Wisconsin is in the midst of a big debate…about their license plates. Of all things, this topic is actually hotly discussed as the current slogan ‘America’s Dairyland’ (which has been around for more than 75 years) has been under the eye of the state’s business lobby. There has been talk of possibly replacing the plate’s slogan with “Forward,” Wisconsin’s official motto.
The arguments surround the idea that Wisconsin is more than just dairy cows and milk. This state has a number of different attractions and business ventures (which is both exciting and true), but according to the lobby, we need to share it on our required $75 permanent bumper stickers. I’m not really convinced, and here are my reasons.
1. A Thank You
Honestly, I have always loved how our state has had this slogan on every license plate. To me it’s a real acknowledgement to the state’s hard working farmers, who don’t hear, “Hey thanks!” every time a glass of milk is poured. (I mean yeah farmers get paid, but isn’t it nice to hear you’re doing a good job at work?)
2. Sweet Cheddar
Wisconsin is the easiest place in the world to get GOOD cheese! Honestly, people travel here (likey by car) to get our cheese, and some places don’t have coolers overflowing with cheese at their grocery stores like we do here. We may not produce the most milk anymore, but we do produce the most cheese! And, the dairy industry provides over $40 million in economic activity in Wisconsin. (DATCP)
3. Packers = Cheese
One of the symbols of our great state is the Cheesehead. If you can walk into Lambeau Field and not see one of these iconic yellow and holey hats, there must be a lot of Bears fans around.
4. Our Roots
Wisconsin residents in some sense, have a connection to agriculture. If they weren’t from a farm family, their best buddy likely was. Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes of driving to see a red barn on the side of the road (a very recognizable scene, which is also depicted on our current plates.) And ag provides this state 354,000 jobs, which is over 10 percent (Wisconsin Farm Bureau).
We joke about our love of brats filled with cheese and that we all smell the diary-air, but it’s part of one of our longest traditions to be ‘America’s Dairyland.’ No other state can claim that, why change what we already are doing a very good job at?
If Wisconsin is truly in a crisis to share our other exciting features, is changing the license plate the best and most effective way to change the perception of our home?
At the end of the day Wisconsin is the best place in the world to live and work, and I’m not going to move if the plates change. Wisconsin has so much to offer the world, our visitors and our residents, and I want that to be known by everyone.
As of today (Nov. 15), Governor Scott Walker said the plate change will probably not happen. If it does happen, I’ll be the first to buy myself an ‘America’s Dairyland’ bumper sticker to go right above my new plates.
Full disclosure, along with being a lifelong Wisconsin resident and champion of all things Wisconsin, I’m also a farm kid. To be more specific, I’m a dairy farmer’s daughter. I’m also a 4-H alumni and leader, member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and I a run a small farm photography business. My entire life is all about agriculture and dairy cows. My weekend visits to my parents are equal parts family time and cow time.
I might be biased as a farmer’s daughter and that might make me shortsighted, but I firmly believe Wisconsin is already doing a good job at attracting others to visit, move and work here. Think of what could be done with the cash it will take to change our license plates?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
For more information on the license plate story:
Would you like to document your family farm with heirloom photos and a written history to share with your family, friends and future generations? Contact photographer and writer Alyssa Bloechl for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 920-445-8727.