Best of 2016… Agriculture to art

My blogging took a backseat this year after moving from Nebraska to Nevada and getting settled in out west. Resettling took more time than I thought, but that is a post for next year 🙂

I look forward to getting back on track and bringing great stuff to you in 2017. Until then, I wanted to share some of the best posts of 2016, as well as some all-time favorites.

Top 5 posts written in 2016…

  1. Does freezing meat make it more tender?
  2. Meat: To wash or not wash?
  3. Robot butchers? Technology coming to your table
  4. Grain Silo Art
  5. Clay pot cooking: Cornish Game Hens

Reader all-time favorites…

  1. Is the beef industry sustainable: A look at grass-fed, hormones, growth promotants, and more
  2. No added hormones & no antibiotics – meat labeling terms (3)
  3. Chicken ears – the better to hear you with…
  4. Why is there a hole in that steer?… Fistulated Fun Fact Friday
  5. Organic vs. Natural Programs – meat labeling terms (2)
  6. Processed meats and cancer: Fearmongering or true concern?

And because I just like these…

  1. Growing up a rich rancher’s kid
  2. Poop patty… Is there fecal material in your hamburger?
  3. Caring for livestock in cold temperatures
  4. Dark cutting beef… Fun Fact Friday
  5. Butchers, are you talking to yours? 21 conversations you should be having (if you are not already)

I hope you have a happy and healthy New Year!


Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
Facebook
Pinterest

 

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Essential oils: Can they reduce antibiotic use in livestock?

If your social media pages are anything like mine they are filled with claims that something you eat, drink, or wrap yourself in has miracle and restorative properties. While these products may help you loose weight, look younger, and feel better, is there really really any truth to them?

I recently saw a headline that said researchers have found that essential oils could help reduce antibiotics in poultry. My immediate thought… is this woo or is this true?

MeatingPlace.com reported that Cargill researchers have found that essential oils can be a viable alternative to antibiotics to promote gut health in a poultry feeding program. It was found that certain essential oil compounds, particularly those derived from thyme, cinnamon, and oregano had the most comprehensive effect on overall gut health. Benefits included antimicrobial activity, modulation of immune response, antioxidant activity, improvement of nutrient digestibility, and stimulation of mucus production, the company said.

Cargill indicated the essential oils were particularly efficient in conditions where intestinal infections such as Salmonellosis and Coccidiosis were present, and were most effective when combined with organic acids. In addition, combined results from 12 trials showed that birds given Cargill’s Promote Biacid Nucleus additive, which contains a mixture of seven essential oil compounds, in combination with an antibiotic-free diet, improved body weight gain by 2% and feed conversion by 1.5%, the company said.

Cargill said it has been researching the use of non-medicated feed additives for several years as an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters. Since 2009, it has conducted a total of 77 trials on additives including essential oils, probiotics, yeast derivatives, and medium chain fatty acids. “Only essential oils have both a broad spectrum of activity against pathogens and a direct impact on digestive function,” said Stephanie Ladirat, global technology lead for gut health additives in Cargill’s animal nutrition business.

It is interesting that this research has been going on for seven years, no doubt we will see/hear more about essential oils and natural medicine for animal agriculture in the future. Being the skeptic I am, I have decided to research these essential oils a little further to see what else I can find about their supposed claims to being an alternative to antibiotics. Stay tuned as I will do a follow up post after doing some research.

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Can essential oils be a viable alternative for antibiotics in poultry?

** Note: I am not endorsing essential oils or their use, I am just merely investigating uses in animal agriculture.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
Facebook
Pinterest

Top 10 in 2015… Don’t miss these!

Well the 2015 “tops” countdowns have begun…

Today I bring you the Top 10 most read blogposts from 2015 (insert drumroll here).

