Education and Influence Adds Value
I believe that education is the nucleus of the specialty cheese market. It is a world that is still surrounded by an air of mystery, and in fact, somewhat intimidating to many people, even though cheese consumption in the U.S. is at an all-time high with per capita cheese consumption over 38 pounds annually.
Education is a ‘grate’ way for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) to create advocates for Wisconsin Cheese through the retail channels as, per IRI, 25 percent of grocery store cheese sales are handled by trained deli or specialty department staff. When consumers add Wisconsin Cheese to their grocery carts, it’s a win for Wisconsin dairy farmers and the consumer.  
It’s not a coincidence that specialty cheese has exploded in popularity as consumers have begun to expect more transparency in the food system. People want to know what’s in their food and how it’s being made, and that shift in perspective has set the stage for massive growth in the specialty cheese market. Behind every great cheese is a great story, and in front of it, is a highly educated cheesemonger who knows the details of that story and can convey it to the customer. This is their ultimate superpower — the ability to turn value-minded grocery shoppers into cheese aficionados who don’t hesitate to spend a little money on a carefully crafted, finely-aged cheese from a little-known processor from a town they’ve never heard of before.
Through these retail spokespersons is the opportunity to elevate perceptions of Wisconsin Cheese while increasing trial and sales by arming key retail influencers with educational resources. The continuing efforts to educate, influence and tell the Wisconsin story builds demand for the milk farmers produce.

Molly Browne
Education Manager
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin 
Wisconsin Launches Virtual Farm Tour for Kids
While schools are closed and millions of kids learn virtually at home, DFW is teaming up with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to share a unique opportunity for youth to visit a farm without leaving the house. Hosted by Julia Nunes, Wisconsin’s 73rd Alice in Dairyland, she takes students on a virtual experience of her farm- Scientific Holsteins near Chippewa Falls.
Each year, 90,000 fourth grade students study a robust Wisconsin unit as part of the Social Studies curriculum. Students learn about Wisconsin’s heritage, culture, careers and communities, making the state’s $45.6 billion dairy industry a natural fit.
It’s important to help students understand why Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland and that dairy is good for their bodies, our community and the environment. This virtual farm tour is an excellent tool for the fourth-grade curriculum, and we’re thrilled to offer it as another learning opportunity from home.
Leveraging Influencers to Tell Dairy’s Story
Leveraging influencers like Charlie Berens from the Manitowoc Minute to tell Wisconsin’s dairy story, opens the conversation and makes dairy relevant to new audiences.
Strengthening consumer perception and demand for dairy is a key focus which we plan to “Keep er’ Movin” in 2021.
In Case You Missed It!
The U.S. Dairy Export Council partnered with DFW to shine a spotlight on Wisconsin’s dairy exports and educate about the need for sound trade policies that benefit the Wisconsin dairy industry when cheese and dairy ingredients are shipped across U.S. borders.
Chad Vincent, CEO of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and Paul Ziemnisky, Executive VP, Global Innovation Partnerships of Dairy Management Inc., was live to answer questions and breakdown how fluid milk is competing with other beverages in today's marketplace.
The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA), a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research and Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, will be distributing $1 million this spring in its next grant cycle. Dairy enterprises (farmers, entrepreneurs, processors, etc.) in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin are eligible to apply.

Grant applications will be available for download on the DBIA website starting March 1, 2021 and are due April 30, 2021.
Upcoming Industry Events and Activations 
February 24 Mid-west Manure Summit
March 17-19 PDPW Business Conference
April 30 DBIA Grant Deadline | 800.373.9662
Want more information? Visit our websites.
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