The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), Madison, Wis., is calling for nominations of individuals to be considered for formal recognition in 2021 for their outstanding contributions to the dairy processing industry. WCMA members have through Aug. 25 to make their recommendations for four different awards, WCMA said.

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 2020, Max Gonzenbach and Rudy Nef of Valley Queen Cheese Factory and Wilbur Nielsen of Wapsie Valley Creamery 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 2020, this award went to David Carpenter of Chr. Hansen Inc. and Dick Groves of the Cheese Reporter, WCMA said.

The WCMA Vanguard Award is reserved for cheesemakers or cheese manufacturing employees who are considered to groundbreakers for their innovations in day-to-day dairy operations. In 2020, this award was presented to Carl Buell of Leprino and Tom Everson of Grande Cheese Co., WCMA noted.

The WCMA Babcock Award recognizes the contributions of those in education or affiliate organizations to partner with cheesemakers in the pursuit of dairy industry innovation and excellence. In 2020, WCMA honored Dr. Floyd Bodyfelt of Oregon State University and Dr. Norm Olson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with this award, WCMA said.

The members of the WCMA Recognition Committee will consider all nominations in September, with final awards determinations made by the WCMA board of directors in December. The awards will be presented at CheeseExpo 2021, set for April 6-8 in Milwaukee. For questions about the awards, contact WCMA Events Manager Caitlin Peirick at