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OCTOBER 20TH. 2014
Minerva Dairy Wraps Up Another 4-H Year.

Minerva Dairy is kept busy during the summer participating in several area county fairs. This year the counties that promoted the Cheese Production Contest were Carroll, Columbiana, Stark, Mahoning, and Portage. Seventy seven baskets were sold bringing the total earnings to $113,425.00. Minerva Dairy donated a total of 775 pounds of cheese and butter this year for the auctioned baskets. Besides cheese and butter, the Dairy provided a custom-designed t-shirt, cooler bags, and lab personnel for each 4-H and FFA member that participated in the project.

Some of the counties sell additional baskets to raise money for their dairy committees, scholarship funds, and judging teams. This year Stark County presented three $1000 scholarships to deserving youth, enabling them to further their education. Stark County also supports their Dairy Judging Teams and sold a basket at the auction. The funds raised provide the opportunity for the team members to travel to competitions and other events.
Phil Mueller, Minerva Dairy CEO and fourth generation, and Adam Mueller and Venae Watts, both fifth generation, provide everything needed for all the 4-H and FFA youth in order to learn about the dairy industry, and hopefully, their experience in the project will lead them towards becoming involved in a dairy-related career later on.

JULY 27TH. 2012
Minerva Dairy sponsors local 4-H Groups.
It is fair season in Ohio and once again Minerva Dairy is sponsoring the local 4-H groups. This is the dairy's 28th year donating cheese and butter to be auctioned off for the 4-H dairy cheese project. This year at the Carroll County Fair, Minerva Dairy donated five Minerva Dairy coolers filled with cheese and butter to the junior fair. The five participants were given a newly designed T-shirt advertising Minerva dairy's Lacey cheese.

The coolers were auctioned off for an impressive total of $9,700.

JUNE 27TH. 2012
Show your Love for Stark County at Minerva Businesses.

Minerva's Grinders Above and Beyond, the Market Street Art Spot, and Minerva Dairy invite area residents to visit and show their love for Stark County by having their picture taken with the I Heart Stark sign Photos should be submitted to photos@visitcantonstark.com, along with name, address, and phone number, by Tuesday, July 31.

All submissions are automatically entered to win a $250 Gas Card. Entries are limited to one per person, per location, but the more businesses a person visits, the more chances he has to win. Other prizes will be awarded for the Best Photo, Most Creative Photo, Judge's Choice and one to the person who submits photos from the most businesses. Grinders Above and Beyond is located at 404 E. Lincoln Way; the Market Street Art Spot, at 219 N. Market St.; and Minerva Dairy, at 430 Radloff Ave.

JUNE 27TH. 2012
Minerva Chamber Kicks off Homecoming with Lunch.

Members of the Minerva Area Chamber of Commerce kicked off the Homecoming with an informal lunch June 20 at the Minerva Lion's Community Civic Club food stand. Minerva Dairy employees (from left) Joe Craig, Patti Colon, Ray Goel, Darrell Shirley, Rusty Kaser and Ricky Goodin enjoy lionburgers on their lunch break.

APRIL 28TH. 2012
Minerva Chamber Recognizes Minerva Dairy for Economic Development.
By Kimberly Lewis News Leader Staff Writer

The Minerva Area Chamber of Commerce recognized five local businesses for economic development and their service to the community during the annual banquet Wednesday, April 18, at the White House at Edgewater Golf Course. President Dave Hank congratulated the winners, explaining the 2011 winners would present the awards to the 2012 honorees. The awards presented included small business, large business, new/emerging business, economic development and community appreciation. Read the rest of the Article Here.

MARCH 30TH. 2012
Little Family Farm, Named Century Farm.
Minerva Dairy Proud to be Associated with this Long Standing Farm Relationship.
By ELIZABETH PARKER News Leader Staff Writer

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI — The Little family of East Rochester in Columbiana County is a close-knit farm family that enjoys working hard together on their Ohio Century Farm. Becoming an Ohio Century Farm is not an easy task, but it was something Sue Little was determined to do for her father-in-law, Delmar Little, as a Christmas present. "To be named on Ohio Century Farm, you have to provide proof from the deeds that blood relatives have owned the property for 100 years," explained Sue. "I spent an afternoon in the recorder's office gathering all the paperwork that the state needed, and found documents showing the Little family had been here for at least 105 years." Sue learned that Thomas Little came from Stark County to the area to start a dairy farm 105 years ago. She found that possibly Thomas' wife's family had worked the farm before that, but was unable to locate the documented proof needed.

