In 1899, a group of Wisconsin dairy farmers gathered to make plans to build a cheese factory which would provide them with a market for their milk. They wanted a plant which would be built close to their farms, so they could reduce the time and effort required to get the product to market......for them and their horses.
The cheese factory was built as a co-op with each farmer pledging money or labor to build the factory for his share in the co-op. It was named Brunkow for the farmer who donated the land.
A cheese maker was hired. he furnished the machinery, tools and labor necessary to produce the cheese, and, once the cheese was sold, was paid a percentage of the money from the sale. A small amount of money was set aside for upkeep of the building, and what money remained was paid to the individual farmer members for each hundred pounds of milk he delivered to the cheese factory for the month.
Today, much remains the same as it did in 1899. Brunkow Cheese is still a business in the rolling hills of rural Darlington with farmers compromising it's membership. As in 1899, the position of the cheese maker continues to draw a salary from a percentage of the company's gross income.
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