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HOLLANDALE, WI

Milk Source's Hunting Land Auction Program has been named among Wisconsin's 2016 Top Rural Development Initiatives.

Wisconsin Rural Partners, Inc., a statewide non-profit corporation, selected six 2016 honorees. The announcement was made recently by the organization's President Don Sidlowski, awards committee Chairperson Coreen Fallat and Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Since 2011, Milk Source's philanthropic Hunting Land Auction program has raised thousands of dollars for small, rural food pantries while benefiting outdoorsmen statewide. Through this collaboration, sportsmen make bids for the right to lease portions of the natural habitats under the management of Milk Source. Those financial commitments are paid by the hunters directly to the food pantries in the home communities of the farms. Simply put, the organization operates as a facilitator and conduit, linking donors to local charities — to the benefit of both.

'Rural Partners received 31 nominations this year for these prestigious awards, and there were very many wonderful projects,' said Rural Partners Executive Director Rick Rolfsmeyer. 'The six initiatives selected by the judges are truly the cream of the crop, exemplifying the best of all the great things rural Wisconsin has to offer.'

In addition to Milk Source, the efforts receiving Top Rural Development Initiative awards were:

· The Flambeau River Community Growing Center, Park Falls

· The Pop-Up Shop Initiative, Viroqua Chamber Main Street

· Town Square – Green Lake Renewal

· Forest County Potawatomi Insurance Department, Crandon

· Reedsburg ArtsLink – Ruminant/Harvest Park Initiative

Wisconsin Rural Partners develops rural networks and leaders, and provides a voice for rural Wisconsin. WRP is the federally-recognized State Rural Development Council for Wisconsin.

This is the sixteenth year that Wisconsin Rural Partners has recognized Wisconsin's Top Rural Development Initiatives. The program is designed to identify, highlight, and share innovative models, practices and programs that have a positive impact on rural Wisconsin communities.

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