Although I have grown apart from my old high school friends, we still manage to get together once in awhile. Over the weekend, I met up with some of my girlfriends, and each of us have different interests and career pursuits. One is studying to be a nurse, two will be teachers, and one is pursuing a career in athletic training. And, although we all come from the same small town, we are all moving quickly in different directions. While sitting around a bonfire on Saturday night, one of my friends started talking about her long-distance boyfriend from Washington, D.C., and how he had just signed up to win a tour of an organic farm. With farms and ranches within minutes of us, we all chuckled at the idea of hoping and praying to "win" a trip to visit a farm. Yet, the truth is most of our consumers will never set foot on a farm or ranch, so we have an obligation to bring the agriculture story to our consumers.
A recent article published in Southeast Farm Press titled, "Virginia Cattleman Goes Extra Mile For Animal Care," discusses the importance of providing the necessities for the healthy, happy lives of our livestock. While this area is a top priority for America's cattlemen, many consumers have questions and doubts when it comes to how animals are treated before they get to the dinner table.
Here is an excerpt from this article:
Virginia beef cattle producer C.W. Pratt says most people give little thought to where their food comes from "or what it takes to raise it." If they did, Pratt adds, consumers might have more respect for farmers. Pratt raises 250 head of registered Angus on Echo Ridge Farm in Smyth County and travels across southwest Virginia as a livestock grader for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
"I’d say at least 95% of the farmers treat their cattle very well," Pratt says. "They should, because they depend on the animals for their livelihood."
Pratt currently owns 900 acres on which his herd grazes. The land is steep and hilly, but it provides natural wind breaks for the cattle. Pratt has installed numerous automatic waterers, having fenced the animals out of natural streams to protect the water quality. He believes it’s best to raise cattle in the great outdoors rather than keep them in barns.
"They’re range animals and are intended to survive on their own," he says.
Link here to read the entire article. After reading the article, what are your thoughts on animal care? Knowing that consumers read this blog every single day, what would you like to say to your customers about the way you treat the cattle on your operation? Share your personal stories and experiences in the comments section below. If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that animal welfare is a top priority on ranches, not just because it's our livelihood but because we truly care. Show you care and share your story today!