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AMPI cheesemakers defend title

NEW ULM — For the second year in a row, the cheesemakers of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) are bringing home the coveted Chairman’s Trophy following the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Championship Cheese Contest. A hand-crafted Aged Asiago made at the cooperative’s plant in Hoven, S.D., was named best of class in the Italian division and received the distinction of the contest’s best overall entry.

“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.”

In addition to the competition’s highest recognition, AMPI cheesemakers received the following awards:

First, Mild Cheddar – Blair, Wis.

First, Processed American Flavored – Pepper Jack, Portage, Wis.

Second, Pepper Jack – Jim Falls, Wis.

Second, Processed American Plain – American Swiss Slice-On-Slice, Portage, Wis.

Second, Processed American Flavored – Hot Pepper Loaf, Portage, Wis.

Third, Processed American Plain – EZ Melt American Loaf, Portage, Wis.

The contest awards were announced during NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the United Dairy Industry Association and National Dairy Promotion and Research Board as part of a virtual ceremony. Nearly 200 entries from cooperatives across the country were submitted for this year’s contest.

“These awards speak to the consistent quality of cheese made in AMPI’s dairy farmer-owned plants,” said Marshall Reece, senior vice president of sales and marketing, “Our cheese isn’t made special for contests. Crafting award-worthy cheese is the daily standard at AMPI.”

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