National PR Media Efforts Reach 400 Million Americans
Seeking earned or “free” media through authentic advocates who share our award-winning cheese varieties and countless stories aid in growing the demand and affinity for our products with consumers. These advocates give our state’s cheese instant credibility and attention which drive retail sales in markets across the U.S.  

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) connected more than 400 million American viewers to Wisconsin cheeses this year, utilizing public relations by engaging national television broadcasters, chefs and lifestyle experts. The media outreach prompted broadcast airings in all 50 states, educating about Wisconsin’s cheese heritage and commitment to excellence, while identifying the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge. 

With 90 percent of the state’s cheese sold outside of Wisconsin, the DFW Marketing Communications Team coordinated a broadcast media campaign by tapping the nation’s growing interest in foodie culture - cooking shows, food blogs, podcasts, and farm to fork eateries - as the nation is seeking comfort during uncertain times. 

The effort earned $40 million in unpaid media, a marketing term that measures the value of the media stories as if they were paid with advertising dollars. The concept also measures the number of impressions, or views, by consumers. 
This outreach leads to a growing awareness and desire of consumers to seek out the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge at their local retail location. This growth in demand for the award-winning cheese made in America’s Dairyland increases the need for your high-quality milk.
 
Tina Peterson
National Program Manager, Media Appearances
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
Celebrity Endorsements Boost Wisconsin Dairy
Celebrity mentions and endorsements of our Proudly Wisconsin Cheese and Dairy products immediately add value and brand awareness. When a local or national celebrity mentions or showcases a product, an element of legitimacy is suddenly present in the products produced by your milk, simply because of the power of the name backing it up.

In October, The Kelly Clarkson Show accepted our pitch to feature Liz Thorpe, national cheese expert and author, for an interview on wine and Wisconsin cheese pairings during the winter holidays. DFW also helped arrange another set of broadcasts in June showcasing the many uses for Wisconsin cheese. Chef Kevin Gillespie, an Atlanta restaurateur and former Top Chef contestant, appeared on more than 2,000 news segments across the nation, mostly on morning and lifestyle shows. Gillespie, who is a James Beard Award finalist, shared recipes using Wisconsin cheeses—aged cheddar and blue cheese, varieties he has used in his restaurants for years—that also displayed the Proudly Wisconsin branding. He complimented several Wisconsin cheesemakers by name and explained how to arrange a summertime cheese board by using cheese with the Proudly Wisconsin badge. 

The broadcast media campaign drives traffic to WisconsinCheese.com, which features recipes, profiles of cheesemakers, educational information, and an e-commerce site for Wisconsin cheese. 
In Case You Missed It:
Dairy Business Innovation Alliance Grants
The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) is a new program providing grants and technical support to help Midwestern dairy farmers and processors diversify or develop value-added products.

DBIA is a partnership between the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) that will support dairy farmers and dairy processors to increase on-farm diversification opportunities, create value-added dairy products such as specialty cheeses, and focus on export opportunities for farm-scale and processor dairy products. 
New DFW Board Leadership and New Directors
We are fortunate to have a strong board of directors committed to the organization’s marketing and promotion programs. The DFW Board of Directors is comprised of 25 dairy farmers who are elected by their peers for three-year terms. DFW’s directors lead dairy marketing and promotion efforts, set policies and procedures, supervise business affairs and approve annual budgets on behalf of Wisconsin dairy farmers.

Jeff Strassburg recently was re-elected as the Board Chair at its annual reorganization meeting. Strassburg is a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Wittenberg representing District 9 (Menomonee, Shawano and Waupaca counties). He, along with the newly elected Executive Committee, will lead the organization through the next fiscal year, which began July 1 and will conclude June 30, 2021.

Before the election of officers, newly elected directors were officially seated on the board.
  • Brenda Schloneger, District 1 - Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn counties
  • Sara Bahgat-Eggert, District 4 - Barron and Polk counties
  • Tasha Schleis, District 10 - Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties
  • Mark Crave, District 19 - Columbia and Dodge counties
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