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Master Cheesemaker Program Announces 2010 Graduates
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/30/2010

America's Dairyland now has another batch of master cheesemakers to carry on Wisconsin's tradition of producing quality dairy products. This week, the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program has graduated six new participants. The program is the nation's only advanced training course of its kind for veteran cheesemakers.

The new Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers, who will be formally certified at a ceremony in April, include:

** Mark Frederixon, Associated Milk Producers, Inc. in Blair, certified in Cheddar

** Mark Gustafson, Sartori Food in Plymouth, certified in Asiago and Parmesan

** Steve Hurd, Park Cheese in Brownsville, certified in Fontina and Provolone

** Brian Jackson, Foremost Farms USA in Marshfield, certified in Monterey Jack and Cheddar

** Jim Johnson, Foremost Farms USA in Alma Center, certified in Mozzarella

** Randy Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese Co. in Arena, certified in Muenster and Quesadilla

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Masters who completed the program a second time with the 2010 class are Paul Reigle, Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative, previously certified in Yogurt Cheese and now certified as well in Monterey Jack and Gouda; Bruce Willis, Burnett Dairy Cooperative, Grantsburg, previously certified in Cheddar and Colby and now certified as well in Mozzarella and Monterey Jack; and Ken Heiman, Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, previously certified in Feta and now also certified in Monterey Jack.

The program is the most formal, advanced training program in the country. Patterned after European standards, it is administered by the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and funded by Wisconsin dairy producers, through WMMB. Applicants to the program must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years of experience.

With the new graduates, Wisconsin now has 49 Masters actively working in the state, representing 30 companies and holding Masters' certification for a combined total of 34 cheese varieties.

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