WCMA Pledges Another $50,000 to Launch Final Phase of Fundraising for UW-River Falls Dairy Plant

Posted By: Rebekah Sweeney WCMA News ,

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) today announced its Board of Directors has pledged an additional gift of $50,000 to the Foundation at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, to kick off the final phase of the fundraising campaign for the school’s dairy pilot plant renovation. 

“Education is critical to the development of a skilled workforce and to the dairy processing industry’s future success,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.  “WCMA members are proud to invest in this project, and fully committed to seeing it through to completion.” This donation brings WCMA’s total project contribution to $250,000.

WCMA urges individual companies and cooperatives to pledge monies before the end of the year to match the organization’s gift, to ensure the UW-River Falls project is achieved as designed, with new automation, piping, and equipment.  Construction began in June 2018 and should be finished next summer. 

The renovation and complete re-equipping of the dairy pilot plant has been a team effort, including $1.9 million from the Wisconsin State Building Commission, $525, 000 from UW-River Falls and industry donations reaching $3 million in cash and equipment. Only $570,000 is needed to complete fundraising for the project.

The completed dairy plant and state-of-the-art training room will allow UW River Falls to increase its training programs for the dairy industry, which now include cheesemaker training, pasteurizer operator and food safety courses.

Students work daily in the dairy plant and in 2016 the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences reinstated its Food Science and Technology major, and offers a food processing technology minor. With the addition of the dual degree program in partnership with Aeres University in the Netherlands, students will have opportunities to study abroad with their focus on the dairy industry and international business. 

“The high-quality, hands-on training offered at the UW-River Falls Dairy Pilot Plant is essential to meet our industry’s workforce development needs,” said Umhoefer.  “Please join with WCMA members as we bring this much-needed renovation project across the fundraising finish line.”

Matching gifts of any amount will be gratefully accepted over the next four years.  To learn more, contact UW-River Falls Foundation Advancement Officer Julie Stucky at 715-425-4647 or via email at julie.stucky@uwrf.edu.