Cheesemaker Scholarship

Annual $2,500 Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship

Wisconsin Cheese Originals is proud to use a significant portion of its membership dues to offer a $2,500 scholarship to help one new Wisconsin artisan cheesemaker earn his or her cheesemaking license every year.

Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to require cheesemakers to be licensed, a lengthy process that can take as long as 18 months, requires the attendance at five cheesemaking courses, and 240 hours of apprenticeship with an existing licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Applications for the next Wisconsin Cheese Originals Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship will be announced in January, 2015.

Past Wisconsin Cheese Originals Beginning Scholarship Recipients include:

2014: Sandra Acosta milks 600 dairy goats on a farm near Port Washington, Wis., with her husband, Barry Midtling. An accomplished cheesemaker, veterinarian and instructor in native Mexico, Acosta aims to become a licensed cheesemaker in her new home country, eventually building an on-farm creamery. She also plans to continue to be involved in teaching goat milk production in rural areas of Mexico and developing countries.

2013: Jennifer Digman owns and runs Krayola Sky Dairy, a goat dairy in Cuba City. She successfully obtained her cheesemaker's license in 2013 after earning the Wisconsin Cheese Originals scholarship. She works at both Uplands Cheese and Roelli Cheese as a cheesemaker and affineur (cheese aging specialist). Digman has dreams of building her own on-farm creamery to craft fresh, hand-dipped chevre, aged mixed milk artisan cheeses, and hand-washed Alpine-style cheese. She hopes to pass the operation down to her two young daughters.

2012: Anna Landmark owns and runs a small-scale sustainable farm with her husband and children in Albany, Wis. In 2013, Anna successfully launched Landmark Creamery and began making seasonal sheep, cow and water buffalo cheeses, using the facilities at Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain. At the 2013 Wisconsin Cheese Originals Festival, her Bawdy Buffalo, a water buffalo Taleggio-style cheese, was named one of the best up-and-coming American Original cheeses in the nation.

2011: Rose Boero, a dairy goat breeder in Custer, Wis, successfully obtained her cheesemaker's license after receiving the scholarship in 2011. Today, she makes a variety of goat's milk cheeses at Willow Creek Cheese and teaches beginning cheesemaking classes in her home for amateur cheesemakers. She is developing plans to build her own cheese plant at her dairy goat farm, where she and her husband have raised Toggenburg dairy goats for 25 years.

2010: Katie Hedrich Furhmann, a goat's milk cheesemaker, obtained her license after receiving the first Wisconsin Cheese Originals Scholarship. At the 2011 U.S. Champion Cheese Contest, she took Best in Show for her goat's milk cheese, Evalon, and was named the U.S. Champion Cheesemaker, the youngest cheesemaker to ever earn the title. In 2013, she and her family built a new farmstead cheese plant on their farm near Pipe, Wis. She launches new cheeses annually.

Learn more about the state requirements to obtain a cheesemaker's license by clicking here.