Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese find success | TheFencePost.com

Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese find success

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

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“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v

A family owned and operated farm, the Webb Dairy, produces more than just commodity milk. For the last five years, the dairy has also produced an extensive line of specialty cheeses.

Jim Webb, co-owner of Webb Dairy and Rocking W Cheese, is a sixth generation dairy farmer. Webb helps manage the operation with his brother-in-law, John Gibson. After attending college at Colorado State University in 1990, Webb returned home to help run his family’s dairy.

“I had always kinda planned on coming back to the dairy. My first couple years in college I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had as much opportunity here as I did anywhere else,” Webb said.

He continued, “I think agriculture is either in your blood or it’s not. I enjoy animals and being outdoors, and I feel like my job is different everyday. It is nice to be in control of the quality product you produce.”

The Webb family has been in agriculture in the Uncompahgre Valley since the turn of the century. Robert and Charlotte Webb started what today is the Webb Dairy, when they purchased 20 cows from Charlotte’s parents 46 years ago. They also purchased 80 acres, which is the same site that the dairy still resides on.

The dairy, located in Olathe, Colo., currently has 450 milking cows that are milked three times per day. The herd is composed of Holsteins, and Holstein/Jersey cross cows. The dairy has expanded greatly in the past 46 years, and is looking to expand even further by the end of the year.

“We would like to expand to 600 head by the first of the year. We are probably going to buy a herd, and incorporate it into ours,” Webb said.

The cheese factory came to fruition in 2008, after Jim’s wife, Willyn, wrote a proposal for a value added product grant.

“My main goal was to support my husbands thinking. We wanted a value added product to create more diversity when milk price were low, so we would have additional revenue,” said Willyn Webb, who works as a counselor in Delta, Colo., at the Delta Opportunity School.

She continued, “We also felt it was great to offer all natural artisan cheese to the local community and state. You need Colorado products. We thought a value added venture would make the dairy more profitable, and it was Jim’s dream and his desire,” she said.

A feasibility study had to be conducted as part of the grant, and a market was identified. The dairy was one of the top two submissions in the country for the value added marketing grant, and the grant money allowed the cheese factory to be opened in the spring of 2008.

At that time, they hired an initial cheesemaker to get the products started. When he left, a master cheesemaker, Dan Meister, was hired in 2009. Meister has been in the cheesemaking business his entire life, and is a third generation cheesemaker out of Wisconsin. He has been a certified master cheesemaker since 2001.

“There is just something about cheesemaking. Once it’s in your blood, it’s always there. If you leave it, you miss it,” said Meister.

Meister was moving back from Hawaii when he saw the ad for a cheesemaker at Rocking W, and he felt compelled to find out more. After a visit, he and his wife were set.

“I like working for Webbs, and I like the variety. If you work in a bigger factory, you end up making the same cheese all the time. At Webbs, it might be the same cheese for a few days in a row, but some cheeses I make only once a month. I like doing the variety cheeses,” he said.

Even though the cheese part of the business was doing well, 2009 was a hard year for the Webb Dairy, as it was for dairies all across the country. “That was the worst year in the history of dairy industry. We had low milk prices, and high feed costs. It ate up all of dairymen’s equity during that year. With the economy the way it is, the land value that you have secured has devalued. What you have based your loans off of has been cut in half,” said Webb.

One of the challenges the dairy has faced has been with lending. “Bank lenders are a different animal now. They go more off of cash flow than your assets. It made it tough when you have a bad milk price year to secure the operating loan. We have operated without a line of credit because our bank doesn’t provide it. I think the industry is seeing a lot of that with banks, and that leads to lending challenges.”

Even with operating loan struggles, the dairy has still found a way to succeed. Rocking W Cheese is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado. Farmstead artisan means that the milk that the cheese is made from comes from the family’s dairy, and within 24 hours is turned into cheese.

Cheesemaking can be a challenging process, and it takes years of experience to know how to handle each cheese. “It’s challenging to know what to do when things don’t go as planned. Cheese is like a living thing. No two cheeses are exactly alike. You try to make them as consistent as possible, however, you are working with bacteria, and the environment changes. It’s kind of an art and a science,” Meister said.

Since the cheese factory was opened, the dairy has expanded the number of products that are offered. In fact, Meister now produces over 30 different varieties of cheese with Rocking W.

The Rocking W brand can be found in Kroger, Whole Foods, Tony’s Market, Murray’s (inside King Soopers), and the Longmont home delivery system. Rocking W also has a drive-up and in house store, located at the dairy.

The dairy produces a total of 30,000 pounds of milk per day, and the cheese factory currently utilizes 20,000 pounds per week, which results in 2,000 pounds of cheese. As the market expands, the cheese operation will grow with it. It is the goal of the Webb family to use four to five days supply of milk in the cheese factory eventually.

The excess milk that is produced goes to Dairy Farmers of America, and is then sold to the Meadow Gold plant located in Delta, Colo.

One issue the dairy still faces is high feed costs. Even though market prices are good, the margin on milk has stayed relatively the same.

“Our input costs are really high with feed and fuel. Even though we are getting a really good milk price, our margins aren’t that different because of the high costs. Our cost of production per day is $18 per hundredweight, and we are getting $20 per hundredweight for our milk,” said Jim Webb.

Even though being in the dairy industry can be tough, Webb has an optimistic outlook for the agricultural industry.

“I can foresee in 50 years there not being enough food, and I can see agriculture being one of the strongest industries there is. Our nation has been the cheapest fed nation in the world for a long time,” Webb said.

He continued, “I believe that before long, a quarter of our income will be spent on food. Someone is going to have to pay for all the regulations we have now. The farmer can only do so much before it has to be passed on to the consumer.”

Even though prices may change, the family values that agricultural operations are based on, such as the Webb Dairy, will remain. Webb believes agriculture will remain a staple in the American economy. “I see all of agriculture getting stronger all the time,” Jim Webb said. v