Timeline, 1963

Cheese War

Event DateEventSource (See key below.) 
1-1963 and 2-1963      A dairy stabilization law for the Portland milkshed was drafted by an Oregon Dairymen’s Association committee headed by George Milne, president of Tillamook Cheese & Dairy. The draft law was patterned after the Willamette Plan, a milk marketing agreement that had operated in the Eugene area for several years.H-H, 1-20-1963 H-H, 1-27-1963 H-H, 1-27-1963 H-H, 1-27-1963 H-H, 1-27-1963 H-H, 2-3-1963 H-H, 2-10-1963 
1-1963County Creamery board members passed a motion to revise the cooperative’s by-laws so that Cheese & Dairy’s representation on the board would be cut from seven to four directors, while other co-ops kept full representation. County Creamery directors representing Red Clover, a small cheese factory located on the Trask River, and Cheese & Dairy opposed the motion.  

Ferd Becker wrote, “After all, the Tillamook Cheese and Dairy have approximately 70 percent of the total county production and were reduced to 40 percent of the representation on the county board. Do you want to be controlled that way? Is this democratic?”  

Clem Hurliman, Pacific City dairyman, testified in the suit for Declaratory Judgment that private meetings were held where Creamery Association board members, Beale Dixon, and Warren McMinimee, County Creamery’s attorney, discussed a plan to cut Cheese and Dairy’s membership on the county-wide board from seven directors to four. Northwest Dairy News wrote: “This action was taken the following month, despite protests by the opposition that their production—over half the county’s milk supply—entitles them to 8 directors.”
H-H, 2-10-1963           H-H, 2-24-1963         Northwest Dairy News, 6-28-63 
1-27-1963  Bob Neilson, Tillamook farmer, said low prices were squeezing dairy farmers, but he had hope for the future. “We are well on our way with the Oregon Dairymen’s Assn taking the initiative by proposing new legislation which will take the place of the expired Milk Stabilization law,” he wrote in a letter to the editor of the Headlight-Herald.H-H, 1-27-1963 
1-27-1963    Dairy farmers struggled to make a profit. Harold Hushbeck, Bay City, said, “In 1962, the individual dairyman received a lower price for the cheese milk he sold and his expenses were higher.”H-H, 1-27-1963 
1-27-1963Joe Beeler, Tillamook farmer, said, “We have taken many price cuts in the last few years while our expenses climb steadily.”H-H, 1-27-1963 
1-27-1963In a letter to the editor, County Creamery’s board appeared to oppose the proposed milk stabilization law, in part, because the board said the law, modeled after a program in use in the Eugene area, might set up a closed pool, a system that would not allow new producers to enter the fluid milk market.H-H, 1-27-1963 
2-3-1963  Floyd Woodward, a Tillamook County dairy farmer, wrote to the editor, “The Eugene or Willamette Plan of stabilization is not a closed pool.”H-H, 2-3-1963 
2-3-1963  “The proposed state milk law does not call for a closed pool,” wrote George Milne.H-H, 2-3-1963 
2-3-1963  Bert Quick, Tillamook farmer, wrote to the editor saying low prices for butterfat might cause farmers to go under.H-H, 2-3-1963 
2-1963 and 3-1963  In a letter to the editor, Theo Pease quoted Glenn Simmons, state grange agricultural chairman: “One of the primary reasons that the Oregon milk industry is in the condition it now is, has been brought about by that certain element in the distribution and processing side of the milk ledger that wants loopholes in the law so that this group in turn can manipulate, coerce, cheat, withhold from the producer, give false tests, and at the same time, use pressure, friendship—some call it politics—in fact anything to further their own position, at the expense of the producing groups.”  

Speaking of the proposed milk stabilization law, Simmons continued, “A short law—so simple, so powerful that it could not be interpreted wrongly—administered wrongly, or be misunderstood. Any producer group, pool, or group of pools, would know the set minimum price of milk by legal statute.”
H-H, 2-3-1963 H-H, 2-3-1963 H-H, 2-3-1963 H-H, 2-24-1963 H-H, 2-24-1963 H-H, 2-24-1963 H-H, 3-24-1963 
2-16-1963The annual meeting of the Cheese & Dairy cooperative was held. Joe Beeler was re-elected as director. Harley Christensen filled a seat formerly held by Millard Bailey. John Landolt declined to run for another term. He nominated Marvin Pangborn, who was elected.  H-H, 2-24-1963 
2-19-1963  George Milne was re-elected president of the Cheese & Dairy board.  Hans Leuthold was elected vice president.  

