The Dairy Business Association has sent a letter urging legislators not to sponsor proposed legislation that could remove the “America’s Dairyland” slogan from Wisconsin license plates.

Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha, is circulating the language of the bill, which would require the state Department of Transportation to contract with an art education association to hold a contest for high school students to design the state’s next license plate. The winning submission would receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The bill, which is yet to be introduced, eliminates the requirement that the plate display the “America’s Dairyland” brand. Lawmakers have until Friday to sign up as co-sponsors.

DBA President Mike North’s letter to legislators says Allen’s bill “would discredit our heritage, insult those responsible for one of our state’s most powerful economic sectors and foolishly undermine our state’s brand image.”

Companies, municipalities and states spend decades and millions of dollars to develop a brand, North said.

“We have a brand. It is viewed positively by the overwhelming majority of people,” North said. “We have spent more than a century and a lot effort and money to create this brand. It does not make sense to back away from it. At a minimum, we should be quietly thankful. Even better, we should do more to strengthen our brand.”

In a news release titled “Dairy lobby shows udder disregard for rebranding,” Allen said Wisconsin makes the best cheese in America, but there’s more to the state than its dairy industry.

“The dairy lobby evidently has a beef with trying to update our state license plate. I’m no chicken,” Allen said. “I won’t be swayed by a special interest that represents a small slice of Wisconsin’s workers. And I’ll say it until the cows come home.”