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MADISON – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) Board of Directors gathered at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls June 20 to celebrate the renovation of the school’s Dairy Pilot Plant, which is now underway, and to enter into a new partnership to strengthen the industry’s educational pipeline. 

“WCMA members recognize investments in education as investments in the future success of the U.S. dairy processing industry,” said WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer.  “We are proud to partner with UW-River Falls to support training programs that will deliver a truly skilled dairy workforce.” 

On June 20, Umhoefer joined UW-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dean Dale Gallenberg in a pledge to work together to develop, execute, and promote new and existing workshops to meet industry needs. 

This action builds upon WCMA’s financial support of the UW-River Falls Dairy Pilot Plant renovation project. WCMA has directly donated $200,000, with members making generous individual donations to help UW-River Falls achieve a complete modernization of its dairy processing facilities, with new automation, piping, and equipment. 

“Students learn at-the-vat in River Falls, and that experience positions them as great assets when they enter the career field,” said Umhoefer. “It’s critical that hands-on opportunities to learn are available to the dairy industry’s next generation of leaders.” 

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at UW-River Falls reinstated its Food Science and Technology program in 2016, and now offers a food processing technology minor.  The school’s dairy processing plant also hosts continuing education classes focused on pasteurization, cheesemaking, and food safety. 

The UW-River Falls Foundation is still accepting contributions to this project, including monetary gifts and in-kind equipment donations.  

To learn more, contact UW-River Falls Advancement Officer Julie Stucky at 715-425-4647 or via email at julie.stucky@uwrf.edu. 

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