Prairie Farms cream cheese produced in Luana, Iowa, was named Grand Champion of the North Central Cheese Industries Association (NCCIA) annual cheese contest held in Norwood, Minn. Prairie Farms Dairy, Edwardsville, Ill., said the cream cheese took the top honors in the Miscellaneous category of the contest, with a 99.167 score. Meanwhile, Prairie Farms Cheese Division, Caves of Faribault, finished second in the same category with a score of 99.033 for its St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese.

Entries for the NCCIA Cheese Contest competed in three categories, including Cheddar Block, Barrel and Miscellaneous, Prairie Farms said.

Judging by professionally trained judges took place at Bongards’ Creameries in Norwood, Minn.. All entries were graded with an official scorecard identifying the grade and feedback of the products submitted. Judges selected one Grand Champion, as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category, Prairie Farms said.

“This is a result of consistent quality from our farmers and through our manufacturing processes and dedicated employees of Prairie Farms’ Luana plant,” said Ray Downes, general manager at Luana.

Contest winners were recognized during the banquet dinner at the NCCIA Annual Conference on October 14. Award-winning cheeses were put up for auction at the conference. Proceeds from the conference and auction are used to support annual scholarships at the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, South Dakota State University and University of Wisconsin – River Falls, Prairie Farms said.