More than 2,700 cheese industry professionals explored over 320 tabletop exhibits, learned from the industry's brightest minds, and celebrated excellence in dairy processing during CheeseCon 2023 held April 5-6 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. A record-breaking $339,835 was raised for dairy education at the 2023 Chr. Hansen Championship Cheese Auction.

An exuberant crowd of dairy processors, marketers and suppliers raised their paddles to support industry training programs and scholarships offered by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), as well as the World and U.S. Championship Cheese Contests and university dairy training centers.

WCMA sincerely thanks all the winning bidders for their enthusiastic support: Kelley Supply, Inc.; Complete Filtration Resources; DSM Food Specialties; Dairy Products Marketing; Nelson-Jameson; Masters Gallery Foods; TC Transcontinental; G&R Foods; Hydrite; Advanced Process Technologies Inc.; Loos Machine & Automation; Great Lakes Cheese; T.C. Jacoby; Chr. Hansen; ALPMA; Marquez Brothers International; RELCO, a Koch Separation Solutions Company; Custom Fabricating & Repair; ProActive Solutions USA; Dairy Connection, Inc.; Sugar River Cold Storage; Darlington Dairy Supply; the Marvin & Debra Cherney Family Foundation; Novak’s Cheese; Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese; Atlantic Grain; Cybertrol Engineering; and Cheese Market News.

“Each year we see the generosity of the dairy processing industry come to life at the Auction, and this year’s bidders broke the record yet again to benefit the next generation of leaders,” said WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer. “Our sincerest thanks go to all those who raised their paddles to contribute to the scholarships and education that help grow and strengthen our industry."

For more than 25 years, auction dollars have supported emerging dairy professionals through WCMA’s Mike Dean and Cheese Industry Supplier Student Scholarships. Funds raised at the auction have also helped fund WCMA’s popular training programs for dairy manufacturers and suppliers, and fueled donations to build the new world-class Center for Dairy Research facility in Madison, as well as dairy pilot plants at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls and South Dakota State University.

Thanks to generous auction bids, the World and U.S. Championship Cheese Contests and the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest improve and grow each year. Altogether, WCMA has invested $1.3 million in the next generation of the dairy processing industry.

This year’s auction featured a total of 79 gold medal cheeses, butters and yogurts from the 2023 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, organized into 42 lots. WCMA sincerely thanks all of the winning bidders for their generous support: Advanced Process Technologies Inc.; Atlantic Grain; ALPMA, Cheese Market News; the Marvin & Debra Cherney Family Foundation; Chr. Hansen; Complete Filtration Resources; Custom Fabricating & Repair; Cybertrol Engineering; Dairy Connection, Inc.; Dairy Products Marketing; Darlington Dairy Supply; DSM Food Specialties; G&R Foods; Great Lakes Cheese; Hydrite; Kelley Supply, Inc.; Loos Machine & Automation; Marquez Brothers International; Masters Gallery Foods; Nelson-Jameson; Novak’s Cheese; ProActive Solutions USA; RELCO, a Koch Separation Solutions Company; Sugar River Cold Storage; T.C. Jacoby; TC Transcontinental; and Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese.

Mark your calendar now for next year's CheeseExpo, which will be held April 16-18, 2024, at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, and then CheeseCon returns to Madison April 15-17, 2025. These opportunities enable attendees to reconnect with the dairy processing community.