Guest Column: Illinois, take notice: megadairies equal megaproblems

September 12, 2012

By Sylvia Pagel

Lobbyists aren’t essential when you already have the farm bureau presidents and elected officials working as your shills! As Wisconsin learns the hard way about megadairies, Illinois should smell a rat, and block any attempts to build them here!

There wouldn’t be price-killing surpluses anywhere without the megadairies! Now that they have glutted the market, they still want more income protection, security, stabilization, insurance, immunity from prosecution and exemption from supply limits! They want mega-loopholes created especially for them!

Megadairies despise inconvenient meddling by the USDA, OSHA, IRS, EPA, DNR and ICE!  While their lobbyists work to get all the teeth pulled from those agencies, they welcome tax-subsidized margin protection! When their concentrated cows drop dead during a heat wave, they’re the first to file claims for USDA compensation — from their air-conditioned headquarters!

Just as any business writes its own ad copy, pontificating about feeding the world through superior efficiencies is just PR! They’re looking out for No. 1, and don’t really believe that stuff. More PR: they award themselves big green halos for creating renewable energy using tax-subsidized methane digesters! Like spoiled brats, they continually demand more special privileges, and the whining never ceases!

They always want — and get — any burdensome rules and regulations changed to enhance their bottom line!  Some examples: road and bridge weight limits, air and water pollution standards, antibiotic residue and SCC limits, and illegal alien workers!

They aren’t cheerleading for immigration policy reform; they just want less enforcement! They expect — and get — state universities to provide free dairy management outreach seminars targeted to their needs: techniques for dealing with their non-E-verifiable employees!

Reform of dairy policy must begin with enforcement of our current labor and immigration laws!  The megadairies know they are not exempted from any federal laws, but these “sacred cows” are being protected by their cronies in high places! Politicians pander to them!

They generously dip into their war chest to push laws that make videotaping livestock handling a life sentence felony! According to their spokesman, consumers can’t really appreciate how difficult it can be to force exhausted, dying milk cows to get up onto their feet so they can be legally slaughtered! Oh, if only those sappy Humane Society and PETA bleeding hearts would keep their noses out of other people’s big agbiz!

Megadairies have high-priced, tax-deductible lawyers doing the dirty work required to subvert the law! They weasel and dodge to avoid compliance, making sure their impact costs are shifted elsewhere! Whenever their bankers start acting chicken-hearted, they grease the skids for millions in guaranteed public finance authority “loans!”

Meanwhile, genuine family dairy farmers should only expect to get a few moldy cheese crumbs that might fall from the megadairies’ table — and a suicide hotline number as they are driven out of business!

Sylvia Pagel is a resident of Winnebago, Ill.

From the Sept. 12-18, 2012, issue

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