Keeping cattle safe for a long haul

Danielle Harmon raises a small herd of commercial cows and also works for S&B Cattle Company, one of Kentucky’s largest order-buying firms.

She handles thousands of head of cattle and knows the importance of producing calves that stay healthy.

“We’re talking about cattle leaving the sale barn on cattle trailers and riding for 12 hours to be unloaded the next morning,” Harmon said. “That’s a pretty long haul.”

Making sure those calves are prepared for the stress of sale and shipment is critical to adding value long-term. Producers can take key steps to build immune systems: providing proper nutrition, preconditioning, vaccinating, and deworming. Handling cattle quietly and in a stress-free environment has also been show to reduce sickness.

“I’ve always known how important it is that we make sure consumers are well-informed, it’s so important that we get that information to consumers because we live in a world where consumers want to know everything. They want to know where it starts, where it finishes, and how it got there,” Harmon said.

Like Harmon, livestock producers across the country have taken considerable stride in reducing antibiotic use. According to the Food and Drug Administration, domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antibiotics used for livestock decreased 38 percent from 2015. That is evidence of good stewardship, and a story that it vitally important to share.

“We have to make sure they’re good, solid healthy cattle when they leave Kentucky, when they land in Iowa or Nebraska or wherever that may be,” Harmon said.