The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board board of directors recently met to review the promotion and marketing results for the fiscal year ending June 30. In addition to the reports from staff and a presentation from United Dairy Industry Association and Dairy Management, Inc., the board also paid tribute to three well-respected directors who ended their terms with this meeting.
Retiring from the board were Sarah Lloyd, Wisconsin Dells; Lyle Jensen, Amery; and Mary Wackershauser, Lancaster. Wackershauser was the longest tenured director, having begun her first term July 1, 1998. She received a standing ovation from the board and staff. All three thanked the board, the WMMB staff and most importantly, the producers in their districts who had elected them to serve on this board.
A cooperative effort among staff was the Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown. This was a nationwide event that collected recipes from participants from April 1 through May 12 (winning recipes are still being determined). Efforts from the staff produced more than 82 million consumer impressions and recipe submissions from 46 states.
Retail continues to expand with growth achieved in Costco, Whole Foods, HEB and Kroger stores across the nation. Also look for the Wisconsin Cheese logo on cheese items at local Kwik Trip convenience stores.
The Foodservice department announced a new partnership with Milio's Sandwiches. Wisconsin is home to the sub sandwich franchise, which has now added a line of sandwiches that uses fresh mozzarella from Wisconsin. Milio's Sandwiches join the likes of Topper's Pizza, Firehouse Subs, Culver's and Cheddar's Casual Café in partnering with WMMB and sourcing cheese from Wisconsin for their menu items.
The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The program now includes 60 Masters from 33 different cheese companies. This program is made possible through the joint sponsorship of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, UW-Extension and WMMB. Learn more about this program by viewing a Wisconsin Dairy News story at www.dairydoingmore.org/Videos/wisconsin-dairy-news.aspx.
WMMB continues to work with cheese makers, processors, CDR and retailers on new technology and food safety. This area also works with Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association and other industry partners to assure a safe and secure milk supply within the state as well as conducts and participates in exercises and training to be prepared in the event of a crisis.
The online magazine, "Grate.Pair.Share." exceeds expectations. In its short lifespan, having launched in 2012, the magazine has 15.7 million lifetime views for all issues of the publication. The corporate communications division continued its promotion of online offerings with an all new "All Thinks Mac & Cheese" website. Launched on National Cheese Lover's Day in January, this website has already garnered 71,000 visits.
Another publication, "What's New from Wisconsin," was honored this year for being in print for 20 years. "What's New from Wisconsin" is distributed to retailers, cheese and dairy buyers around the country three to four times per year. It features all the newest cheese and dairy products made in Wisconsin.
Considerable work is being done to connect with the next generation of individuals who are gaining the most purchasing power — millennials. This group is between 21 and 34 years old, are tech savvy, independent and expect immediate results. To reach this group, videos were created and posted on Facebook and YouTube and gave insights into the opportunities surrounding the dairy industry. These videos generated over 185,000 views.
Additional messaging is being done at the Milwaukee Zoo. This zoo and its dairy farm see more than 1.3 million visitors each year. WMMB has installed a cow photo area, a dairy image hopscotch and five different Wisconsin Dairy Impact messages.
Wisconsin Dairy Council reached about 31 percent of all fourth-grade students this school year. They continue to promote dairy as part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and work with all grade levels. The Wisconsin Dairy Council team can also be heard doing radio and television interviews around the state. Together the team does more than 100 interviews that adds up to more than 20 hours of on-air time.
Direct producer-to-consumer communication has seen a 33 percent increase in the number of request for materials for farm tours. The greatest increase was seen in the younger age group of 8 years old and younger. This group had a 50 percent increase over prior year.
In addition, WMMB's support of the County Dairy Leader Group provides materials and funding for more than 80 June Dairy Month breakfasts and other events statewide.
Representatives from UDIA and DMI presented to the board some of the programs funded by the five cents of the checkoff. The team would like to look for ways WMMB and UDIA/DMI can partner together on more programs. The WMMB board heard updates on the work being done with Domino's, McDonalds and Taco Bell. UDIA/DMI also manages the funding arm of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program that has been successfully implemented by Wisconsin Dairy Council. Discussions will continue between the two boards for areas where they can complement each other's programs.