Kewaunee County's Agricultural Resource and Heritage Center is hosting the first of a 3-part series “Our Dairy Past” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Heritage Farm, N2251 Hwy. 42, Kewaunee.

The kickoff program will cover Lake to Lake Dairy Cooperative and showcase the “Lake to Lake Girl” that was featured on many silos across the countryside, advertising “For Goodness Sake, Buy Lake to Lake Dairy Products”. A panel of speakers will be featured a 1 p.m. including former employees, historical buffs and memorabilia collectors.

Sue Sevcik says the series is a way to reunite farmers in Northeastern Wisconsin with their past memberships in local coops, dairies and cheese plants, and the May 19 program will focus on the farmers who shipped their milk with Lake to Lake Dairy Cooperative from 1945-1978.

All former Lake to Lake patrons in the area are invited to attend, along with truckers and employees from any of the plants.

Anyone with Lake to Lake memorabilia, such as clothing, signs, or glassware with the Lake to Lake logo are asked to contact Dale Swoboda at 920-323-3323 or Sevcik at 920-471-9289 to display items at the event.

"The first silo to feature the Lake to Lake girl was painted in 1953 and located near Sturgeon Bay," said Dale Swoboda, adding that the girl's skimpy skirt caused a bit of an uproar at first. "I believe there were three versions of the girl that appeared on ads and on milk cartons."

According to historical records, over 2,000 farmers from Kewaunee County and four neighboring counties belonged to the coop at its peak in 1975.

The Lake to Lake Dairy Cooperative was founded in 1946. Several dairy farmers saw the need for a cooperative as dairy prices in their area were depressed despite the fact that it had one of the densest dairy cow populations in the state. Henry Binversie and Melvin Lutzke recruited farmers and, with the help of Manitowoc County Agent Truman Torgerson, had over 80 people pledge to form a cooperative by the end of 1945. Torgerson later became general manager of the cooperative.

Eventually the Lake to Lake Dairy Cooperative was absorbed by Land O' Lakes.

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