Someone left a good question for a comment and Arthur thought I should just answer with a blog entry. The question is, "Do vaccinations affect the meat and dairy as far as organic things go?" First, we're not an organic dairy or beef or grain farm. Although we're about as close as you can come without being one.
As far as vaccinations go, they are permitted in organic dairys. You basically aren't allowed to give growth hormones, which we don't, or antibiotics, which we don't unless their about to die without getting them. Also with the young calves being vaccinated it will be at least a year before any of them are milked and hopefully much longer before any become hamburger. If we did want to go organic we would have a really hard time up here because most organic dairy farms are close to cities. I doubt there's anyone that would pick up our milk closer than a couple hundred miles. We haven't vaccinated our calves for a number of years but after having a number of them die, we decided we couldn't afford not too.
Milk is also very highly regulated. They test each persons tank before it leaves the farm and each milk truck before it is unloaded at the processing plant. They test it for all kinds of antibiotics, hormones, detergents (from pipeline cleaning), bacteria, somatic cell counts, etc. If anything has a high rating they either won't take the milk, or if it's just a small trace they might take it and really dock the farmer's check. This is really good motivation to keep the milk clean of anything! Meat is pretty highly regulated too, but I don't know as much about that.
There's other ways we operate more "organically" than most farmers. One big thing we do is keep them on pasture from late spring (as soon as there's grass) to late fall (or as soon as it's too cold or too wet out). Only about 10% of dairy cows are out on pasture. More are going that way as they see the great benefits of being outdoors. We treat our fields, which gives us grain, as little as possible. One reason being, pesticides and herbicides are really expensive. We use all of our waste products (manure) for fertilizer. We farm with my father-in-law and so he does more of the crop stuff than us. We don't push the feed like big time dairies do. It might give more milk but it shortens their lifespan and we kinda like to keep them around!
We've tried a lot of other remedies for sicknesses, etc. The natural things work most of the time and we try those things first. As far as the growth hormones, I've heard childhood obesity blamed on them. I'm afraid I have to disagree. I believe most heavy children are heavy due to lack of exercise. However, we don't use them and have no desire to. We are also a closed herd which means we don't purchase cows from other places, unless we get a really great deal. Instead we raise our own calves.
I could go on and on about the reasons why we do what we do and the politics behind farming. For example, we get tons of mail addressing farm issues. I don't know that I've hardly seen any that encourage farmers to be content with what they have. They always push farmers to get bigger and bigger and get more certified, more professional, bigger equipment, etc. Sometimes I think it has taken the family farm and turned them into goverment factories. No, we're also not in all the big farm programs, in fact we operate debt free without their handouts. Anyway, I'll tell about that some other time. For now, we are content with what God has trusted us with and probably won't be making any big changes without His showing us we need to do so.
I hope this answers your question! It probably brought up a whole bunch more!! Go ahead and ask whatever you want, we enjoy helping people understand what we do. Have a great evening!