(Madison)… Today, Senate Bill 371, designating Colby the official state cheese, received bipartisan approval in the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Legal Review and Consumer Protection. Bill authors State Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield) issued the following statement after the vote.

“We are thrilled with today’s vote and want to thank the members from every corner of our state who voted to approve this bill. In just a few generations Colby has gone from a farm family recipe to world famous, driving America’s love for cheese and putting Wisconsin on the cheese making map.”

Colby cheese was created in 1885 when 16 year-old Joseph F. Steinwand created an innovative cold washed curd process on the floor of his father’s wooden cheese factory near his hometown of Colby, Wisconsin. Today, 45 million pounds of Colby cheese are produced in Wisconsin each year, making Colby one of the most popular cheeses in Wisconsin and across the Nation.

“Colby cheese is a classic Wisconsin cheese, with a unique rural history that people across this country now enjoy as much as Wisconsinites.  It is time we honor our collective legacy as the dairy state and name an official cheese that began right here in Wisconsin,” stated Representative Rozar.

“Colby was real innovation – its inventive processing led to breakthroughs in cheesemaking that put Wisconsin on the cheesemaking map” said Senator Bernier.  “This bill celebrates that history and innovation, but it’s also a reminder that just one small person from one small place can take an idea and change history – even cheese history.”

Senator Bernier and Representative Rozar both represent the City of Colby in Clark and Marathon counties – the birthplace of Colby cheese. 

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