Six board members were chosen to represent the co-op on the board of Tillamook County Creamery, the marketing co-op for Tillamook Cheese. Only four of the representatives were seated on the County Creamery board due to last month’s change in the by-laws limiting each cheese factory to no more than 40% of the board’s members and shrinking the board from 14 directors to 11. Milne said his group produced about 58% of the milk used in County Creamery’s milk and cheese production.  
H-H, 2-24-1963 
2-1963Milk stabilization bills were introduced by Senator Andrew Naterlin, Representative Ed Ridderbusch, and Representative Kessler Cannon.H-H, 2-24-1963 
2-1963Ed Ridderbusch, representing Tillamook in the legislature, spoke in favor of the Cannon milk stabilization bill at a hearing in Salem. Ridderbusch testified that low milk prices had caused farmers in Tillamook to take second jobs. The directors of Cheese & Dairy sent a telegram to Ridderbusch giving their unanimous support to the Cannon bill.H-H, 3-24-1963 
3-24-1963Bob Ely resigned as secretary-manager of Cheese & Dairy. Ed Burke was  hired to fill that position.H-H 3-24-1963 
4-21-1963Joe Bianco, Oregonian agricultural editor, wrote, “There is strife in this isolated valley where in 1894 began what eventually became today’s largest cheese plant in the world.”Oregonian 4-21-1963 
5-5-1963Information in an advertisement placed by Cheese & Dairy offered statistics showing problems with marketing Tillamook cheese.  

Sales of cheese marketed by County Creamery fell by 10% from 1950 to 1962. Costs of selling cheese increased by 375% from 1950 to 1962. Unsold cheese in inventory increased 96% from 1950 to 1962. Population of primary market (Oregon, Washington, & California) increased 47% from 1950 to 1962.
H-H, 5-5-1963 
5-9-1963While the cost of living rose steadily, farmers received less every year for butterfat in the 1950 to 1962 time period.   In 1950, farmers were paid $1.10 for a pound of butterfat. By 1962, they were paid about $.93.Shopping Smiles, 5-9-1963 
5-12-1963Ferd Becker offered a $500 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who sent him a threatening letter. The letter was hand-printed and unsigned. Becker is a farmer who ships milk to Cheese & Dairy. Sheriff Del Walpole sent the letter to the FBI crime lab.  

The text of the letter read: “I have become convinced that you are out to break the ass’n. You are to quit and desist from meddling (sic) all affairs pertaining to the Tillamook County Creamery Assn. And also the TCDA if you don’t I shall get my scope sighted deer rifle and pick you off. I can usually hit a deer at 400 yards on the first shot. The future of our county depends on this. If you don’t think I mean business just try me. After you comes Lucas, Leuthold & Milne in that order.”
H-H, 5-12-1963 
5-7-1963Tillamook Fluid Milk Shippers, a cooperative, was incorporated. About 60 farmers left TC&DA and joined TFMS. The County Creamery board immediately accepted TFMS as a member co-op.H-H, 5-12-1963 
5-9-1963Cheese & Dairy farmers parked farm trucks in front of tankers that were scheduled to deliver Grade A milk to Carnation, Alpenrose, and Lucerne in Portland.  

The Cheese & Dairy board decided to institute the blockade on their attorney’s advice. The goal was to demonstrate that County Creamery was a marketing entity, not a holding entity. This issue is one component of the suit for a Declaratory Judgment.
H-H, 5-12-1963 
5-9-1963TC&DA filed a plea for injunctive relief against County Creamery, manager Beale Dixon, and Tillamook Fluid Milk Shippers.H-H, 5-12-1963   
5-13-1963  The blockade of milk tanker trucks ended after about five days.Oregon Journal, 5-17-1963 
5-20-1963Judge Avery Combs heard the suit for Declaratory Judgment filed by Cheese & Dairy. Items in dispute include ownership of portions of the milk plant and the right to market fluid milk.Oregon Journal, 5-21-1963 
5-24-1963  Beale Dixon, County Creamery general manager, testified as an adverse witness in the suit for Declaratory Judgment. Dixon said County Creamery had taken over loans from Alpenrose Dairy of more than $300,000 without recourse. Dixon said County Creamery had an oral agreement with Alpenrose not to record these instruments, which represented money originally loaned by Alpenrose to its customers.  Dixon said there was no written agreement covering the $300,000 loaned.  

