“Twenty-five dairy farmers from the Green County, Wisconsin area need a home for their milk,” says Jeremy Mayer, Cooperative President. “We’re working hard to find a home for our patron’s milk after Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Inc, our long-term cheesemaking partner, notified us that they will stop cheesemaking at our Cooperative-owned factory in Monroe on December 7.”
The cheesemaking partner gave their 60-day termination notice on October 8, 2020. They plan to remove their cheesemaking equipment unless they agree to sell or lease back the equipment so the Cooperative can reopen the plant as soon as possible.
Pam Jahnke got an update with Will Hughes, consultant working with the dairy farmers on their business plan, and finding a home for their milk.
“The Cooperative Board has been working diligently to find partners so we can reopen the plant under a strong plan for a revitalized cheese business with a new brand,” says Mayer. “But we are running out of time. To avoid the plant being shut down for a period of time, the Cooperative needs to put its top priority on helping patrons find a buyer for their milk.”
The Cooperative has started making buyer contacts for patrons and bulk shipments of Cooperative milk. “Everyone in the cheese and dairy business knows how difficult current markets are for cheese and milk especially with a resurgent pandemic,” explains Mayer.
The Cooperative met with patrons on Friday. Everyone agrees that the Cooperative working with patrons needs to operate with the highest urgency possible beginning today to help patrons make contacts with buyers to find a new market for their milk by the December 7 shutdown.
“The Cooperative has set up a war room with our advisor, Will Hughes, so we can open all the possible doors with buyers and work one-on-one with every patron to find the best option for them,” says Mayer. The Cooperative is asking buyers to reach out to Hughes to work with him and patrons to arrange a market as soon as possible. Contact: Will Hughes at 608-239-9567 or [email protected].
Mayer knows that markets are challenging right now, and asking buyers to help is asking for goodwill. “The outpouring of support for the Cooperative’s situation has been tremendous both in Green County and across Wisconsin,” says Mayer, adding, “That support gives us options for helping farmers now and for helping reopen the plant with a new vision.”
Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative is a farmer-owned Cooperative and cheese plant in Monroe, Wisconsin. The Cooperative comprises 25 dairy farmers and has been in business since 1910.