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Walker Unveils New Dairy 20X30 Plan
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/14/2012

Dairy producers in the state of Wisconsin who want to expand or modernize their operations now have new resources at their disposal. On Tuesday, Governor Scott Walker unveiled details of the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 program, which strives to help the industry achieve an annual milk production of 30 billion pounds by the year 2020. During a press conference at the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin annual meeting in Madison, Walker expressed his gratitude over last year's record-high milk production figures. But he says demand is still greater than supply.

"The year 2011 saw amazing things in this industry, as both production and prices were up," Walker said. "But I know we can do better. We need to offer tools to our producers so they have a greater opportunity to grow."

Walker explained that about 90-percent of the milk volume needed by the state's dairy processors came from local producers, with the remaining 10-percent brought in from other states.

The new program was assembled after State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel brought state farm organizations, producers and government agencies together to talk about solutions. The state budget also allocated $200,000 to be used for such efforts.

Meanwhile, Walker says the resources aren't just for existing operations.

"Farmers who are just starting out and need a place to turn to can also request assistance from the program," Walker said. "We have just over 11,000 dairy farms in this state made up of all different sizes. We need everyone to work together to achieve the needs of our customers, both here at home and abroad."

The plan has the endorsement of several organizations. Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Bill Bruins says a goal of 30 billion pounds of milk would lead to $5 billion in additional economic activity for America's Dairyland.

"It is vital that all players in the dairy industry and state government are laser-focused on reaching the initiative's goal of 30 billion pounds of milk by the year 2020," said Bruins.

Cooperative Network also released a statement of support.

"This commitment to grow our industry and assist dairy farmers, regardless of size or type, will ensure a bright future for this $26.5 billion industry," said CN President Bill Oemichen.

Both groups were part of the discussions that led to the formation of Dairy 30x20, along with PDPW, Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin National Farmers Organization, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, GrassWorks Inc, UW-Extension, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability.

Farmers can call 855-WIDAIRY, email GrowWisconsinDairy.gov, or go to GrowWisconsinDairy.wi.gov for more information.

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