Originating in 1937 as National Milk Month, June has evolved into National Dairy Month (International Dairy Foods Association). Dairy is an excellent source of vitamins and protein, providing nutrients to support growing bodies. It is a staple food eaten in a variety of ways across the world–including cheese. Cheese is among Wisconsin’s largest export. Recently, a Wisconsin cheese won the World Championship Cheese Contest, making this the first time a United States cheese earned this honor since 1988 (Wisconsin State Journal, March 10, 2016). For Dairy Month, CareerLocker highlights occupations that are crucial to the success of agriculture and dairy industries. Not only is producing dairy products an important endeavor, but also caring for the health of animals in the dairy industry is central to the success of Wisconsin farmers. Dairy, agriculture, and transportation professionals produce and move foods and commodities, while veterinary technicians care for the animals that produce milk. These occupations are part of the processes that allow for delicious contributions to the world. Transporting agricultural and dairy products keeps us MOOOOOVING in more than one way.
- Cheesemakers–Cheesemakers direct the preparation, curing, packaging, and storage of cheeses. They direct the heating of the milk and check butter fat levels adjusting them as necessary. They add enzymes such as rennin that curdles the milk to create the desired texture, and/or enzymes and molds to produce the distinct flavor of each type of cheese.They make log entries recording the steps and time frames involved in producing each batch of cheese. When a dairy product of high quality has been created, they supervise the storage, packaging, and shipment of those products. See our posting on Facebook of a video about LaClare farms and learn about Katie Fuhrann, a Wisconsin cheesemaker.
- Heavy Truck Drivers/Diesel Technicians—For the month of March, Careers Forward highlighted heavy truck drivers, as a high-skill and high-demand occupation. This month, CareerLocker emphasizes this occupation’s importance to dairy and agriculture industries. Just like transportation helps move people around, drivers and mechanics also help in the process of moving food and agricultural products. Heavy truck drivers transport and deliver goods, such as dairy, corn, soy, and wheat, over short and long distances. Without the assistance of diesel technicians, heavy truck drivers would not be able to do their jobs. Diesel technicians repair and maintain diesel engines, which power machinery used in farming, construction, and transportation. Without the transportation of food, agricultural professionals would not be able to get their products to consumers.
- Veterinary Technicians—Caring for the treatment of animals is central to dairy and animal husbandry industries. Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians as they examine and treat animals. They often administer anesthetics to animals and assist veterinarians as they perform surgical procedures. They lift and handle animals and give them medication as prescribed by the veterinarian. They note the condition and behavior of animals and report these observations to the veterinarian. They may do laboratory tests to identify diseases or parasites. Some specialize in caring for small animals and work in veterinary clinics that care for dogs and/or cats. Others assist veterinarians who care for large animals such as cattle or endangered species housed in zoos. This is a Hot Occupation. Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 20%.
Co-written by Asma Easa and Julie M. Hau.
Asma Easa works at the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of five regional transportation workforce centers in the country. She has dual masters in International Public Affairs, and Urban and Regional Planning. Her focus areas include education policy and development.