UWRF Dairy Pilot Plant

Left to right: Maria Gallo, UWRF chancellor; Paul Bauer, general manager, Ellsworth Creamery; John Freyholtz, director of operations, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery; and Michelle Farner, UWRF Dairy Pilot Plant manager, gathered as Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery added to its ongoing investment in the UWRF Dairy Pilot Plant renovation with an additional $30,000 donation. 

Rest assured cheese curds will be on the production line when the University of Wisconsin-River Falls re-opens its Dairy Pilot Plant in 2023.

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, a lead partner in the project and renowned for its popular cheese curds product, has demonstrated its ongoing financial commitment this week with an additional $30,000 investment in the UWRF Dairy Pilot Plant’s renovation. The company has donated a total of $150,000 to the project, earning a naming opportunity in the Dairy Pilot Plant.

In addition to financial support, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery supports students by providing scholarships, internships and employment opportunities.

“We have always valued our relationship with UWRF and from the initial planning stages of the dairy plant renovation, we have considered our support as a solid investment in the university, its students and our industry,” said Paul Bauer, CEO and general manager of Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. “The newly renovated and state-of-the-art plant will provide students with the hands-on experience they need for a successful career, immediately.” 

“I don’t see Ellsworth Creamery as a donor, rather a partner that appreciates the value of our programs and in educating our students,” said Michelle Farner, director of the UWRF Dairy Pilot Plant. “The company is clearly aligned with UW-River Falls in supporting the future of the dairy industry.”

UWRF embarked on its $8 million renovation project 10 years ago. When it opens next spring, the 6,500-square-foot facility will be considered one of the most sophisticated in the country.

“The completed Dairy Pilot Plant will be an amazing teaching, training and research facility with great impact,” said UWRF Chancellor Maria Gallo. “The generous support from industry partners shows the value of the Dairy Pilot Plant, our people and our students.”

“Investment across the nation in dairy-related education – degrees in business, engineering, food science, production, quality control and more – is vital to dairy’s future,” said John Umhoefer, president of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. “Investment in production facilities on campuses, such as the Dairy Pilot Plant at UW-River Falls serve as an essential foundation for student success.”

In addition to the dairy plant, UW-River Falls is home to a food science and technology program with a dairy foods management track and engineering programs with tracks in food and process systems and food and bioprocessing technology. In addition, many majors include dairy production classes and students across campus can work for pay and internships in the dairy processing plant.

It is not too late to support the UW-River Falls Dairy Pilot Plant. Email Julie Stucky (julie.stucky@uwrf.edu) in University Advancement or call 715-425-4647 to learn more and discuss giving opportunities.

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