Relationships Helped Cheesemakers Through Pandemic

During the American Cheese Society’s virtual conference, Thursday, Emily Harbison, technical specialist with Dairy Connection, and Dave Potter, vice president of Dairy Connection, shared their perspective on how COVID-19 impacted the specialty cheese industry. Dairy Connection, Inc. is an ingredient supplier to specialty, farmstead, and small-to-midsize cheese and fermented-milk manufacturers nationwide.

In the fall of 2020, Dairy Connection set up a data collection infrastructure to monitor how their customers were doing and what challenges or successes they were encountering. From this data, a few themes began to emerge, including:

• Purposeful pauses. A lot of cheesemakers took a break from processing milk, said Harbison. Some sought out other revenue streams, while some just grazed their animals and attempted to get their bearings.

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