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Are you a budding cheesemaker? Ontario needs you!

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A survey has found that over the next decade Ontario will need about 200 cheesemakers to help meet consumer demand for local cheese

Cheese maker cleaning cheeses in his workshop

Guelph, Ont. – Ontario needs more cheesemakers to help serve the sector in the coming decade, says a survey of Ontario cheese manufacturers.

In a statement, the Agricultural Adaptation Council says it funded the survey, which found that “based on growth, turnover and retirement, Ontario dairy processors estimate that more than 200 new cheesemakers will be needed.”

Local cheese is a segment of the market that is growing, says the statement, and a new wave of Ontario cheesemakers will help to “feed consumers’ endless appetite for local.”

According to the Ontario Dairy Council (ODC), its members process 97 per cent of the milk produced in Ontario to manufacture a wide range of dairy products, including cheese.

The sector generates more than $6 billion in annual sales, says the statement.

Stacee Sokoloff, manager of Member Services and Communications with ODC, says in the statement that “identifying the needs for Ontario cheesemakers has attracted interest across Canada, and drawn attention to the greater need for skills development and training.”

Sokoloff also adds that with CETA, more than 17,000 tonnes of additional imported European cheeses will be coming into the Canadian market. That makes it “increasingly urgent for cheese manufacturers to stay innovative and competitive to maintain and grow their markets,” she says.

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