Webinars for Veterinarians, Farmers to Focus on Organic Livestock

Holsteins grazing


COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new series of free workshops and webinars offered by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) can help veterinarians and livestock producers learn more about and expand their services for certified organic livestock and poultry, organizers said.

“The objective of this educational series is to help veterinarians and their clients design best herd health management practices that comply with federal and state regulations and organic standards when considering the health and well-being of the animal,” said Gustavo M. Schuenemann, assistant professor, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio State, and OSU Extension veterinarian.

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Series participants will learn how to perform an on-farm risk assessment, or audit, to identify and rank risk factors associated with herd health and performance, Schuenemann said.

“This audit will be a valuable service they can offer clients -- certified organic or otherwise,” he said.

The educational series will also demystify the organic standards and clarify the requirements for individual animals to obtain and maintain their organic status.

“Understanding the certification process will benefit everyone -- the animal, the farmer, the service provider and the consumer,” said Julia Barton, OEFFA organic certification program manager. 

Demand for organic products, including organic meat, poultry, dairy and fiber, continues to increase. Ohio ranks second for the number of dairy farmers that produce milk for Organic Valley, for example. Approximately 270 Ohio farms are certified organic livestock and poultry operations.

Dates and topics covered by the 1 p.m. webinars are:

  • June 23:  CSI for Dairy: On-Farm Audits to Assess Risk.
  • July 10: Certified Organic Livestock Standards.
  • Oct. 1: Organic Livestock Inputs. 

A certified organic dairy tour and workshop is June 26, 1 p.m., at the Pleasantview Farm, 20361 Florence Chapel Pike, in Circleville.

Topics to be discussed during the workshop and webinars include:

  • Transition cow management, emphasizing calving-related disease prevention and on-farm risk assessment.
  • Organic standards for livestock, allowed inputs and the certification process.
  • Management of somatic cell counts and mastitis control.
  • Parasite management and control.
  • Pain management, regulatory medicine and science-based treatments.
  • Organic poultry flock health.
  • Nutrition-related diseases.
  • On-farm health audits to assess herd risk factors.
  • Defining, monitoring and recordkeeping of health events.

In addition, veterinarians and poultry and livestock producers can join a network to share ideas and find answers to questions, organizers said.

“Their work will be strengthened as this network bridges the gaps between educators, certifiers, farmers and veterinarians,” said Eric Pawlowski, OEFFA sustainable agriculture educator.

The series is made possible with funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education professional development program. Veterinary continuing education credits will be granted on an hour-for-hour basis.

For more details or to register for scheduled events, go to oeffa.org or vet.osu.edu/extension, call 614-421-2022, ext. 209, or email education@oeffa.org.

CFAES News Team
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Gustavo Schuenemann