10. 10 things you may not about GMOs

9. Growing up a rich rancher’s kid

8. Poop Patty… Is there fecal material in your hamburger?

7. Butchers, are you talking to yours? 21 conversations you should be having (if you are not already)

6. Chicken ears – the better to hear you with…

5. Cold temps cause frozen ears…

4. Do you know where your food comes from? Take the quiz. 

3. Processed meats and cancer: Fearmongering or true concern? 

2. Meat labeling: no added hormones and no antibiotics

1. Is the beef industry sustainable: A look at grass-fed, hormones, growth promotants, and more 

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And for fun, these posts were some of the tops in 2014…

Dumping Discover

Meat labeling: Grain-fed and grass-fed

Meat labeling: Organic and natural programs

Gluten free myths

Jello, lipstick, and marshmallows –  oh my! 

I hope all of you have a great New Year full of blessings and prosperity. See you in 2016!

Dr. Lindsay Chichester

Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
Facebook
Pinterest

8 Minutes: How antibiotics are used on the farm

Dr. Brad Jones, a veterinarian with the University of Nebraska and Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center talks about the decision-making process regarding antibiotic use in cattle and pigs, including the diagnosis of illnesses, treatment and antibiotic use considerations, and how animals are tracked from antibiotic administration to harvest.

This video by North American Meat Institute (NAMI) is part of the “Glass Walls” series which are designed to offer a behind the scenes tours of meat harvest facilities, how meat products are made, and more. You can watch more of the Glass Walls videos here.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Nebraska Extension on Pure Nebraska: A partnership made on tv

A new partnership has recently been formed between Nebraska Extension and Pure Nebraska (a 10/11 news ag focused news program).

Pure Nebraska highlights an Extension Educator/program on Thursdays and a 4-H Educator/program on Fridays. Pretty cool huh?

I recently did a segment about meat labels here and you can listen to some of the great things my colleagues are doing here. I had a great time, and it was so fun to see the inside of a tv studio.

1011 interview
Pure Nebraska hosts: Taryn Vanderford and Jon Vanderford.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

Meat labels: What do they mean?

A blast from the past… These meat labeling posts are ones people continue to visit, and since there are some new friends and followers here 🙂 I wanted to share these once again.

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Agricultural with Dr. Lindsay

Today I wanted to come back to meat labels. A couple of months ago I did a series on what meat labels mean. For full details check them out at: Grain-fed and Grass-fed, Organic and Natural programs, no added hormones and no antibiotics, Humanely raised, and a quick reference guide on interpreting the labels.

The University of Nebraska’s Market Journal followed up with me to do a video segment on what the labels mean – check it out.

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McDonalds and Costco Make Headlines ; Farmers and Processors Make Safe Food

Antibiotic free meat is the norm… learn more about media sensationalism and the process of drug residue testing from a butcher’s perspective.

NC Meat Mom

McDonalds and Costco made headlines last week when they announced a campaign to eliminate the sale of food products treated with antibiotics.  While many consumers rejoiced, others questioned the need for such a proclamation. Are farmers needlessly injecting their animals with antibiotics?  Is there antibiotic residue in the meat we eat?  How can consumers be assured their food is truly safe?  As a small meat processor, I have seen firsthand the USDA’s commitment to this issue.  Countless hours have been spent discussing preventative measures and receiving training to ensure that the food produced within my facility is safe for human consumption.

In order to be eligible for slaughter, animals must be able to walk off the trailer and pass an ante-mortem inspection…things that are not always easy when sick livestock are involved.  While the media would have consumers believe that antibiotics are unnecessarily pumped into healthy animals, the truth is…

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The top 10 of 2014…

I have completed my first full year of blogging! While I was not the most diligent blogger, I learned a lot, met some great people, and had some great conversations. My social media goals and expectations were exceeded! Many thanks to you, my readers for your interest. I have new ideas for blog posts and delivery methods in 2015, so stay tuned!

