211237 Free range pig production systems minimize antibiotic use

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Paul Willis , Niman Ranch Pork; Willis Free Range Pig Farm, Thornton, IA
In recent years, production of livestock and poultry has become increasingly concentrated. For example, although the number of hogs in the United States has remained relatively stable over the last two decades, the number of hog farms fell dramatically between 1982 and 2006, from just under 500,000 to about 60,000 operations. Most animals are now raised in very large CAFOs, or confined animal feeding operations, where crowding and unhealthy conditions necessitate the regular administration of antibiotics to stave off disease. By contrast, raising animals outdoors in smaller numbers on diversified farms minimizes the need for antibiotics and related drugs. This presentation will discuss specific methods practiced on the presenter's 1,000-head hog farm in Iowa, and evaluate their success in eliminating the need for antibiotics. The presentation also will review the animal husbandry policies mandated by the Niman Ranch Pork Company for its network of more than 500 small and mid-size pork suppliers.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the trend toward concentration, confinement, and antibiotic use in the livestock industry since the early 1980s. Contrast such operations with smaller, diversified non-confinement farms. Identify specific animal husbandry practices that can reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry.

Keywords: Antibiotic Resistance, Animal Waste

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I operate a 1,000-head hog farm and manage a network of more than 500 family hog farmers marketing pork products collectively.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.