UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

  • Dairy Innovation Hub cover photo
  • Cows in a Dairy Nutrition Lab at the Mann Valley Farm

Dairy Innovation Hub

Dairy Innovation Hub

The Dairy Innovation Hub is based on legislation originally introduced by Senator Howard Marklein and Representative Travis Tranel on May 1, 2019 and the original Dairy Innovation Hub concept that was endorsed 27-1 by the Dairy Task Force 2.0 in Dec. 2018.

The original legislation directed 52% of the funding to UW–Madison CALS and 24% each to UW–Platteville and UW–River Falls, home to UW System’s other agricultural programs. This represents a significant increase in state funding for agricultural research at each of the three campuses.

The funding will support research personnel, farms and labs in four areas related to dairy that each span many academic disciplines:

  • Stewarding land and water resources
  • Enriching human health and nutrition
  • Ensuring animal health and welfare
  • Growing farm businesses and communities

“This is a wonderful opportunity for increased collaboration among our campuses,” said Dale Gallenberg, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at UW-River Falls. “We look forward to serving as a model for other collaborative initiatives within the UW System.”

Our primary focus in Year 1 of the Dairy Innovation Hub was establishment of a framework for efficient and effective utilization of the ongoing base funding. This will help ensure the additional capacity created in research, teaching and outreach at UWRF is properly focused and sustainable.

We formed a campus DIH Steering Committee comprised of department chairs, faculty and staff from across CAFES to help provide oversight of activities. The Committee is charged with making funding decisions on proposals submitted for the various DIH priority areas.

Year 1 funding at UWRF was spent on Equipment, Supplies and Facilities Renovations. Laboratories on the main campus as well as our dairy facility at the Mann Valley Farm benefitted from these funds. Analytical equipment, basic laboratory renovations, hutches for young cattle, and installation of gates and panels for dairy herd separation are examples.

We also awarded several Faculty Research Fellowships which are in progress with Year 2 funding. These fellowships provide the capacity for current faculty at UWRF, most of which have 100% teaching appointments during the 9-month academic year, to further engage in research projects important to the DIH’s overall goals. Faculty fellows will receive reassigned time during the academic year and/or engage in summer projects. Fellowships also carry some additional funding for supplies and equipment. The initial awards cover multiple research projects across several departments in CAFES, and nearly all involve multiple faculty in a collaborative approach.

Looking ahead to Year 2, our DIH activity will expand with increased funding to include new faculty hires as well as research support staff. Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellowships will also be established. Additional Faculty Research Fellowships and Equipment/Supplies/Facilities Renovations proposals will be funded.

Dairy Innovation Hub River Falls logo


UWRF Steering Committee

  • Steve Kelm, Animal and Food Science Professor
  • Peter Rayne, Animal and Food Science Department Chair
  • Holly Dolliver, Plant and Earth Science Department Chair
  • Brenda Boetel, Agricultural Economics Department Chair
  • Joel Peterson, Agricultural Engineering Technology Department Chair
  • Greg Zwald (ex-officio), Farm Director
  • Dale Gallenberg (ex-officio), Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Advisory Council

The Dairy Innovation Hub’s advisory council has 11 members, including five dairy industry leaders, five faculty from participating universities and one representative from DATCP. The representative from UWRF is Steve Kelm. Read more.