“The 25 hardworking farm families who own Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative need help paying the heating and other bills over the winter while we secure new cheesemaking partners to reopen the farmer-owned factory,” says Mayer.
Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative has been in business since 1910 and is working toward reopening the plant by the spring. In October, the Co-op received a termination notice from their long-time partner Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, who will stop taking milk from Co-op farmers in early December and leave the plant vacant by year-end. COVID-19 is adding to the challenge of finding temporary homes for farmer’s milk and engaging new cheese company partners to rebuild the business.
Just to keep the cheese plant safe and secure this winter, the Co-op faces the challenge of heating the plant and paying insurance, taxes and mounting legal and other bills.
“The Co-op has received widespread offers to take milk and help with technical assistance,” says Mayer. “But, the fact is more money than farmers reaching into their own pockets is needed to get through winter before the cheese plant can reopen.”
The Co-op is making progress to find new partners, make new cheeses and relaunch next spring. Any financial contribution will help in the coming days and weeks. The Co-op also has a Facebook page to share updates on reopening progress: facebook.com/MapleLeafCoop
“The Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative Board of Directors and patrons are thankful for the support the Co-op is getting from the Green County community and the Wisconsin dairy industry,” says Mayer.
Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative is a farmer-owned Cooperative and cheese plant in Monroe, Wisconsin. The Cooperative comprises 25 dairy farmers and has been in business since 1910.