One hundred and ten million pounds of cheese were made in Wisconsin last year, almost twice as much as was produced five years ago, according to the University of Wisconsin agricultural experiment station bulletin on "The development of factory dairying in Wisconsin," which has just been prepared by Professor H.L. Russell of the Wisconsin college of agriculture and U.S. Baer, Assistant Dairy and Food commissioner.
Besides the increase in production from 60,000,000 pounds of cheese in 1900 to 110,000,000 pounds in 1905, the statistics show the addition of 118 new cheese factories, or nearly 40 new factories each year.
The amount of butter manufactured in creameries of the state has increased 60 percent in the past five years, the figures showing 55,000,000 pounds for 1900 and 88,500,000 pounds in 1905. The butter made on farms has grown from 25,000,000 pounds in 1900 to 34,500,000 pounds in 1905; an increase of 38 percent. It is evident from this that factory dairying is increasing relatively faster than the home production of the farms. The bulletin shows that the factory growth is going on rapidly throughout almost all regions of the state.
Central Wisconsin Booms
The most vigorous factory development during the last five years is shown to have been in central Wisconsin. In Shawano, Oconto, Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Clark, Eau Claire, Chippewa and Barron, the ten counties located in the central part of the state, the number of cheese factories has grown from 141 to 206, an increase of 65 and the number of creameries from 121 to 191, an increase of 70. By virtue of its natural advantages this new dairy portion of central Wisconsin is peculiarly adapted to dairying. Undoubtedly a prominent factor of the development of this region has been the introduction of the small landowner, generally of foreign birth. In developing their little clearings in the cut-over land, these farmers have taken up dairying, to which the country is well adapted, rather than the raising of grain or other agricultural products. The most phenomenal growth of the cheese industry is to be noted in Shawano county, where the number of cheese factories has increased from 14 in 1900 to 56 in 1905, an addition of 42, or 300 per cent.
Increase in Swiss Cheese
The most distinctive area, because of its rapid growth as well as of the character of its product, is the region of the Swiss cheese industry in southern Wisconsin. Centering originally in Green County, it has extended rapidly to Iowa, Lafayette, Dane and Rock Counties. The most remarkable increase has been in these surrounding counties, in which the factories have increased in the last five years from 183 to 301, while the estimated factory output of Swiss cheese approximates 15,000,000 pounds.
Richland Cheddar Region
The cheddar cheese industry in the western portion of the state continues to center in Richland county, where it has been developing for years, but the success there attained has led to the extension of this cheddar cheese section into western Sauk, southern Vernon, and northern Iowa counties. These counties stand out prominently as a dairy area, and the growth of the industry is emphasized by a comparison with surrounding counties, like Crawford, western Vernon, and Columbia, in which no apparent factory development is occurring.
Lake Shore Counties Lead
The most extensive cheddar region of the state consists of the lake shore counties, where the industry was originally established, and where the extension of it has been continuous. Although the distinctly lake shore counties, like Kewaunee, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan, seems to have reached their maximum factory development, the boundaries of this cheese belt are being steadily pushed toward the interior, especially toward the more newly settled regions northward. It is highly probable that the lake shore cheese belt, to which should now be added Shawano county, will push westward and northward into Langlade, Oconto, and Marathon counties. Indeed in Marathon county already cheese interests are paramount.
Brick Cheese District
Wisconsin has two centers in which foreign cheese is extensively made. Beside the Green county district where Swiss and Limburger are manufactured, there is a large and developing area with Dodge county as its center in which brick cheese is made n large quantities. The manufacture of this peculiar type of cheese began in Dodge county, bit is now extending northward into Fond du Lac and eastward into Washington counties. The rapid growth of the cheese interests n this area is shown by the fact that the cheese factories in Dodge county alone have increased in the last five years from 102 to 120. This district in conjunction with the Swiss cheese section in the southern part of the state, makes Wisconsin the foremost state of the union in the manufacture of foreign cheese.
(Source: Racine Daily publish date November 2, 1906)