GOVERNMENT

LaHood tours Osco-area farms

Lisa Depies
Henry County Farmer Al Lyman, right, shows the feed mixture he gives his cattle to State Sen. Darin LaHood. The senator recently visited a pair of local farms to learn more about livestock and agriculture.

Republican Illinois State. Sen. Darin LaHood recently toured two livestock farms in the Osco area.

If re-elected in November, LaHood’s new district will include nearly all of Henry County.

“Ag is the No. 1 industry in the district,” said LaHood, adding that he participated in the visits to increase his own knowledge of agriculture.

During a beef and pork legislative day in Springfield last spring, cattle farmer Al Lyman invited LaHood to visit his farm.

“It means a lot to us that he’s willing to come out. It shows that he’s interested, and having that personal contact is appreciated,” said Lyman.

On June 15, LaHood toured Gary Asay’s hog farm before touring the Lyman farm.

“I appreciated that he was willing to learn about livestock and how we operate a farm and treat our animals,” said Asay.

“I showed him the building where the hogs are and showed how they’re housed. We also talked about what we feed the animals and how we collect manure,” explained Asay.

“He had a lot of good questions and was willing to listen to our thoughts and ideas,”  he said. “His visit says that he realizes livestock is important to ag and ag is important to the economy and the state of Illinois.”

“We want to show him why we do what we do,” said Lyman, who feeds approximately 700 cattle.

“Being able to come and see hog and cattle operations is helpful for me,” said LaHood.

LaHood said he’d previously toured ethanol plants in the district and had visited grain farms, but his Henry County visit was the first to livestock farms.

“Henry County has a rich ag background,” he said.

Though he doesn’t serve on the senate’s agriculture committee, LaHood does serve on the environment committee.

He said his tours helped give him information and insight on environmental issues as they relate to agriculture.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with the technology and efficiencies on these farms,” he said.