The Southwestern Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association recently awarded two Young Dairy Producer Educational Scholarships to David Meier of Sunset Ridge Dairy Farm, Monticello, WI and Cody Mumm of the Mumm Family Farm, Bloomington, WI. This scholarship program is in its seventh year, and these two scholarships of $2,000 each represent the first time two scholarships were awarded in the same year. The purpose of this individual scholarship is to encourage young dairy producers to pursue educational opportunities that will allow them to continue in the dairy business. "SWCMA wants to promote the continuation of the family farm, and by awarding this scholarship to a young dairy producer, we hope to contribute to carrying on this tradition," says Steve Stettler of Decatur Dairy of Brodhead and president of SWCMA. Stettler comments, "We as an association look forward to giving back to our hard working dairy producers that supply our member's cheese plants with high quality milk on a daily basis."
Meier, son of Duane and Jeanne Meier, is a 2009 graduate of Albany High School in Albany, and will use the scholarship money to attend the Farm and Industry Short Course at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and pursue a certification in Dairy Farm Management. David plans to complete the two year program, learn more about dairy nutrition and animal health, and then utilize this knowledge when returning as the fourth generation to the family farm. Sunset Ridge currently milk 140 cows and David has a future goal of partnering with his father in the operation.
Meier currently owns five dairy cows and nine heifers. David has enjoyed working on their family dairy farm since he was quite young, initially feeding the calves and then beginning milking in seventh grade. The Meier's are members of the Chalet Cheese Cooperative and their milk goes to the Chalet Cheese plant in Monroe. Myron Olson of Chalet Cheese states "It is exciting to see a young dairy producer investing in the future. Chalet looks forward to making specialty cheese from their milk for many years".
David has been showing dairy cattle for many years, both at the local and state fairs. David has also been on various dairy judging teams, including Captain of this year's FFA judging team.
Mumm, son of Steve and Dawn Mumm, is a 2008 graduate of Lancaster High School in Lancaster, and will use the scholarship money to attend his second year at Southwest Technical College – Fennimore and pursue a Technical Diploma in Agricultural Mechanics. Cody plans to complete the two year program and then utilize this mechanical repair knowledge when returning to the family farm. They currently milk 50 cows and crop 200 acres with Cody having the future goal of partnering with his father in the operation.
Cody has enjoyed working on their family dairy farm since he was quite young, and began milking even before having his driver's license. His parents used to drive him to the neighbor's farm where he also helped them milk prior to getting his license. The Mumm's are members of the Swiss Valley Farms Cooperative and their milk goes to the Swiss Valley cheese plant in Platteville.
Cody currently milks every evening at the farm, and also provides relief milking for neighbors and friends. As a senior in high school, Cody also worked on a second farm as part of the school's on-the job-training program.
The Southwestern Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has 18 member cheese plants.