Dairy industry suppliers, marketers and processors joined the first-ever online Championship Cheese Auction on April 24 and raised more than $93,000 to support the Championship Cheese Contests, scholarship programs and educational workshops of the Madison, Wis.-based Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA).

“The coronavirus pandemic brought change and delay for our industry gathering, CheeseExpo, and we wanted to try to retain this tribute to great cheesemaking,” said WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer. “We are very thankful that so many industry people joined to watch this live auction, to bid and to support our educational efforts at WCMA.”

Through the years, annual Championship Cheese Auctions have provided crucial support to the U.S. and World Championship Cheese Contests and funds for WCMA student scholarships, WCMA said. They have also subsidized WCMA’s supervisor and manager training programs.

Auction funds also have allowed WCMA to support the construction of the new Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the new dairy pilot plant at UW River Falls and the Davis Dairy Plant at South Dakota State University. Additionally, the auction offers supplier partners and processors a chance to thank and support the cheese companies that make this industry famous, WCMA said.

“WCMA is grateful for each and every bidder who generously participated in the Championship Cheese Auction,” said Kirsten Strohmenger, WCMA’s events manager. “With so much happening in the world right now, we are deeply appreciative to members of the dairy industry community for coming together to support our mission.”

WCMA said it thanks each of the successful Championship Cheese Auction bidders, including Great Lakes Cheese Co. Inc., Kelley Supply Inc., Chr. Hansen, T.C. Jacoby and Co. Inc., Custom Fabricating and Repair Inc., Nelson Jameson Inc., ProActive Solutions USA LLC, TC Transcontinental, Complete Filtration Resources, Dairy Connection Inc., Masters Gallery Foods, Decatur Dairy, APT-Advanced Process Technologies, R. Mueller Service & Equipment Co., Loos Machine Automation, Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese, Milk Specialties Global, Vivolac Cultures Corp., B-Team, Cheese Market News, ProAmpac, ALPMA USA and DSM Food Specialties.