Industry adds capacity for new product innovation

Editor’s note: Plants in Progress is a special segment spotlighting new facilities and expansion in the U.S. dairy sector. As the industry works to meet new demand, growth and expansion are inevitable. Here, we provide a glimpse into new cheese and dairy plants and expansions across the country — from initial groundbreaking to full operation, and everything in between.

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Product innovation is spurring capacity increases and infrastructure upgrades at dairy facilities throughout the United States. From specialized dry ingredients to frozen novelties to state-of-the-art research hubs, the dairy industry is investing in its future.

And the future looks bright, as the University of Wisconsin system gears up to debut new, revamped education and research facilities in Madison and River Falls while work also continues on a new Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) at the University of Idaho.

Meanwhile, West Coast companies including Darigold, Hilmar Cheese and Valley Milk are ramping up capacity for innovative ingredients while Wisconsin’s Decatur Dairy, Emmi Roth, Renards and Saputo are expanding to meet ever-increasing consumer appetites for quality cheese. Not to mention investments from companies in other states including Valley Queen Cheese, Great Lakes Cheese and Leprino Foods.

Fluid beverage innovation continues to evolve at Cayuga Milk Ingredients, Danone and O-AT-KA, while Perry’s Ice Cream is expanding to accommodate the growing demand for frozen Greek yogurt novelties.

On the supplier side, companies like Nelson-Jameson are investing in enhanced distribution capabilities, while GEA boosts infrastructure in response to growing demand for separators, decanters, valves, pumps and homogenizers, which are at the heart of many industrial production processes.
Please read on for more on these Plants in Progress ...

Photo courtesy of Emmi Roth
MORE SPACE, MORE JOBS — Emmi Roth is continuing construction on its new 134,000-square-foot headquarters and cheese conversion facility in Stoughton, Wisconsin. The facility will add approximately 100 new local jobs for distribution and cheese conversion.

• Cayuga Milk Ingredients, Auburn, New York

Cayuga Milk Ingredients (CMI) late last year announced a significant expansion to its Auburn, New York, facility. Construction is expected to begin this spring, and the project will add an aseptic processor, bottling and packaging line, allowing CMI to produce finished products for the extended-shelf-life beverage market. Additionally, improvements will be made with expanded wastewater treatment facilities, developing stormwater retention, trucking and parking enrichments, and utility upgrades.

The high-speed bottling line will have the ability to produce up to 150,000 gallons of milk-based drinks per day. Products will be palletized and then stored on-site in a warehouse using state-of-the-art Automate Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) technology.

The expansion is predicted to create 70 full-time positions as well as additional construction jobs and retention of the current staff of 91.

This expansion into bottling is a new venture for Cayuga and will help meet the demand for shelf-stable contract manufacturing demanded by the marketplace.

The company also is investing in additional raw milk receiving with two more bays to enable 80 tractor trailers to pass through the doors per day between deliveries and loadout to customers. This will ensure CMI can continue to accept fresh local milk and efficiently send out nutritional product.

“Cayuga is strong and profitable, with a long history of growth and transition. We’re looking forward to the future with ambitious projects, like aseptic, that let us build on the dependable people and progress we have developed over the last eight years,” says Neil Rejman, board chairman of CMI.

• Danone North America, Jacksonville, Florida

Danone North America recently announced it will invest up to $65 million over the next two years to create a new bottle production line in Jacksonville, Florida. The investment will support Danone North America’s long-term growth strategy and will deliver key benefits across the U.S. business, including advancing operational excellence, enabling flexibility in bottle design, accelerating the company’s sustainability goals and driving cost efficiencies.

“We are delighted to announce this investment in our North American business, which will allow us to capitalize on consumer demand in key beverage categories including coffee creamers, plant-based creamers and ready-to-drink coffee, while also supporting our long-term growth agenda,” says Shane Grant, group deputy CEO, Danone Americas.