"I started the project a little late, so I called while our application was still in process and they allowed me to go ahead and purchase the sign because our documentation looked good," said Sue. "But we got the word by mail that our application was approved just a few days before Christmas so I was able to give him the signed certificate from the governor for Christmas also."

The farm is named Wild Duck Farm in honor of a nearby small school that used to serve the area.

Today, Mike and Sue Little, their son J.D. Little, nephews Damion and Nat Wallace, great niece Nattallee Wallace and great nephew Lincoln Wallace all have active roles in the farm. Mike's father, Delmar, is retired, but still lives on the main farm. The Littles have diversified the operation with the addition of two chicken barns, and are contract growers for Case Farms Chicken.

"Sue and I, Damien and Nat are all partners in the operation, but, of my six siblings, five of us settled right here within two miles of the farm, so we have many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews who are here all the time working along with us," explained Mike. "We are a many-generation family operation."
The chicken operation is handled mainly by Sue and Mike, while Damion and Nat handle the dairy operation.
The chicken barns were built six years ago. These large barns are 60 feet wide by 600 feet long and will hold 37,000 chickens for each eight-week growing period.

The chickens run free range within the barn and are fed by an automatic auger system that adjusts for the age of the chickens. Fresh water is provided constantly by an automatic watering system. "In one growing period a flock will eat 600 to 620 tons of feed," explained Mike. "They will drink 7,000 to 8,000 gallons of water a day and we are lucky to have plenty of water." The air in the barn is kept as fresh as possible with 21 fans pumping air in from the outside. The barns are heated in the winter by propane and kept cool in the summer by a curtain water cooling system. The walls and ceiling are well insulated.

"We are able to run five to six flocks through a year," said Mike. "We clean the barns totally out twice a year, but de-crust the barns between flocks each time." Between each flock, the fans are cleaned and the barns are blown free of dust and dirt with a large leaf blower. The chickens produce 1,000 tons of manure a year and the Littles sell about 600 tons, while keeping 400 for use on their own fields. "We have people lined up to purchase the manure," explained Sue. "Our barns are dry barns so the manure is very light and powdered, so it is easy to spread and is excellent fertilizer." These modern barns are totally computerized. Systems in the barn are able to help the Littles keep track of temperature, water pressure, feed use, ammonia levels and even the weight of the chickens. The barns are equipped with back-up generators, as well as an alarm system, should anything go wrong.

"If we lose power in the barns, we could lose an entire flock in 20 minutes," explained Mike. "The alarm system will call us first and if we don't answer, it has a list of our local relatives and it will keep calling down the list until it gets a human voice." The barns are walked three times a day to check chicken health and to pick up deceased birds. No antibiotics are used on the chickens and everything is kept as natural as possible. The birds are brought in as little chicks and are delivered to the farm the same day they hatch. "They come on what they call the chick bus," said Sue. "The chicks come in large crates and those little things hit the ground running."

While the birds are small, the barn is kept at 92 degrees with a lot of light provided by 100-watt bulbs. The temperature in the barn and the light are slowly decreased as the flock grows, and the barn will end up at about 66 degrees by the end of an eight-week growing period when the chickens are at just about eight pounds. "We work hard to ensure flock health," said Mike. "The barns are locked and we are very careful about who comes and goes."
On the dairy side of the operation, Nat and Damion milk a 90-cow herd of Jerseys, Holsteins, Brown Swiss and Ayrshire cattle twice a day in a double-six parlor. The herd is about 80 percent Holstein, with some of the other breeds mixed in to help with the butterfat content of the milk. "We have about a 60 pound a day herd average with about 4.2 butterfat," explained Mike. "Our milk is shipped to Minerva Dairy." The Jersey cattle and the Brown Swiss cattle in the herd are registered and the family will take these cows to the Carroll, Columbiana and Canfield fairs to show."J.D. enjoys showing his Brown Swiss cattle," explained Sue. "He even had a senior picture taken with his favorite."

