The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), New Ulm, Minn., won the 2020 NMPF Chairman’s Award for the best cheese — an aged Asiago — in its 2020 Cheese Quality Competition. The cheese came from AMPI’s plant in Hoven, S.D.

“Champion cheese isn’t a title earned by any one individual,” said Mike Wolkow, AMPI’s senior vice president of operations. “It begins on the farm with members producing top-quality milk and continues with a talented team of cheesemakers. The Hoven team consistently delivers outstanding Italian-style cheese and this repeat honor solidifies their winning reputation.”

The 2020 NMPF Chairman’s Reserve Award for the second-best cheese in the contest — a smoked Gouda — went to Select Milk Producers Inc. The cheese was made at the cooperative’s plant in Monticello, Wis., Arlington, Va.-based NMPF said.

Meanwhile, Prairie Farms Dairy, Edwardsville, Ill., said it took home the most honors of any company in this year’s contest, including six out of nine awards in the three cottage cheese categories and four first-place finishes overall.

This year’s contest was virtual, but still saw 190 entries, NMPF said.