Timeline, 1968

Cheese War

Event DateEventSource (See key below.)
2-1968Cheese & Dairy cheesemakers brought trophies home from the Oregon Dairy Industries annual convention. Fritz Baumgartner, head cheesemaker, won the sweepstakes trophy. Also winning awards were Lloyd Wright, Dean Daggett, Ron Jones, Allan Waldron, and Merton Loucks.  H-H, 2-29-1968
3-1968 to 4-1968At the conclusion of the four-week antitrust trial in Portland’s federal courthouse, Judge Bruce Thompson spoke to the farmers in the audience. His statements included the following:  

“You’re playing with fire. An antitrust action is one that has the power to destroy.”  
“But the real reasons for your dispute are personal, the result of some real or fancied insults. It has resulted in fighting, jabbing, gouging, bitterness, insults, charges and counter charges because you thought someone was getting too big for his britches.”  
“You are sincere and honest, but you have developed the tunnel vision men develop when they spend their entire lives in a single occupation and cannot now see your own problems. “  

Judge Thompson said that the problem is the present economic conditions—not cheese milk or Grade A milk.  

Judge Thompson suggested actions to settle the dispute, including:  

Form two cooperatives, one for cheese milk producers and one for Grade A milk producers.  
Have all dairy farmers become Grade A milk producers—no more cheese milk producers.  
Retire Beale Dixon.
Warren McMinimee should not be involved in the settlement. McMinimee, an attorney for County Creamery, was a co-defendant in the antitrust trial. The judge dismissed all charges of conspiracy against McMinimee.  

During the trial’s last recess, one dairy farmer told a Headlight-Herald reporter, “Whoever loses in this case is going to get hurt. If it’s me, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ve worked hard to build up my herd. If I lost it, I might lose my head and do something violent.”          
H-H, 4-11-1968
7-1968The Oregon State Board of Health adopted standards for cheese milk that were presented to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The standards would require cheese milk producers to have milk houses; provide temperature control (probably with refrigerated bulk tanks); and meet standards for leukocyte counts and bacteria limits.  

Meeting with County Creamery directors in Tillamook to discuss the standards were Vergil Simmons, ODA, and Floyd Bodyfelt, extension diary processing specialist at Oregon State University.  
H-H, 8-1-1968
9-1968A negotiated settlement by County Creamery and Cheese & Dairy was announced by the cooperatives’ respective presidents, Otto Schild and Vern Lucas. Settlement provisions include the following:  
County Creamery will take ownership of the cheese factory north of Tillamook
County Creamery will receive all rights to the trademark “Tillamook.”  
All litigation will be dismissed.  
Note: No ruling was made on the accounting lawsuit or the trademark lawsuits.  
H-H, 9-26-1968
9-1968County Creamery paid more than $1,200,000 to complete the agreement ending its disputes with Cheese & Dairy. Beale Dixon, manager, said County Creamery would seek a mortgage loan in order to improve the cheese factory’s sewage disposal system and to install new machinery and equipment.  H-H, 10-10-1968
Winter 1968Increasing wastewater regulations affecting whey disposal affected all of the cheese factories. The only factory with a sewage disposal system was the large plant near Tillamook. “All the plants merged into one plant in 1968,” Beale Dixon told Gerry Hysmith in an interview.Satterfield, p. 95
Winter 1968Ed Myers said that shutting the small factories promoted efficiency and quality consistency.  Satterfield, p. 75
Winter 1968Ed Yates, head cheesemaker at Oretown Cheese Factory, applied for the head cheesemaker position at the big factory near Tillamook when he learned that the small factories would close. “I told them I was interested in efficiency and quality,” said Yates.  Satterfield, p. 74
 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 newspaperpublished 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.