Agri-Culture Ep. 100: The Holstein Dilemma


Elizabeth Kaiser graphic

The Holstein Dilemma: a dilemma so big that farmers all over the world are concerned, a dilemma so big that it could change our agriculture methods and livestock forever. Isabella Rossellini, a veterinarian and agriculture specialist, explains how with the new breeding trends, years of breeding genetics are disappearing fast, creating a huge decrease in genetic diversity. Without change, we will lose important heritage breeds of livestock for the future and never be able to bring them back.
Since America’s founding, livestock has been a very important aspect of life. Families used their livestock for clothing, trading, meat, milk and, of course, breeding. As years have gone past, society has gained new knowledge and breeding techniques to keep and get through the changes and challenges in society.
Rossellini said, “Farmers have bred animals to be resistant to diseases and parasites, resistant to heat, obtain mothering abilities, forecasting and even texture for meat. These characteristics have taken years to develop, and now we are losing them.”
Twenty-one percent of common farm livestock breeds are in danger of extinction. Many breeders now breed livestock with semen from the same sire and grand sire, eleminating genetic variation. Livestock breeds all over the world are losing reproduction performance and variability.
At the end of her podcast, Rossellini said, “Without change, historic and beneficial livestock breeds will be non-existent.”
The podcast, “Agri-Culture,” is a self-described documentary series that has been around for two years. This is a podcast to educate youth unfamiliar with agriculture and the importance of the industry.