The Headlight-Herald reported, “Dixon also testified that there was an agreement between the Creamery Assn. and Alpenrose that for every 20,000 pounds of fluid milk delivered daily, the Creamery Assn. was obligated to provide Alpenrose customers with $200,000 in loans.”
H-H, 5-26-1963 
7-26-1963Judge Avery Combs issued a ruling in response to Cheese & Dairy’s suit for a Declaratory Judgment.  

Cheese & Dairy may market its Grade A milk independently, but must abide by its existing marketing agreement with County Creamery. “The provision in the plaintiff’s by-laws to the effect that it will operate under the direction of TCCA is illegal if strictly construed,” wrote Judge Avery.  

County Creamery is allowed to loan Cheese & Dairy funds to customers only when loans are approved by the Cheese & Dairy board.    

Cheese & Dairy must pay its share of the salary of County Creamery’s manager, Beale Dixon.  

Ownership of property and equipment is determined by accounting records and deeds.  

Tillamook Fluid Milk Shippers was improperly accepted as a member of County Creamery.  

Improper, and therefore voided, was County Creamery’s by-law revisions that reduced the number of directors on its board from 14 to 11 and the number of directors representing member cooperative Cheese & Dairy from seven to four.  

Judge Avery added a statement in which he said the trouble between the dairy cooperatives arose over methods, rather than aims, and it should be possible for reasonable men to reach agreement.
Oregonian, 7-30-63     H-H, 7-28-1963 
7-29-1963 to 8-2-1963About a week after Judge Combs issued his ruling in the suit for declaratory judgment, County Creamery’s attorneys, Warren McMinimee and Douglas Kaufman, asked the judge to reconsider his rulings that Tillamook Fluid Milk Shippers had been improperly admitted as a member of County Creamery, and that County Creamery had illegally reduced Cheese & Dairy’s representation on the board of County Creamery.H-H, 8-4-63     
8-12-1963 to 8-16-1963Because the issues had not been included in the topics formally included in the suit for Declaratory Judgment, Judge Combs decided he could not make two of the decisions included in his opinion. The issues that he decided that he could not rule on were the admission of Tillamook Fluid Milk shippers as a member of County Creamery, and the reduction of Cheese & Dairy representation on the County Creamery board.  

County Creamery offered to buy out Cheese & Dairy. Cheese & Dairy made a counter-offer to buy out County Creamery.  

Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover each sent notices to County Creamery terminating their marketing agreements, effective early in 1964. In a statement, Cheese & Dairy said, “Although we are prepared to independently manage our cooperative, it is our desire to reach this goal by negotiating a new marketing agreement with TCCA.”
H-H, 8-18-1963   Northwest Dairy News, 8-23-1963                     
8-19-1963More than 300 people gathered at the Fairview grange hall for a joint meeting of the boards of Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover. George Milne, president of Cheese & Dairy, asked the crowd if they supported actions taken by the two boards. “An overwhelming majority of those present gave a vote of confidence to the two boards,” reported the Headlight-Herald.  

At the meeting, Cheese & Dairy’s accountants, Olson & Glerup, reported on accounting procedures. D.P. Shoup, manager of Oregon Milk Producers, spoke about Cheese & Dairy’s impact on the dairymen of the state and its future in the milk business. Pete Jenkins, representing a Portland advertising agency, stressed the importance of top quality products and promotions. Then attorney James Goodwin covered legal actions.
H-H, 8-25-1963 
8-23-1963  James Goodwin, attorney for Cheese & Dairy, filed a motion asking Judge Avery Combs to take additional testimony on two topics that Judge Avery had previously ruled on, rulings he then withdrew, and to issue an injunction against County Creamery. The two topics were County Creamery’s reducing Cheese and Dairy’s representation on County Creamery’s board, and County Creamery accepting Tillamook Fluid Milk Shippers as a member.  

The motion contained affidavits from George Milne, president of Cheese & Dairy, and James Goodwin. The affidavits included these points:  

Tillamook Fluid Milk Shippers has solicited and accepted at least ten Cheese & Dairy shippers and has caused them to violate or terminate their marketing agreements with Cheese & Dairy.  

County Creamery has incurred substantial extra expenses in handling TFMS business, expenses that it has largely applied to Cheese & Dairy accounts.  

County Creamery increased the joint use charges assigned to Cheese & Dairy, although no increase in joint use has occurred.  

County Creamery continued to loan County Creamery funds to customers of certain dairies. The source of the majority of this money is Cheese & Dairy.  

