Humans do not like to talk about death. No one looks at it gracefully, even though everyone and everything experiences it. In the animal industry, it is also looked down upon. I’m not just referring to euthanasia for overpopulated animal shelters putting to sleep puppies and kittens. I’m talking about harvesting livestock for food consumption.
The U.S. is overpopulated with deer. These wild animals have a tendency of running out into the middle of a country road or being hunted by sportsmen and sportswomen in the fall and winter seasons. In New Zealand, there is a different market for the lean mammals.
|Don answers questions about raising his trophy deer.|
The OSU crew stopped at Deer Genetics NZ to learn about his business in raising red deer for trophy stags and velvet production. Don, owner of this profitable business, shared some secrets and facts to his success in raising the deer.
- New Zealand’s terrain and climate is ideal for raising deer with his 1,000 acres.
- 2,500 fawns were born and raised last year.
- Deer are handled, vaccinated and artificially inseminated with a selective breeding program.
- Does are bred only 6-7 years before replacement.
- Red deer have the fastest growing antler in the animal kingdom — they reach full growth and are removed at 60 days.
- New Zealand is one of the only countries who can harvest antlers from a live animal.
- Antlers are removed to harvest the velvet for export to Asian countries for medicinal purposes.
- Live deer and semen are exported across the world because of the valuable genetics.
- Deer Genetics NZ has bred five of the world’s number one racks.
All in the Niche
Wool is a hot commodity in New Zealand. So of course, we saw lots of sheep on our travels! However, not all these stops were on the itinerary. On day four, we had an unexpected delay when our bus pulled off the side of the road and would not start again. What luck, right? In fact, the best luck came from our professor seeing a sheep farm shearing some ewes that we drove past about one mile down the road.
a) sit on the side of a highway for two hours awaiting someone from the bus company to help the situation?
b) take a little tramp (Kiwi term for hike) down the road to see if the sheep farmers will let us come on their farm?
Option b was selected!
After risking our lives walking down the highway that seemed to never end, 40 students arrived at this sheep farm. Now, think about if you were working and a large group of foreigners walked up to your farm or business and asked if they could get an inside view of your operation. Would you be caught off guard, uncertain of their intentions and possibly not let the group in?
That was the first thing that crossed my mind. In the U.S., the public perception of the agriculture industry is closed doored. We share reasons of biosecurity, animal welfare concerns or simply not having the time to show people around the farm because the farmer or owner is “too busy”.
None of the New Zealand farms we visited were like that. We were welcomed with open arms onto this sheep farm, where they had a hired crew shearing 3500 lambs. This was one of the best visits we had on the trip, purely because the farmers and workers weren’t “accommodating us with a prepared presentation”. They were doing their jobs, answering any questions we had and allowing us to take photos of their operation. So, that’s what I did.
|Ewes waiting in the paddock.|
|Sheep make a nice backdrop.|
|Shearing crews traveled around the country in the early spring-summer
months to shear sheep.
|During our visit, it took 50 seconds on average to shear a sheep!|
|The shearing shed was very lively with Ohio State students witnessing
the wool removal process.
|On the other side of the barn, ewes (adult females) were being crutched.
This means the wool around the anus of the sheep was shorn to prepare
for full blanket (all the wool on the sheep’s body) shearing the next day.
|Sheep crutching not only keeps the blankets cleaner,
but it improves health of the sheep and helps the
farmer identify fly strikes and parasites.
|The sheep breed on this farm was a Romney-Perendale cross.|
|The ewe lambs being shorn were around 6 months of age. After shearing,
they were turned out into pasture for the summer season.
After this experience, it makes me wonder why farmers and ranchers in the U.S. are not following this New Zealand example. How do ‘ewe’ believe this could make a difference for the public perception of agriculture?
Kia Ora! Or, hello, I wish you good day! After a 10-day adventure, I made it home from New Zealand just in time for the holiday season. This trip was by far one of the most insightful, invigorating trips I have ever been on. From the food and culture to the landscapes and agriculture me and 40 students from Ohio State witnessed, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It is hard to comprehend how fast time goes by sometimes. We take for granted many things in our lives and lose touch of some that have served as the foundation for our development. This past week reopened my eyes that yes, time moves very quickly.
|Smirnoff (yes, he is named Smirnoff) and his family
are off to a new home.
No More Alpacas.
Last Football Game.
|Panorama of the Skull Session in St. John’s Arena.|
|This group of amazing senior girls at our last home game —
in AA seats of course.
Senior Spotlight, Alpha Xi Delta Style.
|My little sister Laura and I.|
During our chapter meetings for the sorority, graduating seniors are recognized. Last week, I was the designated senior. My little sister, Laura, read me a letter about our time together. Hearing her share her experiences that I helped contribute to in the sorority made me melt. Sometimes, we need to hear the thoughts from others in our lives to bring it all full circle. Laura helped me remember that all I have done and continue to do for our organization does make a difference. It takes some time for us to see it in many instances.
What About YOUR Time?
|Image courtesy of Columbus Monthly.|
There are many different types of leaders who have various characteristics and skills. One of the strongest types of leaders I have seen have discipline. This discipline is not just following rules or criteria, but having a firm understanding of how to grow themselves and others.
One of these leaders is Urban Meyer.
I don’t discuss sports a lot. Frankly, I don’t understand or follow them enough to do so. However, recent news about the Ohio State Buckeyes head coach and our football players has brought to my attention a valuable leadership trait.
Discipline comes from understanding and experience. As mentioned in another article, Coach Meyer acknowledges his players have made some mistakes. Now, it is time to learn from them.
Meyer is an experienced coach in football and leadership. He must share what discipline means to him with the players and facilitate that learning. Leaders are best know for influencing others. If Meyer can do that with his level of discipline as a coach and a mentor, the Buckeyes have great potential for the upcoming season.
In my title, I described strong leaders having discipline. My thoughts behind strength are from the idea that to face negativity and criticism, you must be disciplined to move past it productively. It is easy to become defensive and extreme when you are passionate for someone or something. We must be strong to think about the future before we act in the present.
These are the type of people in leadership positions of companies and organizations. They can objectively see what steps should be taken to proceed and do so successfully.
What specific industries or positions do you think require more discipline than others? How do these leaders exemplify strong leadership?
We will see in upcoming weeks how my Buckeyes grow and prepare for kickoff of football season. Will they have the discipline from their coach to go 12-0 once more?
This past month, I have had many expectations.
- I would complete my third year as a college student and be ready to move on.
- Some of my closest friends would graduate from The Ohio State University and leave me. Forever.
- I would come home for a week of randomness and running around with my family since it is one of the busiest times of the year — planting season.
- I would move out to Milwaukee, Wis. for a seasonal internship with Bader Rutter.
- I would kick start my roles on the Student Advisory Team for Agriculture Future of America (AFA).