The three-day event started Tuesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It's considered the largest technical cheese, butter and yogurt competition in the country.
Organizers say there were 2,555 entries this year, an 11-percent increase compared to 2017, the last year the biennial event was held. There were also 29 new entrants this year, a record high.
The categories with the most entries are Cheddars, Brick and Muenster, and Latin American Style Melting cheeses.
Entries came in from 35 states. They're judged on flavor, body, texture, salt, color, finish and packaging.
"We are at the largest cheese judging in the United States," John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, told The Associated Press. "This is a technical competition where we are looking at objective scoring by two judges that look at a piece of cheese, they look at the appearance, they taste it, they smell it."
In 2017, the champion was the Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano made by Sartori, based in Plymouth, Wisconsin.