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Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station

The Story of MSU Cheese

 Cheese production at Mississippi State University is a time-honored tradition that has been around for nearly 80 years. It began in 1938, when MSU Professor F.H. Herzer wanted to manufacture a cheese that would draw attention to Mississippi State University. Herzer selected Edam molds from Holland, securing the first molds just before the European ports closed prior to World War II.
 Due to the small number of molds, the department managed to make a few hundred Edams a year. In 1957, new molds were ordered and production increased. As demand grew, the department was making 2400 Edams a year by 1963. In the 1970s, 10,000 Edams were produced annually. Throughout the years, production has continued to grow and other cheeses including cheddar, Vallagret, jalapeno pepper and two types of cheese spreads have been added. A reduced-fat Edam is produced as well.

Food Science students have played an important part in the success of the MSU cheese program. From 1946, when students made nine Edams a day to 2014, when 400 Edams were made per day by six full-time employees and six part-time students, food science students have continued to participate in cheese production at MSU. The operation provides a self-supporting, semi-commercial laboratory for teaching and research. In addition, the Custer Dairy Processing Plant also manufactures all the milk products, ice cream and butter used on the MSU campus.

Essential upgrades to the plant in the spring of this year will affect production and supply throughout the remainder of 2015. The MAFES Sales Store anticipates running out of cheese early this fall and customers are encouraged to place their orders now.

MSU cheese is a point of pride for the People’s University. We appreciate our loyal customers who have made MSU cheese a part of their celebrations year-round. We hope you will be patient with us as we work through this necessary process to ensure we are able to continue to deliver the highest quality products to our faithful fan base.

The 2015 Cheese Shortage

Essential upgrades to the Custer Dairy Processing Plant at Mississippi State University mean fewer balls of Edam and other cheese products at the MAFES sales store in 2015. The plant lost three months of production as the floor, plumbing and electrical systems were replaced. The upgrades were essential to ensure the quality MSU cheese lovers have come to know and expect. Since MSU cheese is made from the daily milk supply from the MSU dairy, there was no way to make up for lost time.

Cheese production is down 20 percent this year resulting in 10,000 fewer balls of Edam produced in 2015 compared to 2014. Edam cheese is considered MSU’s most popular cheese.

The upgrades have been completed and it will be business as usual in 2016.

Many individuals and companies buy cheese as holiday gifts for family, friends and clients. In light of the shortage, customers are encouraged to place their orders as soon as possible. All orders must be submitted by August 15 and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. This includes orders placed in-store, online or over the phone.

How do I order cheese?

Permanent Orders

Permanent orders have been reserved but should be confirmed as soon as possible. If you are the recipient of a permanent order, simply return the form you received in the mail along with your payment. The MAFES Sales Store needs to receive those forms by August 15. Please contact 662-325-2338 or email if you need assistance.

Corporate Orders

Corporate customers should return the form received in the mail or submit orders online at by August 15. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If corporations wish to mail cheese, those mailing lists will not be due until September 15. Please contact 662-325-2338 or email if you need assistance.

Individual Orders

Individuals should submit their order online at by August 15. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact 662-325-2338 or email if you need assistance.