North Carolina State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a cheese production program for western North Carolina in 1914. Farms in this region earned little income, and the program hoped to offer an opportunity for mountain farmers to earn more. Local men were trained by the program's agent in cheese factory operations. Factories were then built in Watauga County at Cove Creek and in Ashe County at Grassy Creek. Incomes did rise - farmers who participated in cooperative earned $1200 more in 1915 than they had the previous year. In 1916, cheese production created a $30,000 economic boost in these two counties.