The $65 million investment will increase production of several of Danone’s coffee and creamer brands in the United States, including International Delight, Silk and SToK. It also serves to meet consumer demand in these categories while supporting the company’s sustainability goal by reducing overall water consumption, decreasing carbon emissions and accelerating the company’s goal of packaging circularity.

The expansion will create up to 40 new full-time jobs with competitive wages and benefits. New employees will be eligible for Danone North America’s parental bonding leave policy, enabling all manufacturing employees with one year of tenure to take up to 18 weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child.

“We are thrilled to be investing in the people and economy of Jacksonville, creating 40 new jobs in addition to supporting our approximately 110 existing employees, all with competitive wages and benefits,” says Mike Sloboda, Danone North America’s chief operations officer. “This investment will allow us to better serve our customers and operate our business in an even more efficient and sustainable way.”

• Darigold Inc., Pasco, Washington

Darigold Inc. last year broke ground on a new production facility in Pasco, Washington. When fully operational, the $600 million facility will process approximately 8 million pounds of milk per day from more than 100 dairy farms in surrounding communities. Darigold expects the facility to be operational by early 2024 and plans to hire about 200 employees.

Chris Arnold, vice president and head of communication for Darigold, says the project is “full speed ahead,” and construction is coming along nicely.

The Pasco facility will be outfitted with two specialized milk dryers and two packaging lines for powdered milk products or “premium proteins,” two butter churns, two bulk butter packaging lines for commercial and institutional customers, and five consumer butter packaging lines.

When fully operational, the facility will have the capacity to produce approximately 175 million pounds of butter and nearly 280 million pounds of powdered milk annually.

• Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Wisconsin

Decatur Dairy and members of the Decatur Swiss Cheese Co. Cooperative in August officially broke ground on a $6 million cheese plant addition in Brodhead, Wisconsin. The 24,000-square-foot expansion will add packaging, curing and warehousing capacity.

Coinciding with the expansion is a change to the dairy’s business structure. The co-op previously owned the land and building, while the dairy owned the equipment and handled the marketing. Now a new company — Decatur Cheese Plant LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between the dairy and co-op — will own the building and land. The dairy will continue to handle marketing and will own the equipment, while the co-op members have secured a 20-year agreement for their milk to go to the plant.

According to Steve Stettler, Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker and owner of Decatur Dairy, the building expansion is totally enclosed, work continues on the inside and the company is looking at a July occupancy.

“It is a much-needed addition to the facility to meet the needs of our customers’ growth,” he says.

• Emmi Roth USA, Stoughton, Wisconsin

Emmi Roth is continuing construction on its new 134,000-square-foot headquarters and cheese conversion facility in Stoughton, Wisconsin. The new facility will support Emmi Roth’s acquisition of the Athenos business, including the leading Feta brand in America. With the acquisition came the need for more conversion and distribution capabilities, the company notes.

The facility will add approximately 100 new local jobs for distribution and cheese conversion. Conversion allows Emmi Roth to provide different packaging options to customers and consumers based on their needs — which may be a cup, bag, chunk, wedge or other form.

The new facility is being constructed with a number of sustainable features to support the company’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050 and is expected to reduce transportation lanes by 49%, reduce trips per year by 26% and provide a significant reduction in emissions related to transportation.

Concrete finishers, ironworkers, roofers, masons and other skilled tradespeople have been busy working on the new facility. Recent activities include the final slab-on-grade pour and completion of the roof installation for the cold storage facility. Erection of the cooling tower platform on the engine room roof also has started.

Crews also have been preparing for additional underground work to begin. Underground work includes items such as floor drains, electrical conduits and floor boxes that need to be in place before the concrete slabs are poured.

Emmi Roth plans to begin hiring employees for the conversion facility this summer. Project completion is anticipated by the end of the year. When completed, it will become the new Emmi Roth headquarters, housing the corporate office team currently based in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Other Emmi Roth locations include Monroe, Platteville and Seymour, Wisconsin.

