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Guest Column: Dairy silage turns politicians and friends purple
By Victoria Grizzoffi
I’d like to thank the Illinois EPA and federal EPA for stepping in on behalf of the citizens of Illinois. I and others will be watching to make sure that all fines are submitted to the ill-managed Traditions site that has discharged into waters of the state. This purple-colored Kool-Aid mix that has spilled is being tested by the Illinois and federal EPA, and private samples have been taken. The reason for this breach had to do with management of this silage. My question is, if they can’t manage silage, then how in heaven’s name are they going to be responsible for millions of gallons of waste? Using the excuse of it not being up and running is a farce.
I know that Ron Lawfer and Jim Sacia are “good friends.” I would like to let people know that early on, Mr. Lawfer wrote me a letter inviting me to his farm. To his surprise, I called, but he was busy. I asked him to please call me when he wasn’t, and I never heard from the man again. I also received a phone call from a Mr. Nic Anderson of the Illinois Livestock Management Group. Since he knows everyone, I asked if he could set up a time for me to visit some of the local farms. He was all for it until I said that I would not travel alone and won’t go anywhere without my husband. He got smart and suggested that I also wanted the HOMES people, too. I said, “Go ahead, ask them, and why not invite the press as well?”
Suddenly, he started yelling that he was not going to do my homework, and it got to the point that I had to tell him to stop yelling; otherwise, I will consider his call as harassment. I ended up hanging up on him, but not before I put him on hold for a moment to answer another call. When I got back to him, he was still yelling. I don’t think he knew I had him on hold.
Just so everyone knows, I also went to Rancho Contera by Stockton with my husband and a reporter from the [Freeport] Journal Standard. I was denied access. I asked the manager how many cows he had, how does he manage the manure, but he would not answer any questions. I asked him who owned the facility, and he said Jake Bosma of California. I gave him my card and asked if he would please contact him to contact me so we could talk. No response. I also went to see Doug Block, who was kind enough to talk with me. Mr. Block is the type of man who goes beyond what is required of him; he does live on his farm, and he does want to pass it on to his sons. What worries me is that even though I don’t like his type and way of producing milk, he really believes that all other dairymen have his same ethical standards and principles. He really doesn’t believe that the out-of-state dairymen will put him out of business. That’s a shame.
I also went to visit Fair Oaks. It killed me to pay the $10, but I also asked the girl if I could speak with someone in management. I gave her my card, cell numbers, and said I would be there for two days. No response. I did manage to talk with locals, and the numbers and stories are everything that my opponent says is not. They do have contaminated water, they do have issues with overcrowded schools. They do have higher crime rates, and the drugs are unreal. Since 1998, 75 percent of the family farms had to fold because of the mega-dairies. The flies and the stench are real. All but one granary are owned by the Bos family, and they can pick and choose whom to purchase grain from. You may have to drive 50 miles to sell your grain. Gee, can you figure out why? I did talk to one grocery store owner who thinks the dairymen are the berries because they spent $22,000 on fireworks. What a price. One night of fireworks and 365 days of questionable water.
There are lobbyists swooning out-of-state dairymen to come to Illinois because the laws are so lax, and they say our water is for the taking. Sorry, folks, but our liquid assets are not for the taking, and the arrogance of our current leaders and representative has been insulting and repugnant long enough. Any person can contact me, and I am more than happy to share with anyone the data, the truths, and the facts of industrial farming and the dirty politics behind it.
Victoria Grizzoffi was the Democratic candidate for state representative in the 89th District.
From the Nov. 3-9, 2010 issue