2024 Idaho Milk Processors Association Annual Conference

Sun Valley, ID | August 8 - 9, 2024

Dairy Contest

RULES 2024 Idaho Milk Processors Annual Dairy Product Contest 

Please Note:  Dates may change below.  Please contact Julie Winans for the most up to date information.
Julie Winans at 920-390-9933 or 


The IMPA Board is very excited to host the 28th Annual IMPA Dairy Product Contest and looks forward to your entries.  We want to encourage processors of all sizes to enter the contest.   The judging will take place on Tuesday August 6 at the Glanbia Twin Falls production facility.  Awards for the top three places in each class, overall Grand, first and second runners-up will be presented at the wine and cheese social on Thursday evening August 8. First place entries will be auctioned off during the wine and cheese social with the proceeds going to IMPA student scholarships.  The second-place entries will be available for sampling during the social.  We encourage everyone to participate in the auction of class champions.  Please note that anyone wishing to bid must have a representative present and be willing to sign for it.  Purchased cheese will be shipped to the respective buyers via Fed Ex.  Buyers will be invoiced; credit cards are accepted.


All entries must be made from Bovine milk.  No entry will be accepted if sourced in whole or in part from the milk of other lactating mammals.  Members/Associate Members of IMPA may submit qualifying entries to the contest at no charge. To qualify, the milk used in the manufacture of those Member entries must be sourced from within Idaho/Utah or have close ties to those states. There is an exception for the Farmstead and Artisan classes (see below).  Please refer to www.IMPA.US for membership information.

Class 14 & 15 (Farmstead & Artisan)

Entries to Class 14 & 15 must be processed from within one of the following eligible states: Idaho, Utah, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and Oregon).  Non-IMPA Members may submit entries only if they qualify within Classes 14 & 15 and at a cost of $75 per entry submission payable when you send your entry.  Please enclose the appropriate entry fee(s) with your entry either using a credit card or if you are writing a check, make it payable to IMPA.  We encourage you to enter as many classes as you can. 

Contest Category Classes

Class 1 – Current Cheddar Cheese - Cheese less than 3 months old; it must be manufactured on or after May 8, 2024; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form

Class 2 - Medium Cheddar Cheese - Cheese 3 to 6 months old; must be manufactured between February 5 and May 8, 2024; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form

Class 3 – Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Cheese 6 to 12 months old, manufactured between August 6, 2023 and Feb 6, 2024; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form

Class 4 – Aged Cheddar Cheese – 12- 24 months old, manufactured between August 6, 2023 and August 6, 2022; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form

Class 5 – Aged Cheddar Cheese – Cheese older than 24 months, manufactured on or before August 6, 2022; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form

Class 6 – Colby/Monterey Jack /Muenster– Class to include Colby, Monterey Jack, Muenster and any other mixed washed curd cheeses

Class 7 – Hard Italian Cheese – Class to include Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, cotija types of cheese, cheese with a rind, etc.; date of manufacture and a brief description to be stated on the entry form

Class 8 – Soft/Semi-soft and Fresh Italian Cheese – Class to include fresh cheese, mozzarella, string cheese, Provolone etc.

Class 9 - Spiced Cheese – Cheese flavored with peppers of any kind, peppercorns or savory spices (Open to all varieties of base cheese); please provide a brief description of the cheese to aid in judging

Class 10 – Flavored Cheese – Cheese flavored with herbs, fruits, vegetables, flowers, syrups or smoked cheeses (Open to all varieties of base cheese); please provide a brief description of the cheese to aid in judging

Class 11 – Open Reduced Fat Cheese – Cheese manufactured to contain a minimum of 20% less fat than the normal composition standard (to include all reduced fat products)

Class 12 - Open Class: mascarpone, ricotta, continental cheese, cheese spreads, and any products that do not meet the requirements of the other classes; please provide a brief description of the cheese to aid in judging

Class 13 – Swiss Cheese – all types of Swiss cheese including baby Swiss; DOM to be included on the entry form

Class 14* – Farmstead – Limited to cheese and fermented milk products made with bovine milk from herds on the farm of where the products are produced; please provide a brief description of the cheese to aid in judging

Class 15* – Artisan - Total production of cheese and/or cultured product must not exceed 500,000 lb. per year.  Products must be commercially available at the time of the contest.

