Culver's commitment to agriculture runs deep and now the company is making a big investment in in agricultural education by pledging $250,000 to the Create. Cultivate. Educate. capital campaign to build the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center (WAEC).
The WAEC will be a state-of-the-art agricultural education center located in Manitowoc County in eastern Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Green Bay. It will provide visitors with the opportunity to connect to the industry by better understanding where their food comes from, and why agriculture is so important.
Since its inception, Culver's has built a reputation not only for high-quality, delicious food, but also through strong advocacy for the farmers who help them make it. From the cattle ranches of the Midwest to the dairy farms of Wisconsin and south to Georgia's chicken country, Culver's pays tribute to the farmers who grow the food they proudly serve. "Welcome to Delicious" is Culver's celebration of this close connection and has become the foundation on which they launched the "Thank You Farmers" campaign five years ago.
"The WAEC creates a unique opportunity for Culver's to continue spreading the word of appreciation for agriculture among our team members who work in Culver's restaurants and our guests," says Joseph Koss, president and CEO of Culver Franchising System, Inc. "We are so proud to partner with this new agricultural education asset in our home state of Wisconsin."
Culver's and the WAEC will collaborate to develop an education exhibit featuring the people of agriculture, which will also give visitors the opportunity to express their own thanks to farmers. The Center will include a discovery center that features hands-on learning opportunities through many displays, and an opportunity to tour Grotegut Dairy Farm, which focuses on sustainability and best farming practices while milking 2,400 cows three times a day. A highlight for visitors will be the chance to view the birth of calves from Grotegut Dairy Farm at the Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center's Land O'Lakes Birthing Barn.
"The WAEC is honored to be another extension of Culver's efforts to connect consumers to the agricultural industry," says Julie Maurer, WAEC Board president and Soaring Eagle Dairy owner, "As a producer, having Culver's be a champion for agriculture, has made a positive difference in the public's awareness and appreciation for the responsibility we have to feed our community. This new partnership will shine an even brighter light on the importance of our work and hopefully inspire the next generation of agricultural leaders."
This gift brings WAEC to 90% of their $13 million fundraising goal. Construction of the center is scheduled to resume this spring with a goal of welcoming their first visitors in Spring 2018.
"I cannot wait to see FFA students, agritourists and visitors of every generation take their educational journey through WAEC. And now to have this opportunity to say, 'Thank You Farmers,' as part of their experience is beyond exciting. It is at the heart of our shared missions," says Melissa Bender, WAEC director of education and programming.