Monthly Archives: April 2011

The “Facebook” of the Cheese Industry

The Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference was held in La Crosse this month. This event can be considered the “Facebook” of the cheese industry, sporting a business casual atmosphere where the attendees can be on neutral territory. This show lays the ground work for competing manufacturers and vendors to talk to each other, not trading secrets, more to the tune of confirming industry rumors, personnel changes, company buy outs, and regulatory or equipment changes.

The 2011 show had record attendance and we had non-stop visitors to our exhibit. One observation I made was the number of plants that are expanding or making equipment changes in 2011 – plants of all sizes – making big dollar changes. This has to be a positive sign in reference to our existing economy. On the negative side, fuel costs continually came up in our discussions, not only over the road fuel, but fuel for plant boilers.

Shows like this are important.  It is always good to talk with customers outside the work environment.

Nelson-Jameson Launches User-Friendly Website

MARSHFIELD, WIS., April 25, 2011 – Nelson-Jameson, Inc. is proud to announce the launch of their newly-designed website,

The new site features a shopping cart for easier ordering with improved navigation and search function of their extensive product lines. With their customers in mind, the company’s main focus was to create a website that was user-friendly.

“In everything we do at Nelson-Jameson, we strive to make our customers’ lives easier.  Our new website is just a natural extension of that philosophy, says Adam Nelson, vice president of technology, Nelson-Jameson, Inc. “Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, customers are just a few clicks away from purchasing the products they need and as always, the experience is backed by our one-stop, golden-rule approach.”

An element new to the website is their Learning Center, which helps users stay on top of the latest food industry product innovations, regulations and news. Fully integrated with social media, the company’s blog “The Wide Line” is connected with the new site, along with Facebook and Twitter.

Nelson-Jameson, Inc. has been an integrated supplier for the food industry since 1947. Product lines include safety & personnel, production & material handling, sanitation & janitorial, processing & flow control, laboratory & QA/QC, and bulk packaging & ingredients. The company is headquartered in Marshfield, Wisconsin, with other locations in Turlock, California, Twin Falls, Idaho, and York, Pennsylvania. For more information visit,

Optimize ROI with Accurate Moisture Testing

Imagine selling water removed from your dried or condensed whey for about $16 per gallon.   Pretty good deal, especially when it has virtually no value otherwise.

If it remains in the cheese on the other hand, water has this value based on early March cheddar prices.   Every .10 % water retained amounts to 100 # /100,000 # of cheese produced.  On a daily basis this amounts to $200, or $1,400 per week or $72,800 per year!

Poor sampling and testing, resulting in a wide “standard deviation” of results, however, will force an operation to give up moisture in order to avoid a major loss due to production of non-standard cheese.  That is why Nelson-Jameson has taken moisture testing very seriously and tried to identify the best equipment for our customers to use.  Unfortunately one of our “flagship” products in this regard, the Lab-Line Model 3623 vacuum oven, described in Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products, has been discontinued by the manufacturer, Thermo-Fisher Scientific.   It has been replaced with a new model, which has many of the features designed into the classic oven — although not all.   After looking at a number of other ovens we will offer the Lindberg/Blue M Vacuum Oven in our next catalog.   So far we have not found a better one among those currently available.

Finding a substitute oven that offers the same or similar features required both time and research by our laboratory team. It could have been easier by just choosing an oven without the research, but that is not how Nelson-Jameson operates. We choose to do the investigation of a product on the front end of the decision making process, so we can then offer our customers an item that we feel comfortable and confident standing behind.

Small Farms, Big Dreams

Recessions, economic hardships and poor markets put strain on businesses, small and big alike.  What do these businesses do when they just can’t make enough money to cover their costs? Some sell out, others merge, and in the worst case scenario, some will have to close. These hardships have become apparent in our industry, especially with small, milk producing farms. The pay that some farmers are receiving for their milk is making it hard to make ends meet. Farmers have a reputation throughout the years of persevering through the tough times to make it through to the next day of milking.  A quote that I feel is very pertinent to the small farmer situation is, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn”. So, you may ask yourself, how exactly does this fit with the smaller, struggling farms? There has been an increase in small farmers making a turn in their businesses so that they can handle the less than favorable market prices.

We at Nelson-Jameson have seen an influx in small Artisan cheese making farms. Instead of selling their milk at low prices, they keep it, and start in on the cheese making journey.  We receive many calls a week from these new cheese makers.  Many of our current Nelson-Jameson staff have grown up making cheese in local cheese companies.  Their abundance of working knowledge, paired with experience in this field, is an invaluable asset to the new Artisan cheese maker.  In the end, the creativity of these small farmers allows for growth for both them and Nelson-Jameson.  The next time you go to your local farmers market be sure to enjoy some of the great new cheese and know you are tasting the flavor of a business success!