Vermont Agriculture & Food System Plan 2021-2030 Vermont Food System Plan Product Brief: Cheese
Vermont boasts more state-inspected cheese producers per capita than any other state in the nation — close to one cheese maker for 13,000 people — generating more than $657 million in annual revenue. Vermont cheese makers create superior quality cheeses, winning national and international awards in numbers disproportionate to the size of our state. It takes ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese, making cheese a more consistently profitable option than fluid milk for dairy farmers. Vermont’s small dairy farms, challenging terrain, and short growing seasons create a disadvantage for Vermont dairy farmers relative to other national dairy producers in the commodity market but can be used as an advantage for value-added producers. Environmental concerns and low milk prices continue to be a struggle for many dairy farmers; however, dairy farms and related processing are central to Vermont’s landscape and identity (see Dairy brief, Goats brief). A viable future for Vermont dairy needs to be premised on a strategy that compensates for these challenges and leverages Vermont strengths.