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Cows to Curds to Consumers

by Mike Austin

Ag literacy is becoming a bigger concern even in an agricultural state like Wisconsin. With most people now three to four generations removed from the farm, fewer people have first hand knowledge of what today's production agriculture is all about. Efforts have been made especially among our youth to give them a better understanding of farming today. However, one of the key area where a better understanding of agriculture is vital is among our local, state and national elected officials.That is why the Dairy Business Association, along with the Wisconsin Cheese and Butter makers set up a day long program called cows to curds to consumers.

The day began with state and locally elected officials along with agency heads traveling to Belgioioso Cheese in Ledgeview to get a first hand look at a state of the art cheese manufacturing facility and having a dialogue on bio security efforts along with the quality and art in making award winning cheese. From there the group headed to Country Aire Dairy in Greenleaf to see a modern dairy facility and again see first hand the care and comfort provided for the livestock. the quality of feed they are provided and the environmental priorities of the owners in manure handling and the protection of both our soil and water supply.

From the reaction and questions asked by the legislators, many who had never been this close to production agriculture before, the day was a very good step in providing a better understanding of what really happens in the production of our milk and dairy products and hopefully dispelled some of the misinformation that has been disseminated.

Kudos go out to the DBA and WCMA for sponsoring the day, to the Gerrits and Belgioioso families for opening up their operations and answering questions on what they do and way they do it, and a special thanks to the elected officials and department heads who took a day out of their busy schedules to see first hand what production agriculture is all about.

All of Wisconsin and the ag community will benefit from days like this!