Expect expanded learning opportunities and more tabletop displays at the 2019 Cheese Industry Conference. According to the conference’s organizers, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the Center for Dairy Research (CDR), the event will feature even more educational programming, thanks to partnerships with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and the U.S. Dairy Export Council. This year’s conference is slated for April 17-18 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.

“We’re packing more educational opportunities than ever before into the 2019 Cheese Industry Conference’s two-day schedule, and in the process, offering greater value to attendees,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA’s executive director.

The show’s organizers said this year’s seminars will focus on five main topics: business development and workforce retention, global cheese sales, food safety, quality cheesemaking and new industry technology and design practices.

“In partnership with our industry’s brightest minds and most impactful organizations, the 2019 Cheese Industry Conference will offer seminars of interest for everyone from the marketer to the maintenance technician, and from the artisan cheesemaker to the quality assurance manager,” Umhoefer said.

The conference will begin on April 17 with a keynote address delivered by Chris McChesney, co-author of the best-selling book titled The 4 Disciplines of Execution and general manager of FranklinCovey, a global consultancy for strategic business execution. McChesney will focus on tools for employee retention and motivation, WCMA and CDR said.


More learning opportunities

Following the keynote, the conference will offer three concurrent seminars: “Dry Dairy Foods Safety Panel and Best Practices,” offered by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy; “Quality Swiss Cheese Production,” offered by CDR; and “Essential Principles of Cheesemaking,” also offered by CDR.

On the afternoon of April 17, the conference will feature its largest-ever tabletop exhibition hall, with 297 booths showcasing the industry’s supplier partners.

On April 18, the Cheese Industry Conference will feature 11 seminars, including “Opportunities for Global Cheese Sales,” offered by the U.S. Dairy Export Council; “The Latest Research in Pathogen Control,” from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy; and “Intentional Adulteration and Quality Tools for Artisans,” offered by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. CDR will offer a diverse array of sessions that morning: “Quality Improvements for 640-pound Cheddar Block Production,”  “New Applications of Membrane Technology in Cheesemaking” and “Best Practices in Plant Design and Sanitation.” WCMA and CDR said they will also co-present on artificial intelligence, blockchain and the industrial internet.

On the afternoon of April 18, conference attendees will enjoy their choice of interactive workshops, with CDR presenting private “Ask the Cheese Expert” sessions for a limited number of participants and WCMA offering a cheese and butter grading clinic for all.

The conference will feature other fun events, including the Chr. Hansen Reception and Auction of Championship Cheeses. Gold medal butter, cheese and whey from the 2019 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest will be auctioned off to support WCMA industry training programs, scholarships and ongoing support for dairy universities. Another highlight is the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest, in which dairy students from colleges across the United States compete for top honors in assessing several dairy product categories.

There will also be two networking offerings on April 16 before the conference formally kicks off. During the afternoon, WCMA will host a Workforce Connections mixer. Later in the evening, there will be a gathering for young professionals in the dairy industry at the nearby Brass Ring Bar and Restaurant.

According to the event’s organizers, this year’s Cheese Industry Conference will bring together over 2,400 cheese industry leaders, suppliers, marketers and other industry members.

Complete details and registration information are available now at CheeseConference.org.