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Deadline approaches for first-ever Wisconsin Licensed Cheesemaker Scholarship

Want to be a Wisconsin artisan cheesemaker? Applications for a $2,500 annual scholarship to help one aspiring dairy entrepreneur earn a cheesemaking license and make farmstead, artisan or specialty cheeses are due March 15.

Wisconsin Cheese Originals , an organization dedicated to growing and promoting the Wisconsin artisan cheese community, is offering the scholarship for the first time.  The organization hosts seminars, tasting receptions, cheesemaking tours and sponsors the annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival, scheduled this year on Nov. 5-7 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis.

Organization founder and executive director Jeanne Carpenter said the goal of the scholarship fund compliments the goal of the organization, which celebrates Wisconsin’s original cheeses and helps connect consumers to farmstead, artisan and specialty cheesemakers.

“In the last 10 years, Wisconsin has become home to more than 60 artisan and specialty cheesemakers, many of whom are choosing to start or move their operations to Wisconsin because of the dairy state’s reputation for quality, innovation and infrastructure,” Carpenter said. “At the same time, I know there are men and women with the talent and drive to become an artisan cheesemaker, who lack the financial backing and support to take the required university classes and obtain a cheesemaker license. This scholarship aims to address that gap and hopes to help one new Wisconsin artisan cheesemaker earn his or her license every year.”

Applicants must be a resident of the State of Wisconsin, a high school graduate as of June 15, 2010, and must demonstrate ambition to pursue and obtain a Wisconsin Cheesemaker License, a lengthy process that can take as long as 18 months, requires the attendance at five university courses, as well as 240 hours of apprenticeship with an existing licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Scholarship applications may be downloaded from www.wisconsincheeseoriginals.com/about.php and are due March 15.  To learn more, contact Carpenter at 608-358-7837.

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