June 2, 2010

Wisconsin InfoLink: Dairy days

Wisconsin InfoLink is an almanac of Wisconsin facts and resources compiled by Ron Larson. Each week on the WisconsinWatch blog, Larson introduces us to one of these gems.

Happy June, everyone. When you think of June, you think of summer, blooming gardens, no school, or weddings. And, if you are from Wisconsin, you might also tend to think about dairy cows because June is dairy month in Wisconsin.

Featured resource: Wisconsin InfoLink: Agriculture > Dairy farming links

Since the late nineteenth century, Wisconsin has been the most prominent dairy-producing state. The state was so proud of its standing that the slogan “America’s Dairyland” was stamped on auto license plates beginning in 1940.

Wisconsin lost its standing as the leading milk producing state to the California corporate dairy farms in the mid-1990s, but the state remains a strong second and continues to lead the nation in cheese production.

You can find a wide assortment of dairy facts in Wisconsin InfoLink’s Agriculture collection of data and links.

A good starting point to learn about Wisconsin dairy data is the Wisconsin Dairy Statistics site, maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. Here you will find the latest numbers on milk and cheese production, dairy cow herds, prices, and a collection of historical data.

InfoLink’s Agriculture tab also contains data I’ve compiled about Wisconsin’s agricultural production. It has agricultural rankings, including milk and cheese production.

As we recognize Wisconsin’s dairy traditions during the month of June, you will want to revisit WisconsinWatch.org’s investigative series, Dairyland Diversity. The series explores the growing role of immigrants on Wisconsin’s dairy farms.

As you enjoy that cone or shake this month, take a moment to consider the history, tradition and changing landscape in Wisconsin dairy farming.