As a vocal proponent for animal agriculture, I receive many letters, emails and phone calls from those who read this column, thanking me for standing up for agriculture or sharing their story. I love receiving that feedback.

I love knowing that there are so many people out there who believe that the majority of those involved in the livestock industry — from producers to veterinarians, government and association representatives to allied industries — are noble in spirit.

I believe that the majority of those involved in animal agriculture in this country are working daily to be good stewards of the land, air, water and livestock.

I believe that we share a common goal of providing a safe and wholesome food supply while caring for and handling our livestock with the welfare of all as a top priority.

I like it when people agree with what I have to say. However, being unpopular is not necessarily a bad thing, either.

As a matter of fact, in the years since I began putting my opinions “out there” in print and on air, there have been several petitions against me in hopes of convincing local radio stations to take my commentary off the air.

I’ve always heard that the selling does not begin until you hear the word “no.” I can say with a great degree of certainty that the woman who left the message on my voicemail this morning was telling me “no” in a very colorful manner. She let me know that she absolutely cannot stand most of my commentaries.

She does not feel that I know what I am talking about. My comments are in poor taste. None of the people in the office where she works can stand my report. She is offended by my commentary, and she gets no benefit from reading and listening to it.

Know that when you stand up for animal agriculture, there are going to be plenty of people who disagree with you. As a good friend of mine who with her husband and their family runs a dairy and hog farm in Minnesota has said many times, “If you are embarrassed about what you do, stay home.”

We do not all implement the same animal housing, welfare or feed formulations and regimens on our farms. Every animal is unique. Climates vary. Buildings and pastures and accessible water sources aren’t the same on every farm.

Our vaccination regimen and overall herd health management will vary depending upon climate, location, overall health of the animals and specific challenges encountered. Herd health programs need to be tailored for each individual herd or flock.

Animal agriculture isn’t a cookie-cutter process. Sometimes animals get sick and need to be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes there is a need to supplement magnesium in a cattle herd’s diet because they are grazing on quickly growing lush green grass that is low in magnesium.

Just do the right thing for the health and welfare of the animals on your farm every day and be proud of your hard work and contributions.

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