The Littles farm 300 acres and run a double-crop system for some of their acreage. In the summer, their fields are used to grow corn for silage, and, once the corn is taken off, a crop of rye is planted for the fall and winter. They also make wet and dry hay to feed the herd. A ration mixer is put together by a nutritionist to be certain the cows are getting the vitamins and minerals that are needed for herd health. The Littles work toward breeding strong, healthy cattle with the help of their artificial-insemination technician, Brent Baker. "We work to keep our operation simple and keep equipment costs down," explained Mike. "All the work is done by family, with my sisters helping with the chickens and my son and nieces and nephews working wherever they are needed."

Mike and Sue explained that having off-the-farm jobs has also helped through the years. J.D. will graduate from Minerva High School this spring and plans to follow in his grandfather and father's footsteps by working off the farm, as well as being an active part of the operation. This hard-working family has no current plans to expand their farm; however, they do plan to continue to run a strong, well-managed operation in Columbiana County for generations to come.

View the PDF.

MARCH 13TH. 2011
Minerva Lace wins award at U.S. Championship Cheese Competition.
Third place in the Open Class Semi-Soft Category

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI — Out of the 1,602 entries in 76 categories Minerva Lace received the third place award in the very competitive Open Class Semi-Soft Cheese Category. Minerva Lace received a score of 98.50, which was a quarter point away from achieving best of class. First place with a score of 98.75 was an Organic Farmstead Spring Cheese from Oakvale, CA. Second place with 98.60 was a Ricotta Salata from BelGioioso.

Adam Mueller, 5th Generation Cheesemaker and President of Minerva Dairy, said “Winning an award in this category is very special to us because of the diversity of amazing cheeses. Tomme, Fontina, Ricotta, and Organic cheeses can all be found in this category. Our Lace Sales have been growing at an exceptional rate, and this award reflects the quality of our products that our customers have grown to love.”
More about the U.S. Championship Cheese Competition

This competition is rooted in more than 120 years of history, beginning when the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association held its first cheese contest in 1891. In recent years, the United States Championship Cheese Contest has flourished, more than doubling in size (141 percent growth) since 2001. This year twenty-six experts evaluated over 30,000 pounds of cheese and butter over a three day period at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.

More About Minerva Dairy
Minerva Dairy Inc, a SQF certified facility, was founded in 1894 when 1st Generation Max P. Radloff established Radloff Cheese in Hustisford, WI. Max Radloff expanded into Ohio after purchasing the PET Milk facility in Minerva, Ohio. Today, from a supply of milk from small family farms, Minerva Dairy offers contract services for a wide variety of cheeses, including Cheddar, Swiss, Italian, and Kosher styles. Minerva Dairy is also famous for the Original Amish Roll Butter which is Naturally Cultured in small batches for the bakery, confection and retail sale.

Our Annual Minerva Dairy Christmas Party.
It was a beautiful snowy day for our Annual Employee Christmas Party. The Hart Mansion overlooking Minerva Downtown was decorated in true holiday spirit. Every year we host a Holiday Christmas Party for all our Minerva Dairy employees 5 years and up. Phil has a tradition of awarding employees for each 5 years with our company. The more years with the company the larger the gift.

As with our yearly tradition, we also play a Chrsitmas game with prizes. Everyone gets a prize This year as employees arrived to the party we placed a Santa Hat on each one with a Christmas character on the front of the hat. No one was allowed to see what character they got. Each employee had to ask others a yes or no question about their character. Some of our characters were Rudolph, Tiny Tim, The Grinch and Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. The first to guess received a number, the second to guess received the next number and so on……The numbers were really sought after. It ranked you in better to worse position for the Next Holiday gift game we played. The game that followed included create prizes…from an X box 360, A Night a Kalahari indoor water park, Red Christmas Wii and a labradoodle puppy. (Miley’s Venae’s puppy is due Jan. 8th. ) If interested in a puppy please contact venae at 330-868-4196 Ext. 9123 or venae@minervadairy.com - Everyone walked away with something from the game.

