Cheese Contest

RULES 2021 Idaho Milk Processors Annual Dairy Product Contest 


The IMPA Board is very excited to be hosting the 25th 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 10 at the Glanbia Twin Falls production facility.  Awards for each class champion, first and second runners-up will be presented at the wine and cheese social on Thursday evening August 12. 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.  Please bring your Fed Ex account number along to expedite the process.  Buyers will be invoiced; credit cards are accepted.


To participate in the 2021 Dairy Product Contest you must have ties to Idaho or Utah by processing in these states or be getting some milk from either state with the exception of Classes 14 and 15.  Entries must be made with bovine milk; the board has decided that only bovine milk will be accepted and regrets any inconveniences.  The geographical exception is for Classes 14 and 15, Farmstead and Artisan.  For these classes you do not need ties to Idaho or Utah but must be in located in one of the eligible states.    Eligible states are Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and Washington.  There is no entry fee if you are a member of IMPA. Please refer to www.IMPA.US for membership information.  If you choose not to be a member of IMPA then there is a $50.00 entry fee per entry, payable when you send your entry in.  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.

Contest Category Classes

Class 1 – Current Cheddar Cheese - Cheese less than 3 months old; it must be manufactured on or after May 10, 2021; 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 9 and May 10, 2021; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form.

Class 3 – Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Cheese 6 to 12 months old, manufactured between August 10, 2020 and Feb 10, 2020; date of manufacture to be stated on the entry form.

Class 4 – Aged Cheddar Cheese – 12- 24 months old, manufactured between August 10, 2020 and August 10, 2019; 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 10, 2019; 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.

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, except for classes 16 and 18 (you may enter more than one piece to total 8 lbs as long as they are from the same batch).  All samples must be free from sample plugs.  Cheeses must be entered as whole wheels, loaves, or blocks. Exceptions will be made for larger form cheeses, i.e. Emmental and Cheddar. 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.)  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 64 ounces. It is strongly encouraged to use generic containers to discourage any brand name bias.
  • Class 17: Butter entries must be a minimum of 8 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


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 Aug. 2 and Friday August 6, 2021.   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.  The 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: Joey Pittman
IMPA Cheese Contest
Glanbia Foods Inc.
236 Washington Street So.
Twin Falls, ID 83301


Click to download Label


Industry judges will grade the cheese on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.  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 by all judges 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 Julie Winans at 920-390-9933 or