A Column of Personal Opinion
by State Senator Sheila Harsdorf
Following one of the longest and coldest winters in decades, I know many are enjoying the recent pleasant weather and are looking forward to a wonderful Wisconsin summer. Community festivals have already begun in many areas this month and our summer celebrations will be in full swing starting with June Dairy Month.
Agriculture is an important component of our state’s economy, as it generates nearly $60 billion in economic activity annually and employs 10% of our state’s workforce – over 350,000 Wisconsin workers. Wisconsin has a proud history of being a national leader in dairy production and continues to be the top cheese producing state and ranks second in milk production. Additionally, Wisconsin’s exports of dairy-related products grew by 41% in 2013, amounting to nearly $400 million in trade.
We recognize our strong dairy farming industry each year during June Dairy Month. This provides us the opportunity to showcase our dairy industry and celebrate our agricultural heritage. I encourage you to join me in participating in June Dairy Month activities by visiting www.dairydaysofsummer.com to find events near you.
In addition to June’s Dairy Month events, Wisconsin’s Free Outdoor Fun Weekend will be held this month on June 7th and 8th. This annual event encourages residents to check out Wisconsin’s beautiful natural resources by waiving all state trail pass fees, state park admissions, and fishing license requirements. Many state parks will also make equipment available for use at no charge. More information on the Free Outdoor Fun Weekend can be found on the Department of Natural Resources’ website at www.dnr.wi.gov.
Another great resource for those seeking weekend outings or thinking about summer vacations is the Department of Tourism’s Travel Wisconsin website at www.travelwisconsin.com. Community festivals, art shows, farmer’s markets, and county fairs are just a few of the events highlighted through Travel Wisconsin. Those interested in more information can also frequently find details on community events through websites maintained by our area chambers of commerce and tourism bureaus.
Do you have suggestions on improving tourism promotion efforts in Wisconsin? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by visiting my website at www.harsdorfsenate.com or calling my office at 1-800-862-1092 or 608-266-7745.