'We have a valuable product to offer people,' grower says

By MITCH LIES

Capital Press

SALEM -- Upward of 100 Oregon dairy farmers and supporters headed to the Capitol April 13 to celebrate the first Oregon Dairy Day.

"I came here to support dairy and show legislators that we have a valuable product to offer people," said Ben Van Loon, a dairy farmer from Jefferson.

"I came here to show that milk doesn't come from supermarkets. It comes from dairy farms," said John Van Dam, a Turner dairy farmer.

Participating dairy farmers visited with lawmakers, distributed literature and served grilled cheese sandwiches, milk, yogurt and ice cream.

"We scheduled visits with legislators so dairy farmers can tell their story, show who they are and what they are all about," said Jim Krahn, executive director of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association.

"We have a very aggressive agenda," dairy lobbyist Roger Beyer said. "We are trying to meet with anyone who will meet with us."

With the help of FFA members, dairy farmers handed out 900 sandwiches, 700 servings of milk and 400 servings of yogurt. Tillamook Creamery Association donated the bulk of the cheese, Rose Valley of McMinnville donated butter and Lochmead Dairy of Junction City and Darigold donated milk for the event. Umpqua Dairy donated the ice cream.

"It's a fantastic day," Krahn said. "We've had a great reception from legislators and the people walking through.

"It couldn't be better," he said.

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