May 10 2023 03:18 PM

Two AMPI cheeses in elite top 20

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard's Dairyman.

A Medium Cheddar produced by Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) in Blair, Wis., has been named the best in its class and second runner-up overall in the 2023 United States Championship Cheese Contest. AMPI was further distinguished as the only dairy farmer-owned company to have two entries named to the elite group of top 20 finishers revealed this week.

(From left) U.S. Championship Cheese Contest Assistant Chief Judge Tim Czmowski holding the First Runner-Up, Vintage Cupola American Original Cheese by Red Barn Family Farms in Appleton, Wis.; Chief Judge Jim Mueller holding the 2023 U.S. Champion, Europa by Arethusa Family Farms in Bantam, Conn.; and Director of Logistics Randy Swensen holding Second Runner-Up, a Medium Cheddar by Associated Milk Producers Inc. in Blair, Wis.
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

AMPI’s entries topped nearly 2,250 contenders from 197 companies and cooperatives across 35 U.S. states in the biennial competition hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. This is the first time AMPI has achieved the honor of having two cheeses named to the final group in the same year, said Mike Wolkow, senior vice president of operations.

The second AMPI-made cheese in the top 20 is a Ghost Pepper Jack, a spicy cheese produced by cheesemakers working at AMPI’s Jim Falls, Wis., facility.

Mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack made at the co-op’s plant in Sanborn, Iowa, are featured in the first-place shredded cheese blend entry. The blend was cut and packaged at AMPI’s Portage, Wis., facility.

“The dedication of our dairy farm families and cheesemakers — and all of the team members in between — ensures consistent championship-caliber cheese that we are proud to deliver to our customers in the U.S. and around the globe,” Wolkow said.

About AMPI:
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI is the largest farmer-owned cheese cooperative in the U.S. The cooperative’s cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers. The co-op launched its Dinner Bell Creamery brand and accompanying Co-op Crafted promise in 2019, highlighting more than 50 years of dairy farm families partnering with skilled dairy craftsmen to make great-tasting, award-winning products.