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CAFOs & Antibiotics & mRNA...Oh My!!




Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 8 May 2023…

Hey Y’all!

Good afternoon and happy Monday from Air2Ground Farms! This is some grass-growing weather! 80s and high humidity, could be more sunshine, but we’ll take it. The animals are great today! We spent some time with the ewes yesterday evening. They are about a week from lambing and we are making decisions regarding what to do with the guardian puppies. They are just under a year old, right in the heart of their teenage years. Most of the time, they are great with the ewes…except for those in-between times when they lose their minds and decide to chase a ewe. Most of the time, Tank will make them quit but we don’t want him to have to babysit the puppies while trying to protect the flock with tiny lambs. So, we are most likely going to move the puppies into a pen right next to the flock, or we are going to set up nets inside their poly-wire making a bit of a moat at the outside edge of their area. The puppies can stay outside the ewe’s net and can still do their job of protecting. The later option is probably better, but is more difficult to get set up. We’ll see…. We are giving the beef chickens more food. The 75ish birds are eating about 30 pounds of GMO-free feed per day and we’re going to up that to about 40 pounds per day this week. The current schedule has us processing a week from today and they are still a bit light. We’ll weigh them in the next day or two and make a decision. The top 3 chicken pics are the beef chickens approaching their processing date. The bottom left and middle are the next batch of beef chickens, just 7 weeks younger than the first batch. Importantly, we don’t see any of the signs of vitamin deficiency with this batch of chicks, as we’ve been giving them a supplement from the start. The bottom right pic is the 5 chicks from the incubator. I realized the other day that I wrote a lot about our concern with the ruminants’ poop as we were leading up to spring but I haven’t given an update since starting grazing. All of them went through an initial few days of soft poops but quickly transitioned back to normal. Our plan of gradually introducing the green grass seems to have worked well. The lamb flock is doing especially well and their little bellies are always stuffed full and round. We’re trying to use Mondays to relax a bit, at least rest our bodies, so we’ve been working inside on the website and are making cheese. By the way, I don’t have to go in and out multiple vault doors to go to the bathroom! Still not old. The top pic is us in front of the plant starts in the garden and the next ‘pic’ is our idea for a YouTube thumbnail as we begin to tell our story of who we are and why we are doing this farm life. What do you think?

I believe a natural follow-on to the discussion yesterday is going to tie a bunch of our topics together and give a glimpse into what I see as a common thread. A quick reminder of some seemingly random topics…humanely raising animals, regenerating pastures, ruminants eating grass, pigs in the forest, chickens on pasture, healthy/real food, mRNA vaccines in livestock, and raw milk. Yesterday, I discussed the mass migration of milk cows into the cities to live in squalor and the resulting harmful milk. A thinking person would potentially come to the conclusion that farmers learned their lesson about what happens to livestock when crammed together in cramped living conditions and fed food they were not meant to eat. That conclusion would be false. By the mid 1900s, advances in industrial agriculture and changes in government policies led to a shift in livestock production from small family farms to large-scale, commercial operations. One of the key factors that led to the development of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) was the increasing demand for meat, dairy, and other animal products in the post-World War II period of continued moves away from the family farm. To meet this demand, farmers began adopting new production methods, such as intensive confinement and feedlot operations, that allowed them to raise more animals in smaller spaces. Skipping ahead in time, by 2017, the USDA Census of Agriculture found that, in the USA, the following percentages of livestock spent some portion of their life in a CAFO: Turkeys—99%, Layer Hens—97%, Dairy Cows—97%, Beef Cattle—95%, Meat Chickens—90%, Swine—78%. One result of these large confinement operations is that any disease or sickness can cause massive financial loss by quickly spreading through the closely confined animals. To combat this possibility, farmers began administering antibiotics regularly, whether the animals were sick or not, to prevent illnesses. This type of antibiotic use led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and worse illnesses, and it also led to bad publicity. The public outcry demanded antibiotic-free products. Again, the industry had the opportunity to change the way they did business, but chose not to do so. That leads us to our discussion of mRNA vaccines. The idea is that these vaccines will allow each individual farm to vaccinate for specific things that the antibiotics used to prevent so that they can continue the practice of CAFOs. I have been talking about the way we are raising our animals, pigs can be pigs, cows eat grass, etc. We are choosing the alternative method of producing food…humane, natural, environmentally regenerative, and honestly much better tasting and more healthy! We aren’t the only ones doing this. There are food options that don’t include CAFO conditions—they are typically more expensive and locally produced. The decision for the consumer is what is it worth to have healthy and humanely raised meat, milk, and eggs. Is it worth a bit more money and the trouble of finding an alternative to the grocery store?

Local Farm Report for 7 May 2023:

Harvest:

36 Chicken eggs

21 Duck eggs

0 Goose eggs

5 3/4 Gallons of milk

Cheers! Psycho & Shelley


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You all are on the money and walking the walk. Take your breaks when needed and don’t burn out!

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Thanks, Larry! We cherish your mentorship and take your words of wisdom to heart. Cheers! Rich

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Auntie Fiat
Auntie Fiat
May 09, 2023

We do vote with our dollars, don't we?


We get the (fill in the blank...corporations, banks, government) we vote for, with our dollars, our consent, our silence...

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We do. We vote for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc...all of the things that take our minds off of the reality that as a culture we are sick and getting sicker.

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Auntie Fiat
Auntie Fiat
May 08, 2023

First off....farm life really suits you two!! The thumbnail tells its own story. And I suspect if we could see inside your mind/heart/soul, the positive story would only be amplified.


Is it worth the extra cost to know the food was produced responsibly and humanely? Absolutely! Of course, I speak only for myself. I am blessed to be able to make such a choice and I realize that not everyone can spend the extra money on the more labor and capital-intensive product.


As I read you blog today, I was reminded of a somewhat famous statement regarding greed (specifically the love of money) and evil. Profit is fine...likely essential for commercial ventures that are not going to impose on third-partie…


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Great comment! Expectations of everything available at all times at a LOW price point from the consumer, combined with profit-driven decisions from the producer eventually leads to the conundrum we now face.

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