Pamela Ruegg
Pamela Ruegg

Pamela Ruegg talks about bringing Wisconsin-style dairy farming to China.

TRANSCRIPT below. To listen to the audio clip of the interview, visit: 

Sevie Kenyon: Pamela, tell us what you are doing in China.

Pamela Ruegg: The Dairy Science Department itself, and I’m leading a team, is working with the Nestle Company to develop a dairy farming institute. And our part of that dairy farming institute in northeastern China is development of a teaching curriculum for farmers, consultants, veterinarians and others throughout China.

Sevie Kenyon: Pamela, can you describe for us what the Chinese are trying to address with these dairy initiatives.

Pamela Ruegg: There is an enormous demand for animal protein, specifically milk protein in China. They’re estimating that by 2020 to meet that need would require the entire output of Australia and New Zealand combined, an additional entire output. So there’s a need to develop the Chinese dairy industry.

Sevie Kenyon: Pamela, go ahead and describe your role in this new initiative.

Pamela Ruegg: Our role is a unique example of how the status of the Wisconsin dairy industry is recognized globally. We’re recognized here in Wisconsin as being leaders in the dairy industry. They came to us and asked us ‘could you help us develop a curriculum to help raise the overall level of knowledge – science-based – that will result in safer and higher quality food products?’

Sevie Kenyon: Pamela, go ahead and describe the project a little bit, how long is it going to last, how many people does it involve?

Pamela Ruegg: I think it’ll ultimately involve most people in the Dairy Science Department, many people outside of the Dairy Science Department such as in the School of Veterinary Medicine, Biological Systems Engineering, Agricultural Economics, we’ve even got some people that are curriculum designers from other colleges involved. Our initial contract is for three years. The project, we think, may go well beyond. The Institute itself is meant to be a permanent institute.

Sevie Kenyon: Perhaps you can tell us how this may benefit the state of Wisconsin.

Pamela Ruegg: Through our participation in it our supporting the Wisconsin businesses and co-ops that are partnering with Nestle in the Dairy Farming Institute. We’re also hoping our participation in this project will ultimately enhance the markets for our Wisconsin agribusinesses who plan to contribute to the development of the dairy farming infrastructure in China.

Sevie Kenyon: Pamela, perhaps you could look into your crystal ball a little bit, what will the Chinese dairy business look like, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now?

Pamela Ruegg: The industry is rapidly growing; there’s a lot of investment in it. This particular project is meant to stimulate the development of Wisconsin-style farms. So the goal of Nestle is to kind of replicate what we’ve got here that is so beneficial for our state and our industry where we have a lot of independent producers producing milk in a very sustainable fashion.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Pamela Ruegg, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.