Burnett Dairy Cooperative has its roots in the Branstad and Wood River creameries. These two creameries had a long tradition of serving dairy producers. (A creamery skims off all the butter fat to make and sell butter and provides dairy farmers a way to sell their products.)
The Branstad Creamery was the third creamery in Burnett county and started operations on May 13, 1897. The Wood Lake Creamery (renamed the Wood River Creamery) was started June 9, 1896.
In the 1960s the age of modernization was approaching and both creameries decided to merge and turn toward the more profitable venture of making cheese. Not just any cheese but Mozzarella; an upcoming new cheese to Americans.
The cooperative was one of the first to make Mozzarella cheese outside of the traditional ethnic producers who brought their cheese cultures with them from the old country. Burnett Dairy was very successful in building the business with quality products.
The official start date of the cooperative was in 1966 when the two creameries where closed. The Alpha location (named after the Alpha De Laval cream separator) was converted to cheese manufacturing with the assistance of a $25,000 grant from the State of Wisconsin. Since Mozzarella was still a new cheese to the United States, the employees had to go the extra mile to get training. In fact, Carl Glockzin, the first plant manager, had to travel a 200 mile trip 18 times to Marshfield to earn his license to make cheese.
As Burnett Dairy grew so did its cheese making ability. It quickly added more varieties of Provolone, Cheddar and Colby to its mix.
The plant hasn't stood still and in 1971 the cooperative added the milk patrons from the Shafer Minnesota receiving plant. In the following year the Webster Cooperative Creamery became a receiving station for the cooperative.
The cooperative has added and closed parts of its operation as the dairy economics have changed. At one point the dairy leased a nearby creamery to handle the cream generated by the part skim milk mozzarella produced by the plant.
Today Burnett Dairy is the last remaining dairy plant in the county.
The cooperative didn't stop expanding its cheese making ability, either. Today it makes many flavors of String Cheese, Provolone, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, and a full Artisan line including Master Cheesemaker custom varieties. These fine products are delivered to pizzerias and retail stores through out the United States. It even opened a cheese store and sells cheese via the internet.
The cooperative continues to change with the times by adding new processes and delivering better products. From the farmer to the 100 plus years of dairy traditions, Burnett Dairy Cooperative is delivering quality dairy products.