Another Record Year for WI Specialty Cheese Production
USAgNet - 05/13/2019
Wisconsin not only remained the top state in the nation for cheese production in 2018, 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; and that specialty cheese accounted for nearly a quarter of the state's total output at 803 million pounds. That's an increase of over four million pounds from 2017.
Of Wisconsin's 118 cheese plants, 99 manufactured at least one type of specialty cheese this past year. Feta accounted for the largest share of specialty cheese, with 13 percent of the total. Blue, Havarti, Hispanic types, specialty Mozzarella and Parmesan Wheel were the other most popular varieties.
According to the Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute, Wisconsin is known for both the quality and diversity of its cheeses. A specialty cheese is a value-added product which commands a premium price.
Last week, the USDA confirmed that Wisconsin produced 3.42 billion pounds of all cheese varieties in 2018. That was higher than the previous record of 3.37 billion pounds set in 2017.