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Efforts to bring students into Wisconsin’s dairy industry, as state sees fewer farms

Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, yet the crop of new farmers is growing smaller.

Our state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reports 1,499 dairy farms were lost in the last three years. It went down from 8,110 to 6,611 dairy farms. That’s a 19.5 percent drop.

In our Two America’s report, we show you how one school transformed the way they are getting students interested in the Ag industry: By bringing the farm to them!

High schoolers Adrianna Cherubini and Sam Fischer feel right at home feeding a baby calf inside Kewaskum High School.

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“I want to be able to run cattle but also manage a herd,” said Cherubini.

Through the high school’s ‘Career Pathway Program,’ a paid internship allows 17-year-old Cherubini to get hands-on experience on this 100-cow dairy farm, just minutes from school.

“The Ag department has helped me see what I want to do, and I want to be able to get there and be the first generation of it,” said Cherubini.

David Lettow is the third-generation farm owner.

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Lettow took a similar path as Adrianna when he went to Kewaskum High School. He believes it helps everyone build a strong work ethic, adding, “it helps us out because we need the help part time, because we’re a smaller farm.”

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Despite farms closing, milk production is growing in the Badger State. Last year, Wisconsin increased its dairy production by nearly 20 percent, selling 30.7 billion pounds of milk. To put that number into perspective, the average person drinks 18 gallons of milk per year. So, Wisconsin alone could supply 1.7 billion people with enough milk for the year.

Nurturing our next generation is vital in creating more farms in America’s Dairyland.


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