Cheesemakers benefit from broadband during the pandemic


Cheesemakers benefit from broadband during the pandemic

The cheese industry is showing just how important expanded broadband has become since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

John Umhoefer with the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association tells Brownfield expanding broadband access is not only good for the families that need it for virtual learning, but rural businesses have also turned to the Internet to survive. “These businesses that found themselves losing restaurant markets really had an opportunity, and some really took advantage of the opportunity to sell cheese right online, and of course a lot of our cheesemakers are way out in rural Wisconsin where the cows are.”

Umhoefer says some of their members had online cheese sales increase up to three times previous volumes, helping to replace sales lost when many restaurants closed last year. “Hopefully, they will get that market back, but perhaps we’ve trained or we’ve got consumers interested now in getting that cheese, those tough to get specialty cheeses sent right to their home. That would be one silver lining out of a tough year.”

Umhoefer says he supports state and federal efforts to budget more dollars for broadband expansion.

Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers proposed a 200-million-dollar broadband investment in the next biennial budget.