Today, Senate Bill 371, designating Colby the official state of cheese, had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Legal Review and Consumer Protection. State Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls)
and Representative Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield), the authors of the bill, issued the following statement after the public hearing.
“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”, Senator Bernier Stated.
Colby cheese was created in 1885 when 16 year-old Joseph F. Steinwand tried the cold washed curd process in his hometown of Colby, Wisconsin. Today, 45 million pounds of Colby cheese are produced in Wisconsin each year, making Colby cheese one of the most popular cheeses in Wisconsin and 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 have truly changed cheese and put Wisconsin on the cheesemaking map. This bill celebrates that history and innovation, but it’s about
more than just cheese – it’s 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.