UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
The Wuethrich family from left to right: Trevor, Tonia, Lois, Dallas and Tayt.
April 29, 2019 – Dallas Wuethrich, former president of Grassland Dairy Products, Inc. in Greenwood, was named the 2019 Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist by the UW-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the college’s 53rd Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet April 19.
Dean of CAFES Dale Gallenberg presented Wuethrich with the award, a framed copy of the charcoal sketch of his portrait that now resides in the Agriculture Hall of Fame on the UWRF campus alongside past honorees. In front of the audience of 300 students, family members, donors, faculty and staff, Wuethrich characteristically kept his remarks brief.
“I am honored to be joining such a prestigious group of individuals,” Wuethrich said. “You don’t do this by yourself, I have had the help of my family, particularly my wife, and we’ve been fortunate to have recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.”
He commented that many Grassland employees are graduates of UW-River Falls.
“You young individuals are our future to take the food and manufacturing industry to the next level,” he said.
Wuethrich is a third generation buttermaker, following his father into the business started by his grandfather in 1904. He became president in 1975, growing the small rural butter manufacturer into an innovative industry leading dairy processing company supplying products worldwide. One-third of all the butter sold in the U.S. is produced by Grassland.
Grassland was one of the first creameries to install a quality assurance laboratory and one of the first to utilize an anhydrous milk system. They invested in additional plants and to ensure an effective and efficient distribution system for their products, they established the Wuethrich Transportation Division.
As the company expanded and evolved, the emphasis was not only on production but also on environmental stewardship and their responsibility to the future. They are now able to produce three times more butter than 15 years ago and with less energy, land, water and with fewer emissions. Wuethrich and Grassland also take their responsibility to the future of their industry seriously. Grassland made one of the initial industry gifts in support of the CAFES Dairy Pilot Plant renovation project.
In 2014, after 39 years at the helm, Wuethrich turned over management of the company to the 4th generation, his two sons, Trevor and Tayt. Within the dairy processing industry, few individuals are as well-known at the state, national and international levels as Dallas Wuethrich. He was a founding member of the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, held various officer positions and was honored with their President’s Award in 2016. In 2017, he received the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association Industry Champion Award, given to individuals who through their business activities have created tremendous opportunities for others. He served as an officer on the board for the American Butter Institute for many years.
Wuethrich is the long time president and director of the Wuethrich Foundation. The Greenwood community and central Wisconsin has benefitted from Wuethrich’s generous support of community development, public welfare and education initiatives.
The Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist Award at UW-River Falls was established in 1970 to recognize individuals who have provided leadership, service and other contributions to the broader agricultural community. Wuethrich is the 50th awardee. To see previous honorees, visit www.uwrf.edu/CAFES/Awards.cfm.
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