RALEIGH — With more than 40 artisan cheese operations, North Carolina boasts one of the most robust cheesemaking communities in the Southeast. In an effort to ensure the state stays at the forefront of the industry, N.C. Dairy Advantage is offering up to 12 scholarships to existing N.C. cheesemakers to attend the 2012 American Cheese Society’s annual conference in Raleigh, Aug. 1-4, 2012.
The American Cheese Society provides educational programming and networking opportunities to those in the cheese industry. The annual event will enable attendees to learn more about cheese production, marketing and handling of cheeses. This is the first time the organization has held its conference in North Carolina.
Scholarships are open to N.C. cheesemakers currently producing cheese for sale in a state-inspected cheesemaking facility. Scholarships of $250-375 will be awarded, depending on number of selected applicants. The monies may be used to offset the cost associated with attending the conference. Scholarships are funded by a grant from N.C. Market Ready and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grant Program.
Applications can be found online at www.ncdairyadvantage.com/producerprograms or by contacting Matthew Lange, dairy development coordinator for N.C. Dairy Advantage, at 919-740-1762. The deadline for application is June 11, 2012.
N.C. Dairy Advantage is a joint effort between the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, N.C. State University Cooperative Extension, N.C. Farm Bureau and the N.C. Dairy Producers Association. The program aims to enhance the value of the dairy industry to the state’s economy, support dairy farm numbers and maintain farmland and open space.