Rendering courtesy of Zimmerman Architectural Studios
GEA’S GREENFIELD SITE —GEA last fall broke ground on a new facility in Janesville, Wisconsin, its first greenfield site in North America in 50 years. “The Janesville facility will bring us closer to our growing Midwest customer base, and it will enable us to meet the growing demand for our products,” says Azam Owaisi, CEO, GEA North America.

• GEA, Janesville, Wisconsin

GEA in November marked the official start of construction on its new repair, logistics, assembly, production and training facility in Janesville, Wisconsin. The groundbreaking ceremony of GEA’s first greenfield site in North America in 50 years was attended by company representatives and officials from the state of Wisconsin and city of Janesville.

GEA will invest more than $20 million in the new site in response to growing demand for separators, decanters, valves, pumps and homogenizers, which are at the heart of many industrial production processes. The 85,000-square-foot building is scheduled for completion in late 2023.

In addition to modern office space, the facility will house a training center for customers and employees.

The remaining space will be used for the repair of mechanical equipment and logistics.

Located approximately 80 miles west of Milwaukee and 40 miles south of Madison, the new GEA facility will create more than 70 jobs.

“The Janesville facility will bring us closer to our growing Midwest customer base, and it will enable us to meet the growing demand for our products,” says Azam Owaisi, CEO, GEA North America. “As the new facility will have production capabilities to finalize separator, decanter, valve and pump assembly, GEA will fully meet the ‘Built in America’ mandates if required. We would like to thank the city of Janesville leadership for their cooperation and support.”

• Great Lakes Cheese Co., Abilene, Texas, and Franklinville, New York

Great Lakes Cheese Co. earlier this year opened a new plant in Abilene, Texas, its ninth manufacturing facility. The newest packaging conversion plant has 160 employee-owners, with 100 more planned to join by late summer.

To celebrate the opening, the Epprecht family, management team and department leaders hosted a special event in January for customers, suppliers, key partners, Abilene employee-owners and the Abilene community. Great Lakes hosted several different activities including a Cheese 101 experience with local high school students, interactive culture and team-building activities for new employee-owners, and meet and greets in the community with local organizations and the public.

Great Lakes Cheese also is building a new manufacturing and packaging plant in Franklinville, New York. With a capital investment of more than $500 million, the project is the largest infrastructure investment in the company’s history and will nearly double the size of its current workforce in the Southern Tier of New York.

The new plant will replace the existing facility in Cuba, New York, upon completion. Although the Cuba facility will cease operations with Great Lakes Cheese, discussions are underway to identify possible future uses for the site, company officials say.

The Franklinville project is on track to potentially open later this year to start limited production in 2024, and it will be completed in early 2025, company officials say.

• Hilmar Cheese Co., Dodge City, Kansas

Hilmar Cheese Co. is building a new state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant in Dodge City, Kansas. The new facility is expected to create 250 new jobs and represents more than $600 million in capital investment.

The first walls were lifted into place earlier this month. Site work, underground conduits and foundation construction continue, company officials say.

“We are very excited about this new facility and being part of the Dodge City community,” says David Ahlem, president and CEO, Hilmar Cheese Co.

Hilmar is recruiting for key positions in Dodge City, including maintenance, safety, training, human resources and operations management. More information about open positions can be found on the company website at

The facility is expected to be operational in 2024.

• Leprino Foods Co., Lubbock, Texas

Denver-based Leprino Foods Co. late last year broke ground on a new 850,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in East Lubbock, Texas. Supported by world-class food safety, operations, training and maintenance programs, as well as monitored and controlled through leading-edge automation and instrumentation, the facility expands Leprino’s existing domestic network of manufacturing facilities.

