The 2013 Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference  (WCIC) will see more than 1,400 cheese industry leaders from around the nation gather for  the latest in cheese technology, product safety, marketing and dairy issues. The conference, which is co-hosted by the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, takes place at La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis., April 17-18.

The WCIC will open with a keynote address and general session on the first day, followed by a tabletop mini-exposition in the afternoon.  There will be an auction of champion cheeses from the 2013 United States Championship Cheese Contest in the evening. The second day of the event will consist of morning seminars and an afternoon executive session. The conference will close that evening with the United States Champion Cheese Contest reception and awards banquet, which is open to all attendees.

This year’s conference includes more seminars and workshops than  previous shows, according to John Umhoefer, executive director of Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.  He also said it features the largest tabletop expo in the history of the event. The seminars will cover topics on milk quality, whey processing and cultured dairy products.  For more information about the show, go to  Click here to view the Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference (WCIC) floor plan.


The Event Schedule

Wednesday, April 17

7 a.m. –  6 p.m. — Registration open

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.           

General Session

    Sponsored by Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

Milk Quality, Biofilms and Dairy Products

    Learn how U.S. milk quality fares compared to the global milk supply and explore factors that impact milk quality from the farm to the plant, including potential sources for quality issues and recommendations to improve quality.  There will also be research updates on gas formers and spore levels in milk, and their impact on dairy products.

    Moderator: John Lucey, director, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, and author of The Cheese Doctor column in Dairy Foods

How does the U.S. Raw Milk Supply Stack up Globally?

    Invited Speaker (Irish Dairy Board)

Biofilms and Bacteria – Where are the Issues on the Farm and in the Plant?

    Mark Johnson, assistant director and senior scientist, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

Are Biofilms Caused by Sanitation Issues?

    Tony Erickson, principal chemist, CIP Anchor Team, Food & Beverage Processing, Ecolab

Processing Options for Controlling Spores – A Global Perspective

    Heinrich Iversen, Tetra Pak                                             

11a.m. – Noon

Meeting Today’s Challenge: A CEO Roundtable

    The U.S. cheese industry’s leading CEOs must chart a course through divisive dairy policy, rising export opportunities, milk supplies tightened by expensive grain, drought, demands for sustainability and stiff competition.  Listen for insights as CEOs in the U.S. cheese industry take the stage for a discussion.


    • Jon Davis, CEO, Davisco Foods International, Le Sueur, Minn.

    • Dave Fuhrmann, president, Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo, Wis.

    • John Jeter, CEO, Hilmar Cheese Co., Hilmar, Calif.

    • Jeff Williams, president & CEO, Glanbia Foods, Twin Falls, Idaho

Noon – 1p.m.

WCMA Luncheon

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association hosts a celebratory lunch to recognize the industry donors that achieved success in the fund-raising campaign for the Babcock Hall remodel and new Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wis.

12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Tabletop Mini-Expo

    186 supplier partners exhibit their latest ideas and technology. See the exhibitors and a floor plan on page 86 and 88.

5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. — Auction                                                 

    A celebration of great cheeses and cheesemakers from the 2013 U. S. Championship Cheese Contest, the event will auction off gold medal cheeses to support WCMA scholarships, WCMA’s Member Education Initiative and the Championship Cheese Contest. See a video of the 2011 auction. Go to


Thursday, April 18                                                               

7a.m. – 6 p.m. — Registration Open

8:30 a.m.  – Noon

Concurrent Sessions

Sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

The Food Safety Modernization Act – Are You Prepared?

    As the implementation of the new provisions within the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) take effect, these new regulatory requirements will impact every dairy company in the United States. This session will explore the key components of these new regulations and industry experts will discuss the “whys” behind and the “how to” meet these new rules.

    Moderator: Matt Mathison, WMMB


Food Safety Modernization Act – An FDA Perspective on Dairy Food Safety

    John F. Sheehan, director, Division of Plant and Dairy Food Safety, FDA (invited)

Components of a Written Food Safety Plan

    Janet Raddatz, vice president - Quality & Food Safety Systems – Sargento Foods Inc.

