MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's signature industry, the reason we can call ourselves Cheeseheads, is the focus of a 27 News documentary.
In the latest installment of our award-winning series, "Our Wisconsin", we examine the industry and lifestyle that are the foundation of the state's heritage and identity: the dairy industry.
From the cows and farmers who raise them, to the dairies that turn the milk into cheese, bottled milk, ice cream, etc., to the world-leading dairy research at the UW, we take the pulse of America's Dairyland.
We visited almost a dozen farms, from a 55 cow herd run by a 21-year old man on his family's farm that was homesteaded in 1842, to one of the leading farms in the world in genetics, to the state's largest dairy farm, Rosendale Dairy, where they milk more than 8,000 cows a day.
We'll also get a feel for what it's like to be a farmer today. From fixing equipment when it breaks down on a busy day of harvesting, to a wife deciding she no could no longer cope with the isolation involved in farming and going back to work off the farm, to the incredible amount of time and knowledge it takes to manage the science, technology and business of farming today, local dairymen and women tell it like it is.
Plus, we'll get some great insight into the animals that make it all happen. We recorded two calf births during our visits and we will take viewers through the life of a Wisconsin dairy cow; from artificial insemination, to birth, calf years, breeding and joining the milking herd.
We'll also tour the biggest dairy research center in the world; the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. CDR works with farmers and processors to come up with new products for milk and its components. They developed a protein drink called Badger Max at the request of the UW Athletic Dept.
We'll slice into cheese making at a cheese factory in Green County. As the nation's leading cheese producer, an increasing amount of Wisconsin products are being sold on the world market. We'll see how the promise of more dairy exports in the future is tempered with political and milk price uncertainty in the present.
And, we'll find out what family farms are doing to keep their operations growing into the next generation. "Our Wisconsin: The State of America's Dairyland" airs Friday, December 6, 7-8 p.m. on WKOW.
We will also stream the special live online here on www.wkow.com
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