County Creamery refused to pass through to Cheese & Dairy money that County Creamery owed Cheese & Dairy. As a result, Cheese & Dairy became delinquent in re-paying a loan to First National Bank, and the cooperative’s financial standing was harmed.  

Beale Dixon gave a pay raise to himself and the County Creamery office staff. Cheese & Dairy is ultimately charged about 70% of the salaries.  

Beale Dixon brought in a cream separator, incurring rental fees and shipping fees. The cream separator has not yet been put into use. Cheese & Dairy is being charged 70% to 100% of the cost of the cream separator.  

Beale Dixon allowed a third party to use the registered trademark “Tillamook.”  

County Creamery refused to allow inspection of County Creamery records by County Creamery directors who represented Cheese & Dairy.  

County Creamery failed to notify several directors that a County Creamery board meeting was scheduled.  

County Creamery records show that it has retained more than $1.5 million of Cheese & Dairy funds.
H-H, 8-25-1963 
8-26-1963 to 8-31-1963Basil Tone, County Creamery director representing Red Clover, went to the County Creamery office to examine files. Tone was accompanied by Bert Quick, alternate director from Red Clover. An armed guard, Merrill Maxwell, attempted to stop Tone. Tone pushed past the guard. In a photograph published in the Headlight-Herald, Tone and Quick confront Beale Dixon and Maxwell.  

Note: Tone and Quick were not allowed access to Red Clover’s records.
H-H, 9-1-1963 
9-6-1963Because County Creamery failed to forward funds to Cheese & Dairy for milk received in July and August, Cheese & Dairy directors voted to stop delivering milk to County Creamery. Cheese & Dairy fluid milk that had been designated for the Portland market will be made into cheese.  

Cheese & Dairy obtained a line of credit from First National Bank.
H-H, 9-8-1963 
9-5-1963During a Red Clover membership meeting, Joe Maxwell made a motion that Red Clover should cooperate with Beale Dixon, County Creamery’s manager. Maxwell’s motion was soundly defeated.H-H, 9-8-1963 
9-5-1963On Sept. 12, 1963, Cheese & Dairy reported to its members, “Mr. Dixon admitted in a letter dated September 5, 1963, that a bookkeeping error had been made in the Creamery office and that $299,011.56 was not credited to Cheese and Dairy as it should have been.”9-12-1963 
9-17-1963Judge Combs denied Cheese & Dairy’s motion to enter additional testimony in the suit for Declaratory Judgment and to obtain an injunction against County Creamery.  

He signed the decree that he first issued on June 26, 1963, and then revised about a month later.
H-H, 9-22-1963 
9-26-1963In a newspaper advertisement, Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover made these statements:  

By an almost unanimous vote of the memberships of the Tillamook Cheese & Dairy Association and the Red Clover Creamery Association, a course of action has been decided upon. Since the efforts to sign satisfactory marketing contracts with Tillamook County Creamery Association have failed, we shall now proceed with the marketing of our cheese independent of the Tillamook County Creamery Association.  

This decision has been forced upon us. A recent survey clearly indicates our sales position is deteriorating in our principal markets in California, Washington, and Oregon.  

Nationally, per capita consumption of cheese has increased from 7.7 lbs per person in 1957 to 9.1 lbs today (American Dairy Association statistics).  At the same time, we have experienced a population explosion in the West. In the face of this galloping market expansion, there is no reason why the sale of the finest cheese in the world should remain static.  

There is no reason for rising inventories of unsold cheese, to alarming proportions. There is no reason for more and more cheese to be sold as Grade B and at Grade B prices.  

Our decision means that we are dedicated to bringing more aggressive selling activity to the marketing of our cheese. It means that our farmer members will once again be able to participate in the policy-making decisions that so deeply affect all dairymen and businessmen in Tillamook County. It means we will continue to manufacture cheese of unparalleled quality in our modern cheese kitchen and curing rooms located north of Tillamook and at the Red Clover plant.  

In a sense, we are crusaders, fighting to re-establish the fame and consumer demand for our cheese and other dairy products—the finest in America.  

Our ranks are open to all dairymen who wish to go forward with us.
Shopping Smiles, 9-26-1963 
9-1963Cheese & Dairy withheld its fluid milk from County Creamery in September in response to County Creamery failing to pay Cheese & Dairy for milk it sold to Portland distributors in July and August.   Cheese & Dairy manufactured cheese with the withheld Grade A milk.  

Both Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover withheld their cheese production from County Creamery.  

