- Just how ARE the certified organic people ensuring that the rabbits & birds don't poop in the vegetable garden? A few sheep for a few hours when there is no crop in the ground seems about on par with the frolicing rabbits and fluttering birds.
- I don't graze the sheep on crops that are yet to be harvested, other than root crops in the ground like potatoes and onions for home use. So they aren't pooping directly on the lettuce or anything that's going to market.
- Sheep poop isn't sloppy like some manures. And unlike many manures, it doesn't cause nitrogen burn, so from the plants' point of view it's safe.
- Rain doesn't splash off the mulched soil surface like it would on an open soil, so it's less likely to spread bacteria from the soil to the plant leaves.
- I suspect that my extremely biologically active soil rapidly deals with alien microbes.
- For that matter, my soil probably has more microbes--in a vibrant, healthy balance--than finished compost, because my soil is constantly in the process of composting the hay mulch.
- Chances of my sheep being infected with one of the really nasty strains of bacteria are minimal, given that they've never been off the farm and haven't had contact with any off-farm animals or, heaven forbid, animal byproducts in feed. If their ancesters were ever in a confinement-type environment, it was dozens of generations ago.
- I'm meticulous in harvesting and handling my greens to ensure no soil contacts them during these processes. I can be more thorough about this than larger growers because I do it on a small scale.
If people are concerned about food safety because they have compromised immune systems, I won't feel offended if they take their business elsewhere. But they will probably not really be getting safer food by doing so.