The plant will be constructed in two phases. Phase one construction will be completed in late 2024 and operational in early 2025. Phase two is slated to be completed by early 2026. This investment will result in $10.6 billion over the next 10 years for the state of Texas. The plant will be supplied by regional dairies and roughly 200 milk trucks per day to produce more than 1 million pounds of cheese daily. Other products that will be produced at this facility include dairy ingredients such as whey and lactose.

Photo courtesy of Nelson-Jameson
SUSTAINABLE DISTRIBUTION — Pictured above is the concrete building slab and footings for Nelson-Jameson’s new state-of-the-art distribution center in Jerome, Idaho.

•Nelson-Jameson, Jerome, Idaho

Nelson-Jameson last fall held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the building of its new distribution facility in Jerome, Idaho. The state-of-the-art facility will be the company’s most technologically advanced distribution center to date and will include approximately 1.5 million cubic feet of combined storage, office space, refrigerated and frozen storage areas, along with a service and maintenance area.

“Dairy is Idaho’s No. 1 agricultural commodity, and it’s the third-largest producer of milk in our country. Nelson-Jameson’s expansion in Idaho will strategically support the growth trajectory of the dairy industry in the Pacific Northwest region and add additional job opportunities,” says Mike Rindy, president, Nelson-Jameson. “We are proud to be making such a significant investment in this region, and we are prioritizing the environment as we build out our new state-of-the-art facility.”

Reducing carbon footprint and improving sustainability for the dairy industry is an important goal for the company. Therefore, the new distribution center has been designed to include the latest architectural energy savings tactics, including insulated concrete tilt wall panels, all LED lighting, occupancy sensors for all lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems, electronically controlled warehouse ventilation and use of high-efficiency warehouse storage systems.

The 45,000-square-foot building is tentatively scheduled for completion at the end of this year. Peterson Brothers of Twin Falls, Idaho, is the general contractor, and Excel Engineering of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is the designer.

• O-AT-KA Milk Products, Batavia, New York

O-AT-KA Milk Products LLC recently commenced construction on a 3,200-square-foot facility expansion in the town of Batavia, New York.

O-AT-KA Milk Products’ $3.1 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions.

O-AT-KA Milk Products has been a part of the Genesee County community since 1959. Some of the company’s products include dairy-based beverages, evaporated milk, butter, milk powder and other dairy products. This investment allows O-AT-KA Milk Products to diversify its offerings of dairy-based beverages.

• Perry’s Ice Cream, Akron, New York

Empire State Development (ESD), New York state’s chief economic development agency, late last year announced Perry’s Ice Cream Co. Inc. is expanding its production capabilities to meet the growth of the novelty market, adding 20,000 square feet to its manufacturing facility in Akron, New York. To better accommodate the growing demand for frozen Greek yogurt novelties, Perry’s also will purchase new machinery and equipment. The company has committed to creating up to 15 new jobs as part of the expansion project; 370 jobs will be retained.

“Generations of Western New Yorkers have had a sweet tooth for Perry’s ice cream, and I am very pleased Empire State Development could help ensure this longtime manufacturer continues to grow, compete and create new jobs here,” says Hope Knight, president, CEO and commissioner, ESD.

The frozen novelty market is a $5 billion industry globally that is seeing exponential annual growth. To meet this growing demand, Perry’s will establish a new extruded novelty line that will serve its current and future contract manufacturing customers. The new line will have the ability to craft conventional ice cream-based options as well as sorbet, yogurt, non-dairy varieties and more. The $18 million project includes the addition of a 20,000-square-foot building to house the new extruded ice cream novelty machine and conveyor systems, as well as upgrades to an existing building’s engine room and pump room.

“Western New York is an ideal place for us to operate our growing business, service our customer base and expand our offerings,” says Robert Denning, president and CEO, Perry’s. “We are grateful to ESD for providing support for our latest business opportunity. We also recognize that our success is the direct result of our team’s dedication and commitment to making the highest-quality and most delicious products.”

ESD is assisting Perry’s by providing up to $365,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Perry’s expects to be operational in the new space by late this summer.

