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Area high schools benefit from cheese auction at fair
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MONROE - Each July, the Foreign Type Cheesemakers Association sponsors the cheese contest at the Green County Fair. Approximately 100 entries are submitted to the contest. On Sunday of Fair Week an auction is conducted by Dave and Rena Koning for the first-through third-place winning entries. The July 2016 auction raised $49,200 from 32 bidders for 494 pounds of cheese. More than 600 pounds of cheese not qualifying for auction were donated to the food pantry and the Green County Dairy Queens for distribution.

The FTCMA gave a total cash award of $13,500 to 27 FFA Chapters ($500 each) including the following area high schools: Albany High School; Argyle High School; Belleville High School; Black Hawk High School; Brodhead High School; Darlington High School; Juda High School; Monroe High School; Monticello High School; New Glarus High School; Lena-Winslow High School; and Orangeville High School.

The monetary awards were presented at a banquet Feb. 11 at Turner Hall in Monroe.

In 1935, Green County cheesemakers established the Foreign Type Cheesemakers Association Laboratory to perform quality control testing on the cheese they produced. The mission of the not-for-profit laboratory is to assist cheese producers in making quality, safe and wholesome products. The laboratory operations are located at 1520 17th St., Monroe.