As the fifth largest U.S. cheese-producing state, Idaho increased cheese production by 182 percent (390 million pounds) between 1992 and 1995. Idaho's competitiveness in the cheese industry is important not only to processors but also to dairy farmers since approximately 85 percent of the milk produced in Idaho is processed into cheese. Idaho was found to be competitive with other major cheese-producing states, including California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New York. Among the study states, Idaho was the second lowest-cost provider, behind California, to selected cities across the United States. Idaho's advantage was the lowest production costs, excluding milk cost, due in large part to lower labor and utility rates.


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