Phil also passes out envelopes with money to all the employees. This year Phil added an old fashion dice betting game. He had an undisclosed amount of money in the pot. All took a chance at rolling the Dice and our winner was Kelley Pennock.

5th Generation Wishes You a Merry Christmas.
A newsletter with family highlights and business happenings for a year in review.

State of the Industry - Butter.
Here is a great article about the emerging popularity of premium butter. Butter gets a boost from home chefs, but lower-priced products have broad appeal. Download the entire article below on the link provided.

OCTOBER 19TH. 2010
Minerva Dairy Proud Supporter of the Northern Ohio Outlaws.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting® is one of the nation’s fastest growing equestrian sports. Mounted contestants compete in this fast action timed event using two .45 caliber single action revolvers each loaded with five rounds of specially prepared blank ammunition. Courses of fire are set in a variety of patterns. The first half (5 targets) of a course of fire will vary with each go and requires the horse and rider to stop, turn, change leads and accelerate rapidly. The second half (5 targets), called the "run down", is a straight course with targets set at 36 foot intervals.

OCTOBER 19TH. 2010
Letters of Support/Thank You from the AshlandCounty Fair.

2010 Stark County 4-H Cheese.

Front Row: Evan Kiko, Nick Thomas, Grand Champion Cheese Jacob Campbell, Reserve Champion Cheese Katie Wallace and Allison Haas. Back Row: Adam Ramsey, Jonah Dawson, Jacob Dawson and Andrea Thomas.

Minerva Dairy Continues Its Years Of Supporting Area 4-H.
Minerva Dairy continues to support the local 4-H dairy members by providing cheese
and butter for the county junior fair cheese auctions. In addition to the cheese and butter, the Dairy provides the Lab and its personnel in determining each cow’s production, and each participant receives this year’s newly designed t-shirt. Minerva Dairy “kicked off” its 26th. year of support with the Columbiana County Fair Cheese Auction, held on Thursday, August 5.

The number of Columbiana County dairy participants grew to 28 this year from last year’s 16. More than 500 pounds of cheese and butter, donated by the Dairy, were presented in baskets for the auction. Grand Champion was won by Brian Crist of the Barnyard Buddies 4-H Club. His cow produced enough milk to make 11.8# of cheese per day. Based on a 305 days’ lactation, this cow would produce about 3600# of cheese per year. Reserve Champion was awarded to Autumn Whiteleather, whose cow produced 10.7# of cheese per day.

The 2010 Columbiana County Cheese Auction raised $17,875 for the youth members. Grand Champion sold for $1000.00, and this year’s average basket sold for $638.00. Additional cheese auctions and donations are scheduled for Stark, Portage, and Mahoning counties. “We congratulate all the winners and hope that this dairy competition has been a learning experience for them”, says Phil Mueller, Minerva Dairy owner and president.


Made for: Food service industry, private labels to grocery chains and manufacturers for use as ingredients across the 48 continental states. Butter, salted and unsalted, is sold under the Minerva Dairy label, for private labels, and to food service and food manufacturers.

Production: 40,000 pounds of cheese daily; 30,000 pounds of butter churned weekly.
Number of people employed in Stark County: 60.
the company has manufactured the product in Stark County:
The company made its first vat of cheese here in 1935, but began in Wisconsin in 1894.
Fourth generation family owner Phil R. Mueller (president), and fifth generation owners Mark Banner (process control and producer relations manager) and Venae Banner (treasurer and marketing director).
Other Products:
Kosher cheese. Gift basket selections that can be sent anywhere in the U.S.
Other Locations:
A retail outlet in front of the factory, with cheeses, gift baskets and other merchandise.


Minerva Dairy Cheese Baby Swiss Stick Butter Stark County Fair Booth Kids with Fair Goat County Fair Display Ashland County Fari Thank You Letter