Making Its Mark:
The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program
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.
Dairy on,

Mike Verhasselt
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin District 11 representative and chair of the Center for Dairy Research Committee
Using the Mastermark Conveys Quality and Craftsmanship
Once participants complete the Master Cheesemaker program they earn the right to use the Master's Mark® on their products. The trademark distinguishes the cheese as a variety crafted by an individual who has mastered the art of cheesemaking. 
Cheese companies, retailers and restaurants capitalize on Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker status in their marketing efforts, telling their unique stories and their products to expand sales opportunities. 
The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker and Master's Mark "hallmark of excellence" are powerful designations that offer value to retail buyers, cheesemongers (merchants who specialize in cheese) and consumers because of the promise of quality and craftsmanship they carry. The Master's Mark is also a point of significant pride for the professionals who have completed the program. 
"Distributors see the value, knowing that the program offers the assurance of quality and consistency," says Terry Lensmire, retired Agropur Dairy Cooperative master cheesemaker. "The Master's Mark is one of the things that helps drive purchase decisions because distributors know that they are buying cheese that was made right. It also reflects the respect we have for Wisconsin farmers and the high-quality milk they produce."  
Adds Carl Swartz, Kroger Our Brands category strategy manager, "Kroger is proud to highlight Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers on most of our Private Selection brand cheeses in the deli. The mark conveys the craftsmanship and high quality our customers demand and is one of the reasons they shop in our stores."  
Ultimately, the program equips Wisconsin cheesemakers with the knowledge and skills to compete in the national and international marketplace – a real opportunity to grow demand for Wisconsin dairy farmers' milk. 
Increased customer confidence and recognition of quality cheese have meant mutual growth and production expansion opportunities for Wisconsin cheese. The Master’s Mark also offers a tighter connection with customers and consumers, serving as a visible reminder of Wisconsin's dedication to excellence. They appreciate what the mark stands for – and it provides another opportunity for DFW to tell the story of award-winning Wisconsin cheese made from high-quality milk produced by the state's dairy farm families.
Upcoming Industry Events and Activations 
January 20-21 - PDPW Hispanic Training - exclusively in Spanish
February 3-4 - PDPW Dairy Wellbeing Workshop | 800.373.9662

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