Online Education

    Webinar Series

    Our annual Webinar Series offers 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.

    Recent Webinars:

    Agritourism Opportunities for the Modern Farmer
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    View the Video Recording

    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.


    Food Safety for Farmers’ Market Vendors
    Tuesday, May 21, 2013
    Video coming soon!

    No one wants to make a customer sick, and selling at farmers’ markets can sometimes present logistical challenges for food safety. The ACS Webinar Series continues with a timely webinar, “Food Safety for Farmers’ Market Vendors.”  Londa Nwadike, Extension Food Safety Specialist at the University of Vermont, will be the featured presenter.  Her informative presentation focuses on the importance of general food safety, along with best practices for food safety at farmers’ markets.

    2013 ACS Judging & Competition Tutorial
    Wednesday, April 3, 2013
    View the Video Recording

    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 which opened on Monday, April 8th. The webinar guides you through the online entry database; changes you can expect to see in the 2013 Category List; and how to package and properly ship your cheese.  It also offers some insight into the cheese receiving that will take place in Madison, WI.

    Understanding the Joint FDA/Health Canada Assessment of the Risk of Listeriosis from Soft-Ripened Cheese
    Tuesday, March 12, 2013
    View the Video Recording

    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 in February 2012 and opened for public comment. 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.


    Surviving a Recall
    February 13, 2013
    View the Video Recording

    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.

    Presenter bios:

    Allen Sayler is the Vice President for the Center for Food Safety and Regulatory Solutions (CFSRS) headquartered in the Washington, DC area. Allen has comprehensive knowledge of food production, processing, food safety & quality assurance programs, as well as state and federal food processing regulations, HACCP, SQF, and BRC systems, product sampling and testing, food defense systems, crisis management, traceability and sustainability. He has extensive experience working on international dairy standards and dairy trade issues.

    Kenny Mattingly has been dairy farming in South Central Kentucky for 36 years and has been making cheese from his own dairy herd’s milk for the past 15 years.  Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese has grown from producing 4,000 lbs in 1998 to producing 120,000 lbs in 2012.

    Polly Ligon O’Grady specializes in crisis planning, training, and response communication for dairy and food companies. She launched Ready Ink Communications in September 2012 after completing an engagement with Weber Shandwick as a vice president in the agency’s Technology and Farm and Food Advocacy groups. Polly has over 22 years of experience in the areas of dairy, agriculture, and food production. She was a lead architect and developer of the

    2012 webinars:

    Cheese & Social Media: Likes, Retweets, and +1
    July 17, 2012
    Video coming soon!


    Retailer Best Practices: Virtual Roundtable (Video)
    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 is hosted by Hans Kunisch from GreenLeaf and Jonathan Richardson from Zuercher & Co.

    Storage Temperatures Necessary to Maintain Cheese Safety (Video)
    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.


    2011 Webinars:


    Risk Reduction in Cheesemaking Facilities (Video)

    February 7, 2011

    Led by Dr. D.J. D’Amico from the Vermont Institute for Farmstead Cheese

    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, led by Dr. DJ D’Amico, Senior Research Scientist at the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, will immediately equip you with valuable information to utilize in your daily cheesemaking operations.


    Preparing a HACCP Plan (Video)

    February 25, 2011

    Led by Ranee May from Falcon Dairy Food Plant at UW-River Falls and Marianne Smukowski from the Center for Dairy Research at UW-Madison

    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.


    Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Product Liability (Video)
    Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    Led by Ken Odza from Stoel Rives, LLP

    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 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.