The University of Wisconsin-Platteville is one step closer to launching the new Dairy Pilot Plant, thanks to a recent $10,000 grant from Compeer Financial. The proposed plant, which will be located at Pioneer Farm, will provide research and education on dairy food product development while also giving students an opportunity to learn about rural economic development, entrepreneurship and sustainability. The Dairy Pilot Plant will also be integrated into system level research on feed efficiency, energy usage and water usage.
The investment from Compeer Financial’s Fund for Rural America was the catalyst that helped garner additional funding required to secure an architect engineering firm to bring the vision of the Dairy Pilot Plant to life.
“The Dairy Pilot Program is a way for students, consumers and others to experience innovation in the dairy industry firsthand,” said Karen Schieler, senior corporate giving specialist with Compeer. “Compeer values dynamic thinking and approaches to farming and food products. This plant creates opportunities for current and future dairy farmers, which is good for all of agriculture.”
UW-Platteville’s Dairy Pilot Plant will be the first dairy food processing plant on a university farm in the state of Wisconsin. Faculty and students will be able to process milk from Pioneer Farm to make cheese and ice cream, while performing research and development for other types of products, such as using goat milk from other farms to make cheese. It will also be a resource for industry, offering opportunities to work on product development, both food-related and nonfood-related, using waste products to create new byproducts.
“This gift from Compeer Financial is a crucial part of a first step in realizing the vision of the Dairy Pilot Plant,” said Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture at UW-Platteville. “The plant will play a key role in the dairy industry, providing a facility for education, innovation and research that focuses on the farm to fork concept. We are very grateful to Compeer for all they have done for the university and the community.”
The Dairy Pilot Plant will tell the story of farming and dairy, with a store to sell in-house and local products. It will also act as a training facility for the regional industry, offering apprentice work, outreach, workshops and other training events.
Based in the upper Midwest, Compeer Financial is a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative that provides loans, leases, risk management and other financial services throughout Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Compeer serves and supports agriculture and rural communities by providing formal and informal insight on topics pertinent to all industries, including dairy, swine, grain and renewable energy.
Contact Dr. Tera Montgomery, campus liaison for the Dairy Innovation Hub and professor of dairy and animal science in the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture, for more information or questions about the Dairy Pilot Plant and for gift giving opportunities.