Category Archives: Grassfed Dairy & Cheese

Check out new organic research projects, dairy supply management policy research

The UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems is revamping its web site and it has news to share!

  • The 2021 Organic Report is out!
  • Four new organic projects are funded in the coming year!
  • Dairy supply management research – including information specific for graziers – is available as a report, a video, and coming soon – a farmer friendly app!
  • We are looking for cover crop farmers interested in sharing their experiences in a citizen science project!
  • This year’s Great Lakes Apple Crunch is gearing up for October!

All these stories can be found on the front page. The web site is far from finished – this is just a taste of what is soon to come!

#DairyTogether, globally

Wisconsin Farmers Union has been organizing monthly conference calls to discuss oversupply in the dairy industry. Next week’s Dairy Together Call will be a special webinar brought to you by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS). 

CIAS is glad to virtually bring Torsten Hemme from the International Farm Comparison Network in to the Dairy Together conversation. The webinar will allow Dr. Hemme to share some of his work looking at different supply management policies in countries facing oversupply and allow for questions from participants.

The International Farm Comparison Network engages researchers from more than 100 countries and 140 agribusiness companies to better understand the global market. It has published an annual report since 2000 covering milk production trends, dairy farm structure dynamics, regional developments and typical farms data, and policy comparison.

This webinar will allow us to broaden our understanding of dairy supply management from a global perspective. Please join us on Wednesday, April 15th at 12 PM Central for this presentation and discussion. Join the #DairyTogether email list at to learn more. Look out for an email next week with a link to join us on Zoom. 

Making More From Milk

UW-Madison is offering Making More From Milk again this year, and has recently received sponsorships for the course. Wisconsin Farmers Union has agreed to provide full scholarships for 3 of their members, and Compeer Financial’s sponsorship will provide $100 for the first 10 people who register for the course.

The three day event April 23-25 is taught with both lecture-style presentations and visits to farms. Spanish translation available. Topics to be covered:

  • Welcome, introductions, overview of value-added
    ideas and trends, retail visit, local foods restaurant,
    farmer value-added panel
  • Visits to goat and cow milk operations, retail,
    restaurant, cheese, ice cream, bottled milk
  • Branding and marketing – telling your story,
    equipment and supplies, cultures, financial
    resources, grants, food safety, regulations, next steps
  • Optional activity Friday 26 – Cheese making with Cesar Luis
To register go to:

Livestock Compass is Live!

Our new spreadsheet tool designed to help livestock producers calculate their cost of production and marketing…and then make strategic management decisions to improve farm profits…is now available.

Eventually, Livestock Compass will be housed at a new website but that has not been built yet! For now it is available at

Jim Munsch and John Hendrickson will be doing a training on this tool at the Southern Sustainable Ag Working Group Conference in 2019. Would your group like a training on the tool?

#DairyTogether road trip!

Join other dairy farmers and coops on August 13 to advance solutions to the dairy crisis. There is a bus leaving from Wisconsin, full of dairy farmers. The bus will stop along the way for media opportunities and to pick up attendees in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

More details on Agrimark’s event page:

Making More From Milk!

Have you ever thought about adding value to the milk you produce on your farm? This May, join with other farmers to learn about value-added dairy, including visits to retails that specialize in specialty cheeses, and visits to farms that are making cheese and ice cream from their milk. Cow, sheep and goat milk dairies and cheese makers are featured, especially those producing artisan and raw milk cheeses from grass-fed animals.

This is three full days of on-site expert introduction to value-added dairy. The event fee of $695 includes:

  • 3 farm visits,
  • 3 processor visits,
  • 5 retailer visits,
  • 5 seminars with industry experts,
  • 3 lunches,
  • ground transportation to visits,
  • Translation to Spanish.

There are also optional cheese making opportunities on Thursday May 4.

  • Option one – make cheese with an award-winning cheese maker in a small factory setting. $425.
  • Option two – make cottage cheese with professionals from the University of Wisconsin. $525.

