The University of Wisconsin’s announcement that it plans to move ahead with a $75 million initiative to upgrade Madison campus’ dairy, meat and poultry research and teaching facilities serves as a reminder that only the squeaky mouse gets the cheese.
It’s high time that these investments — which will enhance the great work done by the Center for Dairy Research and the UW dairy plant — were made. (Read "$75 million upgrade at University of Wisconsin gets the OK" for details.) Babcock Hall long has been the centerpiece of the type of research, leadership, education and ingenuity the dairy industry needs to meet the challenges ahead… not the least of which have to do with climate change and skyrocketing global population growth.
Half of the necessary funding has been set aside by the school’s leadership (though it still must be added to the state budget and approved by the Wisconsin legislature), while the other half is being raised privately. Sargento Foods CEO Lou Gentine and Foremost Farms President Dave Fuhrmann are spearheading the dairy industry’s fundraising campaign, which has raised $12 million since March, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
During a time when there’s very little money up for grabs in terms of development, it’s up to producers to demand that this kind of public/private collaboration is not just talked about, but achieved. The folks at Babcock Hall didn’t stop when they heard “no” — and you can be sure they heard it a lot. They just kept pushing. Soon, we’ll all be glad they did.