Wisconsin is the epicenter of cheese. With more than 600 varieties in production and producing nearly half of all specialty cheese in the country, the state is at the forefront of a thriving national and international specialty cheese movement that adds incredible value to our high-quality milk and helps support dairy farm families.
Much of Wisconsin’s cheesemaking success over the last 25 years comes from leveraging the expertise found at the University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR). The CDR is unique to Wisconsin and sits firmly as a hub of market access and innovation. It is supported by dairy checkoff dollars and was created to conduct research designed to help the dairy industry innovate and grow.
More than 30 researchers and scientists work to fulfill this mission. They are on a never-ending quest to develop dairy products that exceed consumer expectations while providing customers with a safe, wholesome product. CDR is the go-to source for dairy product resources and development and is a key component in Wisconsin’s dairy innovation pipeline, helping cheese companies achieve their goals.
Whether it’s creating a completely new product, fine-tuning a new cheese, providing trouble-shooting assistance, or taking a deep dive into the science behind a product, the cross-functional innovation between CDR, the University of Wisconsin, and industry researchers helps develop the value-added cheeses and other dairy products consumers and markets demand.
As cheese and dairy companies from Wisconsin recognized the need for modernization, CDR embarked on a renewal project. It collaborated financially with the government, processors, and others in the dairy industry to revitalize and expand the well-known Babcock Dairy Hall into a state-of-the art-scientific dairy lab and product development center slated for opening early this fall.
This public-private partnership is the envy of the industry and adds to the enormous resources available through CDR. It’s an exciting investment in Wisconsin’s dairy future and will help open the door to new opportunities and markets.
Additionally, the new world-class facility will continue to be a strong draw to attract top talent and sharp minds to keep Wisconsin dairy farmers and dairy companies at the head of product development, innovation, and safety. Considering the feats able to be accomplished in aging accommodations, the future of dairy product innovation will be even brighter with updated facilities, tools, and equipment.
It’s unthinkable to consider where Wisconsin dairy farmers would be without the specialty cheese market and the incredible resource we have in the CDR. It harnesses an amazing amount of scientific horsepower to benefit farmers, cheesemakers, and dairy companies. Whether you need assistance in getting pointed in the right direction or with more detailed product development, it’s reassuring to know help is just a phone call away.
To learn more about CDR, visit cdr.wisc.edu. To learn more about Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, visit wisconsindairy.org.