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State Cheesemakers snare 23 ACS Awards

California cow's milk cheese makers won 23 awards, including a distinguished Second- Place Best of Show, at the 2009 annual cheese competition held by the American Cheese Society, Aug. 5-8 in Austin, Texas.

The ACS recognizes the finest cheeses produced in the US.  A record 1,327 cheeses and cultured dairy products were entered into the competition.
California cheeses had another strong showing las year, competing against 197 producers from 32 states -- another ACS record, reports Real California Milk and Real California Cheese, South San Francisco.

California cow's milk cheeses won five first-place, five second- place and 12 third-place awards in 2009 judging, with California -based Cowgirl Creamery taking Second-Place Best of Show for its Red AHawk cow's milk cheese, triple-cream, washed-rind, fully flavored cheese.

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USDA Outlines Plan To Send Dairy Farmers Payments

WASHINGTON — Giving a boost to struggling dairy producers, the Agriculture Department said Thursday it plans to dole out one-time payments to farmers.

The USDA's announcement of the new Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Payment program comes after Congress earlier this year approved $350 million to help the struggling dairy industry, which has been mired in a lengthy downturn.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he'd heard hundreds of stories from struggling dairy farmers.

"Now, we'll be able to offer them help," he said.

When Congress approved the funding in October, $60 million was set aside to cover purchases of surplus cheese and other dairy products, but the USDA was given wide discretion with the remaining $290 million.

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