Good health practices for our feedyard cattle start long before they arrive in the feedyard. That’s why we have established a compliance position statement that we share with each of our feeder cattle suppliers.
“Our model for animal health is to manage risk differently than what much of the beef industry does,” says Tom Portillo, DVM, and Friona Industries manager of animal health. “If you look at the investment we have with cattle, we recognize there is value in cattle that are vaccinated and backgrounded appropriately before they arrive in our feedyards,” he says.
Friona Industries is serious about this investment in cattle, and has two staff people assigned to working with backgrounders and checking the cattle management in their operations.
The attention to health doesn’t stop at the gate when cattle are delivered to one of the six state-of-the-art feedyards that Friona Industries owns in north Texas. “Our goal is to look at each animal individually every day,” Portillo says. This is accomplished by having pen riders work through each pen of cattle, no matter what the weather conditions are that day.
“Another important part of our animal health protocol is basic animal husbandry,” Portillo says. At Friona Industries, providing the basics of animal care through well-managed yards and dedicated employees is easy to implement because it is part of the day-to-day routine at each of the four feedyards.