The event runs Monday May 1 at 8 am to Wednesday May 3 at 3:30. Seminars are offered in Madison, WI and tours are concentrated in the Fox Valley.

Register at

For more details on the program, go to

Contact to register. 866-267-2879

Two new reports : regional food transportation and climate

CIAS and USDA-AMS transportation division just released our report: Networking Across the Supply Chain  We are continuing this work, hoping to host a meeting next spring in Chicago for the logistics and transportation sector. If you are working on freight transportation and values-based food supply chains, I would love to hear your thinking on this.

I’ve also been working with the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters on a report we released last Friday: “Climate Forward: A new roadmap for Wisconsin’s climate and energy fuuture”  The Academy will continue its work on this area into 2015. We hope to link CIAS faculty, students, staff and our many community partners (that means YOU) to it through our work on perennializing agriculture.


Survey for beef producers interested in grass finishing

What are your greatest challenges to increasing beef production on grass? Tell us.
Gene Schriefer (Iowa County UWEX) is working with Rhonda Gildersleeve, (the Wisconsin state grazing specialist) to develop a grass finished beef curriculum.  They plan to pilot it this winter in Dodgeville for the Driftless Area, and request your feedback.
Please share this survey link with others you know who raise beef.


Want to sell wholesale?

Looking for a buyer? The Local Food Expo has a couple of display areas for you at its meeting next Tuesday, September 18. Hosted by the Institutional Food Marketing Coalition, this event brings buyers and sellers together to swap business cards and learn about their mutual interests and concerns around wholesaling food grown in our region. They are especially interested in meat and cheese vendors. To register for the meeting. reserve a display table or learn more, go to Register now!

Welcome back!

Nearly a year has passed since our eloquent blogger, Mark Sieffert, and his gifted wife CeCe,  graduated and left Madison for further Adventures in Sustainability. We’ve missed their good works on behalf of the Driftless Region and our broader community, yet much has happened in the months following their departure.

We’ve made considerable progress on our work investigating transportation systems for regional and local food markets working with Alfonso Morales (Urban and Regional Planning).  Rosa Kozub took the lead on a first set of cases detailing some of the issues embedded in regional food transportation. Check out the report. David Nelson joined our staff and began where Rosa left off – investigating ways that farmers interested in regional markets could make use of transportation and logistics tools created for national scale distribution. We also started partnering with the Land Stewardship Project to help farmers determine their cost of transportation. David and I have since given numerous presentations on this topic to diverse audiences. We look forward to another year’s work on this project.

Brady Williams, with his faculty advisor Sam Dennis (Landscape Architecture)  joined us this year to work with hazelnut growers and informing the development of  a  processing industry for their product. As you may know, the Driftless is home to the most diverse pool of wild hazelnut genetics. It is also home to many farmers interested in agroforestry and dabbling in hazelnut production. Brady is currently developing case studies of other similar businesses to guide growers in starting this new industry off on solid footing.

Caitlin Henning, advised by Jane Collins (Community and Environmental Sociology),  joined our team in pursuit of artisan meat. She is organizing a meeting in the Driftless with farmers and processors to discuss issues of concern in raising, finishing, and processing. This summer she plans to spend time with farmers in Spain to learn about the Black Iberian pig and hazelnut finishing. She will then be making an interlocal connection between artisan producers in Spain and the Driftless.

The Driftless Food and Farming Project was featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Edible Madison, thanks to our friend, Jessica Luhning. Check it out.

We’ve made some great connections in Illinois, with the Driftless Area Initiative, and in Dubuque. We’ve added more than 100 people to our list of food system creators in the Region. I gave some variation of this presentation to a number of new audiences.

Plans for this summer include 4 workshops in the Region to develop the Driftless story, artisan meat opportunities, and transportation options.

Partner with us on your pet project. Invite us to participate at your up-coming events. Commit to creative, authentic innovation.

And tell us your stories. Let’s learn together.