The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and other dairy groups do not agree with a bill that would remove "America's Dairyland" from the state's license plates.
State Rep. Scott Allen's billproposes a contest in 2018 for high school students to redesign Wisconsin's license plates for a $1,000 scholarship.
Allen's memo to legislators said, "Our national advertisement should reflect where we are going as a state and not where we have been."
Allen says that more than 70 percent of Wisconsinites live in urban areas, and 88 percent of the state's workers work at a place unrelated to agriculture.
WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer disagrees and shared his own statistics:
“Dairy generates $43.4 billion of economic activity and directly supports tens of thousands of jobs in Wisconsin. Cheese manufacturing has steadily grown in Wisconsin, with an annual average growth of 2.8 percent since 1970. Wisconsin cheese-makers lead the nation, producing more than three billion pounds of cheese each year, and expect to increase their production by more than 250 million pounds by 2019."
The Professional Dairy Producers and the Dairy Business Association also oppose the bill.
Allen responded to the opposition. He pointed out that a single industry has had exclusive ownership of the state's license plates for 60 years. He emphasized the bill would not prohibit the slogan from students' entries, it would just not be a requirement.
Last month, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce head Kurt Bauer suggested that "America's Dairyland" should be replaced with something more modern, like "Forward."