UW-River Falls: Transformational gift to UW-River Falls for dairy plant renovation establishes Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence

River Falls, Wis. – Following a transformational gift, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Dairy Pilot Plant will now be known as the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence. 

The Wuethrich Family Foundation and Grassland Dairy Products, Inc., of Greenwood, dairy industry leaders and longtime UWRF strategic partners, announced today an additional $475,000 commitment toward UWRF’s Dairy Pilot Plant Renovation Project, bringing their cumulative support to $1 million, earning naming rights for the facility. 

“For the future of dairy processing in Wisconsin to advance, innovation and modernization are essential,” said Trevor Wuethrich, president of Grassland Dairy Products, Inc. “We regard our donation as an investment in UWRF – and the future of our industry – by providing students with real life experiences. We are honored to have our names associated with this facility, which has earned its status as a dairy center of excellence.”

Combined with the support of state and university resources and many other dairy industry partners, the latest Wuethrich-Grassland contribution allows UWRF to complete the four-year, $8 million renovation and provide its students with state-of-the-art, hands-on learning experiences in the development, production and marketing of cheeses, ice cream and other dairy products. 

“The Wuethrich family and Grassland Dairy have been committed partners since we initiated plans for the dairy plant renovation more than 10 years ago,” said Michelle Farner, director of UWRF dairy production. “Throughout the process, they have been there for us, leading the way with their generous support and industry expertise. We cannot adequately thank them for the transformational gift which ensures not only the completion of the project but the creation of the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence, the first in Northwestern Wisconsin. Students and industry professionals alike will benefit from the educational investments made by our industry partners.”

“We are grateful for the remarkable support of the Wuethrich family, Grassland Dairy and all of our industry partners,” said Maria Gallo, UW-River Falls chancellor. “Thanks to their commitment, we will provide our students with amazing interactive experiences with the cutting-edge technology they need to become the next generation of dairy industry leaders.”

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Executive Director John Umhoefer has been an active advocate for the dairy plant renovation project and led his membership’s strong and generous commitment to the facility.

“Our members understand and appreciate the value of the renovated dairy plant and cheer the establishment of the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence,” Umhoefer said. 

“This is an investment in our industry’s future, and UWRF has earned industry support through focused leadership in the Chancellor’s and Dean’s offices, tireless execution by dairy plant manager Michelle Farner, and creative collaboration from Julie Stucky and the UWRF Advancement and Foundation teams. UW-Rivers Falls is a place where things get done.”

UWRF’s Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence is scheduled to launch operations in spring 2023.

It is not too late to support the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence. Email Julie Stucky ([email protected]) in University Advancement or call 715-425-4647 to learn more and discuss giving opportunities.