Preventive Controls – Preparing Your Risk Assessments

    Speaker to be announced

Documentation and Records – A Key to Success

    Speaker TBA

Validation and Verification of Your Food Safety Plan

    Speaker TBA

How to Prepare For and Survive an FDA Inspection

      Elizabeth B. Fawell, associate, Hogan Lovells, Washington, D.C. (invited)

8:30 a.m.  – Noon

Concurrent Session

Sponsored by Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

Which Whey to Go? Today’s Challenges and Opportunities

    Learn about the latest whey research on topics such as native whey, charged membranes and conjugates. Learn how to deal with whey processing issues such as cooling, acid whey and decolorization; and how to make it all profitable for your operation.

Moderator:  Dean Sommer, cheese & food technologist, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research


Latest Research:  Native Whey, Conjugates, and Charged Membranes

    KJ Burrington, coordinator, Ingredients Functionality, Cultured Products, and Beverages, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

How to Deal with Whey Processing Issues such as Decolorization and Acid Whey

    Karen Smith, PhD; Dairy Processing Technologist, CDR

How to Maximize Returns from your Whey Stream; Options and Issues

    Rich Scheuerman, president, RS Strategic Consulting

Recommendations from the Wisconsin Whey Opportunities Consortium

    John Lucey, director, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

8:30 a.m.  – Noon

Concurrent Session

Sponsored by Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

Opportunities in Fresh Cheeses and Cultured Products

    Greek Yogurt has reinvigorated the yogurt category, with yogurt’s growth outpacing the rest of the U.S. food industry.  Quark and Kefir are now part of our terminology.  This session will explore the growth potential, the processing opportunities, including traditional versus membrane processing, and uses for Greek whey, as well as provide a look at the latest equipment available for cultured products manufacturing. 

    Moderator:  KJ Burrington, coordinator, Dairy Ingredients, Cultured Products and Beverages, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research


What is the Landscape of the Current US Market for Cultured Products and What Can We Learn from the Europeans? 

    Speaker TBA

Overview on Concentrated Yogurt – Definition and Standards; How is it Made? What is the Difference Between Varieties?

    Dana Wolle, PhD, assistant coordinator, Cheese Industry and Applications, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research         

Processing Greek Yogurt:  Traditional vs. Membrane Processing, Quality Parameters, and Uses for Greek Whey

    Mike Molitor, senior instrumentation technologist/process pilot plant manager, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

Processing Greek Yogurt Using Ceramic Ultrafiltration

    Speaker TBA

Processing Greek Yogurt Using Quark/Nozzle and Cream Cheese Separators; Bactofuge

    Speaker TBA                     

Noon – 1 p.m.

DuPont Luncheon & WCMA Annual Meeting

    DuPont provides a lunch to accompany the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.  WCMA will acknowledge our new graduates from the Management Skills for Dairy Professionals certificate program and celebrate honorees of WCMA’s Distinguished Service Award.

1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.                            

Concurrent Workshops

Sponsored by Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

Exclusive Engagement: Profit Mastery featuring Steve LeFever

    A limited number of Conference attendees can sign up to attend this appearance from Seattle-based finance expert Steve LeFever.  Steve has coached hundreds of businesses in financial aptitude and will present one of his most popular modules:  A Focus on Unit Profitability and Performance.

1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.                            

Concurrent Workshop

Sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Cheese 101 to Sales 101

    A limited number of Conference attendees can join Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s marketing gurus for a workshop that links cheese knowledge to the knowledge of customers.  Dave Leonhardi and Sara Hill from WMMB have designed this workshop for cheese industry sales staff.  The workshop provides an understanding of cheesemaking alongside an understanding of how a company’s products fit with today’s foodservice trends and pairings.  The workshop will challenge companies to work more effectively with distributors, retailers and restaurants and maximize their trade show impact. 

1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Concurrent Workshop

Sponsored by Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research

Honing your Cheese Contest & Cheese Grading Skills

    A limited number of Conference attendees can sign up to attend this hands-on, inside look at cheese contest judging and cheese evaluation.  Join experts Mark Johnson, Marianne Smukowski, John Jaeggi and Luis Jiménez-Maroto from Center for Dairy Research for this look at how cheese is graded and how winners are discovered.  Workshop attendees will sample cheeses from the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest and expert industry graders will be on hand to assist attendees with the art of cheese evaluation and defect detection.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

United States Champions Reception

    Champion cheesemakers and buttermakers from the 2013 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest gather for a night of fellowship and fun, beginning with a reception.

5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.                                 

United States Champions Awards Banquet

    The Awards Banquet is the cheese industry’s most memorable evening as hard work and craftsmanship are celebrated and honored.  

8 p.m.

Millerbernd Afterglow Reception

Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference  (WCIC)