Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) members today applauded as Governor Scott Walker signed legislation declaring cheese the official dairy product of the State of Wisconsin.
The signing took place at Mineral Point Elementary, where an enterprising group of fourth-grade students first conceived the legislative idea. These young cheese fans, with the help of their teachers, petitioned their elected officials, State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and State Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville), to introduce Assembly Bill 73 and later testified in committee in support of it. The legislation was approved unanimously.
“Leave it to children to come up with an idea that could unify our legislators,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director. “We’re proud of the students’ hard work, and we’re pleased that Wisconsin’s reputation as the Cheese State has been formally recognized among our official state symbols.”
WCMA member companies including Decatur Dairy, Edelweiss Creamery, Emmi Roth USA, Hook’s Cheese, Klondike Cheese, Maple Leaf Cheese, Prairie Farms, Saputo, and Zimmerman Cheese treated the staff and students at Mineral Point Elementary to a reception featuring Wisconsin-made cheeses, following the bill signing. WCMA was also proud to sponsor commemorative shirts for the fourth-grade class.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for these school children to have successfully navigated the legislative process,” said Umhoefer. “There’s a rich dairying tradition in Iowa County and throughout southwest Wisconsin. These kids can be proud to know that they’ve executed a civics lesson that will live on throughout the history of our state.”
WCMA represents nearly 600 companies in the cheesemaking industry, including more than 90 cheese manufacturers and processors.