Category Archives: Advocating for Agriculture

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


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!

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.

National Nutrition Month – Wisconsin’s got it all!

Did you know that March in National Nutrition Month?

Established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this nutrition education and information campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

National Nutrition Month encourages everyone to include healthy foods from all food groups through this year’s theme: “Get Your Plate in Shape”.  And what better way to do this than by choosing locally grown food from Wisconsin!

America’s Dairyland is a top producer of many agricultural goods.  Just like producers all over the United States, Wisconsin farmers provide consumers with the highest quality food possible.  Growing and raising wholesome, safe food is one of their top goals.  Today’s farmers work hard to enhance their knowledge, training and skills, while continuing to look for every opportunity to improve the quality and safety of the food they produce.

If you’re wondering which foods to choose to help “Get Your Plate in Shape”, take a look at these impressive Wisconsin agricultural facts!

  • Wisconsin leads the nation in production of snap beans, cheese, cranberries and ginseng.
  • Wisconsin chicken farms produce 1.35 billion eggs.
  • Wisconsin ranks third in the production of potatoes, green peas and sweet corn for processing.
  • Wisconsin dairy farmers produce 25.2 billion pounds of milk.
  • Wisconsin is a leading state in maple syrup, tart cherries and cucumbers for pickles production.
  • In 2011, exports by Wisconsin’s agricultural companies totaled $2.85 billion and ranked 16th among all the states for value.

Wisconsin is known for producing top quality food products that can be found all over the state, nation and world.  Celebrate National Nutrition Month by eating locally grown products and thanking the farmers that produce them!  If you would like some more tips about how to “Get your Plate in Shape”, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

Alice in Dairyland – Wisconsin’s Agricultural Ambassador

Alice in Dairyland is one of the most recognized spokespersons of Wisconsin agriculture.  As a public relations professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Alice travels throughout the state, nation and world promoting Wisconsin products to audiences of all ages.

The first Alice was crowned over six decades ago in 1948.  Since then, Alice in Dairyland has grown and changed with the times.  In the early years, Alice was a beauty queen fresh out of high school.  Today, she is a marketing professional that has at least four years of experience or education in agriculture, public relations, communications or related fields.  She also is required to be knowledgeable about Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture and products, history, resources and rural-urban issues.

Throughout her year of reign, Alice is expected to work effectively with colleagues, the media and the public. In addition, she is responsible for developing her own materials, speeches and presentations that educate the media, youth and civic groups about the many facets of Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.

As Wisconsin’s agricultural ambassador, Alice in Dairyland travels more than 40,000 miles, visits 100 schools and makes nearly 370 appearances during her one year on the job.  Additionally, she attends numerous agricultural events and does hundreds of media interviews, generating over $1 million worth of coverage for Wisconsin agriculture.  Katie Wirkus, from Athens, Wis., is currently serving as the 64th Alice in Dairyland.

The 2012 Alice in Dairyland Finals are coming up soon!  Grant County will be hosting the event this year on May 17-19.  The three-day selection process is an exciting time of the year and includes community events open to public.  For more information about Alice in Dairyland, visit

You can also connect with Alice through all of the following:

Happy National Ag Day

National Ag Day has arrived! 

Today is a day to recognize and celebrate agriculture.  Almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis is provided by agricultural farmers and producers.  However, too few people truly understand this contribution.  American agriculturalists are the backbone of our nation’s society, and the following statistics do more than just prove this.

  • Each American farmer feeds more than 144 people, which is a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s.
  • Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as their parents did – using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions.
  • American farmers ship more than $100 billion of their crops and products to many other nations.
  • U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world’s corn, using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.
  • Farmers are a direct lifeline to more than 23 million U.S. jobs in all kinds of industry.

To put it simply, American agriculture is doing more – and doing it better.  As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.

Below are two videos that celebrate exactly what National Ag Day is all about.

2012 Ag Day Video Essay Contest Winner:

Producers Talk about American Agriculture:

Enjoy National Ag Day! And as always, remember to thank our farmers!

Celebrating National Ag Week

Today marks the beginning of National Ag Week!

Established in 1973, National Ag Week recognizes and celebrates the abundance provided by agriculture.  Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture. 

Within this week, National Ag Day is also celebrated.  This year, it takes place on Wednesday, March 8th.  National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA), a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society.

The ACA implemented National Ag Day to encourage every American to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

Throughout the week, I hope you will take the opportunity to celebrate the contributions of agriculture in our everyday lives and help spread its positive message!