The state-of-the-art Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is set to open in 2018 on 36 acres in Manitowoc County along Interstate 43 near Newton.


NEWTON - A state-of-the-art agricultural education center whose future home is under construction along Interstate 43 in Manitowoc County has received a sweet gift from a frozen sweet-treat maker.

Cedar Crest Ice Cream — known for its iconic "Bernice" the cow statue outside its 2000 S. 10th St. Manitowoc location — announced Monday a $250,000 gift toward the effort to build the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center on a 36-acre site near Newton.

In recognition, the ice cream parlor in the discovery center will be named “Ice Cream Acres” and visitors will be able to purchase a selection of the more than 80 crafted flavors the company makes throughout the year, with seasonal flavors featured.  

“Since the beginning, our family has had a vision for what a great Wisconsin ice cream should taste like," said Ken Kohlwey, Cedar Crest president. "This vision comes from our great pride in being from America’s Dairyland and the quality reputation that goes along with that.

"The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center showcases our state’s strong agricultural roots, and as we celebrated our company’s 41st anniversary, we wanted to be a part of this exciting project," Ken Kohlwey added.


Cedar Crest Ice Cream is a favorite among Manitowoc and Wisconsin residents. Ken Kohlwey, president of Cedar Crest Specialties, talks about how they came to be and what makes them special.

Bill Kohlwey, Cedar Crest Ice Cream corporate administrator, said: “Cedar Crest Ice Cream has been searching for a means to support the farmers that support our business. The Wisconsin Ag Center provides us that opportunity with the educational venue and local Wisconsin-made dairy products available on site. We are extremely proud to be one of the participating companies in this project.”

Visitors to the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, set to open in 2018, will be able to connect to Wisconsin's dairy and agricultural industry through hands-on learning opportunities and a tour of a local farm. A highlight will be the chance to view the birth of calves at the Land O’Lakes Birthing Barn.

Ground was broken on the site in October 2016 and construction progress can be viewed at

The center, previously referred to as the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center, unveiled its Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center name, branding and logo in early October. At that time, 93 percent of a $13 million capital campaign goal had been reached.

Kim Kowieski, Farm Wisconsin director of operations, said the Cedar Crest gift "brings us over $12 million raised to date towards our $13 million capital campaign goal. I can see it now — next year at this time, visitors will be lining up for their favorite ice cream and enjoying it on the patio. It is another important step in making our vision for the center a reality.”

Nic Schoenberger, Farm Wisconsin board vice president, added: “We are absolutely honored by this philanthropic partnership. Cedar Crest Ice Cream is a strong, local company and their ice cream is certain to be a popular stop for visitors. Their family’s story and the company’s history is another shining example of how agriculture is woven into our state’s culture.” 

Gifts are still being accepted toward the center's capital campaign, and can be made at

For more about the center, contact Melissa Bender, director of education and programming, at 920-693-1372 or

Read or Share this story: