High Capacity Wells, This Week In Washington, National Dairy Month In Wisconsin

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

June is National Dairy Month, and there’s no shortage of cheese, ice cream and other treats here in Wisconsin. Our guest talks about the importance of the industry to the state, and shares her favorite offerings. We also get the latest from the world of national politics, and hear from an environmental group calling on Wisconsin’s DNR to ignore an official opinion from Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel on high capacity wells.

Featured in this Show

  • Want To Make Cheese In Wisconsin? It's Harder Than One Might Think

    Do you have big dreams of making cheese in Wisconsin? As National Dairy Month kicks off, some might be toying with the idea of getting into cheesemaking as a career or hobby, but it’s not an easy as it sounds.

    “I think some folks come into cheese making with this kind of romantic notion, that it’s going to be fun and idealistic,” said Jeanne Carpenter, specialty cheese buyer for Metcalfe’s Markets and founder of Wisconsin Cheese Originals. “In reality, it takes you between 18 months and two years to get your license.”

    Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that requires cheesemakers to be licensed if they want to sell their cheese.

    Besides the $75 fee, Carpenter said getting a license involves taking five short courses through the University of Wisconsin, apprenticing under a licensed cheesemaker for 240 hours, and taking a two-hour long written test.

    “If you do all that, you get a probational license,” she said.

    That said, plenty have gone through the process and succeeded. Carpenter said that Wisconsin boasts 1,200 licensed cheesemakers and 129 dairy plants. Wisconsin also makes more specialty cheese than any other state in the nation.

    For advanced cheesemakers, Wisconsin once again takes things one step further by offering a Master Cheesemaker Program. It’s the only such program in the country and is only available to commercial cheesemakers who have been licensed for at least 10 years.

    “We take making cheese extremely seriously here,” Carpenter said.

    And cheese is a huge boon to the state’s economy.

    “Dairy means more to Wisconsin than citrus to Florida, or potatoes to Idaho,” Carpenter said. “It’s like a $43-billion industry in the state.”

  • Group Asks DNR To Ignore Schimel's Opinion On High Capacity Wells

    Wisconsin’s Attorney General Brad Schimel released an official opinion limiting Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources authority over high capacity wells. Based on the opinion, the DNR should not consider things like overall environmental impact on a region when granting or rejecting permits to build the wells. In a letter to the DNR, the environmental group Friends of the Central Sands asked the agency to continue enforcing regulations on high-capacity water wells. The writer of the letter to the DNR tells us more.

  • This Week In Washington – June 1, 2016

    Harry Enten, senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, joins Central Time for our weekly look at the most pressing issues in national politics.

  • Why Dairy Means So Much To Wisconsin

    June is national dairy month, and it’s no secret that dairy is important to Wisconsin. As America’s dairy capitol, Wisconsin’s economy relies heavily on agricultural production and a lot of the state’s history is woven into dairy farming. We talk to a guest about what the dairy industry has meant for Wisconsin in the past, and how it plays a role in the state’s life today.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Jeanne Carpenter Guest
  • Bob Clark Guest
  • Harry Enten Guest