To the Editor: Independent dairy farmers maligned

During the League of Women Voters presentation on the benefits of industrial scale agriculture, an audience member asked the speakers why some independent family dairy farmers had been displaced from their milk processor by a mega-dairy in southern Illinois. Speakers John Oncken and Jim Endress concluded that these family farmers were producing milk that was probably inferior to the milk produced by the mega-dairy.

I find that hard to believe and terribly insulting to every family farmer. Milk from cows raised primarily on pasture has been repeatedly shown to be higher in many nutrients including vitamin E, beta-carotene, and the healthy fats omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), than milk from cows fed primarily grain.

One of these displaced farmers wrote: “Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) has absolutely ignored our plea for help in saving the only milk market we have in this area. Kasbergen Corp (a huge IFB corporate recruit) came down to Madisonville, Ky., and Fulton, Tenn., and made a deal with the processor to process the ‘Corp’ milk only, leaving us to hunt for a market even farther away. You can imagine what that did to our hauling cost and our over-order premium. Thanks, IFB, for helping put us all out of business.”

Cindy Bonnet
Family farmer in Jo Daviess County, Ill.  for 35 years
Lena, Ill.

RockfordFrom the June 29-July 5, 2011 issue

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