Continuing on with animal traceability, chapter two of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium talks about protecting the milk supply. It is common knowledge Wisconsin is known as the “cheesehead state” and there are a lot of dairy farms there.

One thing I feel like most people should know is there is a lot of false advertising going on in the grocery store. For example, with chickens, they talk about how they are hormone-free and there are no antibiotics used ever. Hormones are illegal to use in poultry — in other words, not one farm uses them. The same can be said about antibiotics. Just like when you get sick, you sometimes get antibiotics. Veterinarians can prescribe medicine for chickens — this being said, I have raised chickens my whole life and never had to give them any antibiotics ever. The only time I can think of when we have given our chickens medicine is Amprolium for coccidiosis — and Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It is put into their water to help keep them from getting it and treating the ones that have it. And, we have not had to do this more than twice.

Now, off the pedestal of talking about chickens because we were originally talking about dairy cows.

Any antibiotic given to a dairy cow (or a cow in general), is given with a veterinarian’s permission. And, I cannot stress this enough, farmers and ranchers have to follow a withdrawal period before this milk is sent out or a butcher cow can be slaughtered. When it comes to dairy cows, the milk is thrown out during the withdrawal period. In addition, at all dairy food companies (like Hiland, for example) they always, test for antibiotics. If they are detected, the whole batch is dumped out — none of it can be used.

The video which WLIC has just recently released is very informative and I encourage everyone to watch it. Over the next few weeks, I will be going over most of the chapters which extend outside of Wisconsin — meaning they are applicable here in Missouri, too.

Remember to stay safe and wash your hands!

Schiereck is the El Dorado Springs FFA president.

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