The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), Madison, Wis., said it is inviting industry professionals to nominate their peers to be considered for formal recognition by WCMA in 2022 for their outstanding contributions to the dairy processing industry. Nominations may be submitted online at by close of business on Wednesday, Aug. 25 for the following awards, WCMA said:

  • The WCMA Cheese Industry Champion Award. This 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 might not have cheesemaking obligations but lead and direct resources. In 2021, John Jeter of Hilmar Cheese Co. and Don Menzner of Marathon Cheese Corp. were honored with this award.
  • The WCMA Distinguished Service Award. This 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 2021, this award went to Craig Linz of Tetra Pak Inc. and Jerry Lippert of Nelson-Jameson Inc.
  • The WCMA Vanguard Award. This award is reserved for cheesemakers or cheese manufacturing employees who are considered groundbreakers for their innovations in day-to-day dairy operations. In 2021, this award was presented to Steve Buholzer of Klondike Cheese Co. and Ray Palubicki of Outagamie Producers Cooperative – Alto Dairy.
  • The WCMA Babcock Award. This 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 2021, WCMA honored Dr. Bob Cropp of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Marianne Smukowski of the Center for Dairy Research with this award.

The WCMA Recognition Committee will consider all nominations in September, with final awards determinations made by the WCMA board of directors in December. Awards will be presented at CheeseExpo 2022, set for April 12-14 in Milwaukee, WCMA said.

For questions, contact WCMA Events Manager Caitlin Peirick at