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MADISON - The head of the state chamber of commerce says it may be time to do away with "America's Dairyland" on Wisconsin license plates.

However, a dairy group representing hundreds of agribusiness owners across the state, says the change would be "disheartening" considering the dairy community's continuing contribution to the culture and economy of the state.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President Kurt Bauer floated the idea at a luncheon Monday, Oct. 16, attended by hundreds of the state's business leaders.

Bauer says that other slogans like "Forward" might be more appropriate to modernize perceptions of the state's economy, rather than just focusing on agriculture.

"Forward" is the state's official motto, while "America's Dairyland" has graced vehicle license plates since 1940 to celebrate Wisconsin's prominence in milk and cheese production.

Bauer says a more contemporary phrase on the license plates could emphasize the state's dynamic economy. He referenced plans by the Taiwanese company Foxconn Technology Group to locate a high-tech display screen factory in Racine County.

“We are talking about a $43.4 billion impact on the Wisconsin economy and tens of thousands of jobs. There are few single products in this state that provide more of an economic boost," said Mike North, president of the Dairy Business Association. “Our farms, processing plants and universities are looked to from around the globe for technological advances. Innovation and modernization abound in dairy food production and safety, animal care and nutrition, environmental stewardship and numerous other facets of dairying."

North said the dairy community — with its hard-working farm families, cheesemakers and host of other supporting businesses —  has been the backbone of this state for well over a century.

"That heritage, and how far we have come, should be great sources of pride. Those are things to be celebrated, not hidden,” he added.

 

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