Class 16 - Cultured Dairy Products - all cultured products such as yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream or yogurt-based dips and spreads.

Class 17 – Butter – to include all types of butter

Class 18 - Granular Cheese for Manufacturing

Entry Requirements

  • All products entered must conform to their respective standards of identity and be made from bovine milk
  • All entries must be a minimum of 8 lbs, (you may enter more than one piece to total 8 lbs as long as they are from the same batch.   except for classes 16, 17, and 18).  All samples must be free from sample plugs.  Cheeses must be entered as whole blocks, wheels, loaves, horns/mini-horns.  Exceptions will be made for larger form cheeses, i.e. Emmental. These cheeses must be presented in the form in which they are available for wholesale distribution. (For example, 10 lb. Print, 5 Lb. Brick, 20 Lb. Wedge, 40 lb blocks cut from a 640 lb block, etc.)  Smoked cheeses can be entered as cut when sent in the form it was smoked.  Any cheese or dairy product under one pound of weight requires 1 retail case of samples or a minimum of 6 pieces.
  • Class 11: follow guidelines for corresponding full fat products.
  • Class 14-15: entries must follow the rules of the corresponding entry for the regular class
  • Class 16: must be packaged in a typical retail sized container and be a minimum of 48 ounces. It is strongly encouraged to use generic containers to discourage any brand name bias.
  • Class 17: Butter entries must be a minimum of 6 lbs of total product from the same batch.
  • Class 18: samples must consist of a minimum of three (3), twelve-inch plug samples.  Plugs should be wrapped to maintain freshness.
  • A processor may enter multiple entries per class; however, each entry must be submitted by a different individual (excluding classes 14 and 15).  If more than one entry in the same class from the same individual is received (unless it is multiple samples to make the minimum amount), it will be up to the judges to determine which entry will be graded.
  • Packaging is graded as part of the contest; take care to package your entry appropriately.
  • Labeling: take care that entry labels remain dry and intact through shipping, consider using sheet protectors or some appropriate measure to keep them dry

*Classes 14 and 15 only, are open to all to processors from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and Washington.  If you are not an IMPA member or associate member, there is a $75.00 entry fee/ entry, payable to IMPA.  There is no charge to enter if you are an IMPA member.


Each entry must have an entry form with all the information completed. If additional entry forms are required, copies should be made.  Product samples must be received by Glanbia Foods Inc., Twin Falls ID between Monday July 29 and Friday August 2, 2024.   If you are sending an entry fee with your entry, please take care to keep it dry.  You may put your credit card information on the entry form or you may send a check made out to IMPA.

All contest entries will be retained by the Idaho Milk Processors Association.  Most 2nd Place entries will be displayed and available for tasting at the wine and cheese social Thursday night during the conference.  Entries left over will be donated to a local charity.

Ship to:

ATTN: Dalibor Bampa
IMPA Dairy Contest
Glanbia Foods Inc.
236 Washington Street So.
Twin Falls, ID  83301


Industry judges will grade the cheese on Tuesday, August 6, 2024.  Defects will be identified and recorded.  Defects will be identified as being Very Slight, Slight, Definite or Pronounced.  There is a cap at -0.5 points deducted for appearance

            Very Slight      Evident under very close examination   0.1-0.5

            Slight               Evident under critical examination          0.6-1.5

            Definite            Easily detected                                          1.6-2.5

            Pronounced     Intense defect, easily detected                2.6- +

Two judges will independently evaluate each entry and determine a score.  The two scores will be averaged, and a final score determined.  A score is determined based on 100 possible points minus Judges’ critiques.  Places will be determined by highest score.  If a tie occurs, the highest average flavor score will determine the higher position.  If a tie still exists, a decision will be determined by a re-grade.  Grand Champion will be chosen from all first-place entries (except class 18).  The Grand Champion round is graded based on flavor only.  Grade sheets will be signed by each judge and will be available following the awards presentation Thursday evening.  Please try to pick up your grading sheets that night.


  • Awards will be made by contributions of Idaho Milk Processors’ supplier organizations.
  • First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded for each class.
  • A Grand Champion ribbon and plaque will be provided for the “Best” over-all entry.
  • A ribbon will be awarded for the First and Second Runners up.

For questions contact Dairy Product Contest Chair, Julie Winans at 920-390-9933 or julwi@novonesis.com