Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on March 18 announced Marìa Josè Fuenzalida as the new dairy and livestock educator for Dane County UW-Extension.
Fuenzalida recently received her doctorate in dairy science from University of Wisconsin—Madison, where she gained extensive experience collaborating with dairy farmers and conducting research trials on dairy farms.
Fuenzalida’s hire comes after County Executive Parisi included over $52,000 in his 2019 budget to restore a state funding cut that left Dane County, like many other counties in Wisconsin, without a dairy and livestock educator.
“We are excited to welcome Marìa Josè Fuenzalida to Dane County UW-Extension as our new dairy and livestock educator,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Agriculture is a key component to our local economy, generating billions in economic activity each year. Marìa Josè will be able to provide important services to our farmers as they navigate the changing dairy industry and will fill a gap that Dane County had been experiencing due to state spending cuts.”
Governor Walker’s final biennial budget, approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature in September of 2017, cut funding UW-Extension needed to help provide county-based agriculture agents like dairy and livestock educators.
Governor Evers’ budget, introduced to the people of Wisconsin two and a half weeks ago, would restore $3.5 million to the UW-Extension budget and add 20 full-time county-based agriculture agents. It is pending before the Legislature.
As Dane County UW-Extension’s new dairy and livestock educator, Fuenzalida will focus on designing, delivering, and evaluating programs and services related to dairy production and farm management. She will work to strengthen general agriculture outreach and education, agricultural youth programs and 4-H livestock education committees, and relationships among the County’s agricultural, natural resource, conservation, and urban committees.
Fuenzalida previously served as a lecturer for Madison Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She has also presented at various PDPW (Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin) events and World Dairy Expo seminars. Prior to earning a doctorate in dairy science, Fuenzalida received her DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) from Austral University of Chile. She is bilingual and has experience teaching in both English and Spanish. She began her new position on March 18.