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Girl Scouts Learn All About Wisconsin Dairy
At Seven Acre Dairy Company, Girl Scouts learned about dairy product processing, which included making homemade cheese.

According to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, “a meeting in 1911 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette Gordon Low to establish Girl Scouts the following year. In a time of cultural change—but before women had the right to vote—Girl Scouts emphasized inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service.” Today, the focus areas of the Girl Scouts still encourage those same values, but they have expanded to include areas like science, computer coding, business skills, and agriculture.

Both the Girls Scouts and Alice in Dairyland programs have changed over the years, expanding focus areas to keep up with changing times. Highlighting women’s impacts on the world and encouraging the next generation have remained strong goals of the program. To build on these shared goals, since 2022, the Badgerland Girl Scouts and Alice in Dairyland have been teaming up to host the Girl Scouts Dairy Badge program, highlighting aspects of the dairy industry while teaching lifelong skills. 

This year, we have hosted four different educational sessions with the theme of “Adventures in the Milky Whey.” In September, we traveled to Hoard’s Dairyman Farm in Fort Atkinson to learn more about the history of the dairy industry in Wisconsin and how dairy farmers use skills, technology, and science to protect the environment and provide all of us with fresh, nutritious, and wholesome milk. There, Girl Scouts sampled different flavors of milk, including a Pumpkin Spice flavor that was a crowd favorite! Hinchley’s Dairy Farm, located in Cambridge, served as the host of our October session, focused on dairy industry technology and sustainability. Girl Scouts learned how 21st century equipment, such as robotic milking systems, keep dairy cows healthy and happy, and they also made butter on the farm! Another highlight of this visit was the chance for every Girl Scout to milk a cow with supervision from farm owner, Tina Hinchley. 

In January, we visited Seven Acre Dairy Company in Belleville to learn about the science of making dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, and butter. We learned about how milk travels from the dairy farm to the grocery store, and the Girl Scouts experimented with cheese making and toured the micro-plant for butter and ice cream. Our final program will take place at Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus, with a focus on entrepreneurship and ice cream. Girl Scouts will develop plans for their own ice cream shop and tour the ice cream and other dairy processing facilities at Sassy Cow. 

Girl Scouts who participate in the program will receive an “Adventures in the Milky Whey” patch, and a patch for each lesson they attend. A special thank you to the dairy farms and processors who have hosted, or will host, Badgerland Girl Scouts and Alice in Dairyland: Hoard’s Dairyman, Hinchley’s Dairy Farm, Seven Acre Dairy Company, and Sassy Cow Creamery. Each of these farms and businesses play an integral role in Wisconsin’s $45.6 billion dairy industry, and have allowed the Girl Scouts to explore farms; milk a cow; experiment with making dairy products; tour their dairy processing facilities; and enjoy butter, ice cream, and milk along the “whey!”

Follow along on the Alice in Dairyland Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn accounts to see highlights from my next Girl Scouts visit. If you know a Badgerland Girl Scout, encourage them to sign up for upcoming sessions of “Adventures in the Milky Whey” through the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland website.

—  Ashley Hagenow is the 76th Alice in Dairyland, Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador who works with media professionals to educate consumers about the importance of agriculture to Wisconsin’s economy and way of life. She can be reached at