Author Archive: discoveringdairyland

Beef Up Your Summer

Burgers on the GrillNow is the time to bring out the beef and fire up the grill. That mouth-watering burger is only a few steps away!

It’s July Beef Month here in Wisconsin, and the options for a lean, delicious and high-quality protein meal are endless. Beef is one of the most nutrient-rich foods to fuel an active and healthy lifestyle. Not only is beef pleasing to the taste, but it also serves as a great way to re-energize your body. Beef is a protein powerhouse full of zinc, iron and B-vitamins.

By supplying a nutrient bundle in every bite, lean beef is a great way to make your calories count. On average, a 3 oz. serving of lean beef provides about 150 calories. At the same time, it supplies 10 essential nutrients. Beef contributes less than 10% of saturated fat and total fat in the diet, as well as contributes less cholesterol to Americans’ diets compared to chicken and eggs. In addition, beef is considered a primary source of monounsaturated fat, a heart-healthy fat that aids in disease prevention. Few foods offer so many nutrients in so few calories.

I Love BeefAccording to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the protein that lean beef provides can help in maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle and fueling physical activity. A substantial amount of evidence shows that many Americans could benefit from adding high-quality lean protein to their diets because of its beneficial role in weight management, healthy aging and disease prevention. A single serving of beef provides nearly 50% of the Daily Value for protein, and studies suggest that protein satisfies cravings faster and helps you feel full longer.

Lean beef also has the ability to aid in preventing certain diseases. A research review published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that increasing daily high-quality protein intake may optimize muscle strength and metabolism, and ultimately improve overall health. Evidence suggests muscle metabolism may also play a role in the prevention of many chronic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

In addition, protein intake higher than the recommended dietary allowance may help adults prevent or manage cardiovascular disease. Research studies have found that individuals with the highest protein intake had the lowest risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and the highest quality diets. Modest substitution of carbohydrate-rich foods with protein-rich foods reduces serum triacylglycerol, increases high density lipoprotein (HDL) and lowers blood pressure in people with hypertension.

The benefits of eating lean beef are truly never-ending. As a perfect partner for your favorite fruits, vegetables and whole grains, lean beef makes it even easier to build a colorful and balanced meal. Today’s beef is leaner than ever, and 69% of all cuts sold at grocery stores are lean, including consumer favorites such as Sirloin, Flank steak, Tenderloin, T-Bone steak and 95% lean Ground Beef. With more than 29 lean beef cuts, it’s easy to build great-tasting and healthful meals that include America’s favorite protein. There are unlimited culinary possibilities for the many cuts of lean beef, offering variety and flexibility.

Lean beef guarantees to provide you with the highest quality of flavor, tenderness and juiciness. Be sure to choose lean beef for your next burger!

July is Beef Month


Celebrate June Dairy Month

June Dairy Month has officially arrived.  And in Wisconsin, it is quite the BIG deal!

The state of Wisconsin has a long and proud history of being a national leader in dairy production.  This tradition is celebrated each year during June Dairy Month, which provides our state with an opportunity to showcase our dairy industry and celebrate our agricultural heritage.

The dairy industry accounts for nearly 40% of all Wisconsin agriculture jobs, employing 146,000 people or approximately 4.6% of the jobs in the state.  Wisconsin dairies help to fuel our state’s economy at the rate of more than $39,000 per minute, with the average 250-cow dairy farm contributing over $1 million each year.

Wisconsin dairy producers generate over 26 billion pounds of milk each year from more than 1.25 million dairy cows.  America’s Dairyland ranks first in the nation in cheese production, with 2.6 billion pounds produced annually, and second in butter, milk and the number of dairy cows. Numerous events are planned across the state to celebrate June Dairy Month.  One in particular is my home county’s dairy breakfast!

The Iowa County Dairy Breakfast is being held tomorrow, June 2, at the Judd Farms outside of Dodgeville.  Serving from 6:30-10:30am, I invite you to come and enjoy a hearty country breakfast featuring our famous scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, ice cream sundaes, yogurt and of course, lots of CHEESE.  There will be live entertainment and a variety of great activities for kids!  Adults $6; Children ages 4-10 $3; under 3 free.

