Ag Briefs: Cheese Championship auction sets record

Wisconsin State Farmer
Jersey cows  in town of Leroy


Cheese Championship auction sets record

An exuberant crowd of dairy processors, marketers, and suppliers raised $339,835 for dairy education at the 2023 Chr. Hansen Championship Cheese Auction, held at CheeseCon in Madison, Wis.. The funds support industry training programs offered by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), as well as the World and U.S. Championship Cheese Contests and university dairy training centers.

For over 25 years, auction dollars have supported emerging dairy professionals through WCMA’s Mike Dean and Cheese Industry Supplier Student Scholarships. Funds raised at the Auction have also helped fund WCMA’s popular training programs for dairy manufacturers and suppliers, and fueled donations to build the new world-class Center for Dairy Research facility in Madison, as well as dairy pilot plants at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls and South Dakota State University. Altogether, WCMA has invested $1.3 million in the next generation of the dairy processing industry.


Ellsworth Cheese Curd Fest recognized

Ellsworth, Wisconsin’s Cheese Curd Festival was named one of the country’s “Best Specialty Food Festivals” in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Contest. The popular festival attracts tens of thousands of cheese fans to the area each summer.

Each June, thousands of pounds of cheese curds made by Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery are served at the Cheese Curd Festival. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is the Cheese Curd Festival’s main sponsor. In addition, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Staff helps plan the event and ensures expert frying of the cheese curds. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Cheese Curds are made from milk produced by 250 patron family farms.


UW-Platteville places 5th in national soils competition

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Collegiate Soils Team captured fifth place with one of the team members earning a second in individual honors in the 61st Soil Science Society of America National Collegiate Soils Contest hosted by Oklahoma State University.

Despite having the smallest enrollment of all 23 universities competing, UW-Platteville placed sixth in group judging and fifth overall. Isaac Nollen placed second and Nicole Plenty placed 15th out of 92 students in the individual competition. Team members include Katie Bannick, Jackson Christenson, Brooklynn Hill, Ashley Lamm, Tresa Jo Koopmeiners, Nollen and Plenty. The team was coached by Dr. Chris Baxter.


Register now for Dairy Symposium

The Dairy Symposium, a day-long, data-rich opportunity for academic colleagues, students, and trainees from the three participating campuses to share their most advanced Hub-funded research is set for May 18 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Pyle Center, UW-Madison.

Attendees will hear thought-provoking plenary sessions, research talks from each of the Hub’s four priority areas, shorter “flash talks” from students, and poster presentations from Hub-funded researchers. To register visit


Concerns raised with USDA’s WIC proposal to cut back dairy

The WIC program serves close to 6 million moms, babies, and young children with specialized nutrition and nutrition education, including roughly half of all infants, in the United States. The USDA recently proposed to cut the amount of dairy provided through the WIC food package by up to 6 quarts per month, depending on the participant, with the largest reduction for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

However, USDA has proposed dropping this by 25%, as they say the cuts are ‘science-based’ recommendations by the independent National Academics of Science, Engineering and Medicine of world experts. 

Michael Dykes, IDFA’s President and CEO, told Dairy Herd Management that this proposed cut to dairy through the WIC program would be detrimental, making life much harder for the women and children who rely on milk and dairy benefits every month.


Farmers sought for research study on QuickBooks software

UW Extension educators are doing a research study to identify what educational needs exist around the use of QuickBooks and are asking farmers to participate in the study. The survey will help staff learn more about farmers' use of the QuickBooks accounting software and will be used to tailor future Extension support and training.

The voluntary survey will take 5-7 minutes to complete. To participate visit:


Ports reopen but reliable transportation for ag products uncertain

A pair of West Coast ports have resumed exporting ag commodities after a temporary shutdown due to failed labor contract negotiations.

Mike Steenhoek with the Soy Transportation Coalition told Brownfield Ag News that products shipped in bulk were unaffected but that’s not the case for containers that hold soybeans, soy products, and a variety of other agricultural products like chilled meat, fresh fruit and vegetables. 

 The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California halted operations last week when union workers went on strike during contract negotiations. While it only was a short while, Steenhoek says it creates more uncertainty for the U.S. supply chain.

Lacombe, Alberta

New regs set for Canadian dairy farmers

More stringent rules are included in the newly released Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle for Canadian dairy farmers. The rules which will go into effect April 1, 2024 (with some components being phased in over time) include tools for meeting rising consumer, marketplace and societal expectations related to farmed animal welfare, Dairy Global reported.

The new regulations relevant to cow and calf housing maye create challenges for farmers. Rules outline freedom of movement in the barn, tethering of calves, and stocking densities in barns as well as stall and pen sizes. Branding and electrified crowd gates will be banned.

Farmers who house calves individually must create a plan to transition them to paired or group housing by a certain age. Dairy Farmers of Canada spokesman said his country’s farmers already follow some of the most stringent standards.