With prices trending favorably and reports of good product movement as the holidays approach, dairy manufacturers should take a moment to focus on positive opportunities available this fall.
Wisconsin’s dairy infrastructure, and organizations outside of Wisconsin, are offering education, financial grants and technology transfer. And many of these offerings are free.
Tracking this assistance can be tricky, so here’s a list of 10 opportunities for your organization:
1. International Dairy Show. It’s here, so it’s top of the list. From November 3-6, dairy manufacturers can walk the aisles at McCormick Place in Chicago to see more than 800 supplier exhibits. Visit www.dairyshow.com.
2. UW River Falls Dairy Plant Fund Drive Fund-raising is underway to rebuild the 33-year-old dairy pilot plant at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. This modest ask, $3 million, will expand cheese, whey and ice cream processing space, and all-new equipment will train both students and industry personnel alike. For more details, visit www.go.uwrf.edu/priorities.
3. CDR Dairy Waste Water Short Course. The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research has completely re-built its waste water short course, offering a one-day training November 12 with strong emphasis on new regulations from Wisconsin’s DNR and EPA regarding phosphorus and nitrogen. Visit www.cdr.wisc.edu/shortcourses/waste.
4. WMMB Expos. The marketing powerhouse WMMB displays all its services and staff at an expo for dairy manufacturers November 12 in Rothschild, WI, November 13 in Green Bay, and November 14 in Madison. Register on-line at www.wmmb.com/cheese_companies/ExpoRegistration.aspx
5. WDATCP Export Seminar. Gain insights into dairy product exporting from the WDATCP November 12 in Pewaukee, WI. This seminar features discussions on export challenges, importer expectations, market research resources and export paperwork. The session is free, but attendees must pre-register with Lisa Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Management Skills. Now in its fifth year, WCMA’s Management Skills for Dairy Professionals certificate program hosts its second training module on November 19-20 in Madison. The University of Wisconsin’s Executive Education program executes this four-module, eight-day training for dairy plant managers and supervisors. It’s not too late to join this year’s training, and finish training next fall. Visit wischeesemakersassn.org/high-performance.html.
7. i6 Grant. The Wisconsin
Center for Dairy Research is aggressively pursuing technology transfer of university research to industry after earning a national i6 grant from the US Department of Commerce. CDR is rolling out a new Proof of Concept Center, combining technology transfer and business resources to push university ideas into the hands of processors and entrepreneurs. Visit www.cdr.wisc.edu/i6challenge
8. DBA Annual Business Meeting. Learn the challenges and opportunities facing Upper Midwest dairy producers at the annual meeting of the Dairy Business Association in Madison, December 3-4. A highlight: WCMA hosts the US Dairy Export Council, Glanbia Foods, Artisan Cheese Exchange and Wisconsin CDR for a look at dairy export opportunities. Visit www.widba.com/events
9. Dairy Processor Grants. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced $400,000 in innovation grants into Wisconsin’s state budget this year, and a description of this opportunity will roll out from the WDATCP in December. Industry leaders urged WDATCP to target grants toward food safety audit assistance, new plant technologies, wastewater research, whey product development and plant expansions. Grants may be as large as $50,000, and will be offered to manufacturers of all sizes.
10. The Cheese Expo The largest Expo focused on cheese, whey and butter in the Western Hemisphere is set for April 22-24, 2014 in Milwaukee. More than 85 percent of exhibits are sold and on-line registration for the Expo and hotels is now live. WCMA and CDR host the Expo and seminars, and walking the exhibit floor remains free for manufacturers and processors. Visit www.cheeseexpo.org for more information. JU
John Umhoefer has served as executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association since 1992. You can phone John at (608) 828-4550; Fax him at (608) 828-4551; or e-mail John Umhoefer at
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