District 18 (Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha counties)
Incumbent Dean Strauss of Sheboygan Falls is running unopposed.
Candidate: Dean Strauss
Farm Name: Majestic Crossing Dairy
County of Residence: Sheboygan
When did you begin dairy farming? Full time in 1998
How many cows do you milk? 1,900 cows
Where do you ship your milk? Sartori and Land O'Lakes
Please name any ag-related organizations or affiliations you belong to:
Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin
Dairy Business Association
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Have you (or your farm) received special recognition or won any relevant awards?
2003 Wisconsin Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer "Speak up for Ag" winner
Why do you want to serve on the WMMB Board?
I believe in the future of our dairy industry and want Wisconsin to succeed as a leader in the world market. Wisconsin continues to produce some of the finest cheeses in the world and has the awards to reconcile that fact. Wisconsin artisan cheeses continue to excel in completion and continue to add tremendous value to our dairy producers. Wisconsin has the landscape and infrastructure to help us stay competitive. I believe producers need to be active in helping build and maintain Wisconsin's brand awareness and take ownership of our actions. We need to promote, be proactive and listen to our consumers. Social media will continue to be a driving force in how consumers gather information about the dairy business. We need to be ready and use some of these tools to our advantage. Dairy producers today still hold a relatively high level of consumer confidence and we need to use that asset to our advantage by telling our story.
What else should dairy producers in your area know about you?
Demonstrating leadership is an important part of Wisconsin's dairy industry. It is our belief at Majestic Crossing Dairy to be involved and serve when appropriate. The past 3 years I have had the opportunity to serve the producers of District 18 on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. During this time, I was able to serve as chair of the Center for Dairy Research committee and Chair of the Channel Management Committee. This past year, I was able to serve Wisconsin Farm Bureau as their Dairy Policy Chair. Previously, I have had the opportunity to serve on the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) board of directors for six years, cumulating in the role of President. During this time, I was appointed to a position on the Wisconsin Beef Council for six years in an effort to educate consumers about beef and that dairy producers are also producers of beef. In 2006, the opportunity was there to serve as Sheboygan County Farm Technology Days Publicity Chair.
The dairy business is constantly changing and we need proactive leadership that is engaged and in places that can help make a difference. I have had the opportunity through PDPW to serve on the National Dairy Animal Well Being Initiative, which includes a group of stakeholders throughout the dairy industry. Through these experiences, I was better able to understand what the consumers were wanting. This taught me what dairy producers need to be doing in order to validate the care of our animals. This process led Majestic Crossing Dairy to become one of the first in the country to be Validus Animal Welfare Certified.