Livestock farmers use fair to rebut criticism

Illinois Farm Bureau Executive Director Mark Gebhards was part of an Ag Day presentation at the Illinois State Fair to tout the responsible methods used by livestock farmers. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois animal farmers say they have an image problem.

“We’ve heard a lot of criticism of the livestock industry, that we don’t do things right, that we have problems with sites once they are in operation.“ said Mark Gebhards, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for the Illinois Farm Bureau. “We listened to that, and we knew in our heart of hearts that some of the things that were being said were comparisons that were being made in other states that don’t fit Illinois; problems in other states that were not our problems.”

The bureau Tuesday – on Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair – lined up farmers from around the state to vouch for their safety and economic vitality. The bureau is putting out a report, a year in the making, to sound the horn as to what is good about Illinois livestock farming.

“The great Illinois economic recovery will begin on the farm,” declared IFB vice president Brian Duncan, a northwestern Illinois hog farmer who says Illinois livestock production, including meat and dairy processing, means more than $14 billion to the state’s economy.


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