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Business-incubation program set to hatch cheese


Arbuthnot Dairy Center offers facility for aspiring cheesemakers


By MITCH LIES


Capital Press


CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Brian Humiston came to Oregon State University to learn to make beer, but he developed a taste for making cheese instead.


Humiston earlier this year started Full Circle Creamery, his own artisan cheese company.


The recent food science graduate is the first participant in the College of Agricultural Science's new business-incubation program, and an example of what the program is all about.


"I couldn't start my own company without this program," Humiston said.


"It's an inexpensive way to test the market without buying all the equipment and investing upfront to find out if there's a market for it," Humiston said.


"And, in terms of getting financing and investors, it helps to have a product out that is already on the market and doing well," he said.


Humiston has been in the program since March. He sells his mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and cheese curds at farmers' markets and retail outlets in the Willamette Valley.


The program lets cheesemakers use the Arbuthnot Dairy Center at no expense for up to a year. Cheesemakers are required to purchase their own milk and use their own cheese-aging facility.


Only one other participant has used the program to date. The participant decided not to go forward with business plans, said Lisbeth Goddik, OSU dairy food expert and an extension dairy processing specialist.


"Better now than after they invest a lot of money in it," Goddik said, again showing the incubation program's value.


Humiston, who buys milk from Lochmead Dairy in Junction City, said he has backing to go forward with his business. He is looking for a permanent facility.



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