Demand for cheese, in both retail and food service sectors, is steady to higher across the West. Holiday cheese demand is picking up, and export interests are steady. Production is mixed throughout the region. Some cheesemakers are operating at maximum capacity, but others report limitations due to persistent staffing issues. Some plant managers are reportedly focusing on making white cheese blocks to drive production of lucrative high protein whey concentrates. Cheese inventories are available for spot purchasing, with blocks more widely available than barrels currently. Congestion at ports and trucking issues continue to pose challenges to transportation. Since June, cheese block prices have been higher than barrel prices on the CME, but that trend inverted this week. Some contacts suggest that this switch is due to the higher production and availability of cheese blocks.