Production of American cheese and butter climbed during October, according to the USDA’s “Dairy Products” report, released yesterday afternoon.

The nation’s cheese makers produced 295 million pounds of American cheese during October — an increase of 3.2 percent compared to the same time a year ago. That also is a 4.3-percent production increase above September. Total cheese output, while 5.6 percent greater than September levels, fell 1.1 percent below October 2000 — to 681 million pounds.

Strong American cheese production in the west — particularly California’s 25-percent gain during October versus the prior year — offset significant losses in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota cheese vats produced 15.5 percent less American cheese than October 2000, while Wisconsin American cheese output dropped 4 percent compared to last year.

According to the report, butter churns kept busy during October. Butter output totaled 111 million pounds in October — a 6.9-percent increase from October 2000 and 25.2 percent greater than September butter output. Wisconsin, in particular, saw a 27-percent increase in butter production compared to October 2000.