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On an April Sunday afternoon a year ago, the last ancestral connection to the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth was severed when my mother died quietly and peacefully.

When I hear “I made it from scratch!” at a gathering, my first instinct is to assume it must have taken a lot of time to prepare the tasty-looking dish coming my way down the table. But I also think, “Oh, it must be extra good!”

Dairy farmers are committed to producing delicious, nutrient-rich milk as well as taking care of the land and their animals. To meet the growing need of the U.S. population, farmers are working hard to reduce their impact on the environment by using less land and resources to produce more food and milk.

ROCHELLE, Ill. — Adam Kennay has the qualifications needed to be in the distillery business. “I was a mechanic in the Army and as a farm kid, you learn to work on things. It’s a good skill set to have as a distiller,” Kennay said.