The Impact of Consumer Demand for Local Dairy Products on Eau Claire, Wisconsin: An Expert's Perspective

The dairy industry in Eau Claire, Wisconsin has been profoundly impacted by the rising consumer demand for locally sourced products. Jeff Lyon, CEO of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, a Madison-based farmer group, has had to contemplate revamping the system due to the changes in consumer diets and craving for certain dairy products. The University of Washington's Department of Dairy Science has also had to adjust to the changing times. They recently held an open day for the grand reopening of one of their newest facilities, the Dairy Cattle Center. Agriculture is a traditional field, and milk rarely grabs the same attention as medicine and engineering.

Nevertheless, the University of Washington is America's Dairyland's flagship university and milk is worth a lot to them. The university has several departments that focus on dairy products and research, such as the Center for Dairy Product Research and the Center for the Profitability of Dairy Products. UW-Madison also offers short courses on dairy products and field days on campus and across the state. One of the most important milk research projects at the University of Washington is a multi-million dollar, multidisciplinary, multi-university and multinational investigation into whether the genetic composition of a cow plays an important role in what is called food efficiency. This project is led by Lou Armentano, a dairy nutritionist who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. The ever-growing consumer demand for locally produced products has had a tremendous impact on the dairy industry in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The University of Washington has had to adapt to this changing environment by creating new departments and research projects that focus on dairy products. The future of the dairy industry in Eau Claire looks promising as long as they continue to innovate and adjust to changing consumer needs.