There are many reasons to smartly use antibiotics in our livestock food system, and Boehringer Ingelheim is doing its part to celebrate farmers who are focused on the well-being of animals, consumers, and the industry. BI has selected three dairy producers who demonstrated a judicious use of antibiotics in this year’s Producers for Progress recognition program.
Jami Schultze, herd manager of Maple Ridge Dairy in Stratford, Wisconsin, was chosen as the grand prize winner out of more than 100 applicants in the program’s second year.
“I’m grateful to be selected as the grand prize winner,” said Schultze. “It’s great to see producers being recognized for their hard work in using antibiotics judiciously. Over the years, there has been increased interest in and demand for transparency from our consumers. And as producers, it’s our job to earn their trust and confidence that we’re doing the best for our animals.”
Partly due to that increased consumer curiosity, Schultze encourages producers to work with their veterinarian and look at their antibiotic protocols to determine where they can adjust and improve.
“We treat cows as individuals, and believe that every cow deserves a diagnosis,” she explained. “Our veterinarian regularly reviews our mastitis cases and protocols to make sure we’re up to date and giving the best treatment. When we do treat, we make sure to do it responsibly by using the proper antibiotic, dose and duration.”
The first-place winner, Jennifer May, herdsman of Fa-Ba Farms LLC in Canandaigua, New York, pointed out that her operation defines the judicious use of antibiotics as treating the cows with good judgment and sense.
“The animals’ health is our number one priority,” she said. “In addition to veterinarian-supervised procedures and protocols, cow comfort plays a huge part in our preventive management strategy.” When cows do get sick, she noted, utilizing good records and milk cultures has helped to reduce antibiotic use and determine the correct treatment. “Since we started culturing, we’ve been able to cut the number of cows we treat for clinical mastitis in half.”
Rod Hissong, co-owner of Mercer Vu Farms Inc. in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, is the second-place winner. Hissong centers the farm’s herd management program around preventing problems before they happen, keeping animal welfare and care top of mind. “Our philosophy is that there’s a time and a place for antibiotics on our operation,” he asserted. When our cows do get sick and need treatment, we want to make sure we’re using the right antibiotic for the bacteria present. Preventing disease and only using antibiotics when necessary not only keeps tools in our toolbox, but is right for the animal and the consumer.”
The perks of being a producer for progress? All applicants received BI gear for participating. Plus, Schultze won a John Deere Gator Crossover Utility Vehicle XUV825E; May got five pairs of Bogs Rancher boots; and Hissong received 10 Udder Tech milking aprons for his team.
Producers for Progress is targeted to customers of BI mastitis treatment products. Applicants were asked to answer questions about their preventive management practices, their views on the judicious use of antibiotics, and to describe their mastitis treatment protocols. Applicant names and operations were anonymous and judging was based on the following selection criteria:
- Demonstrated understanding of and passion for the judicious use of antibiotics
- Commitment to animal well-being