The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program

Mike Verhasselt, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Mike Verhasselt
Master cheesemakers use milk as a canvas for their artistic cheese creations, opening new markets and opportunities for Wisconsin milk. The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program has taken Wisconsin’s reputation as the home of award-winning cheese to another level, enhancing its quality image with unparalleled standards.
This program trains Wisconsin cheesemakers to be even better and pushes them to reach their fullest potential. The program was established by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, the Center for Dairy Research and University of Wisconsin-Extension 26 years ago to recognize and reward the extraordinary talent of our cheese makers and help open new markets and opportunities as these Master Cheesemakers craft their specialty cheeses using quality Wisconsin milk.
Not just anyone can be a master cheesemaker. The program is an advanced education curriculum for experienced cheesemakers that’s elevated the art and tradition of cheesemaking and cemented Wisconsin’s reputation for cheesemaking excellence. It’s the only one of its kind outside Europe and demands years of commitment and skill development.
To date, 91 participants have earned the title of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker for 47 different varieties of cheese. The program offered its first master’s certification in cheese curds this year, allowing for innovation and advancements for dairy.

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