The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), Madison, Wis., is calling for nominations of individuals to be considered for formal recognition in 2020 for their outstanding contributions to the dairy processing industry. WCMA members have through Friday, August 16 to make their recommendations.

The WCMA Cheese Industry Champion award is given to industry leaders who, through their everyday business decisions, have created tremendous opportunity for others and spurred industry growth. People to be considered are the CEOs, directors, presidents, and vice presidents of their companies who may not have cheesemaking obligations but lead and direct resources, WCMA said. In 2019, Dave Fuhrmann of Foremost Farms USA and Lou Gentine of Sargento Foods were honored with this award.

The WCMA Distinguished Service Award recognizes supplier partner members who have played a significant role in building the success of the United States dairy industry, contributing innovations in dairy manufacturing. In 2019, this award went to Joe and John Koss of Koss Industrial and Ron Kremer of Kerry, WCMA said.

The WCMA Vanguard Award is reserved for cheesemakers or cheese manufacturing employees who are considered groundbreakers for their innovations in day-to-day dairy operations. In 2019, this award was presented to Dale Baumgartner of Tillamook Creamery and Terry Lensmire of Agropur, WCMA noted.

The WCMA Babcock Award recognizes the contributions of those in education or affiliate organizations in partnering with cheesemakers in the pursuit of dairy industry innovation and excellence. In 2019, WCMA said it honored Rusty Bishop, Ph.D., of Schreiber Foods and John Lucey, Ph.D., of the Center for Dairy Research with this award.

WCMA members may submit nominations on or by contacting WCMA Communications, Education, and Policy Director Rebekah Sweeney at

All nominations will be considered by the members of the WCMA Recognition Committee in September, with final awards determinations made by the WCMA board of directors in December. Awards will be presented at the 2020 CheeseExpo, set for April 14-16 in Milwaukee, WCMA said.