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Wisconsin Does Dairy Right

There’s a reason why Wisconsin holds the title of “America’s Dairyland” and it goes beyond any official rankings, awards, or recognitions. Wisconsin farmers are always hard at work to produce high-quality, nutritious dairy products while also taking great care of their animals and resources. In addition, Wisconsin’s climate and environment allow the state’s dairy industry to perpetually thrive and, in turn, contribute over $45.6 billion to our economy.

Wisconsin’s more than one million dairy cows are looked after every day and produce a high-quality, nutritious product for our communities. This high-quality milk is often used to make delicious cheese. Wisconsin leads the nation in both production volume and varieties of cheese with over 3.3 billion pounds produced annually into 600 different varieties, types, and styles. Wisconsin has won more cheese awards than any other state and, if Wisconsin was a country, it would rank fourth in the world behind the rest of the United States, Germany, and France. With 90 percent of the milk produced in our state made into cheese and cheese consumption nearly doubling in the past thirty years, Wisconsin will continue to lead the way in this dairy sector far into the future.

Growing up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin, I have always taken great pride in the product that my family’s farm produces. Like my farm, 95 percent of Wisconsin dairy farms are family-owned. Wisconsin dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt, are a natural source of protein, calcium, and essential nutrients. These include immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, and protein. Dairy foods have a simple list of ingredients and can easily be added to your diet in a wide variety of ways. There are options in the dairy case for almost everyone including those with lactose intolerance and other dietary needs.

When it comes down to it, Wisconsin is known worldwide for its quality of dairy products and the heritage behind them. Wisconsin was the first state to grade cheese for quality and is home to the nation’s only Master Cheesemaker Program, an advanced training program to help cheesemakers truly master the art of cheesemaking. The focus of Wisconsin’s 1,200 cheesemakers on quality over quantity sets our state apart and guarantees a superior product.

Wisconsin’s climate, soil, and water supply will keep the dairy industry thriving in our state and our dairy farmers will continue to ensure that all Wisconsin cows are well cared for.

So, the next time you sit back and enjoy some Wisconsin cheese, know that our “America’s Dairyland” namesake is here to stay. Look for the Proudly Wisconsin Badge, or the number 55 on the packaging, when purchasing cheese to ensure you are buying local Wisconsin cheese. You can find it in 98% of grocery stores, according to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

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