Photo courtesy of Renards Cheese
RAMPING UP AT RENARDS — Renards Cheese late last year broke ground on a new production facility in Algoma, Wisconsin. The expansion will include an on-site exact-weight cut-and-wrap operation and warehouse.

• Renards Cheese, Algoma, Wisconsin

Renards Cheese late last year broke ground on a new production facility on County Highway S in Algoma, Wisconsin. The expansion, which encompasses three phases, will include a new production facility as well as an on-site exact-weight cut-and-wrap operation and warehouse.

Company officials say the 50,000-square-foot project will help Renards become more effective and allow it to meet growing needs for increased production. The first phase is expected to be complete this spring, with the second phase completed in 2024.

The company can produce up to 3 million pounds of cheese at its current facility, which was built in the 1920s. Upon full completion, the new facility will be able to produce up to 12 million pounds of cheese per year.

• Saputo Dairy USA, Franklin and Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and Tulare, California

Construction is underway on a greenfield facility in Franklin, Wisconsin, to consolidate and modernize Saputo Dairy USA’s cut-and-wrap activities. This state-of-the-art facility will become the center of Saputo’s expanded cut-and-wrap capabilities in the Midwest and is expected to result in the creation of 600 jobs. This new facility represents an investment of C$240 million and is slated to be operating at full capacity by the third quarter of fiscal 2025.

Once operational, Saputo anticipates transferring existing packaging operations from other manufacturing sites to its new facility in Franklin.

Meanwhile, after ceasing cut-and-wrap activities at its Bardsley Street facility in Tulare, California, as announced in fiscal 2022, Saputo now intends to invest C$75 million to convert this location into a String cheese packaging facility. The investment will help support the company’s growth ambitions and sustain its leadership position in the String cheese product category, officials say. The facility is slated to be operating at full capacity by the third quarter of fiscal 2025.

Saputo also plans to invest C$45 million to convert its long-standing Mozzarella manufacturing facility in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, to a goat cheese manufacturing plant to increase capacity, expand its position in growing specialty cheese categories and improve productivity. In line with the company’s strategy to modernize its Mozzarella operations, current cheese manufacturing from this facility will be transferred to other existing Saputo facilities in the USA Sector, increasing capacity utilization, improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs.

Rendering courtesy of University of Idaho
INVESTMENT IN IDAHO — When complete, the new Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Idaho will have three locations, including a Food Processing Pilot Plant located in Twin Falls on the College of Southern Idaho Campus. The core of the project is a 2,000-cow commercial-scale dairy located in Rupert, Idaho.

• University of Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), Rupert, Idaho

Dairy sustainability scientists and innovators soon will have the nation’s largest research hub to test their ideas and develop technologies in the Pacific Northwest as support is ramping up for the new Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) at the University of Idaho.

Located in the nation’s third-largest dairy-producing state and home to a thriving agriculture sector, CAFE is designed with the size and scale of a commercial dairy, with additional capabilities to grow and study crops used for animal nutrition. Researchers will examine the sustainability of the dairy farming value chain from feed to milk and beyond to help bring solutions to dairy farmers in the Western region for years to come. In addition, innovators will study additional revenue streams for farmers beyond milk from emerging bio-based products and carbon credit markets.

Cargill recently announced it is donating $500,000 to the University of Idaho for the project.

“Supporting the next generation of agriculture sustainability experts and the dairy farmers who will benefit from their advancements is important to our company,” says Julie Abrahamzon, commercial director for Cargill’s animal nutrition business in North America. “We are making investments in projects like U of Idaho’s CAFE because we believe in the future of the dairy industry.”

Burley-based Redox Bio-Nutrients also recently announced a $500,000 gift to the groundbreaking effort.

“Collectively, we can move mountains,” says Michael Parrella, dean of the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “From the Idaho Legislature to Redox and others in agriculture, it truly is a remarkable partnership that will pay widespread dividends.”

