Dairy Excel: June Dairy Month: Honor Ohio’s championship industry


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio - The Ohio Dairy Industry Forum kicked off June Dairy Month June 1 by taking time to acknowledge the dairy industry’s significant contributions to the region.

The forum also honored several individuals and companies that have contributed greatly to its success.

Increased visibility. During the business meeting portion of the day, Ohio’s dairy industry representatives agreed to increase visibility by establishing a Web site designed to feature dairy’s contributions and highlights, forum activities, and news updates of many issues that are of particular interest to Ohio’s dairy stakeholders.

The group also heard an update by David Glauer, Ohio Department of Agriculture animal industry division, on the implementation of the national animal identification program and several areas that will need legislative approval.

Members also discussed pertinent issues facing the state’s dairy industry, such as animal identification and the current heated debate over the influx of new mega-dairy farms.

Achievements. Forum participants also focused on the positive achievements of several Ohio dairy stakeholders.

One of those honored by participants was ODIF’s first chair, Leon Weaver.

Weaver was selected as the original chair at the forum’s organizational meeting in April 2001 and served until late last year when his term expired.

Weaver was honored by the group for his proactive leadership and visionary foresights that he unselfishly shared with the group in order to better enhance Ohio’s entire dairy industry. He will continue to serve as a board trustee and also on the past chair’s committee.

Winning performances. Pearl Valley Cheese and the Biery Cheese Company were also awarded Certificates of Achievement in recognition of their award-winning performances at the World Cheese Contest held in March 2004.

“The international community of cheese makers and butter makers has made the competition the ‘Olympics of Cheese Making.’

“Ohio was represented extremely well at the event and additional luggage was required for their return trip,” said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

Cheese medals. Pearl Valley Cheese was awarded the silver medal in the highly competitive Colby cheese category with a Colby Deli Horn.

Biery Cheese was awarded Best of Show in two different pasteurized processed cheese categories. Biery topped all other competition in both the pasteurized process cheese, with their white American, and the flavored pasteurized process cheese with a hot pepper cheese.

Their horseradish cheese was also awarded a bronze medal in the flavored pasteurized process cheese class.

Milk access. Chuck Ellis, general manager and co-owner, accepted the award on behalf of Pearl Valley Cheese and Dennis Biery received the certificate for Biery Cheese from the forum’s current chair, Connie Finton.

When asked how an Ohio cheese maker could become so successful at such a prominent international contest, Dennis Biery simply smiled and said, “Only an Ohio cheese maker has full access to Ohio milk.”

Kudos to Dennis and Chuck, and don’t you know it.

Forum members. Representatives from Ohio’s dairy producers, processors, allied industry, and retail and distribution sectors have come together to form the Ohio Dairy Industry Forum.

Through quarterly forums, publications, and other proactive measures, the forum strives to address and respond to pertinent and timely issues through consensus.

This is accomplished by enhancing lines of communications and endeavoring to create an environment that fosters the creation of mutually beneficial relationships between all those that have a vested interest in Ohio’s dairy industry.

(The author is an OSU Extension associate with the dairy industry enhancement program. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)


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