Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Delicious Revenue-Generating Idea for UW-Madison

This story in today's New York Times made me happy because it emphasized an approach to revenue-generation consistent with the mission of many public universities, especially land-grant institutions: develop ways to produce excellent agricultural output.   Washington State University is selling beef, including Wagyu, and marketing it to alumni-- among others.

This is a perfect fit for UW-Madison, which could strategically expand its exist talents via the Babcock Dairy (ice cream and cheese) and Bucky's Butchery, as well as the excellent crops that could be produced by star faculty.

Here's a sample line of potential UW-Madison products that could be marketed throughout the Midwest and indeed across the country to our adoring alumni. 
  1. Ice cream It's already available, but why not ship it to alumni who miss it? As a friend put it, who wouldn't want to try ice cream made by the flagship university of America's dairyland?
  2. Cheeses (we have award winning cheddar, already in gift sets, but why not market this in tandem with the book store?)
  3. Cuts of beef, pork, and lamb --all of which Bucky's already offers; this need only be scaled up.
  4. Bucky sausages (these already exist)
  5. Bucky's Hot Sticks (these already exist)
  6. Former Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Bill Tracy's famous corn (and canned corn)
  7. Professor Irwin Goldman's beautiful beets (and canned beets)
Moreover, the  Madison community could easily facilitate a community-supported agricultural model, which might also produce food for the campus and the child care sites therein.

This is the kind of money-making activity that benefits the school without compromising any core values and actually growing educational opportunities for students in an area highly-supported by the state legislature. It's worth serious thought.

ps. I've been informed by uwbadger74 on Twitter that a UW Regents policy prohibits these sorts of activities because they compete with private businesses. That policy is here, and should be revisited.