MP farm welcomes Illinois Farm Families ‘Field Moms’ program
MAPLE PARK—Today’s mother is not only insistent about making make sure she is providing nutritious options for her children to eat, she is starting to take a “peek inside the barn,” so to speak, with the Illinois Farm Families’ “Field Moms” program.
The Field Moms group is scheduled to tour six Illinois farms this year for a behind-the-scenes look at what farmers do every day. Last Saturday, the group descended upon Larson Farms in Maple Park with questions about farming, antibiotics, and the organic approach to agriculture. A cattle processing and crop enterprise, Larson Farms is a three-generation partnership that uses modern advancements to farm 6,500 acres of crop and turn out 8,000 head of finished cattle a year.
“We are committed to having conversations with consumers, answering their questions about food, farmers and farming, and sharing what really happens on today’s Illinois family farms,” said Linda Olson, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Consumer Communications manager. “More than 94 percent of Illinois farms are family owned and operated. We are passionate about showing consumers how we grow safe, healthy food for their families and ours.”
The Illinois Farm Families are Illinois farmers who support the Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association, and Illinois Beef Association.
Seeking to find out if recent hype in the media about the misuse of hormones in cattle and concerns that using GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organism) in food is safe for consumption, the Field Mom group did not hold back in questioning Mike Martz (partner at Larson Farms) and were impressed with his knowledge and candid approach to comparing Larson Farms traditional approach to that of organic farming.
“Clearly cattle steering is not an easy way to earn a living,” said Renee Keats, a Field Moms member, mother to one daughter, and resident of Highland Park, Ill. “I was impressed with Mike’s candor and openness when faced with tough questions. Whether a family chooses to buy conventional versus organic, is up to that family. What impressed me about Mike was his willingness to admit that either method of farming has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it’s the market that will drive how agriculture evolves in the future.”
Beyond learning about cattle processing, Martz gave the Field Moms group tips on selecting steak at the market (choosing cuts with lots of flecks of flavor that contain monounsaturated fat) and encouraged consumers to “know your butcher.” Committed to providing safe and quality beef to consumers, Larson Farms knows moms are looking out for the best interest of their loved ones health, as they too shop at local markets for their beef.
The Martz family farming philosophy is to “provide safe, nutritious, wholesome beef products to consumers with humane treatment of each animal and production practices that are environmentally friendly.”
For more information about the Illinois Farm Families Field Moms program, visit watchusgrow.org.