Cheese Underground has put up a tremendously encouraging post (which you should go read) detailing Wisconsin’s booming specialty cheese industry. Here’s one key section:
The National Agricultural Statistics Service today announced that Wisconsin cheesemakers continue to lead the nation in crafting innovative cheeses. Specialty cheese production in 2007 rose 3 percent above the previous year, setting a new record. … In addition, there are more cheese plants here than there were a year ago, and more of them are producing specialty cheese. According to the report, 83 of Wisconsin’s 124 cheese plants manufacture at least one type of specialty cheese. Last year, 80 of the state’s 122 cheese plants did so.
The whole post has some fascinating data on Wisconsin cheesemaking (if you’re into that kind of thing), so it’s worth a read.