Posted at 4:45 p.m. on June 12, 2019
The Brillion News
PLATTEVILLE –The Dairy Innovation Hub moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance recommended the bill move forward in the 2019-21 state budget process.
The original bill provides $7.9 million annually to UW System to increase offerings at UW-Platteville, UW-Madison and UW-River Falls. More than $1.8 million of that would fund approximately four UW-Platteville Dairy Science faculty positions, research opportunities and equipment in the Russell Hall laboratories and at Pioneer Farm. The JFC recommended $8.8 million for the next two years.
“Wisconsin is already recognized as a dairy superpower, and this is a reinvestment to reprioritize dairy innovation,” said Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of the UW-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. “This will increase the capacity to help the farmers meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Weber noted that the dairy industry accounts for $43.4 billion in yearly economic activity in the state, yet at the same time Wisconsin lost 691 dairy farms last year, the most since 2011.
“These are complex issues that need long-term answers,” he said. “Building this hub provides the infrastructure for problem solving, innovation and education to address these issues.”
UW-Platteville has approximately 700 agriculture students that make a statewide impact in majors such as animal science and dairy science. The Dairy Innovation Hub would help UW-Platteville faculty and student research and regional business and industry engagement opportunities by:
expanding ruminant production research
expanding edge-of-field and groundwater monitoring
collecting data on robotics vs. conventional milking
expanding research on grazing vs. conventional dairy herd management and milking
studying animal welfare in bedding systems, milking rotations and nutrition
“There are huge amounts of opportunities here to positively impact the farms of Southwest Wisconsin and in turn have an impact statewide, nationally and globally,” Weber said.