Gov. Scott Walker announced the members of the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 July 11 at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Marshfield. The task force is working to hold its first meeting in August.

Walker directed Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and UW System President Ray Cross in early June to establish the task force, which will focus on making recommendations on actions needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in the state.

“The members of Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 reflect the breadth and depth of the Wisconsin dairy industry,” Walker said. “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.”

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

“As Wisconsin’s dairy industry continues to face challenges, it is more important than ever that the industry as a whole works together to find ways to maintain our status as a leading dairy state,” Harsdorf said. “The diverse and wide-ranging task force membership will allow for an important conversation, and I look forward to their recommendations.”

The economic impact of the dairy industry in Wisconsin is significant, employing almost 80,000 jobs and generating $43.4 billion in statewide economic impact every year — almost half of agriculture’s total economic impact.

“The partnership between the dairy industry and the University of Wisconsin goes back a long time, and it has played a vital part in Wisconsin becoming America’s Dairyland,” Cross said. “The UW System looks forward to continuing to work with farmers and dairy producers to develop and implement innovative and forward-thinking solutions for the Wisconsin dairy industry.”

Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 members include:

Farmers — Moriah Brey, Brey Cycle Farm, Sturgeon Bay; Andy Buttles, Stone-Front Farm, Lancaster; Janet Clark, Vision Aire Farms, 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; and Darin Von Ruden, Von Ruden Farm, Westby.

Milk Processors and Marketers — 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; and Elizabeth Wells, Organic Valley, La Farge

Allied Organizations — 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; and Chad Vincent, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Madison.

Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at UW-Madison, will chair the task force.