Hub advisory council elects Daniels as chair, welcomes new faces, honors retiring members

Members of the Dairy Innovation Hub advisory council recently elected a new chair, welcomed two members, and honored retiring members on Jan. 23 during the group’s first meeting of 2023.

The Dairy Innovation Hub, which launched in 2019, is a $7.8 million per year investment by the State of Wisconsin to establish a world-class talent pool and support enterprising discoveries. The aim is to ensure Wisconsin’s dairy community remains at the global forefront in producing nutritious dairy products in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable manner.

The mission of the advisory council is to ensure that Hub investments in university personnel, facilities, research, and training will move the state’s dairy community forward in the four focus areas: stewarding land and water resources, enriching human health and nutrition, ensuring animal health and welfare, and growing farm business and communities. In this role, the council provides guidance to the Hub’s leadership committee and its faculty director, a position currently held by UW–Madison dairy scientist Heather White.

Dave Daniels, a dairy farmer from Union Grove, Wis. was recently elected to serve as chair of the Dairy Innovation Hub advisory council

At the meeting, the council elected Dave Daniels of Mighty Grand Dairy to serve as chair. In this role, he will work with White and Maria Woldt, the Hub’s program manager, to assemble the council and set agendas. Daniels serves as a director for Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and occupies the WFBF seat on the council.

“Beginning as a member of the Dairy Task Force 2.0 that originally endorsed the Dairy Innovation Hub concept, to now serving as a member of the inaugural advisory council, I have seen first-hand the impact the Hub is having on Wisconsin and beyond. It’s an honor to help steward this investment.”

Daniels succeeds Mitch Breunig of Mystic Valley Dairy who served as the Hub’s first chair, and remains on the council.

Chuck Nicholson joins the advisory council in one of UW–Madison’s two seats

Chuck Nicholson and Larry Baumann joined the advisory council representing UW–Madison and UW–River Falls, respectively.

Nicholson is an associate professor of animal and dairy sciences and agricultural and applied economics, whose position is funded entirely by the Hub. His research specialties include dairy markets and policy, food systems modeling, controlled-environment agriculture, and linkages between agriculture and food security.

Larry Baumann joins the advisory council in a seat that rotates between River Falls and Platteville every three years

Baumann is a professor of animal and food science and a veterinarian. He teaches a wide variety of courses, including a course in dairy production, serves as an academic advisor for undergraduate pre-vet and vet tech majors, and is the advisor to the UW–River Falls Pre-Vet Club.

Two retiring council members were honored at the meeting. Kent Weigel, professor and chair of animal and dairy sciences at UW–Madison, was one of the early visionaries who developed the Hub concept. Weigel remains an active member of the Hub’s Madison Steering Committee, which makes localized funding decisions at UW–Madison.

Rami Reddy was also honored for his service. Reddy is a professor of agribusiness at UW–Platteville and director of the School of Agriculture.

The advisory council meets in-person on a quarterly basis. The next meeting is being planned for April. Meetings are open to the public.

Contact: Maria Woldt, Dairy Innovation Hub program manager, (608) 265-4009,