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32 industry leaders named to Dairy Task Force 2.0

Maksymowicz/Getty Images scenic dairy farm with resting cows in foreground
PRODUCER PERSPECTIVE: Fourteen dairy farmers are among the 32 members of Dairy Task Force 2.0.
The task force is an opportunity for the UW-System, the state and the industry to find new ways to advance Wisconsin’s leadership role as the Dairy State.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin System created Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. The task force will enable stakeholders to come together to recommend actions needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in the state.

Gov. Scott Walker directed Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and UW-System President Ray Cross to appoint the task force.

Dairy State
“We need to work together to develop a strategy to maintain our state’s legacy as the Dairy State,” Walker says. “Dairy farmers are facing challenges due to an extended period of low milk prices and market uncertainty. By creating this task force, industry experts can work together to create real solutions that can help our farmers, processors and allied organizations, and to ensure that our dairy industry is not only our past, but our future.”

In 1985, the UW-System and the DATCP secretary appointed a Wisconsin Dairy Task Force comprised of 31 individuals, including dairy farmers, milk processors and allied organizations. The task force met numerous times during the course of 14 months. At its conclusion, the members unanimously approved an 82-page report that included findings and 75 recommendations for the industry. Many of the recommendations have been implemented to retain Wisconsin’s recognition as a dairy leader.

Wisconsin is home to more dairy farms than any other state. About 96% of the state’s dairy farms are family-owned. Wisconsin is also home to a vibrant dairy processing industry, renowned universities and research facilities, extensive networks of agribusinesses, and World Dairy Expo. Wisconsin’s dairy industry creates about 80,000 jobs and generates $43.4 billion in economic impact every year, which is nearly half of agriculture’s total economic impact.

“The university plays a critical role in the development and growth of Wisconsin’s dairy industry, both as a source of research and as a partner for our farmers,” Cross says. “This task force is an opportunity for the UW-System, the state and the industry to find new ways to advance Wisconsin’s leadership role as the Dairy State.”

Walker announced the members of the task force during Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, held earlier this month near Marshfield in Wood County.

“Members of Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 reflect the breadth and depth of the Wisconsin dairy industry,” Walker says. “From dairy farmers to milk processors to allied organizations, the task force stands ready to discuss and recommend actions that will ensure our state’s proud dairy heritage remains strong moving forward.”

Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 members include the following farmers: 
• Moriah Brey, Brey Cycle Farm LLC, Sturgeon Bay 
• Andy Buttles, Stone-Front Farm, Lancaster 
• Janet Clark, Vision Aire Farms LLC, Rosendale 
• Tom Crosby, Crosby’s River Valley Dairy, Shell Lake 
• Dave Daniels, Mighty Grand Dairy, Union Grove 
• Patty Edelburg, Front-Page Holsteins, Scandinavia 
• Don Hamm, Sandy Loam Farm, Fredonia 
• Ryan Klussendorf, Broadland Grass Farm, Medford 
• Shelly Mayer, Mayer Farm, Slinger 
• Dan Pearson, Pearson Farm, River Falls 
• Amy Penterman, Dutch Dairy, Thorp 
• Brody Stapel, Double Dutch Dairy, Cedar Grove 
• Charles Untz, Untz Farm, Lake Mills 
• Darin Von Ruden, Von Ruden Farm, Westby

Milk processors and marketers are:
• Steve Bechel, Eau Galle Cheese Factory, Durand 
• Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe 
• Rob Byrne, Schreiber Foods, Green Bay 
• Ted Galloway, Galloway Co., Neenah 
• Paul Scharfman, Specialty Cheese Co., Reeseville 
• Jerry Schroeder, Schroeder Milk Transit, Oconto Falls 
• Jeff Schwager, Sartori Cheese, Plymouth 
• David Ward, Cooperative Network, Madison 
• Elizabeth Wells, Organic Valley, La Farge

Allied organizations include:
• John Accola, Premier Cooperative, Prairie du Sac 
• Dennis Bangart, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Marshfield 
• Michael DeLong, First Bank of Baldwin, Baldwin 
• Bradley Guse, BMO Harris Bank, Arpin 
• Melissa Haag, Lodi Veterinary Hospital, Lodi 
• Rene Johnson, Union Bank and Trust Co., Evansville 
• John Schmidt, Landmark Services Cooperative, Appleton 
• Chad Vincent, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Madison

Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at UW-Madison, will chair Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. The task force is working to schedule its first meeting in August.

Source: Office of the Governor

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