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More school milk options touted

(Dairy producers want to see more milk options return to schools)

PONTIAC – Dairy farmers like Don Mackinson of Pontiac have one goal in mind right now: to bring whole milk back into schools.

Mackinson urges residents to contact the U.S. Senators in Illinois, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, regarding Senate Bill 1957. He is hopeful the Senate votes on this in the next week or two.

The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly before Christmas to bring two percent or whole milk back to schools.

“We are hoping the Senate follows the House on bringing whole or two percent milk back into the schools because as everybody knows, protein and the food value in whole milk is much better than skim milk,” explains Mackinson.

School milk changes came during the Obama Administration.

“Michelle (Obama) thought the whole milk was not healthy for kids and it caused obesity and she pushed hard to get skim milk back into school,” said Mackinson.

Though milk is 96 percent fat free, it cannot be advertised that way. It must be advertised as one percent, two percent or whole.

“Our whole milk that goes into the red cap jugs is 3.5 percent fat.”

Mackinson has not heard what way Senators Durbin and Duckworth are leaning, but he said they need a couple more co-sponsors for the bill. He wants to get the word out – even if it means contacting Senators in other states.

“If you get a recording, keep trying,” suggests Mackinson.

Milk consumption has gone down in the last 15 to 20 years and Mackinson feels kids will start drinking more milk again if these kinds are re-introduced to schools.

The work of a dairy farmer never ends as Mackinson’s operation north of Pontiac in Livingston County is keeping the cows going this winter. The arctic weather earlier this winter was a little too cold, according to Mackinson, though most cows like cold weather. They especially enjoy mild days like we have been experiencing with temperatures in the 50s.

Production is strong and exports are looking good, up another one percent.

“We are working on keeping our exports going and cheeses and butters are selling really good,” added Mackinson.


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