Cheese, butter and powdered whey made in dairy farmer-owned Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) manufacturing plants are North America’s best, according to judges at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest.
In all, the cooperative claimed five first-place awards, collecting honors in each of the three major categories entered in the competition. This year’s contest attracted more than 1,500 entries from dairy processors throughout North America.
Judges selected an entry made by cheesemakers at AMPI’s Blair, Wis., plant as the first place winner in the highly competitive Mild Cheddar class. Also earning first-place honors was a Colby Jack made by AMPI cheesemakers from Jim Falls, Wis. This is repeat recognition for the cheesemakers who also topped their classes in 2018.
“Winning both classes for the second year is a testament to our skilled cheesemakers and the consistent quality of milk produced on AMPI member farms,” said Mike Hinrichsen, AMPI vice president of cheese and whey manufacturing. “At AMPI, we know cheese. It’s what we do.”
AMPI’s new Dinner Bell Creamery brand butter also received top honors with a limited-edition bourbon butter. Buttermakers from New Ulm, Minn., took the win in the flavored butter class.
The cooperative also scored first-place awards in the 34 and 80 percent whey protein concentrate classes. Both winning entries were manufactured at the co-op’s Paynesville, Minn., plant.
AMPI’s first-place dairy products will be auctioned off Oct. 1 during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. A portion of the auction proceeds fund scholarships for students pursuing careers in the dairy industry.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members annually market about 5.7 billion pounds of milk generating $1.7 billion in sales. Together they own 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese, processed cheese slices and butter is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.