By JULIANA BARBASSA Associated Press Writer FRESNO, Calif. -- Americans are eating more cheese than ever -- more than 30 pounds a person per year -- and their appetite for more variety is growing, a national survey says. In 2003, Americans ate a record 8.8 billion pounds of cheese. That's 2 1/2 pounds a month for every man, woman and child, according to a survey released Tuesday by the California Milk Advisory Board. Most of the demand is being fed by domestic suppliers, and California's mega-dairies are growing so fast that analysts expect the state to overtake Wisconsin in cheese production within two years. California is already the nation's leading milk producer, and with the help of cheese makers like Hilmar Cheese Co. -- the largest in North America -- the state has doubled its cheese production in the last decade. In 1995, California made 70 varieties of cheese. Now there are 250 types of cheese coming out of the state -- 815 million pounds of specialty flavored, rinsed, aged or fresh cheese per year. The vast majority is commodity cheese, but Americans are also consuming much more specialty cheeses. Blues, sharps, aged varieties and fresh ones have grown five times as fast in the last decade as the Cheddar's and mozzarellas, the research showed. One out of every 10 pounds of cheese eaten is a higher-quality, value-added cheese such as artisan or farmstead varieties. Ten years ago, only one in 15 pounds of cheese consumed was specialty.