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Master Cheesemakers

The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program was established as an advanced education program for experienced cheesemakers through joint sponsorship with the Center for Dairy Research, UW-Extension, and the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. In order to be accepted into the program, you must currently be making cheese in a Wisconsin plant and hold a Wisconsin cheesemaker’s license for a minimum of ten years. Each Master candidate must participate in the program’s quality assurance component of plant and product inspection. This program, the only one in the U.S., enhances the quality image of what is already the nation’s premier cheesemaking state and the unparalleled standards of Wisconsin cheesemaking.

The purpose of the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program is three-fold:

1. Provide a formal sequence of courses that leads to the title of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker.

2. Add value to cheese because it was made by a "Master Cheesemaker," like those of European tradition.

3. Equip Wisconsin cheesemakers with the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the marketplace both nationally and internationally.

Wood County

Ken Heiman

Nasonville Dairy,
Marshfield WI

Tom Torkelson

Nasonville Dairy,
Marshfield WI

John Moran

Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company,
Rudolph WI

Alan Greunke

Maple Grove Cheese,
Milladore WI

Brian Jackson

Nasonville Dairy,
Marshfield WI

Scott Navarre

Foremost Farms USA,
Marshfield WI
Requirements to become a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker
  • Must be an active licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker for at least 10 consecutive years before starting the program
  • Must have completed the Advanced Cheese Technology Short Course and an additional course from the following list before being accepted into the program
  • Must complete all required courses and 3 electives before completing the program
  • Required Courses
    • Wisconsin Advanced Cheese Technology Short Course
    • Wisconsin Cheese Grading Short Course
    • Cheese Artisan Course
    • Wisconsin Cleaning and Sanitation Workshop
    • Food Safety Workshop
    • Required Courses
  • Elective Courses
    • Wisconsin Process Cheese Short Course
    • Applied Dairy Chemistry Short Course
    • Milk Pasteurization and Process Control School
    • Membrane Processing
    • Other - As approved by the WMCM Board
How long does it take to complete the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program?

It takes 2 years and 8 months from the time cheesemakers are accepted into the Program until they graduate.

When is the application for the Program due?

Applications are due to Andy Johnson by May 15th.

How will I know how many classes I need to take to complete the program?

After being accepted into the Program each cheesemaker will receive regular updates on course work completed and any additional course work needed to finish the Program.

Master’s Mark

The Master’s Mark is an exclusive benefit for Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers. The Master’s Mark® may be used for marketing and promotional purposes through a licensing agreement with the DFW. To use the mark, the certified Master Cheesemaker must supervise cheesemaking in a Wisconsin plant that continues to participate in the quality assurance program.

This mark may only be used in conjunction with products for which the Master Cheesemaker is certified. A designated committee will evaluate these products on an annual basis.

The Master’s Mark® is a trademark of the DFW and may be used in connection with registered brands owned by the applicant. Other uses will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by DFW.

Master Cheesemaker 25th Anniversary

Become a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker

Each year cheesemakers must apply to the program by May 15th. Before applying for the program cheesemakers must take the Cheese Technology short course and another course required to complete the program. Download Master Application | Download Additional Cheese Application

Master Cheesemaker Contacts

Communications, Master Cheesemaker

Joanne Gauthier

Senior Outreach Specialist


Cheese, Master Cheesemaker

Andy Johnson

Outreach Specialist / Assistant Coordinator / WI Master Cheesemaker Program Coordinator