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Welcome to Meat Systems

A professional development opportunity in grass-based meat systems for agricultural service providers and farmers provided by the Northeast SARE state programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

         Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to announce that Michael Keilty retired from the University of Connecticut on October 1, 2017. Michael was with the University for 18 years working in many areas, but primarily serving as Project Director on a series of Northeast SARE Professional Development Grants. Michael had just completed a three-year SARE tri-state project entitled Health Care Practices for Our Food Animals, through which many of you learned about concerns and best practices related to antibiotic use in food animals. Projects before this focused on improving farmers’ access to meat processing facilities and strategies for optimal year-round livestock grazing and feed management.

Michael’s knowledge and experience as an educator and producer, his abilities for teamwork and networking, and his passion for sustainable agriculture will be missed. I am sure that you join me in thanking Michael for his years of service and wishing him and his family all the best in his retirement.

The Northeast SARE tri-state education program will continue and we are pleased to announce that we have hired Rachel Bespuda to fill the position of Project Director; she started on November 9th. Rachel earned a Master of Science in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut with a focus in animal nutrition. She is co-owner of Cedar Hill Farm, LLC, which produces beef, poultry and swine for local meat sales. Rachel has also held positions in marketing, management, quality control, and public relations at Central Connecticut Cooperative Farmers Association and local feed retailers.

Rachel will be developing a new Sustainable Livestock Production Practices education project to meet the needs of the tri-state livestock farmers and the agricultural service providers who work with them. Rachel is excited to be joining the SARE tri-state project team and looking forward to offering a new education program.

A first task in designing the new project will be reaching out to all of you to ask about your educational needs and interests related to sustainable livestock production. So, please stay tuned for more information coming from Rachel soon, and join me in welcoming her as the new SARE Tri-State Project Director.


Joe Bonelli​​​​






Commercial dairy production and drug usage presentation by Craig Jones, Agri-Mark Presentation 4-22-16
June 30, 2016 FDA Fifth Biannual Progress Report on Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Food-producing Animals
CT NOFA 2016 presentation-Antibiotic Stewardship and Health Care for Our Animals

Northeast SARE Connecticut Professional Development Projects

Health Care Practices for Our Food Animals


Close to 30 million pounds of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in animal agriculture (80% of all antibiotics sold).  The 2014 PDP project assessment questionnaire surveyed 110 agricultural service providers, veterinarians, and university educators. Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents stated that agricultural service providers and farmers need education about the use of drugs/antibiotics in food animal production.
The grant creates a Health Care Practices for our Food Animals Working Group that will design educational programs over the next three years for agricultural service providers to assist farmers with information and assistance from veterinary, university, and regulatory professionals to address the following key topics:


  • Insuring adequate drug protocols to treat sick animals
  • Antibiotic use and resistance
  • Identify food animal production systems that prevent disease and  reduce the need for antibiotics
  • FDA and USDA regulations for uses of drugs/antibiotics/hormones:

Grass-Fed All Year Long


Increased year-round production of grass-fed meat in Southern New England can help alleviate, if not eliminate, the problems of limited USDA infrastructure for slaughter and processing. While many farmers enjoy the seasonality of their current operations, others would like the opportunity to even out their income flow by slaughtering year-round. Workshops focus on strategies for year-round production, including: breed selection, forage options and use of baleage, rotational grazing, farmstead and facility design and maintenance, meat cutting and fabrication.
Learn More…


Producing Natural Local Meat for Consumers


Consumers will benefit from the availability of locally grown natural meats and farmers will benefit from selling their meat directly to consumers.—these were the basic premises of this first three-year educational project. More than 7 in 10 farmers surveyed in our tri-state survey of meat producers reported they would expand their business if they had better access to a USDA inspected slaughter facility. Dr. Temple Grandin, notable expert in the humane treatment of animals, offered presentations to consumers, farmers and students that have already resulted in changes in the work of livestock farmers, processors, farm workers, and students.
Learn More…

Latest from 2017 Workshops


Dr. Michael Murphy, DVM, Veterinary Medical Officer, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, presented at our 2017 workshops.  The following are links to FDA materials

Fostering Stewardship​​​​​

Honey Bees and FDA regulations

FDA VFD Information

FDA Proposes Biomass Method to Obtain Animal Antimicrobial Sales and Distribution Data




New Agricultural Applications for Antimicrobials.
A Danger to Human Health: An Official Position Statement of the
Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists

Samuel L. Aitken, Division of Pharmacy, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston;Thomas J. Dilworth, Department of
Pharmacy, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – St. Francis, Milwaukee;  Emily L. Heil, Deprtment of Pharmacy, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore;  Michael D. Nailor, Department of Pharmacy Services, Hartford Hospital, Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Connecticut.;
PHARMACOTHERAPY Volume 36, Number 4, 2016


September 2014

by the President’s Council of Advisors on
Science and Technology (PCAST)

What Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug
Discovery Means for US, CT

June 7, 2016 WNPR Broadcast - link to live podcast