Corporate Farming Notes-Permit Granted for Mega-Dairy Despite Intense Local Opposition 

In Jo Daviess County, Illinois, a particularly disconcerting brand of corporate farming is coming to town. Perhaps I am biased because I know so many dairy farmers in northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin, and northwest Illinois, but I find the location of an 11,000 head (or more) mega-dairy so close to the heart of family farm dairy country is the epitome of adding insult to injury.

A.J. Bos, the Bakersfield, California, dairy magnate with a dairy empire of over 50,000 cows in multiple states, is seeking to build two industrial dairy sites with at least 5,500 cows and heifers. Illinois law would allow him to double the number of cows at each site within two years, with no additional supervision, if the cost of the expansion is less than 50 percent of the initial cost of construction.

Despite stiff opposition from local residents, and an 11 to five vote earlier this year by the Jo Daviess County Board recommending that the Illinois Department of Agriculture deny the mega-dairy construction permit, Bos was able to convince the department to grant a construction permit for the site.

Members of Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards, a grassroots organization that sprung up in Nora, Illinois (population 200) and surrounding communities in opposition to the Bos mega-dairies, have filed for an injunction against the construction arguing that the Illinois Department of Agriculture wrongfully granted Bos the construction permit. The village of Nora is less than one mile from the proposed mega-dairy site.

Ken Turner, Warren, Illinois, resident and mega-dairy opponent said it as well as any, “We have to fight for the right to breathe air and have drinkable water  This is not the ag you grew up with. This is not the future of ag.”

Think about it this way. While the residents of Nora, Warren, and Waddams Grove struggle to protect the air, water, and quality of life in their communities, will Bos’ mega-dairy help drive 100 tri-state family farm dairy operations out of business, or just 50?

Contact: John Crabtree, or 402.687.2103 x 1010.