My top 10 blog posts of the year are as follows:

10. Jello, lipstick, and marshmallows – oh my! – learn more about the animal byproducts in the things we use daily!

9. Cold temps cause frozen ears – cute baby calf picture warning, and a useful product too!

8. Toothless Grins…Fun Fact Friday – because who doesn’t want to know random information about animals?!

7. Gluten Free Myths – a guest blog by my friend Dawn Earnesty, MS, RDN.

6. Caring for Livestock in Cold Temperatures – livestock receive the best care they can, even when temperatures plummet.

5. Organic and Natural Programs – part of the meat labeling series on why these terms are not interchangeable.

4. No added hormones and no antibiotics – part of the meat labeling series to help clear up confusion.

3. Growing up a Rich Rancher’s Kid – a fun post for me to write about perception of wealth.

2. Grain-fed and Grass-fed – part of a series on meat labeling terms, and better understanding what they really mean.

1. Dumping Discover – where I explain why I will be finding a new credit card company.

Cheers
Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year. May it be full of health, wealth, and happiness! Cheers.

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Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

– Website (http://food.unl.edu/ag-and-food)
– Twitter/Instagram (agwithdrlindsay)
– Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/agwithdrlindsay)
– Pinterest (Lindsay Chichester-Medahunsi)

MEAT Facts…Fun Fact Friday

It has been awhile since I have done a Fun Fact Friday post. I saw this list pop up on BuzzFeed yesterday, and I thought it was great.

The American Meat Institute put together a list of 15 common myths about meat and meat production and provides the FACTS to disprove these myths. They are honest and TRUE! If you would like more resources or information about any of the facts presented, please let me know – I would be more than happy to visit with you!

15 Common Meat Myths That Need to be Crushed for Good

Note: you can click on the headers in each section for additional supporting information.

Have a great weekend!

Antibiotic Resistance… Part 4

Today wraps up the antibiotic resistance discussion. Sorry for all of the installments, but it was a lot of information to process! Just as a re-cap:

Part 1: overview of antibiotics in cattle diets.

Part 2: what else is fed to cattle.

Part 3: who regulates livestock antibiotics.

Today, in Part 4, we will discuss some consumer perception research about antibiotic use.

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Feedlot steers getting a drink.

Why do we still have concerns? Let’s take a look at some of the consumer research…

Recently Midan Marketing and Danette Amstein released a consumer survey called Consumers and Antibiotic Use: Perspectives and Marketing. Consumers are hearing about antibiotic use in livestock through many sources (respondents could select more than one source): 46% from national news, 34% from local news, 27% from social media, 27% from friends/colleagues/relatives, and 26% from t.v. talk shows, respectively. Twenty three percent of consumers indicated their primary concern with antibiotics was the effect it could have on their family.

It should not be a secret that livestock get antibiotics. Just like us, animals get sick sometimes and they need antibiotics to get better.

From the following statements, which do you think are true?

  • Antibiotics are administered when livestock are susceptible to getting sick, are exposed to illness, or show specific signs of being sick.
  • Livestock antibiotics make our food supply safer.
  • There are no antibiotics in fresh meat sold at the grocery store.
  • The U.S. government monitors antibiotic resistance and mandates that meat entering the food supply can have no signs of antibiotic use (residue) exceeding FDA standards.
  • Like doctors and their patients, veterinarians and their farmer/rancher clients share responsibility for the proper use of antibiotics.
  • All antibiotics used to treat animals are approved by the FDA, and are safe with regard to human health, animal health, and the environment.

All of these statements are true! But according to the research by Midan Marketing, consumers had varying levels of agreement to these statements.

If you are still concerned about antibiotic residue in your meat, check out the No-added hormones & no antibiotics – meat labeling terms (3) post for more details on what meat labels to seek out or avoid – based on your concerns.

I know this blog post just barely skims the surface of the antibiotic resistance problem, but I hope it has provided you with an overview of why cattle are fed antibiotics and the responsible use of antibiotics by beef farmers. Trust me, beef farmers do not want a resistance problem anymore than you or me, so they are doing all they can do to ensure that doesn’t happen! Next time you hear about antibiotic residue in meat, I hope you will remember that livestock farmers follow antibiotic withdrawal dates very seriously and that there are several government agencies tasked with guaranteeing a safe food supply. I truly believe the U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, and I have no hesitations about consuming products produced here or feeding them to my family.

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One of my favorite things – a grilled steak!