SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WWTI) — Twelve cheese processors and manufacturers from across New York State were awarded at the 2021 Dairy Products Competition in celebration of Dairy Day at the New York State Fair.

There were a total of 116 entries in the cheese categories this year. Three North Country cheese and milk manufacturers took home awards.

Great Lakes Cheese in Adams won gold and silver awards in the Current Cheddar category, gold and silver in the Aged Cheddar category and gold and silver in the Super Aged Cheddar category, taking home a total of six medals.

HP Hood in La Fargeville won gold in the Cottage Cheese Full Fat category, gold in the Lowfat Cottage Cheese category, silver in the Nonfat Cottage Cheese category, silver in the Sour Cream category and an award of excellence in the Plain Yogurt category, taking home a total of 5 awards and medals.

Stewart’s won second overall in the Fluid Milk category.

Other dairy producers from around the state also took home awards. Upstate Farms won gold in the Flavored Milk category. Stoltzfus Family Dairy from Oneida County took home gold in the Small Processors Fluid Milk category as well as the Chocolate Milk category. Upstate Niagara earned the most medals overall, with a total of 19. They received the gold in the Flavored Milk, Dip, Buttermilk, Mozzarella, Ricotta, and Sour Cream categories.

Entries were submitted for 25 categories, including fluid milk, various types of cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, dips, and cottage cheese. Cheese classes were evaluated by 11 expert judges. The Chief Judge this year was Alicia Heannings from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Milk Control. A full list of award winners is available on the department’s website.

“Congratulations to our winners and to all of our participants for making the most delicious and nutritious dairy products for all of us to enjoy. New York’s dairy farmers and processors are among the best in the country and their commitment to the agricultural community is reflected in the great milk, cheeses, sour creams, cottage cheeses, and more they take such pride in producing,” Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “I am so honored to take part in the awards ceremony at the Great New York State Fair once again and highlight just some of the amazing products that use milk from our more than 3,600 dairy producers throughout the state.”

New York is a top producer of dairy products in the country and dairy is the state’s number one agricultural sector. New York currently has nearly 3,600 dairy farms producing more than 15 billion pounds of milk, approximately seven percent of the country’s total milk supply. New York is also a leading producer in the country of cottage cheese and creamed cheese. Total cheese production also continues to grow, accounting for more than one billion pounds last year.

“Our nearly 300 farmer-owners and our dedicated employees collectively put their heart and soul into everything they do, and we are extremely proud that the New York State Fair officials have recognized their efforts,” Lawrence Webster, Chief Executive Officer of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, said. “We look forward to continuing to provide fresh, safe, delicious milk and dairy products to nourish our communities.”