Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President Kurt Bauer posed the idea at a luncheon last Monday that was attended by hundreds of state business leaders. As reported in the Wisconsin State Journal, Bauer said that other slogans like "Forward" (which is the state’s official motto) might be more suitable to update perceptions of the state's economy beyond agriculture.
Word of this comment quickly spread on social media, and soon farmers and dairy organizations were voicing their concern over the thought. Considering dairy’s $43.4 billion impact on the state’s economy, many feel that “America’s Dairyland” still represents Wisconsin well. The Badger State ranks first in the nation in cheese production and second in milk production behind California. It is also home to more dairy farms than any other state.
The Wisconsin State Journal said that Bauer later clarified in an email that his organization would not lobby lawmakers for this change, and that it was merely meant to be a conversation starter.
This is not the first time removal of the iconic slogan has been discussed. A few decades ago, policymakers talked about the need for a new tagline, but after more than 111,000 ballots were cast, “America’s Dairyland” remained a focal point on the newly designed license plate.