For more information on other June Dairy Month events and festivities, visit, or the Wisconsin Department of Tourism website at

Symbolizing Wisconsin

As most of you probably know, Wisconsin officially became a state in 1848.  Thirty-three years later, in 1881, Wisconsin finalized the State Coat of Arms, a special emblem containing symbols that represent the diversity, wealth and abundance of resources in Wisconsin.

Topping the State Coat of Arms is Wisconsin’s state motto, Forward, and state animal, the badger.  In the center is a shield comprising of a plow, representing agriculture; a pick and shovel, representing mining; an arm and hammer, representing manufacturing; an anchor, representing navigation; and the U.S. Coat of Arms, including the motto E Pluribus Unum.  The shield is supported by a sailor and miner, representing labor on water and land.  At the bottom of the State Coat of Arms is a cornucopia, representing prosperity and abundance, and 13 lead ingots, representing mineral wealth and the 13 original colonies.

Wisconsin is represented by a variety of other special symbols.  Below is a list of these current well-known symbols.

State Song: “On Wisconsin!”  became the official state song in 1959.

State Bird: Robin was voted by school children as the state bird in 1926-27.

State Flower: Wood Violet was adopted as Wisconsin’s official state flower on Arbor Day 1909.

State Tree: Sugar Maple became the state’s official tree in 1949.

State Fish: Muskellunge or “muskie” leapt into the state books in 1955.

State Wildlife Animal: White-tailed Deer was appointed the state wildlife animal in 1957.

State Domesticated Animal: Dairy Cow was added to the state symbol list in 1971.

State Mineral: Galena was selected as the state mineral in 1971.

State Rock: Red Granite was chosen for its economic importance in the state in 1971.

State Symbol of Peace: Mourning Dove flew over WI as the official symbol of peace in 1971.

State Insect: Honeybee was recognized for its sweet contributions in 1977 as state insect.

State Soil: Antigo Silt Loam was chosen to represent the more than 500 major soil types in WI.

State Fossil: Trilobite, the extinct marine arthropod, crawled into state record books in 1985.

State Dog: American Water Spaniel was selected as the state dog in 1985.

State Beverage: Milk representing our dairy heritage became the state beverage in 1987.

State Grain: Corn was made the official state grain in 1989 to bring attention to its many uses.

State Dance: Polka was adopted as the state dance in 1993.

State Fruit:  Cranberry was selected as the newest state symbol in 2004.

The Badger State is made up of 72 counties and is full of approximately 5,711,767 proud Wisconsinites.  Eat some cheese and on Wisconsin!

UW-Madison Ag Day on Campus

Ag Day on Campus has finally arrived at the University of Wisconsin-Madison!  Join us in Library Mall from 9am-3pm to learn more about to our nation’s leading agricultural industry.

This event is put on by the UW-Madison Collegiate Farm Bureau and is concentrated around this year’s theme, “Real Farmers.  Real Food.”   This theme will be heavily promoted at the event, along with three other key agricultural messages:

  • “Eating is an agricultural act.”
  • “99% of Wisconsin farms are family owned.”
  • “The average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people.”

Educational displays and farm machinery will be on site for viewing, with agricultural experts near-by to answer any questions.  Collegiate Farm Bureau members will also be handing out free string cheese to passersby.

For more details about Ag Day on Campus, check out the event’s Facebook and Twitter pages!

Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship

Like most Wisconsinites, cheese is one of my most favorite foods.  In particular, I have always loved the classic grilled cheese sandwich!

This past weekend, my hometown hosted the first ever Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship.  The event took place at the Iowa Country Fairgrounds in Mineral Point, WI, and was well attended by hundreds of cheese connoisseurs.

