John Umhoefer, executive director of Wisconsin Cheese Makers Assn. says that by all measures, the biennial conference was a major success. And one of the best measures is the championship cheese auction which raised more than $150,000.
"That was the largest auction we have ever had for the championship cheese contest," Umhoefer says. "We are very pleased and our board has immediately looked at expand-ing the scholarships. We automatically put 50% into a scholarship fund."
That fund is used to provide four annual scholarships to students studying cheesemaking in Wisconsin. The auction also helps to pay of the cost of the contest which is one of the most extensive in the world.
This year, a silent auction was added to the program, and it raised an additional $2,000 to support a food assistance program of the United Way of Dane County Wisconsin. That auction featured eight second-place cheeses.
"The silent auction was a good start and it will get better as people begin to know that it will take place," Umhoefer said. "We wanted to pull Madison into the event and let them know what we are doing in the community and the United Way of Dane County's food assistance program seemed appropriate."