Dairy farmer-owned co-op’s cheeses earn top honors
NEW ULM, Minn. (Nov. 18, 2021) — The cheesemakers of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) are bringing home five, first-place and three, second-place finishes following the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest. In addition, a Pasteurized Process American and Monterey Jack Cheese with Red Bell and Jalapeno Peppers loaf made at the cooperative’s plant in Portage, Wis., received the NMPF Reserve Chairman’s Award. A hand-crafted Parmesan made in Hoven, S.D., was named best of class in the Italian division.
“Making award-winning cheese is a team effort at AMPI,” said Mike Wolkow, AMPI senior vice president of operations. “The dedication of our dairy farm families and cheesemakers — at every step in the cheesemaking process — delivers a great bite, every time.”
AMPI cheesemakers are being recognized at the contest held in conjunction with NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the United Dairy Industry Association and National Dairy Promotion and Research Board in Las Vegas, Nev. Cheese made at AMPI plants received the following awards:
First, Processed American Flavored, Pasteurized Process American and Monterey Jack Cheese with Red Bell and Jalapeno Peppers loaf – Portage, Wis.
First, Hard Italian, Parmesan – Hoven, S.D.
First, Mild Cheddar – Blair, Wis.
First, Colby Jack – Jim Falls, Wis.
First, Pepper Jack – Jim Falls Wis.
Second, Colby – Sanborn, Iowa
Second, Medium Cheddar – Blair, Wis.
Second, Processed American Plain – Portage, Wis.
“While our cheese regularly places well in national contests, this collection of awards is a first for AMPI,” said Marshall Reece, AMPI senior vice president of sales and marketing. “The recognition reaffirms our Co-op Crafted promise — AMPI farm families care for their land and animals, and partner with skilled craftsmen to make award-winning dairy products for our customers to enjoy.”
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers. The co-op launched its Dinner Bell Creamery brand and accompanying Co-op Crafted promise in 2019, highlighting more than 50 years of dairy farm families partnering with skilled dairy craftsmen to make great-tasting, award-winning products. AMPI members annually market about 4.8 billion pounds of milk generating $1.8 billion in sales.
AMPI cheesemakers were awarded five, first-place finishes at the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest in Las Vegas, Nev. Receiving the awards were, beginning second from left, AMPI board members Doug Carroll, Ryan, Iowa; Cal Graber, Hurley, S.D.; Doug Temme, Wayne, Neb.; AMPI Co-President and CEO Sheryl Meshke, New Ulm, Minn.; AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen, Albany, Minn.; and AMPI board member Tom Hoscheit, Caledonia, Minn. Presenting the awards are, far left, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern and, far right, NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney.