while my boys love to play sports and eat my creations (especially when baked goods are involved)!

Why I'm touring farms

Aside from what I grow in my own garden every summer, I’m not all that knowledgeable about how food is grown. I’m looking forward to becoming more educated in food production and sharing that knowledge with family and friends. I’m also excited to meet other moms in my community!

From a Mom

Cattle farmers LOVE their animals. It is a passion for them to raise these animals humanely and with as much care as they would any animal. They love what they do and strive to do it in the best way possible to put a safe and delicious product in the stores for us to purchase and feed our families.

Through these farm tours, I've learned just how hard farmers work and how long their days can be simply to provide food for us that we can drive to a store and pick up 24/7.

Sarah Decker

Sarah Decker

Grayslake, IL

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About Me

Our family enjoys being outdoors – whether it’s biking or playing in the park. We also like to attend Lake County Forest Preserve programs, such as Little Sprouts, which teaches kids about gardening and other agricultural topics.

Why I'm touring farms

Farming has changed so much, even since my grandfather was an active farmer. I want to learn about how farmers are becoming more innovative and flexible in their day-to-day operations, as well as how technology has improved production.

From a Mom

Beef farmers promote compassionate animal care. The Martz's barns had rubber mats on the floor for the cattle's comfort, as well as curtains to keep out the cold during the winter months. The cows have enough room to move around in the barns. The cattle remain indoors due to our variable Midwest weather and lack of pasture. The rest of the farmland is used for growing corn, soybeans, and wheat, which become part of the cattle's diet.

The farmer's goal is to produce more cattle that are leaner and uniform in size on their farm.

They are committed to producing safe and high quality meat by feeding the cattle an optimal diet for growth, providing them with veterinary care, and using latest equipment, such as, Temple Grandin's curved corrals, to reduce panic, stress, and injury, as cattle head to feedlots and to slaughter.


Susan Herold

Susan Herold

Rolling Meadows, IL

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About Me

I have two sons and a daughter, ages 7, 8 and 12. I've lived in the Chicagoland area my entire life, but my husband has family who used to farm. I looked forward to visiting their farm when we were nearby. Agriculture has always intrigued me and I want to learn more.

Why I'm touring farms

I want to learn about agriculture and hope to open the eyes of my fellow suburbanites to all that farmers do for us. I have questions about chemical and hormone use that I look forward to discussing with farmers.

From a Mom

I was impressed by the entire process from birth to harvest. It was clear to me that the farmers truly care for the animals. It is logical that there is nothing that would benefit them if they would mistreat the animals in their care. It was evident by the way Steve interacted with the pigs that they genuinely care for the well-being of the animals.

Pigs are not fed spoiled food as we would think from seeing movies where they "slop" the pigs with a slurry of garbage and table scraps. Instead they are provided 16 different diets in the process of getting them to the average market weight. The way they formulate the feed for the pigs is innovative, cooperative and resourceful. They are fed a mix of corn, soy, DDGs, bakery products, and other ingredients.

What's your perspective?

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