Dairy processors from companies throughout the United States will find themselves all at the same location in Madison, Wis., this spring for CheeseCon.

Hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) and the Center for Dairy Research (CDR), in collaboration with key partners the Innovation Center for US Dairy, the US Dairy Export Council and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the three-day event formerly known as the Cheese Industry Conference delivers seminars, exhibits, networking opportunities and more.

Scheduled for April 4-6 at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, the rebranded conference is expecting 3,000 dairy industry leaders, suppliers and marketers to be in attendance. The event aims to shine a spotlight on cheese technology, workforce, whey opportunities, product safety, marketing and dairy exports.

“CheeseCon is the only event that combines CDR’s world-class technical expertise, a 75,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and ample opportunities for connection – all with a unique focus on dairy processing,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA’s executive director.

As part of the conference, industry experts will share their knowledge regarding such topics as optimizing production, food safety, new product development, dairy exporting, sustainability and milk pricing reform.

Focus on education

Attendees can experience educational opportunities that cover specific aspects of the industry, such as a session called Optimizing Manufacture of Snack Cheeses, which includes a market overview, as well as experts weighing in on string cheese and cheese curds.

Another session titled Milk Pricing Reform in Federal Milk Marketing Orders will bring a panel of experts to address one of the industry’s hot topics.

Some pre-qualified cheesemakers at the conference will have the chance to take an Artisan Cheesemaking workshop at CDR’s new facilities, where they will witness best practices in a hands-on format.

New types of vats, customized powders, whey-less cheese, waterless cookers, enzyme treatments and other emerging trends will be the topics of discussion during the New Generation of Cheesemaking Approaches session.

Another educational opportunity called Pathogen Prevention, Training Resources and Traceability will not only focus on food safety, but also provide insights and lessons to be learned from recent dairy product recalls. The session also will cover the final traceability regulations from the US Food and Drug Administration.

A technical seminar on the schedule will highlight Advances in Whey Processing, and explore how new technologies have the potential to help dairy processors maximize what they get out of their ingredients.

The conference’s organizers also anticipate a loaded tabletop exhibit hall, with 300-plus booths set up to inform attendees about the latest from the industry’s top suppliers. What’s more, CheeseCon will offer a pair of Ideas Showcase stages on the trade show floor.

One of the more anticipated portions of the three-day extravaganza is the US Champions Reception and Awards Banquet, when dairy manufacturers are celebrated for their craftmanship and the honors they will take home from the 2023 US Championship Cheese Contest, which will take place Feb. 21-23 in Green Bay, Wis.

“Dairy processors have so much to be proud of,” Umhoefer said, “from creating high-quality products that feed the world, to working together to improve and grow the industry – and encourage the next generation of leaders. We’re honored to shine a light on dairy success at CheeseCon.”

More details and registration information can be found online at the conference’s website, cheesecon.org. Those who register by Feb. 15 will receive a 10% discount. The advance registration deadline is March 27.