Both amateur and professional grilled cheese makers were invited to compete in the event.  Separate “heats” were held in four different sandwich categories: Classic, Classic Plus One, Classic Plus Extras and Classic Dessert.  All entries were required to use real Wisconsin cheese and were judged based on their presentation, taste and style.  The panel of judges consisted of Pam Jahnke, the Wisconsin Farm Babe;  Katie Wirkus, Wisconsin’s Alice in Dairyland; Dani Maxwell, anchor at 27 News Wake Up Wisconsin; and Head Judge John Johnson, Chef Instructor at Madison College.

First, Second and Third Place awards and prizes were given for each sandwich category for both amateurs and professionals.  A “Best of Show” award was also given to the most outstanding grilled cheese sandwich of the competition.

Some of this year’s exhibitors included Regal Ware/American Kitchen, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Madison College, Metcalfe’s Market, Sector67, Melthouse Bistro, Driftless Market, Boar’s Head, Green County Cheese Days, Mineral Point/Dodgeville Chambers of Commerce, Iowa County Humane Society, Iowa County Economic Development Corporation/Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and the Hodan Center.

The event offered free admission to the general public, as well as live music by Ben Biser and Whiskey River, beer and wine, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and a whole lot of fun!

Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by cooking up your own special sandwich today!

Success at National Agri-Marketing Conference

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the National Agri-Marketing (NAMA) Conference.  The event took place in Kansas City, MO and was centered around this year’s theme, “Acres of Innovation.”

As student NAMA members, myself and 13 others proudly represented UW-Madison in the Marketing Team competition.  This specific event is a multiple step process.  Prior to competition, we selected a new product to introduce to the agricultural industry and submitted a five-page executive summary that reflected our detailed marketing plan for the product.  While at the actual competition, we gave 20 minute presentations that outlined the product and plan, and then participated in Q and A sessions.

After successfully making it through the preliminary and semi-final heats, we were one of the top six teams selected to compete in the finals round.  We ultimately placed 4th overall out of 29 teams with our product Easy AI, a new tool used to artificially inseminate dairy cattle.  We marketed our product as the new standard in artificial insemination helping to improve conception rates and reduce stress on both the animal and technician.

At the award presentations, we were also selected as the 4th place Outstanding Chapter and receivers of the 3rd place John Deere Signature Award.  In the end, our hard work and dedication more than paid off!

Special thanks to my teammates and advisor, Sarah Botham!  We did a wonderful job, and I am beyond proud of everything we accomplished!

Breakfast on the Farm

This Sunday, April 15, the Association of Women in Agriculture (AWA) will be hosting the 17th Annual Breakfast on the Farm.  The event is held at the UW-Madison Stock Pavilion from 8:00am – 12:00pm.  This hearty, farm-style breakfast invites students, community members, families and friends to come and enjoy!

“Educating America, One Meal at a Time” is this year’s overall theme of the event.  The women of AWA will be sharing their knowledge and passion for agriculture, while serving hungry attendees and talking about farm animals.  Attractions at Breakfast on the Farm include a petting zoo, education corral and live entertainment, not to mention ice cream with all the fixings!  Come for food but leave with a greater connection to Wisconsin’s most valued resource: Agriculture.

Prices for the event are as follows:

  • Adults: $7
  • Seniors: $6
  • Students (K-UW): $5
  • Children (5 and under): $3

One dollar will be taken off the price of breakfast with a donation of a canned food item.  All donations go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin.

As a past member of AWA myself, Breakfast on the Farm was always one of my favorite events.  Not only is the food delicious, but the learning opportunities are endless.  There truly is something for everyone at the Association of Women in Agriculture’s Breakfast on the Farm!

Family Farm Day

Spring is always a busy season for the agricultural industry.  Farmers are hitting the fields, baby animals are being born and special promotional events and activities are taking place.

As an agricultural advocate, I believe one of the best ways to learn about agriculture is by attending these events and taking the opportunity to talk with agriculturalists first hand.

This upcoming Saturday, April 14th, the Dane County Farm Bureau will be holding their second annual Family Farm Day at the Madison Children’s Museum.  I invite you to join in the fun by gathering your family and friends to see, taste and experience what Wisconsin’s agriculture is all about.  This hands-on event takes place from 11:00am-2:00pm and is sure to make you ‘moo’ with delight and ‘grow’ your agriculture knowledge!