To supply its Portland customers, County Creamery bought milk in Chehalis, Washington.
Northwest Dairy News, 9-27-1963     
9-23-1963 to 9-27-1963Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover terminated their marketing agreements with County Creamery. Both cooperatives said their representatives to the County Creamery board would resign as soon as the two cooperatives received financial information from County Creamery on costs, expenses, and capital retention.  

Cheese & Dairy announced it would be selling bulk Grade A milk to Mayflower Farms in Portland. “This is a business-like sale of our products without loans, discounts and advertising allowances,” Cheese & Dairy told its members.
H-H, 9-29-1963 
10-6-1963Eight Cheese & Dairy members sent a letter to the editor that questioned the effectiveness of County Creamery’s marketing of Tillamook Cheese. The farmers said they wished Tillamook would have promotions like the one in the news where Fred Meyer, a Portland grocery chain, brought in a huge cheese from Wisconsin.  
The farmers’ letter concluded, “This is the type of merchandising program that Tillamook should have. It is the type of program that TC&DA intends to have and is now actively working with its advertising and sales people to establish. Tillamook can no longer afford to drift contentedly along on its past reputation. If we are to maintain our position in a growing economy we, too, must grow and constantly promote our product. TC&DA invites everyone to join it in this endeavor.”  

Signing the letter were Art Van Loo, Durrer Bros (Robert and James Durrer), Bob Hurliman, Max Hurliman, Yelta Vanderzee, John Nielsen, and J. B. Williams.
H-H, 10-6-1963   
10-1963TC&DA launched Premium Brand cheese.  
10-30-1963In The Oregonian, a Portland newspaper, Fred Meyer stores advertised TC&DA’s cheese, “Premium Brand, Made and Aged by Tillamook Cheese and Dairy Ass’n.”Oregonian, 10-30-1963 
11-24-1963A Cheese & Dairy advertisement in the Headlight–Herald, Tillamook’s weekly newspaper, showed a photograph of a Premium Brand cheese display at a Portland Fred Meyer store. The Fred Meyer promotion sold 6,500 pounds of Premium Brand cheese.

This statement was included in the ad: “As we sell Premium Brand cheese, made and aged by Tillamook Cheese & Dairy Ass’n., we are selling the Tillamook dairy industry. We are making it easier for other associations in this county to introduce and promote other brands.”
H-H, 11-24-1963 
12-1-1963A Cheese & Dairy advertisement announced, “At our big factory just north of the city, we are busy washing, painting, renovating, and rehearsing” for the 50,000 tourists expected to tour the plant in 1964.  

“Tour guides have been rehearsed for accuracy and friendliness, to be certain every guest leaves with a warm feeling about the dairy industry of this region, about all cheese made in this county, and about the pride in product carried by all Tillamook dairymen,” the ad copy continued.
H-H, 12-1-1963 
12-12-1963Cheese & Dairy bought an advertisement to tout its enlarged sales force, a “104-man selling crew,” much larger than the former group of “about 15 sales people trying to sell the entire output of cheese manufactured in Tillamook County.” The ad said the sales force was assigned to seven western states. “Already three of the largest California distributers who last year quit selling cheese from this county have taken on Premium Brand.”Shopping Smiles, 12-12-1963 
12-22-1963An end-of-the-year advertisement placed by Cheese & Dairy and Red Clover read, “This year of 1963, to say the least, was an unusual year.”  

The ad copy continued, “We learned that the old ways need constant re-examination. We modernize our dairy methods. Now we must evaluate and modernize our marketing methods.”  

The ad concluded, “We knew from the beginning that each individual dairyman is a key to the success of every other dairyman. Each man has a voice to be heard. And each man has a hand to shake. That’s why we say, the Season of Good Will Never Ends in Tillamook County.”
H-H, 12-22-1963 
           Key to sources:  
H-HHeadlight-Herald, a weekly newspaper published in Tillamook, Oregon.  
Northwest Dairy News: a farm newspaper published twice a month in Seattle, Washington by Northwest Farm News, Inc.  
Journal: Oregon Journal, a daily newspaper published in Portland, Oregon.
Oregonian: a daily newspaper published in Portland, Oregon. Portland Reporter: a daily newspaper published in Portland, Oregon from 1960 to 1964.
Satterfield: The Tillamook Way: A History of the Tillamook County Creamery Association, a Farmer-owned Cooperative; written by Archie Satterfield; published by Tillamook County Creamery Association; Tillamook, Oregon; 2000.
Shopping Smiles: Shopping Smiles, a sister newspaper to the Headlight-Herald, was published weekly in Tillamook, Oregon.