Wisconsin Grand Master Cheese Maker
Platteville cheesemaker takes top award at Wisconsin State Fair

Jim Klein, a long time cheesemaker at Swiss Valley Farms Platteville cheese plant, was named the "Grand Master Cheesemaker" at the 2007 Wisconsin State Fair. The announcement was made August 2 by Rod Nilsestuen, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, at the beginning of the award-winning cheese auction at the Fair.

Jim's Swiss cheese entry, a Traditional Swiss Wheel, had previously been judged First Place in its class at the fair on July 13. All the First Place cheeses were then judged one more time to select the best of the best, or the Grand Master Cheesemaker for the 2007 Fair.

The auction was held during the Cheese and Butter Awards Banquet at the conclusion of the fair, where Jim was surrounded by many friends and family members, as well as Platteville plant manager Mike Green. Jim's Grand Champion Swiss wheel was purchased in the auction for $1,100, or $100 a pound, by Danisco USA, of New Century, Kansas.

Jim has been making cheese at the plant for over 14 years and stepped into the role of head Cheese maker in early 2006. Besides numerous plant awards, Jim Klein finished best in class for Swiss Style cheeses in the US Champion Cheese Contest in 2003. Jim is supported by his wife, Michelle, and children, Zach and Chelsey.

"Jim Klein has worked in Platteville for over 14 years," Mike said, "We are very proud of his accomplishments. I also would like to thank Swiss Valley Farms employees Linda Lee, Roger Ellis, Bill Wieser, Sue Sullivan and the rest of the Platteville cheese making team for their support of Jim and his cheese making excellence. Please join me in celebrating Jim's success!"