Our history

The cooperative

CONO Cheesemakers was established as a cooperative in 1901 by a number of cattle farmers from villages in North Holland. By working together in a cooperative, they were no longer dependent on traders. Moreover, they could now process more milk into products with a longer shelf life, such as cheese and butter.

All dairy farmers in the cooperative were also financially liable as members. A board was elected from the members to supervise policy. As the cooperative grew, a Supervisory Board was also elected from among the members. At the general meeting of members, all members had a say in the affairs of the company. And that is still the way it is today! So the members are still in charge.

The cheese factory

Various small dairy cooperatives were already active in North Holland at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1947, three cheese factories in North Holland decided to work together: Concordia from Oudendijk, Ons Belang from Middelie and De Tijd from Beemster. Together they formed the cooperative 'De Combinatie'. Then Neerlandia from Stompetoren joined them. Since 1991, CONO Kaasmakers has also worked with the CFM De Vechtstreek cooperative. Through this collaboration, CONO Cheese Makers produced cheese, butter, milk and whey powder at locations in Beemster, Ommen and Stompetoren.

The factory in Ommen became independent in 1996 under the name Hyproca Dairy. In 1997, a legal merger saw the Ommen de Vechtstreek cooperative merge into CONO Kaasmakers. Most of the milk from the members in Ommen goes to the ice factory in Hellendoorn for Ben & Jerry's ice cream in Europe.

In the Beemster Polder, right among the cows, stands cheesemaker 'De Tijd' where cheese is still made just like 100 years ago. In the past 15 years, CONO Cheese Makers has been able to pay its members the highest milk price and, in honour of its 100th anniversary in 2001, CONO Cheese Makers was made a purveyor to the Royal Household. As a unique region, the Beemster Polder was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. In November 2014, the new sustainable cheese factory in the Beemster was opened by HRH Máxima.