I attended a press conference in mid-March where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker unveiled the Dairy 30X20 Initiative for growing his state’s dairy industry.
Walker wants the state’s farmers to produce 30 billion pounds of milk annually by the year 2020, which would be a 15 percent increase from last year’s 26.1 billion pounds. Read more and see a video here.
While that is compelling enough, it wasn’t the main focus for many reporters in the room.
Gov. Walker has become a lightning rod of sorts. He championed an anti-collective bargaining law, which made him unpopular among union workers. Some of his former aides from the days he served as Milwaukee County executive are under investigation. And, he faces a recall election on June 5.
At the Dairy 30X20 press conference, reporters standing amid a battery of TV cameras in the back of the room were mainly interested in the political storm clouds brewing around him.
I understand where they are coming from. It did seem a little rude that they would intrude on this event where the Governor was announcing the Dairy 30X20 Initiative, but they were simply doing their jobs and fulfilling their role as government watchdog.
At Dairy Herd Management, we work hard to perform the same role in the dairy industry. It is our role to report the facts as accurately as possible on a range of topics, including production management and industry news. Some of the topics fall in the realm of "dirty laundry.”
Here are the stories that got the most “clicks” from readers in our Dairy Herd Network newsletter last month:
- PETA accuses N.Y. dairy of abuse.
- Spate of fatal skid-steer accidents.
- 3 percent of dairies produce half of milk supply.
- ‘Terribly offensive’ provisions of child-labor proposal cited.
- $75K in penalties for dairy’s role in fish-kill incident
Back when I was a newspaper reporter in Sioux Falls, S.D., I had a story on the front page with photos and salaries of the highest-paid public officials, including judges, school administrators, law enforcement and political office-holders. The headline read, “These are the highest paid public officials…. and they think they’re worth it.” (Of course, I had to contact all 16 of them and ask them if they thought they were worth it and why.) It was a laborious story, but what made it all worthwhile was a phone call I received from a reader who said he was glad someone was acting in a watchdog role.
I imagine those TV reporters in the back of the room of Gov. Walker’s press conference get the same comments from time to time.