Sara Umphfleet, an OSF HealthCare clinical dietitian at Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee, gets acquainted with a dairy calf. Sixty registered dietitians recently visited Mackinson Dairy Farm near Pontiac and High Tower Farms near Gridley to learn more about beef and dairy production. The program was sponsored by Illinois Farm Families, a coalition of agricultural groups including Illinois Farm Bureau. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)
Illinois Farm Families (IFF) partnered with the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently to host the Connecting Farm to Food experience.
The event kicked off with a question-and-answer panel, which focused on food safety and quality assurance in the livestock industry. The panel consisted of three Illinois farmers representing the beef, dairy and pork industries, as well as an animal science faculty member and researcher from Illinois State University.
Dietitians in attendance asked a wide variety of questions, ranging from animal care, livestock diets, livestock marketing, food safety during processing and retail, food labeling, protein alternatives and day-to-day challenges livestock farmers face.
Following the panel, guests traveled to High Tower Farms near Gridley. Several Illinois beef farmers answered questions during lunch and provided their farming perspective. After lunch, the dietitians toured High Tower Farms’ feedlot. Tour stops offered opportunities for participants to learn more about feed rations, how that feed was harvested or acquired and how the facility was designed with animal care and comfort in mind.
The last stop was Mackinson Dairy Farm near Pontiac. Dietitians toured the farm and had an opportunity to compare similarities between the two farms, as well as learn about the differences in feed for beef and dairy cows, and measures taken to ensure food safety and quality assurance of milk from the cow to the store.
IFF tailored this experience with dietitians in mind, as they are a common and easily accessible resource consumers turn to when they have questions about food and food production.
IFF is a coalition of farmer-led organizations, including Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Midwest Dairy Association. For more information, click here.
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.