The Hub’s 2023 Year in Review

2023 was busy for the Dairy Innovation Hub! The Hub would like to thank everyone who helped make it a great year! Highlighted below are just a few samples of activities, updates, and more from the past year.

Three faculty hired

Throughout the year, the Hub has helped fund three faculty positions at UW–Madison and UW–River Falls. Lautaro Rostoll Cangiano started at UW as an assistant professor in animal and dairy sciences in January. Michaela Hoffelmeyer started at UW as an assistant professor in community and environmental sociology in August. Maria Jose Fuenzalida started at UW–RF as an assistant professor in animal and food science in July.

These scientists specialize in dairy cattle immunology, public engagement with agriculture, and dairy health and management and will help support 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.

New leadership

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

On Jan. 23, members of the Dairy Innovation Hub advisory council elected Dave Daniels of Mighty Grand Dairy to serve as chair. He also serves as a director for Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and occupies the WFBF seat on the council. Daniels succeeds Mitch Breunig of Mystic Valley Dairy who served as the Hub’s first chair, and remains on the council.

Additionally, Chuck Nicholson and Holly Dolliver joined the advisory council representing UW–Madison and UW–River Falls, respectively. Two retiring council members, Kent Weigel and Rami Reddy, were honored at the meeting.

At UW–River Falls, Michael Orth was named dean of CAFES in June.

Hub research hits the road

Throughout the year, the Hub jumped on every opportunity to share project outcomes.

In January, the Hub attended the Dairy Strong conference, hosted by Dairy Business Association. The Hub also attended the PDPW Business Conference in March, where multiple Hub-funded faculty gave research presentations on the PDPW Preview Stage. Faculty director Heather White was also a featured speaker. Over 20 research posters were on display for the duration of the conference.

April featured back-to-back events. On Apr. 19, the Hub hosted an informational research poster session at the Wisconsin State Capitol. State leaders and other attendees had the opportunity to browse a dozen research posters and engage with students and faculty affiliated with Hub-funded projects. On Apr. 20, Hub communications specialist Jori Skalitzky presented a poster on the Project Showcase at the annual UW Showcase event. This event was an opportunity for colleagues across the UW–Madison campus to come together and share best practices, learn from each other’s successes, and connect. 

The Hub took advantage of summer weather and held industry tours at the Arlington Ag Research Station, home to numerous Hub-funded research trials. In July, board members from FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative hosted their summer business meeting at the Blaine Dairy, followed by nearly three hours of tours seeing first-hand investments and research funded the Hub.

In August, the Hub’s advisory council got a front row seat to ongoing research and had the chance to meet faculty and students associated with multiple projects spanning the three campuses at Arlington ARS.

Caleb Besson (right) presents his poster to Manure Expo attendees.

Also in August, the North American Manure Expo was held at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station featuring a dozen examples of Hub-funded manure research. A few researchers gave presentations on their Hub-funded projects to attendees.

Six postdoctoral fellowships funded at UW–Madison

In early 2023, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at UW–Madison announced a second cohort of six, two-year postdoctoral fellowships to help increase dairy-related research capacity through the Dairy Innovation Hub initiative.

Learn more about the postdocs here.

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

2023 was a busy year for research projects! For all three campuses, the Hub provided funding for research across the Hub’s four priority areas.

  • UW–Madison: Eight 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: Seven 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 World Dairy Expo in October, the Hub joined UW–Madison, UW–River Falls, and UW–Platteville alumni and friends at their respective receptions. It was a great time for faculty, staff and friends to connect at the foremost global dairy event!

Fourth annual report released

In October, the Hub released its fourth annual report reflecting progress and activities at UW–Madison, UW–Platteville, and UW–River Falls from July 2022 through June 2023. Included in the report are the Hub’s major accomplishments, funded projects, faculty profiles and more. Read the report here.

Successful Dairy Symposium and Dairy Summit

The Hub held its second annual Dairy Symposium on Thursday, May 18, at the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. Over 150 researchers, students, academic colleagues, and campus affiliates attended the day-long event. Symposium is the academic-focused companion to the public-focused Dairy Summit held each November.

The fourth annual Dairy Summit was held on on Wednesday, November 15, in Velzy Commons on the University of Wisconsin–Platteville campus. More than 150 researchers, campus affiliates, students, dairy professionals, and community members attended the event in-person. Another 100 people attended the event virtually, and videos of summit sessions are available online.

Both events were well-attended and facilitated discussions about how this work can help meet the challenges facing today’s dairy community.