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Throughout Wisconsin, the vital role agriculture plays in the state’s economy cannot be overlooked. Wisconsin’s Dairyland is strong — generating 14 percent of the nation’s total milk supply and half of the state’s $88.3 billion agricultural economy.

It’s an enormously valuable industry, and I wonder how many people know agriculture generates nearly $83,000 per minute for the state’s economy — and even more, do they realize those dollars reach far beyond any farm checkbook, most likely to them in some way or form?

Through my years representing our family farm, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the interactions and ripple effect of the farm within our community. It takes a team of multi-talented people to make our farm function effectively, for we all rely on each other to provide consumers a healthy and satisfying product.

It continues to amaze me how dollars generated on our farm impact local businesses, families and individuals. Our farm alone interacts with 60 to 70 vendors every month, not to mention those that partner with us on a seasonal basis.

It takes a village, as they say, and in the dairy industry, that sentiment is the same. Every job in agriculture supports an additional 1.46 jobs elsewhere in our state and we rely on these teams of professionals for support in many areas. Agricultural careers constitute 11 percent of Wisconsin’s employment base.

From everyone who helps grow our crops and feed each year — our seed and equipment salesmen, agronomist and neighbors who graciously share the roadways — to those that keep our cows comfortable and healthy — our veterinarian, animal nutritionist and even builders — we depend on community partners to make our farm run smoothly.

We also work closely with business consultants such as tax professionals, financial planners and loan officers. Those teams don’t even take into account what happens to our milk once it leaves our farm — the circle extends to milk plants, grocery stores, restaurants and families.

A banker called recently and told me they were going to send out a new analyst who said she knew me. When she arrived, I recognized the woman immediately: she had worked for us about 15 years ago, and then left to attend UW-Stout to study finance. Moments like this mean so much — seeing how our farm touches people’s lives and can contribute to their success — is truly fulfilling.

The dairy industry is ingrained in our state and makes a widespread impact — on National Farmer’s Day [Oct. 12] and every day. We rely on each other to be successful in providing the community safe and high-quality dairy products. Together, we all contribute to the continued excellence of America’s Dairyland, a place we’re proud to call home.

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Dave Styer owns Alfalawn Farm, a fourth-generation family dairy farm in Menomonie.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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