Online Education

    Webinar Series

    Our ongoing ACS Webinar Series offers educational sessions available exclusively to ACS members at no charge. The online format of the webinars makes it easy and convenient to “attend” from the comfort of your home or office.

    ACS offers online education to its members at no cost throughout the year in the form of educational webinars. Members may view archived, recorded webinars by visiting the “Member Resources” section of our website and entering their login credentials.

    Recorded webinars include:

    • Agritourism Opportunities for the Modern Farmer (March 25, 2014)
    • Food Safety for Farmers Market Vendors (May 21, 2013)
    • ACS Judging & Competition Tutorial (April 3, 2013)
    • Understanding the Joint FDA/Health Canada Assessment of the Risk of Listeriosis from Soft-Ripened Cheese (March 12, 2013)
    • Surviving a Recall (February 13, 2013)
    • Cheese & Social Media: Likes, Retweets, and +1 (July 17, 2012)
    • Retailer Best Practices: Virtual Roundtable (February 15, 2012)
    • Storage Temperatures Necessary to Maintain Cheese Safety (February 1, 2012)
    • Risk Reduction in Cheesemaker Facilities (February 7, 2011)
    • Preparing a HACCP Plan (February 25, 2011)
    • Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Product Liability (March 8, 2011)


    Held on March 25, 2014

    With ever-increasing consciousness about supporting locally produced specialty food, agritourism opportunities for the modern cheesemaker are about as ripe as a round of soft-ripened cheese two months past its sell-by date. Agritourism programs come in all shapes and sizes and are an excellent opportunity to generate new revenue streams, drive high-margin direct retail cheese sales, and build long-term relationships with customers. Join presenters John Scaggs, of Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, and Laura Grey, Director of the State of Colorado’s Cultural Heritage and Agritourism Program, as they explore a variety of different programs to learn how agritourism can be incorporated into your business.


    Held on May 21, 2013

    No one wants to make a customer sick, and selling at farmers’ markets can sometimes present logistical challenges for food safety. Londa Nwadike, Extension Food Safety Specialist at the University of Vermont, is the featured presenter in this webinar. Her informative presentation focuses on the importance of general food safety, along with best practices for food safety at farmers’ markets.


    Held on April 3, 2013

    Each year, the ACS Judging & Competition undergoes several changes and improvements. On Wednesday, April 3, the Judging & Competition committee hosted a webinar to help prepare ACS members for the 2013 Call for Entries. The webinar guided members through the online entry database; changes in the 2013 Category List; and how to package and properly ship cheese to Madison. It also offered some insight into the cheese receiving process in Madison, WI.


    Held on March 12, 2013

    The Draft Joint FDA / Health Canada Quantitative Assessment of the Risk of Listeriosis from Soft-Ripened Cheese Consumption in the United States and Canada was published and opened for public comment in February 2013. Hear directly from Dr. Sherri Dennis, Acting Director for the Center For Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Division of Risk Assessment, in the Office of Analytics and Outreach, at FDA, about the research and work that went into creating this draft risk assessment. A question and answer session with Dr. Dennis follows her presentation. This ACS member exclusive is a unique opportunity to hear directly from FDA.


    Held on February 13, 2013

    The word “recall” often evokes powerful emotions–most notably anxiety and fear. Join three industry experts as they discuss steps that can help you avoid a recall, as well as develop a simple and effective recall program that will prepare your company for what is an avoidable and survivable event. Allen Sayler, who grew up on a small dairy farm and at one time worked as a state and FDA food safety regulator, will share his 30 years of expertise on the basic food safety programs that can help every cheesemaker prevent recalls, as well as the key parts of an effective company recall program. Kenny Mattingly from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese will offer insight into his experiences working with state and FDA recall enforcement staff, and share his lessons learned. And finally, when you find yourself in a recall situation, what do you say, to whom do you say it, and what method of communication should you use to tell your customers and the world your side of the “story?” Crisis communication expert Polly Ligon O’Grady, also a former dairy farm kid, will walk you through tips and best practices for effective communication via traditional and social media channels.


    Held on July 17, 2012

    A primer on using social media to build up your biz, from the folks at Culture magazine. Nothing in life is free, but services like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can help cement customer loyalty and build an audience for your products with just a bit of effort. Join Will Fertman and Stephanie Skinner from Culture magazine as they show attendees how to establish an effective social media presence and create an effective plan for their individual business.


    Held on February 15, 2012

    Following-up on work from the 2011 Annual Conference, ACS members are developing a comprehensive Standards & Practices guide for cheese retailers and distributors to promote food safety. To fully encapsulate all of our needs as an industry, we will want to have as many people as possible bring their questions, challenges, wisdom, suggestions, and feedback to the session so we can build and share together to identify key quality and safety standards. In addition to an expansive compendium of evolving FDA regulations, the resulting guide will reflect the best practices set forth by industry leaders — like you! This session was hosted by Hans Kunisch from GreenLeaf and Jonathan Richardson from Zuercher & Co.


    Held on February 1, 2012

    Considering the variety and volume of cheeses consumed throughout the world, the incidence of food borne outbreaks associated with cheeses is extremely low. Proper cheese storage temperatures play a critical role in maintaining safe product. This session, hosted by Marianne Smukowski from the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, will explore the appropriate measures to be taken that will ensure proper and safe cheese storage.


    Held on February 7, 2011

    Risk reduction has always been a critical part of doing business for cheesemakers. However, with the recent closure of several cheesemaking facilities, this subject is paramount to the continuing success of our industry.  ACS is proud to offer this information-packed workshop that will help cheesemakers understand the key principles involved in FDA inspections, environmental monitoring, and reducing risk in cheesemaking facilities. This session will immediately equip you with valuable information to utilize in your daily cheesemaking operations.


    Held on February 25, 2011

    Ranee May and Marianne Smukowski will walk you through the vital steps of preparing your company’s HACCP plan. This workshop will provide you with tangible tools for identifying your potential hazards, and will explain how you can take the steps needed to ensure food safety in your cheesemaking facility.


    Held on March 8, 2011

    The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law January 4, 2011, is the most significant overhaul of the nation’s food law in at least 70 years. Whether or not the law improves food safety, the law has consequences for every cheesemaking facility.  Many of the FSMA’s provisions, including FDA record access and mandatory recall, are effective immediately. Cheesemakers will need to take immediate steps to review and, where necessary, modify SOPs, policies, and procedures. Overlaying the new regulatory structure is state product liability law that brings serious financial consequences to cheesemakers for exposure to food-born pathogens by consumers. Ken Odza from Stoel Rives, LLP leads the food liability practice at Stoel Rives LLP and will lead a discussion of (1) what the FSMA means in the short and long term for every FDA regulated facility and (2) some basic strategies to minimize products liability and recall exposure.