Meet Your Rancher: Rodney and Sadie Derstein – Kismet, KS

Rodney and Sadie Derstein - Kansas ranchers

Rodney and Sadie Derstein

Rancher(s): Rodney and Sadie Derstein

Location: Kismet, Kansas

Ages: Rodney, 31 –  Sadie, 26

Segment: Backgrounding

Operation Name: Cimarron River Cattle Company


 

 

Facts About Beef (FAB): Tell us a little bit about your operation and what you do at Cimarron River Cattle Company.

Sadie Derstein (SD): We are a custom backgrounding operation, which means we source calves from cow-calf farmers and ranchers and give them the specialized attention and care that they need to continue to grow. One of the most important things that we can do to boost the animal’s immune system is to make sure that they have a well-balanced diet, so we work closely with our cattle nutritionist who formulates our cattle’s diets with the best mixture of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins the cattle need to thrive and grow.

FAB: How is your operation unique? What are some of the challenges?

Rodney Derstein (RD): You could say being a young, married couple who work together every single day makes us unique.  When we first bought our ranch it was just us two doing it all.  We work well together and have found ways to divide responsibilities on ranch.

SD: We are also unique in that Rodney, in addition to helping run our ranch, works full-time for a feed company where he sources unusable by-products, such as wet and dry distillers grains—the unfermented grain byproducts that contain protein, fiber, and fat—that are used as part of the scientifically-balanced diet for cattle.

FAB: How do you use technologies such as growth promotants and antibiotics on your ranch?

RD: All of our cattle are owned by other farmers and ranchers—we’re their caretakers—so we follow the direction of our customers to determine which technologies we can or can’t use on certain animals. Often times, this depends on which marketing program the animal will be entered into once it becomes beef—for example, if the animal will go into a “naturally raised” or “certified organic” marketing program, it cannot and will not be given a growth promotant. When it comes to our antibiotics usage, we work hand in hand with our consulting veterinarian, Dr. Nels, on a weekly basis in order to determine the right amount of antibiotics, use them for the right amount of time and in order to treat the right illness, and we’ve worked out a written treatment protocol which we follow closely.

Location of Kismet, KS. Source: Google Maps

Location of Kismet, KS. Source: Google Maps

FAB: How do you play a role in raising high-quality beef?

SD: We believe that high-quality beef starts with high-quality care, so we follow the BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) standards when handling cattle, making sure that we move animals quietly and in low-stress ways—and we also educate our employees on proper cattle handling.  In addition, cleaning water tanks at least once per week, providing any shelter that we can and making sure the pens are cleaned regularly are always at the top of our list. We want the cattle in our yard to be as comfortable as possible.

FAB: What would you say to critics who call you a “factory farm?”

SD: Well, we would have to invite them to come and spend the day with us.  Come and spend the day  on horseback and see what actually goes on and how the animals are treated. This is our little paradise; we work side-by-side every day and put everything we have into raising beef. The cattle here are comfortable and their needs are put ahead of ours, every single time. We are proud of being able to play a small part in the beef community. Early mornings and long days are worth it when you know that you are helping feed others.

FAB: How do you prepare your favorite cut of beef?

RD: I like my steak medium rare with a dash of salt.

FAB: If readers want to follow your ranch activities on social media, where can they find you?

Instagram: @rderstein and @sderstein

Twitter: @CimarronRiverCC

Facebook: Cimarron River Cattle Co.

 

Antibiotic Stewardship is Not New to Cattle Ranchers

There has been a great deal of discussion lately about how antibiotics are used in raising livestock. The reality is that farmers and ranchers take antibiotic use in livestock very seriously and continuously evaluate the way they use antibiotics based on the best possible science.

In fact, for nearly 30 years, there have been quality assurance programs in place to help make sure farmers and ranchers are continuously improving the way they raise beef, including the way they use antibiotics, in order to protect human health, as well as animal health. This is often referred to as “antibiotic stewardship.”

Quality assurance throughout the beef community
A foundation for antibiotic stewardship in the beef community is the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. Started in the 1980’s, BQA is a nationally-coordinated, voluntary, program that provides guidelines for raising beef.  The BQA program is guided by an Advisory Board composed of veterinarians, animal scientists, meat scientists, state BQA coordinators, cattlemen and dairymen from across the United States.

 Antibiotic stewardship and BQA go hand in handAbxLabelReading_FAB_sm
A significant part of the BQA program involves antibiotic stewardship training about the appropriate use and administration of pharmaceutical products including following withdrawal times, the prevention of environmental contamination, the need for good record keeping, and the importance of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. In fact, one of the guidelines put forth in the BQA program, A Beef Producer’s Guide for the Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle highlights 14 use guidelines for antibiotics, including:

  • Avoid using antibiotics that are important in human medicine
  • Use a narrow spectrum of antimicrobials whenever possible
  • Treat the fewest number of animals possible
  • Antibiotics used should be limited to treat, prevent or control disease

Antibiotics are just one tool
The BQA program also teaches that antibiotics are just one tool to ensure healthy animals and there are many others, including good management practices, vaccines, cattlenutrition programs, veterinary care, proper housing and low-stress handling that are critical components to ensuring healthy animals as well. If cattle become ill, it is critical to identify the right illness for proper treatment and producers may consult a veterinarian for assistance in diagnosis of the illness. If an antibiotic is needed to treat the illness, the right antibiotic is administered for the right amount of time by following the FDA-approved label instructions, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) guidelines and veterinary guidance.

Continuously improving
Today, Beef Quality Assurance influences management practices of more than 80-90 percent of U.S. cattle and farmers and ranchers work hard every day to continue to increase the number of producers who are BQA certified. The beef community continues to invest in research to better understand how to effectively and appropriately use antibiotics to best protect animal and public health. For example, the beef community has organized a research advisory group composed of a wide range of university researchers within the agricultural community to direct the planning for future antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance research activities.

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