NEW ULM, MN
For the third time in as many years, a Mild Cheddar made by Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) cheesemakers at the co-op’s Sanborn, IA, plant topped its class.
The three-peat is unprecedented in the highly competitive class that is part of the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest. An entry in the same class from AMPI’s Blair, WI, plant placed second.
The New Ulm, MN-based company earned 9 top finishes out of a record 1,130 entries.
“Earning this award again, and receiving the top two spots in the class from two different locations, speaks volumes about the consistent quality of AMPI cheese,” said Mike Wolkow, vice president of operations for the Midwest dairy cooperative in a news release. “We are proud to say that we never make cheese especially for a contest. These entries are truly representative of all the dairy products made in Sanborn and Blair — and in every AMPI plant — every day.”
Dairy products made in AMPI’s dairy farmer-owned plants captured nine of the top awards presented at the prestigious competition that names North America’s best in dairy product categories. The 2016 contest attracted a record 1,130 entries.
AMPI-made unflavored pasteurized process cheese entries swept their category with a 1-2-3 finish. For a second consecutive year, judges also presented a first-place honor to AMPI’s flavored pasteurized process blend of Monterey Jack and American cheese with red bell and jalapeno peppers. All of these award-winning process cheeses were made at AMPI’s Portage, WI, plant.
An AMPI entry also won the first-place award in the Colby and Monterey Jack category for a Colby Jack cheese made at the cooperative’s Jim Falls, Wis., facility.
Whey protein concentrate manufactured at the cooperative’s Paynesville, Minn., plant captured first place in the 34 percent class and second place in the 80 percent competition. Dried sweet whey made at Jim Falls was awarded third place in the whey category.
“The not-so-secret ingredient in all of these award-winning dairy products is superior-quality milk produced on AMPI member farms,” said Wolkow. AMPI is owned by 2,200 dairy farm families in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
AMPI’s first-place dairy products will be auctioned off Oct. 4 at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. A portion of the auction proceeds fund scholarships for students pursuing careers in the dairy industry.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, MN. The cooperative’s members annually market about 5.9 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.7 billion in sales. AMPI owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese, butter, dried whey and sliced American cheese is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.