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Another Record Year for State's Specialty Cheese Production
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/03/2016

Wisconsin not only remained the number one state in the nation for cheese production in 2015, but it also churned out more specialty cheeses than ever before.

The state's agriculture department announced that local cheesemakers produced 26 percent of the nation's total production of 722 million pounds; and that specialty cheese accounted for 24 percent of that total. That's an increase of nearly 56.1 percent over 2014.

Of Wisconsin's 127 cheese plants, 93 manufactured at least one type of specialty cheese in 2015. Feta accounted for the largest share of specialty cheese production, with 12 percent of the total. Blue, Havarti, Hispanic types, specialty Mozzarella, Parmesan Wheel, and specialty Provolone remain other popular varieties.

According to the Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute, the nature of specialty cheese is derived from one or more unique qualities, such as exotic origin, particular processing or design, limited supply, unusual application or use, and extraordinary packaging or channel of sale. The common denominator is its very high quality, the Institute says.

Last week, the USDA confirmed that Wisconsin produced 3.07 billion pounds of cheese varieties in 2015. That was higher than the previous record of 2.91 billion pounds set in 2014.

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