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Tompkins County Schools Sign Contracts With Farmers Who Use Fewer Antibiotics

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) - Some New York lawmakers want a bill that limits antibiotic use in farm animals passed before the legislative session ends this month. In Tompkins County, some school districts have taken a related step.  They've committed to buying locally sourced beef from farmers who have reduced their use of antibiotics.

It’s already illegal to have any antibiotic residues in the food supply. Instead, Cornell Veterinarian Daryl Nydam says new school meat contracts encourage farmers to use practices that reduce infections and the need for antibiotics. By using fewer antibiotics, he says they can reduce the spread of ‘super bugs.’  Super bugs evolve a resistance to over used antibiotics.

Nydam works with dairy farmers to improve the health of their herds.

"Our improvements," he said, "in management which includes feeding and housing and veterinary care, disease control...we’ve been able to control infectious diseases to a greater extent than ever before."

Such practices, like those promoted by Nydam, could be incorporated into legislation now under consideration in Albany.