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From L to R: Matt McClelland, Toby Probst, Frank Doll, Bryan Henrichs, Don Mackinson, Gretl Schlatter, Craig Meng, Pat Schroeder, Luke Haywood, Tony Graves, Hannah Lansing, Robert Horst, Matthew Lansing, Ashley Davis, Sam Schwoeppe, Amber Selman, Ben Selman, Lorilee Schultz.

The annual National Milk Producers Federation Cheese and Yogurt Contest recently wrapped up, and it was a successful year for Prairie Farms Dairy. With an impressive 20 ribbons, including the Chairman's Award, the contest's highest honor, for Cave Aged Rinded Swiss Cheese and Best Italian Award for Pasteurized Blue Cheese, Prairie Farms won more awards than any other company competing in the contest. The awards ceremony was held during the 2023 Joint Annual Meeting of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA), which took place in Orlando from November 13 – 15.

"Operating a dairy farm requires being on the job 365 days a year. Our farm families work tirelessly to provide high-quality milk to our dairy plants, and our employees are committed to turning milk from our farms into the finest dairy products available in the marketplace," said Prairie Farms' Board President Frank Doll and Prairie Farms' CEO/EVP Matt McClelland in a joint statement. "Quality has been the cornerstone of Prairie Farms’ success for 85 years, both on our farms and in our plants, so the NMPF awards really belong to every person within our farm-to-table network, and we were proud to accept the honors on their behalf."

This year, 14 NMPF co-ops competed for 75 awards in 24 categories. Prairie Farms came out on top, receiving 27% of the awards, including two top awards and sweeps in four categories: Hard & Mold Ripened Italian, Swiss, Plain Yogurt, and Flavored Yogurt:

  • Swiss Cheese: 1st place – Faribault, Minnesota; Cave Aged Rinded Swiss. 2nd place – Luana, Iowa; Swiss. 3rd place – Luana, Iowa; Baby Swiss.
  • Hard & Mold Ripened Italian Cheese: 1st place – Faribault, Minnesota; Pasteurized Blue Cheese. 2nd Place – Mindoro, Wisconsin; Heat Treated Gorgonzola. 3rd place – Mindoro, Wisconsin; Pasteurized Blue Cheese.
  • Flavored Yogurt: 1st place – Wichita, Kansas; Lemon. 2nd Place – Kansas City, Missouri; Peach. 3rd Place – Wichita, Kansas; Peach.
  • Plain Yogurt: 1st place – Kansas City, Missouri. 2nd Place – Wichita, Kansas.
  • Reduced Fat Cottage Cheese: 1st place – Wichita, Kansas; 2% Small Curd. 3rd Place – Kansas City, Missouri; 2% Small Curd.
  • Cottage Cheese: 1st place – Quincy, Illinois; Small Curd 4%. 2nd place – Chandler, OK; Regular Small Curd.
  • Open Class: 1st place – Luana, Iowa; Neufchatel. 2nd place – Luana, Iowa; Cream Cheese.
  • Natural Cheese Snack: 2nd place – Shullsburg, Wisconsin; Chipotle Cheddar Curd.

The Prairie Farms' marketing team was also recognized at the NMPF annual meeting for entries submitted in a communications contest. The team received the "Best of Show" and 1st place awards for the "Celebrating 85 Years of Feeding American Families" marketing campaign, 1st place for News Story, featuring the Prairie Farms’ mascots, and 2nd place for Portrait Photography, featuring the Compton family from Columbia, Kentucky.

The company is thrilled to close its 85th anniversary celebration with the NMPF Cheese and Yogurt Awards. This added to its 2023 list of awards, which now tops 200 with big wins at the World Dairy Expo, American Cheese Society Judging and Competition, U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, and State Fairs in Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful dairy cooperatives operating in the Midwest and the South. Elements of the cooperative include more than 600 farm families, 7,000 associates, 48 manufacturing plants, 100+ distribution facilities, and annual sales of over $4.2 billion. Prairie Farms is a nationally recognized leader in the dairy industry known for setting the standard for milk flavor innovations and producing award-winning milk, cheese, and cultured dairy products. With headquarters in Edwardsville, Ill., the Prairie Farms distribution footprint covers over 30 percent of the United States; products are available in grocery chains, mass merchandiser stores, club stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores, schools, foodservice outlets, and warehouse distribution centers.