On Tuesday June 1, 2004, the Ohio Dairy Industry Forum (ODIF) kicked off "June Dairy Month" by taking time to acknowledge the dairy industry's significant contributions to the region and to honor several individuals and companies that have contributed greatly to its success.
During the business meeting portion of the day, Ohio's dairy industry representatives agreed to increase visibility by establishing a web site designed to feature dairy's contributions and highlights, ODIF activities, and news updates of many issues that are of particular interest to Ohio's dairy stakeholders.
The group also heard an update by Dr. David Glauer, Director of Ohio Department of Agriculture's Animal Industry Division, on the implementation of the U.S Animal Identification program and several areas that will need legislative approval.
After discussing several pertinent issues facing Ohio's dairy industry, such as animal identification and the current heated debate over the influx of new "Mega-Dairy" farms, forum participants turned their attention to matters slightly less controversial as they focused on the positive achievements of several Ohio dairy stakeholders.
One of those honored by participants was ODIF's first Chair, Dr. Leon Weaver. Dr. Weaver was selected as the original chair at ODIF's organizational meeting in April of 2001 and served until late last year when his term expired. Leon was honored by the group for his proactive leadership and visionary foresights that he unselfishly shared with the group in order to better enhance Ohio's entire dairy industry. He will continue to serve as an ODIF board trustee and also on the past chair's committee.
Pearl Valley Cheese and the Biery Cheese Company were also awarded Certificates of Achievement from the ODIF in recognition of their award winning performances at the World Cheese Contest held in March of 2004. According to Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association's Executive Director, John Umhoefer, "The international community of cheese makers and butter makers has made the competition the "Olympics of Cheese Making". Ohio was represented extremely well at the event and additional luggage was required for their return trip. Pearl Valley Cheese was awarded the Silver Medal in the highly competitive Colby cheese category with a Colby Deli Horn, while Biery Cheese was awarded "Best of Show" in two different Pasteurized Processed Cheese categories. Biery topped all other competitions in both the Pasteurized Process Cheese, with their White American and the Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese with a Hot Pepper Cheese. Their Horseradish Cheese was also awarded a Bronze Medal in the Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese class. Chuck Ellis, General Manager & co-owner, accepted the award on behalf of Pearl Valley Cheese and Dennis Biery received the certificate for Biery Cheese from ODIF's current chair Connie Finton. When asked "How could an Ohio cheese maker become so successful at such a prominent international contest?", Dennis Biery simply smiled and said, "Only an Ohio cheese maker has full access to Ohio milk".
Representatives from Ohio's dairy producers, processors, allied industry, and retail/distribution sectors have come together to form the Ohio Dairy Industry Forum which, through quarterly forums, publications, and other proactive measures, strives to address and respond to pertinent and timely issues through consensus. This is accomplished by enhancing lines of communications and endeavoring to create an environment that fosters the creation of mutually beneficial relationships between all those that have a vested interest in Ohio's dairy industry.
Go to http://putnam.osu.edu/ag/ODIF.html to get additional information on the ODIF and other News Release.