Milk Marketing Board
Established in 1983, this market order board has 25 members who represent over 11,000 dairy farmers. Its mission: “To help grow demand for Wisconsin milk by providing programs that enhance the competitiveness of the Wisconsin Dairy Industry.”
The board is responsible for the oversight of an annual assessment of $26 million. The assessment rate is 10 cents per hundredweight of milk.
The dairy industry contributes $26.5 billion to the state's economy each year and employs 146,000 people. According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, dairying contributes more to Wisconsin's economy than citrus does to Florida's economy or potatoes to Idaho's.
There are dairy herds in 70 of Wisconsin's 72 counties, with only Menominee and Vilas Counties in the northeastern area of the state not having a bovine dairy herd. Several counties actually have more cows than people. Wisconsin has more dairy farms than any other state in the nation (more than 11,000) and is second only to California in the number of dairy cows and the total amount of milk produced. Wisconsin has about 1.27 million cows on average, and every one generates $21,000 in economic activity. Wisconsin is also one of the leading states in the growing organic dairy industry.
The state produced a record-breaking 26.1 billion pounds of milk and a record-breaking 2.63 billion pounds of cheese in 2011. Wisconsin produces more cheese and dry whey than any other state and ranks second in the production of butter, lactose and whey protein concentrate (for human consumption).
Wisconsin, which produces more than 600 varieties, types and styles of cheese, leads the nation in the production of Cheddar, Muenster, Feta, Gouda, Asiago, Parmesan, Romano and Provolone cheeses, and accounts for nearly half of the specialty cheese production in the U.S. thanks to a vibrant and growing artisan, farmstead and specialty cheese industry.
Wisconsin is the center for dairy research and education, with the nation's first dairy school established in 1890 at the University of Wisconsin; the Center for Dairy Research at UW-Madison; and the nation's first master cheese maker program.