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Every Badger knows that Babcock Hall is famed for its ice cream. But campus’s lactose palace does more than scoops and shakes. It’s a fully functioning dairy that produces cheese for eating and milk for drinking, as well as material for dairy research. Over the course of a year, Babcock Hall requires 2 million pounds of raw milk, according to Bill Klein, the dairy plant manager.

On days when the plant is operating, it brings in between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds, about 3,000 of which come from the UW’s own dairy herd. The rest is supplied by Foremost Farms, a Wisconsin cooperative.

Of the thousand tons of moo juice Babcock receives each year, about 60 percent — something north of a million pounds — is bottled for sale as drinking milk. The rest is divided among cheesemaking,
ice cream, and dairy research.

Ultimately, the dairy makes between 35,000 and 40,000 pounds of cheese a year, in twenty-one different varieties — there are six different varieties of Cheddar alone.

In terms of ice cream, Babcock Hall creates close to 75,000 gallons each year, and vanilla remains, by far, the most popular flavor. “It’s the base for shakes and sundaes,” Klein explains. “But after that, the most popular would be either cookies and cream or cookie dough. Those two do really well.”

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