MADISON, WIS. – As part of June Dairy Month, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) granted Cheese Champion awards to six lawmakers, in recognition of their efforts to support and advance the dairy processing industry.

WCMA recognized US Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, as well as four Wisconsin state lawmakers: Sens. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), and Reps. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City).

The organization pointed to Baldwin’s contributions to creating and finding funding for the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance, which has given technical assistance, education and more than $9.4 million in grants to dairy farms and processors since 2018. Baldwin also is lead author of the DAIRY PRIDE Act and CURD Act, and recently introduced the Safeguarding American Value-Added Exports (SAVE) Act.

Baldwin said she is proud to serve as a voice for the industry.

“I appreciate the support of our dairy manufacturers and processors, and I’m honored to stand with them and WCMA as we continue fighting to advance our state’s thriving dairy industry and protect dairy’s good name,” she said.

Evers, the WCMA highlighted, has boosted funding for the state’s Dairy Processor Grants, expanded opportunities for Wisconsin dairy exports, connected dairy processors with neighbors experiencing food insecurity, and pushed for transparency and accuracy in product labeling, among other efforts.

“The dairy processing industry is part of our state’s past and present, and you can be sure that I remain committed to being a partner to ensure that it remains a central part of our state’s economic future,” Evers said.

WCMA gave credit to Ballweg and Kurtz and their work on the Joint Finance Committee, contributing to funding for the $5 million Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports and for boosting funds available through Dairy Processor Grants.

Marklein co-chairs the Joint Finance Committee and represents more dairy processors than any lawmaker in Wisconsin. The association highlighted that Marklein plays “a critical role” in the success of the Dairy Innovation Hub, and authored legislation that requires products being sold as milk or cheese to be made from real dairy.

Additionally, Marklein is lead author and Tranel lead co-author of the Agricultural Road Improvement Program (ARIP), a bill that devotes $150 million toward fixing old roads in the state’s rural communities.