Looking to Learn From Wisconsin

Since Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, many other states that want to grow their dairy production look to us as an example of how to move forward. Sometimes, there is also the hope that they can attract businesses or individuals to their state to help in that work. One of those states is Kansas.

Kansas is already well known as a rich agricultural state and they are looking to grow dairy within the state. Russell Plaschka is the Director of Marketing for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. In his role, he has been actively engaged in efforts to increase dairy production. According to him, Kansas is unique in it’s dairy farm makeup.

“Kansas is a tale of two dairy states,” says Plaschka. “We’ve got the eastern side, what I call our generational dairies, our smaller more traditional dairy farms. In Western Kansas, that’s where we’ve seen a lot of influx over the past 25, 30 years of those dairies moving out of California.”

The influx has been due to active recruitment efforts. This has included coming to Wisconsin to pitch the benefits of relocating to Kansas. “We’ve attended World Dairy Expo, World Ag Expo in Tulare, California and to recruit dairies and it’s paid off,” said Plaschka.

Next year, Hilmar Cheese will go online with a new cheese plant in the state. This new facility will help spur the dairy growth they are looking for. The plant is expected to employ 250 and take in 8 million pounds of milk a day. The impact this will have on dairy in Kansas will be significant. “It’s going to be a boon for the southwest part of the state. Another market for our dairy farms and their milk to grow,” said Plaschka.