Emily Hanlin

By Emily Hanlin


On Saturday, June 18, the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau hosted a trip to Claretta Dairy Farm called the “Farm to Table Tour.”

Folks who participated on the tour were picked up by a coach bus at the Discovery Center and traveled to the farm in Garden Prairie, Ill.

Claretta Farm, the Mueller family’s dairy farm, has been in the capable hands of the Mueller family for more than 50 years.

Originally stationed in Peotone, Ill., and then St. Charles, the Mueller dairy is now located in Garden Prairie.

Now, four generations later, Brent Mueller and his wife, Amber, and their children Samantha and Logan, are milking the registered Holstein herd. They currently milk 150 cows and are home to 175 calves and heifers.

Seventy-four community members from the Rockford area were able to see first-hand the “Farm to Table” process by touring the farm including the milking parlor, cow barns, and calf barns.

FarmThe Mueller family shared step by step how they care for their cows and calves every day.

“As people first stepped off of the bus, their reactions were awesome. Some wrinkled their noses to the unfamiliar odors, and others smiled from cheek to cheek as they could see some of the animals in the shed,” Bailey Hart, Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau Intern, said.

“It made me happy to witness this, as I feel hands-on Agriculture Education is extremely important in today’s society, especially as people become further and further removed from the farm.”

Along with raising Holstein dairy cattle, the Muellers also grow and harvest corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa. Families were able to see the farm equipmentused on the Mueller’s farm and learn how they’re used.

Several local farmers came out to answer questions about modern agriculture. Tourists also were able to enjoy dairy refreshments at the end of their visit.

“The day was very successful,” Diane Cleland, Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau Ag Literacy Coordinator, said. “We had families from all walks of life and some had never seen how their food was produced. Many people commented on how impressed they were with the technology used in the agriculture industry. Most don’t realize that technology has impacted agriculture as much as their everyday lives.”

Farm 2We at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau strongly encourage consumers to become more familiar with the “Farm to Table” process.

As Hart mentioned, as community members become generations removed from their agriculture backgrounds, they tend to lose that strong connection to the industry that provides them with so much. Our goal of this tour, as well as many other projects, is to help rebuild that connection between farmer/food grower and consumer.

“We need to be our own voices and invite people to our farms,” Brent Mueller said. “That sticks with them and I like being that voice to show people what is really going on.”

“Everyone left with a much better understanding of farmers and their dedication to producing a safe and reliable food supply,” Cleland said.



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