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Bell, Florence C. (Florence Colfax), 1899- / Farmer co-ops in Wisconsin

Badger state makes half of U. S. cheese,   pp. 16-18 PDF (807.9 KB)

Page 16

eratives to estimate what operating
margin they require between the whole-
sale prices of butter on the central mar-
kets and prices they can pay producers.
It is customary for Wisconsin creamer-
ies to make current payments to pa-
trons as high as possible rather than
to allow funds to accumulate and later
pay patronage dividends.
Badger State Makes
Half oF U. S. Cheese
  The 365,215,000 pounds of cheese
produced by Wisconsin factories in
1938 was more than half of all cheese
manufactured that year in the United
States. Approximately 75 percent of
the Wisconsin production was cheese
of the American type, which is also
known as Cheddar cheese. The foreign
type cheeses made-including Swiss,
Munster, Brick, Limburger, and Italian
varieties-constituted 20 percent of the
entire State production of all types.
  Wisconsin ranks first also in the
quantities of cheese sold in the central
markets of New York, Chicago, Phil-
adelphia, and Boston. Almost 50,-
000,000 pounds of Wisconsin cheese
were shipped to New York City in
  Quotations for cheese are established
each week by two cheese exchanges at
Plymouth in Sheboygan County, and
in general are accepted as the basic
market quotations throughout the
United States.
  Cooperative cheese facdories.-Coop-
eration plays a very important part in
the manufacture of cheese in Wiscon-
sin. Farmers learned many decades
ago that they could reduce the labor
of cheese making by organizing in
groups and delegating the manufacture
of cheese to one of their members. The
State now ranks first in the Nation not
only in the total quantity of cheese
manufactured, but also in the portion
manufactured under cooperative con.
ditions. These conditions vary widely.
For example, in many cases, a coopera-
tive association of farmers owns the
land, factory building, and equipment,
and hires a cheese maker who is paid
either a monthly salary or a wage based
on the number of pounds of cheese pro-
duced. In other instances, the factory
is owned by a cheese maker, who agrees
with a group of farmers who have
organized cooperatively to convert
their milk into cheese on a salary or
volume basis. In some locations, the
factory building includes only the
cheese equipment and storage room;
in others, living quarters are provided
for the cheese maker and his familv.
The selling of the cheese manufactured
may be done by a farmer-member of
the group, or this may be a duty of the
cheese maker. Many other types of
cooperative arrangements are made to
meet particular situations in different
  The Farm Credit Administration has
received reports from approximately
450 Wisconsin cheese factories now
operating under varying types of co-
operative conditions. A large majority
of the factories are small business enter-
prises located at country crossroads to
which farmers in the surrounding area
can conveniently haul their milk. For
more than half of them, the dollar value
of business in 1939 was $25,000 or less:
the range for another 130 of the asso-
ciations was from $25,000 to $50,000:
for approximately 20, between $50,000
and $100,000; and for 8 co-ops, be-
tween $100,000 and $200,000.
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