When you think of Wisconsin, there is only one food that comes to mind … cheese. Now the state legislature has made it official – Wisconsin cheese is now the state dairy product.
Cheese joins a list of prominent state symbols including the dairy cow, designated the state’s domestic animal in 1971, and milk, Wisconsin’s official state beverage since 1987.
For more than a century, the state has led the nation in cheese production, producing over three billion pounds of cheese annually. Wisconsin cheesemakers combine generations of tradition with cutting edge innovation to craft the finest cheese, and Wisconsin is the only place outside of Europe to offer a prestigious Master Cheesemaker certification for veteran cheesemakers who have been making cheese for ten years or more. The state regularly takes home top honors for its world class cheeses including a recent historic sweep of the cheese industry’s three major competitions – the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, the American Cheese Society Competition, and the World Championship Cheese Contest.
The designation was proposed by a group of fourth grade students at Mineral Point Elementary in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. It was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker at a special signing event at Mineral Point Elementary Thursday. WMMB also participated in the historic signing event and provided fresh squeaky Wisconsin cheese curds for the students to enjoy.
“We are so pleased to give Wisconsin cheese the recognition it deserves by declaring it the official state dairy product,” said Governor Scott Walker. “Today we celebrate the efforts of Wisconsin’s hard-working dairy farmers and cheesemakers who make us all proud to live in America’s Dairyland.”
“This is a victory for everyone in the Wisconsin dairy community to celebrate–from the dairy farmers who produce the highest quality milk to the third and fourth generation cheesemakers who have dedicated their lives to making the best cheese in the world,” said Suzanne Fanning, Vice President, National Product Communications, of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). “We’d like to thank Mrs. Livia Doyle and the efforts of her 4th grade class at Mineral Point Elementary for proposing the idea and seeing it all the way to the governor’s desk! This is a wonderful way for kids to learn about the state government and see that they can make a difference.”
“The students are absolutely thrilled that their voices have been heard,” said Livia Doyle, 4th Grade Teacher at Mineral Point Elementary School. “Being a part of this legislative process has been more meaningful and educational than ever imagined! The students have experienced firsthand what it means to have an idea and to share it with our representatives.”