U.S. Championship Cheese Contest Announces Judging Panel

Posted By: Rebekah Sweeney WCMA News ,

MADISON, WI – U.S. Championship Cheese Contest organizers today announced the impressive panel of cheese judges set to evaluate entries in the 2019 competition, set for March 5-7 in the Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The deadline to enter the Contest is Thursday, January 31, and online entry is available now at USChampionCheese.org

2019 judges include cheese graders, cheese buyers, dairy science professors and researchers, and hail from 20 American states.  They include:

  • Jill Allen, Tillamook Creamery, Oregon
  • Greg Anderson, Kroger Company, Minnesota
  • Kirk Baldwin, Valley Queen Cheese, South Dakota
  • Marc Bates, Bates Consulting, Oregon
  • Larry Bell, LBell Consulting, Wisconsin
  • Ted Brown, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Vermont
  • Kimberlee Burrington, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin
  • Allison Butterbaugh, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Benedicte Coude, Schuman Cheese, California
  • Michael Comotto, DairiConcepts, Missouri
  • Dr. Richard Dargan, Dargan Dairy Consulting, Florida
  • Dominique Delugeau, Saputo Cheese USA, Wisconsin
  • MaryAnne Drake, North Carolina State University, North Carolina
  • Chris Eckerman, Agropur, Inc., Iowa
  • Nana Farkye, Cal Poly State, California
  • Chad Galer, Dairy Management Inc., Illinois
  • Jane Gau, Sargento Foods, Inc., Wisconsin
  • Eric Goan, Bluegrass Dairy & Food, Kentucky
  • John Jaeggi, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin
  • Aileen Kacvinsky, Schuman Cheese, Wisconsin
  • Dr. Kerry Kaylegian, Penn State University, Pennsylvania
  • Greg Kinate, Winona Foods, Wisconsin
  • Kyle Koll, Sargento Foods, Inc., Wisconsin
  • Dan Konz, DairiConcepts, Minnesota
  • Laura Laehn, Masters Gallery Foods, Wisconsin
  • Susan Larson, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin
  • Terry Lensmire, Agropur, Wisconsin
  • Charles Lindberg, New York State Department of Agriculture, New York
  • Neville McNaughton, CheezSource, Missouri
  • Christophe Megevand, Schuman Cheese, New Jersey
  • Virgil Metzger, Cheese & Dairy Consultant, Illinois
  • Gina Mode, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin
  • Ben Novak, Novak's Cheese of Wisconsin, Wisconsin
  • Mike Pederson, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin
  • Dave Potter, Dairy Connection, Inc., Wisconsin
  • David Satterness, Chr. Hansen, South Dakota
  • John Simpson, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Illinois
  • Marianne Smukowski, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin
  • Dean Sommer, Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin
  • Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Market, Texas
  • Randy Swensen, Wisconsin Aging and Grading, Wisconsin
  • Don Tribby, Dupont Nutrition and Health, Kansas
  • Eric Vorpahl, Masters Gallery Foods, Wisconsin
  • Nial Yager, Washington State University, Washington
  • Dr. Steve Zeng, Langston University, Oklahoma
  • Matt Zimbric, Foremost Farms USA, Wisconsin

“U.S. Championship Cheese Contest judges are nationally-renowned for their ability to evaluate cheese and other dairy products on their technical merits,” said Kirsten Strohmenger, Events Manager for the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, the Contest host organization.  “It’s part of the reason why earning a gold, silver, or bronze medal at our Contest means so much to cheesemakers, and makes such an impact with consumers.”

Strohmenger noted that the judging panel will work under the guidance of Chief Judge Jim Mueller of Mueller Consulting in Green Bay, Wisconsin and the revered “Red Hats,” the Contest’s elite team of assistant chief judges, including: Tim Czmowski of Agropur, Inc. in Hull, Iowa; Stan Dietsche of Oshkosh Cheese Sales & Storage in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Josef Hubatschek of ALPMA, an international supplier to the dairy processing industry; Mariana Marques de Almeida of Ms. J and Co. in Monroe, Wisconsin; and Sandy Toney of Masters Gallery Foods in Plymouth, Wisconsin.  Robert Aschebrock of Stratford, Wisconsin and Bill Schlinsog of Middleton, Wisconsin will serve as Chief Judges Emeritus.

Contest organizers also acknowledge the tireless efforts of Contest Chairman Brian Eggebrecht of Welcome Dairy in Colby, Wisconsin, and Contest Committee members: Greg Alberts of Kelley Supply in Abbotsford, Wisconsin; Dave Buholzer of Klondike Cheese in Monroe, Wisconsin; Bob Ehrenberg of Taylor Cheese in Weyauwega, Wisconsin;  Gary Grossen of Babcock Hall Dairy Plant in Madison, Wisconsin; Steve Krause of Oconto Falls, Wisconsin; Craig Linz of Tetra Pak in Winsted, Minnesota; Dan Stearns of Agropur in Weyauwega, Wisconsin; Steve Stettler of Decatur Dairy in Brodhead, Wisconsin; Randy Swensen of Wisconsin Aging and Grading Cheese in Little Chute, Wisconsin; Kevin Thome of Cheese Reporter in Madison, Wisconsin; Richard Wold of Cadott, Wisconsin; and Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery in Monticello, Wisconsin.