Small World

North Field Pigs and Rooster around hay bale in Snow

We delivered pigs to the butcher today and the USDA/Vermont (he’s both) inspector was there. He was collecting blood samples from each pig as it went through slaughter. I was curious and asked what they test for. He explained that they test in Vermont for Brucellosis and Pseudorabies in order to maintain Vermont’s status as a Brucellosis-free and Pseudorabies-free state. All pigs over 100 lbs are tested at the slaughter house. This means that our herd actually has been tested for years and is thus free of both. Good and interesting to know.

A funny note, it turns out that the inspector lives just on the other side of the ridge from us. He asked were we farmed and I said in Orange. He said, “Oh! I live in Orange too. On George Street.” Turns out he’s the town “Coal Agent”. He said it’s a funny ‘job’ since nobody in town seems to heat with coal but it is one of those titles and jobs, with no pay, left over from old times. He went on to explain that the idea is that if you get a load of coal and have a dispute about it then he’s the one to come to for resolution. If necessary he’s supposed to load the coal into a truck and take it to be weighed. Eek! We also have a fence agent, a tree agent and several other positions like that. Each year people take the positions at town meeting, or if you don’t show up you may get voted in to one of them without your say so.

Ironically, I don’t think he and I have ever met before although we live probably just two or three miles apart as the crow flies. It is a big town spread out over the mountains. It is funny to have met at the butcher, about an hour from our town when we are nearly neighbors. Vermont’s a small place but convoluted with all the hills and mountains.

Outdoors: 31°F/21°F Partially Sunny 1″ Snow
Farm House: 62°F/54°F Pigs to market, Spot went south again
Tiny Cottage: 55°F/41°F West upper parge, sump in + 2nd sump inner wall

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Small World

  1. Sigge says:

    Thanks for your input to my post, which I’ve now replied to. You seem to have taken it a bit more seriously than I did at the time of writing (2004), and seeing your blog I can understand why :D
    Have a nice weekend!

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s “Weigher of Coal” and “Viewer of Fences” in legal parlance. I missed a selectboard meeting once and ended up as both.

  3. *grin* The danger of not showing up is being volunteered! :) Fun at small town meetings!

  4. pete says:

    Careful, if one of those tests comes up positive you’ll quickly find your whole herd depopulated and all your genetics work lost. And since the butcher took the sample and you have no duplicate sample you have no way of disputing the charges.

  5. Actually, I do have copies of the blood each time we take pigs to market. The fresh meat that comes back from our pigs has blood in it.

    Additionally there is the fact that we have a closed herd and have tested repeatedly negative. That is one thing that helps to prevent disease.

    Vermont, unlike another state that starts with V who’s name will not be mentioned, has not been so nasty about depopulating when there is a hint of disease. Rather they go in and retest & quarantine.

    This year it happened with a herd of cows where there was a false positive test here in Vermont. Upon retesting they discovered the truth. There was no depopulation.

    As Dr. Rood, our state veterinarian at the time wrote to me in personal communications, depopulation is a last resort. Lets keep it that way.

    All that said, it would be ideal if the state were giving the test results back to the butcher and to the farmer. I’m going to work on getting that. If nothing else I’m a curious cat.

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