MADISON, WIS. – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) announced the Championship Cheese Auction at CheeseCon on April 5 raised a record-setting $339,835 for dairy education.

Per WCMA, the funds support the organization’s industry training programs, as well as university dairy training centers and the World and US Championship Cheese Contests.

Dairy processors, marketers and suppliers engaged in bidding wars over gold medal-winning products from the 2023 US Championship Cheese Contests during the CheeseCon auction, which was hosted by Chr. Hansen. This year’s auction items included 79 gold medalists from categories such as cheeses, butters and yogurts.

“Each year we see the generosity of the dairy processing industry come to life at the auction, and this year’s bidders broke the record yet again to benefit the next generation of leaders,” said WCMA executive director John Umhoefer. “Our sincerest thanks go to all those who raised their paddles to contribute to the scholarships and education that help grow and strengthen our industry.”

WCMA shared that its annual auction supports the organization’s Mike Dean and Cheese Industry Supplier Student Scholarships, as well as WCMA’s training programs for dairy manufacturers and suppliers. Additionally, the organization said the funds contributed to the construction of the Center for Dairy Research facility in Madison, Wis., and dairy pilot plants at University of Wisconsin-River Falls and South Dakota State University.

Through the years, the WCMA said it has invested $1.3 million in “the next generation of the dairy processing industry.”