American Cheese Society Announces Virtual 38th Annual Conference

3 years ago Jasmine Romero 3 Minute(s) to read

DENVER (February 23, 2021) --The 38th Annual American Cheese Society (ACS) Conference,
originally to be hosted in Des Moines, Iowa, has been transitioned to a virtual educational and
networking event to be held on July 28-30, 2021. Addressing critical concerns, the theme of this
year’s event is “Moving Forward Together with Purpose.” The ACS will provide a wide range of
online interactive opportunities to foster community, help members successfully navigate the
changing industry, and celebrate accomplishments in artisan cheesemaking.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our community,” said Jeremy Stephenson, board
president of ACS. “A virtual conference will help protect our members while providing us with a
unique opportunity to connect cheese industry professionals not just in North America, but from
across the globe, to lend fresh perspective and insight to our conference programming.”

In addition to year-long listening sessions and fireside chats, data from a May 2020 ACS survey of 980
artisan cheese community members has been used to shape the virtual conference programming. The
survey, which gauged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cheesemakers, cheesemongers,
retailers, buyers, and other industry stakeholders revealed acute impacts: 71 percent of survey takers
sought debt relief or financial assistance to stay afloat, and nearly a third laid off or furloughed
employees. There were also indications that members were taking advantage of opportunities to
pause and improve business models, as well as explore new methods to package and distribute their
products directly to consumers.

To continue to offer practical strategies, engagement and value to ACS members, sponsors and
constituents of the industry, 30 educational sessions will take place throughout the three-day
conference including:

• The artisan cheese industry has faced an historic year filled with market change, financial
challenge, and business evolution. To help members bounce back, conference attendees will 
benefit from educational sessions on Financial Management for Small Businesses and reaching
new channels through Ecommerce and Shipping.

● Educational sessions on Climate Change and Sustainability, and Advancements in Science and
Academia, will help cheese professionals drive brands forward with renewed purpose in this
comeback year, and into the future.

● Acknowledging that members and sponsors are the lifeblood of ACS, inspiring educational
sessions including Navigating COVID-19 as a Consumer-Facing Business, and Dairy Farming
in a Milk Crisis, will help provide the strategies necessary to adapt to a changing world.

The virtual conference will host artisan cheesemakers, industry professionals, purchasers and
influencers from the United States, Canada and Europe through seminars and workshops. To help
protect the health and safety of cheese professionals, the Annual Judging & Competition has been
postponed to a later date and will be supplemented with alternative programming reminiscent of
previous years that were designed to provide cheese makers with technical and sensory feedback on
their products from industry experts. While ACS works to confirm the details of this alterative
programming it will make available a survey to cheese makers for input in March.

The Certified Cheese Professional Exam (ACS CCP) will continue to be a key element of the conference.

“It’s time to come together!” said Lynn Giacomini Stray, board vice president of ACS. “This virtual
gathering provides an opportunity for all of us —even those who may not have been able to travel
and attend past conferences in person — to gather as a cheese community to learn and share and
reconnect with one another.”

For more details, membership inquiries, and updates on conference educational opportunities, visit 

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