The Hub’s 2022 Year in Review

This past year has been a busy one for the Dairy Innovation Hub. The Hub would like to thank everyone who helped make 2022 a great year! Highlighted below are the various activities, updates and more that happened over the past year.

Seven faculty hired

Throughout the year, the Hub has helped fund seven faculty positions at UW–Madison and UW–River Falls. These scientists have supported work in the Hub’s four priority areas: stewarding land and water resources, enriching human health and nutrition, ensuring animal health and welfare, and growing farm business and communities.

Learn more about the hired faculty here and here.

Hub team grows by three

In the first half of 2022, the Hub hired two new team members to fulfill administration and communication duties.

Elisabeth Berndt was hired as an administrative specialist in April and contributes to broad program, project, and finance activities for the Hub. She manages project award processes and assists with supporting the Hub’s financial objectives and initiatives

Jori Skalitzky was hired as a communications specialist in May and manages the Hub’s social media presence, writes press releases and articles, and assists with the Hub’s quarterly newsletter. She writes, edits, and publishes content to align with the Hub’s strategic communication goals.

During the summer, Hub communications intern Destiny Ingram remained on the team in an expanded role and would continue to work into the following school year. She works with the Hub’s program manager and communications specialist to develop social media content, write news releases and articles, and assists with the Hub’s quarterly newsletter.

Learn more about the new staff here.

New college leadership

On August 4, Glenda Gillaspy assumed the role as Dean of CALS at UW–Madison. She came to Wisconsin from Virginia Tech, where she was a professor of biochemistry since 1998 and head of the department since 2015.

The Hub invited Dean Gillaspy to Sauk City, Wis. on August 24, where she met Hub stakeholders and advisory council members at Mystic Valley Dairy. She also toured the farm and enjoyed a pizza-filled networking session.

At UW–Platteville, Chuck Steiner was named interim dean of BILSA in June.

At UW–River Falls, Dean Olson was named interim dean of CAFES in June.

Hub research on the road

Winter is “meeting season” for the Wisconsin ag community, and in early 2022, the Hub jumped at the chance to share project outcomes.

In January, the Hub attended the Dairy Strong conference, hosted by Dairy Business Association. January 18 was Dairy Day at the Capitol and faculty director Heather White was a featured speaker at the event. During Dairy Day, Hub also hosted an informational research poster session on the iconic rotunda of the State Capitol to highlight select projects funded by the initiative at each participating campus. Later in January, White shared a program overview and progress report at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) board meeting.

In March, the Hub was featured at the annual Showcase event, hosted by the Office of Strategic Consulting at UW­–Madison. This event was an opportunity for colleagues from across the UW–Madison campus to come together and share best practices, learn from each other’s successes, and connect. 

The winter roadshow ended with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) Business Conference, which included a display of 26 posters showcasing Hub-funded research.

Learn more about the Hub’s early 2022 adventures here.

Five graduate student assistantships funded at UW–Madison

In early 2022, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at UW–Madison awarded five, two-year graduate assistantships to help increase dairy-related research capacity through the Dairy Innovation Hub initiative.

Learn more about the graduate students here.

Funded research at UW–Madison, UW–River Falls, and UW–Platteville

2022 was a busy year for research! For all three campuses, the Hub provided funding for research across the Hub’s four priority areas.

  • UW–Madison: Ten short term, high impact projects were selected to receive one-year grants. These research and outreach projects are intended to leverage existing UW–Madison expertise to provide timely results while supporting the goals of the Hub. Learn more about the funded projects here.
  • UW–River Falls: Four faculty were awarded faculty research fellowships to help increase dairy-related research capacity. A faculty research fellowship is a temporary position for permanent faculty members. The goal is to provide support for a specific research project and any ancillary costs — including ensuring that the faculty member will have time to conduct the research and support for existing teaching. Learn more about the faculty fellows here.
  • UW–Platteville: Five Dairy Industry Impact Innovation faculty fellowships, or DI3 faculty fellowships, were awarded to faculty to help increase dairy-related research capacity. DI3 faculty fellowships are intended to leverage existing UW–Platteville expertise to provide timely results supporting the goals of the Hub. Learn more about the funded projects here.

Hub attends World Dairy Expo

During the World Dairy Expo in October, the Hub was present at the UW–Madison, UW–River Falls and UW–Platteville alumni and friends receptions. It was a great time for faculty, staff and friends to connect after limited in-person opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Third annual report released

In October, the Hub released its third annual report reflecting progress and activities at UW–Madison, UW–Platteville, and UW–River Falls from July 2021 through June 2022. Included in the report are the Hub’s major accomplishments, funded projects, faculty profiles and more. Read the report here.

Hub attends first annual Sustainability Symposium at UW–Madison

On October 26, the Hub presented a poster at the first annual Sustainability Symposium hosted by the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability. Program director Maria Woldt presented the poster and talked to attendees about how the Hub is advancing sustainability across the state of Wisconsin.

Dairy Summit held in-person for the first time

The third annual Dairy Summit was held on November 16 at the University Center on the UW–River Falls campus. After two virtual-only events, the Hub held a successful in-person summit that drew over 50 researchers, campus affiliates, students, dairy professionals, and community members. Another 120 people attended the event virtually.

Through poster sessions, research presentations and panel discussions, the Dairy Summit highlighted examples of the Hub’s newest research and facilitated discussions about how this work can help meet the challenges facing today’s dairy community.

Learn more about the 2022 Dairy Summit here.

Hub successes highlighted at UW System Board of Regents meeting

In December, industry representatives joined students and faculty to highlight the accomplishments of the Hub at the December Board of Regents meeting. Faculty director Heather White provided an overview of the Hub and its mission. Following White was a panel discussion on Hub research and partnerships, consisting of dairy farmer Andy Buttles, business leader Paul Bauer, UW–River Falls faculty member Luis Peña-Lévano, current UW–Madison graduate student and UW–River Falls alumna Kaylee Reisgraf.

Read more about the meeting here and watch the discussion here.

New online database for Hub-funded projects released

With over 130+ funded projects, the Hub team decided to create an online database, or Project Showcase, that includes every project. This free, online tool is searchable and allows any interested person to explore the variety of projects that the hub has funded. The Project Showcase will be routinely updated to add the newest projects.

Explore the showcase here and watch a short tutorial here.