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SCOTT JAGOW: In the dairy business, it’s the Happy Cows versus the Cheeseheads. California is about to overtake Wisconsin as the nation’s top cheese producer. Rachel Dornhelm has more.
RACHEL DORNHELM: The average American eats 31 pounds of cheese a year. Almost three times what they did in 1970.
The number might make some think of the gain around their middle. but it makes the California Milk Advisory Board think about the state’s gain in market share.
NANCY FLETCHER: Just in 1995 we were making 70 varieties and style of cheese. Today we’re making 250 varieties and styles.
That’s the Board’s Nancy Fletcher. She says in the early 1980s the state’s dairy industry anticipated growing interest in the product.
Now California’s poised to unseat Wisconsin as the big cheese. Both states made over 2 billion pounds of the stuff last year, but cheese author Laura Werlin says California’s edge going forward is simple: It’s got milk.
LAURA WERLIN: You can’t make cheese without the raw material, that is the milk. And California has more of that than any other state.
Nearly half of California’s milk supply is now made into cheese.
I’m Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.
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