Category Archives: Grassfed Dairy & Cheese

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 https://fs3.formsite.com/8onTH0/form1/index.html

For more details on the program, go to http://globalcow.com/making-more-from-milk/

Contact Karen@globaldairyoutreach.com 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 http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/AgTransportation  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” https://www.wisconsinacademy.org/sites/default/files/ClimateForward2014.pdf  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.   http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VS7JVGM
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 www.ifmwi.org. 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.

Next Steps for Grassfed Dairy & Cheese Breakout Group

GRASSFED DAIRY & ARTISANAL CHEESE

This group identified several main strengths in the grassfed dairy sector.  First, they saw grazing as an excellent opportunity for new farmers.  They also saw a strength in the ability of the grassfed dairy sector to differentiate their product by taking advantage of the quality of the grass.  Next, they pointed out that not everyone can be organic, and thus grass-based dairy can move towards sustainability without requiring farmers to be certified organic.  Profitability due to lower cost of production was a strength, as was providing a model for other farmers.

The group also identified a set of challenges. These included addressing the need for new skills, figuring out how to encourage “conventional” farmers to transition to grass-based farming, overcoming the race to increase production, and educating bankers and policymakers to understand the economic advantages of grass-based dairying.

Next steps:

  • Can we take advantage of combinations of Driftless flavors? One example mentioned included the creation of a cheese with morel mushrooms and grass-based milk.
  • How do we advertise the Dirftless area as a grass-friendly region?  This could mean drawing on historical, logistical, and topographic base for grass to draw in new farmers.  The group pointed out that Crawford County successfully did this at the Dairy Expo.
  • How do we show dairy leaders, farm leaders, and local, state, and federal politicians that encouraging grass-based farming is a long-term strategic opportunity?
  • Can we utilize existing processing opportunities, including Carr Valley, Cedar Grove, Mt. Sterling, and Meister?

We would like to encourage your participation in continuing conversations. Please step forward by posting a comment below or by emailing us.  If you have suggestions on how we can proceed please don’t hesitate to share them.