While at Family Farm Days, attendees will get to visit different stations and participate in many educational activities.  Whether it’s making butter, exploring a cow’s digestive system or petting piglets, there’s something fun for everyone!

Below is a video showcasing last year’s Family Farm Day.  If you would like to learn more about this event, as well as other agricultural learning opportunities, check out the Dane County Farm Bureau Facebook page.

Wisconsin Ginseng is #1

Many people don’t know what ginseng is, let alone realize that Wisconsin is the national leader in the production of this unique white root.

Ever since the 1800s, central Wisconsin has served as the center of the U.S. cultivated ginseng trade.  Today, the 200 Wisconsin Ginseng farmers account for 95 percent of the nation’s total cultivated ginseng production .  These Wisconsin farmers produce enough ginseng to account for up to $20 million in gross income for the state.

Wisconsin Ginseng is known worldwide as the purest, highest quality ginseng.  Panax quinquefolius, better known as American Ginseng, is a white root with medicinal properties known to relieve stress, increase stamina and increase resistance to common illnesses such as colds.  This type of ginseng is an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body adapt to stress, and is generally used to cool and soothe the body.  Ginseng is a key ingredient used in traditional Chinese Medicine and is also widely used in Western cultures as a dietary supplement and botanical element.

Wisconsin has the ideal climate and mineral-rich soil conditions for growing the perfect ginseng root.  Producers in Wisconsin also have generations of growing experience.  Their hard work and advanced farming practices produce the world’s highest quality cultivated ginseng.  These farmers follow the country’s strict pesticide usage standards and have satisfied rigorous safety tests established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Recently, the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin has worked extensively to develop U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grading standards for cultivated American ginseng to assure the marketplace of consistency in ginseng is produced.

In 1991, the Wisconsin Ginseng Seal® was developed to protect the integrity of Wisconsin Ginseng products.  This trademark provides consumers with a simple, convenient method of identifying authentic Wisconsin Ginseng at the point of purchase.  Packaged products bearing the official seal must contain 100 percent pure ginseng, grown and harvested in Wisconsin.

If you would like to learn more about Wisconsin’s ginseng industry, contact the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin!

Something Special from Wisconsin

Have you ever seen one of these special red stickers on something you purchased?

If so, you’ve helped support the agricultural industry, as well as experienced “something special” from Wisconsin.

These little red stickers represent the trademarked program Something Special from Wisconsin™.  Since 1983, the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has been promoting Wisconsin’s locally grown and produced goods through this unique program.

Every dollar spent on products and services from this program supports local farmers, food processors, and entrepreneurs, in addition to our communities, livelihood and the Wisconsin way of life.  It is not only an investment in the state’s economy, but in its future.  When you see the trademark logo, you can be guaranteed that at least 50% of a product’s ingredients, production, or processing activities are from Wisconsin.

According to a survey done by the Hartman Group, 77% of consumers are looking to buy local food.  The Something Special from Wisconsin™ program gives grocery managers a simple and cost-effective way to promote local foods, as well as gives consumers a fast and easy way to identify these foods.  This program focusses on keeping it simple, guaranteeing integrity and adapting to the needs of its members and customers.

Hundreds of Wisconsin producers and businesses are members of the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program.  Participating in this program helps their products and services stand out above the competition, and gives them a “Wisconsin” brand identity that consumers recognize as top quality and high value.  Seeing the Something Special  from Wisconsin™ logo brings recognition and credibility, building upon Wisconsin’s reputation for providing some of the finest products and services available.

Whether it’s beef, cheese, honey, home furnishings, candles, flowers or another product, the members of this program offer a wide variety of goods for consumers to purchase.  These products are unique and of the highest quality, making them perfect for gift-giving and other special occasions.  To see a full list of the products offered through this program visit the members page on their website.  There truly is something special for everyone!

Learn more about the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program by exploring their website and following them on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.