“About 22 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy farmers use managed grazing as their system for providing the bulk feed for their cattle,” says Laura Paine, a grazing and organic agriculture specialist with the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.advertisementadvertisement“With the state’s tradition of artisan and value-added dairy production, it made sense to build on this foundation and explore the opportunity for grass-fed milk products in the marketplace.”Paine coordinated the project, which included four years of research by farmers, processors, chefs and University of Wisconsin scientists on the chemistry and culinary performance of grass-based products. Consumer taste panels and a professional focus group were conducted. A market research report and video also were created.“Our group found that the color, texture, aroma and flavor of grass-based products were different from conventional dairy products,” Paine says. “Through formal and informal evaluations of the products, their performance and consumer response, we were able to make recommendations.”Final recommendations included the need to organize grass-based dairy farmers and generate funds for marketing. The industry needs to create a standard that ensures the integrity of grass-based products and come to a consensus on what terms should be used to describe pasture-based milk.“This project allowed us to find opportunities in the marketplace for grass-based products and identify challenges,” Paine said. “By sharing the findings, we will be able to move the industry forward.”advertisement—From Wisconsin Department of Agriculture news release For years a group of Wisconsin collaborators explored pasture-based systems as a source of “specialty milk” for value-added dairy processing. The final report of this research, possible through a North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant, is now available.