The Idaho CAFE will be the largest and most advanced research center targeting the dairy and allied industries, according to the U of I. It will support a sustainable dairy production system located in a semi-arid environment. Idaho CAFE will support workforce development, education and community engagement in the state and region.

The CAFE will have three locations, including a Food Processing Pilot Plant located in Twin Falls on the College of Southern Idaho campus.

The core of CAFE is a 2,000-cow commercial-scale dairy located in Rupert. The site also consists of 1,200 additional acres for complementary agronomic research, feed production and nutrient management.

An Outlook and Education Center will be located in Jerome and will provide a window into agriculture, food production, water, power and energy.

The $22.5 million multiphase project will begin milking its first cows by the end of 2024 and will house 2,000 cows when fully operational.

Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS
REVAMPED AND READY — Pictured above are new pasteurizing equipment, tanks and piping at the renovated Babcock Hall Dairy Plant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

• University of Wisconsin-Madison, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Center for Dairy Research, Madison, Wisconsin

The public is invited to visit Babcock Hall’s new and improved facilities during an open house April 14 from 2-4 p.m. on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. The event will feature an interactive self-guided tour highlighting the building’s new state-of-the-art spaces, including the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) addition and the renovated Babcock Hall Dairy Plant. During the tour, participants will learn about the facilities by visiting eight stations, many featuring samples of goods produced in the building, including CDR cheeses and Babcock ice cream.

Babcock Hall was built in the early 1950s and today houses the Department of Food Science, the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, the Babcock Hall Dairy Store and CDR. This construction project represented the first major upgrade to the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant since then. It also provided CDR, which was established in 1986, with the space and equipment it needs to meet its research and outreach mission.

• University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) continues its installation process and anticipates a summer grand reopening of its revamped dairy plant. UWRF renovated its 30-year-old dairy plant to provide teaching and training opportunities that will give graduates a competitive edge. The pilot plant has been completely rebuilt, doubling in size to 6,500 square feet.

Naming opportunities still are available to support the renovation, with some of the latest investments coming from Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery (naming the Dairy Plant Manager office), Associated Milk Producers Inc. (naming the Donor Alcove), Dave and Frankie Lenzmeier (naming the Food Science Entry Staircase, which will highlight dairy industry careers), Nasonville Dairy Inc./Heiman Family (naming the Dairy Education Corridor, which will highlight dairy processing), Nelson-Jameson (naming the Dairy Plant Lab as well as establishing two Nelson-Jameson scholarships) and Compeer Financial (naming the plant viewing windows).

In addition, UWRF recently announced the establishment of the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence, which will provide new opportunities to students and industry professionals thanks to a $1 million investment from the Wuethrich Family Foundation and Grassland Dairy Products Inc.

This official naming of UWRF’s newly renovated and modernized dairy pilot plant recognizes Grassland and the Wuethrich family as significant supporters of the project.

“It was really important to recognize the support of the industry. Grassland Dairy and the Wuethrichs have given a significant amount,” says UWRF Chancellor Maria Gallo. “They stepped up to the challenge and see the importance of this for our students and the industry.”

When the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence comes online this summer, it will be able to offer new research opportunities and additional short courses with the new equipment. It also will provide employment opportunities for students to work in the facility as well as to do research with UWRF Assistant Professor Grace Lewis, who joined the faculty last year through funding from the Dairy Innovation Hub to specialize in dairy processing.

“We did have dairy industry partners step up and support our additional naming opportunities throughout the dairy plant and food science building. We thank these companies and alumni for their continued support,” says Julie Stucky, advancement officer, UWRF.

“We look forward to celebrating the completion of the dairy plant and continue educating the next generation of dairy industry leaders,” she adds. “We are thankful to the dairy industry partners who have supported this initiative and know the importance of providing students with a state-of-the-art facility so they can step into dairy industry leadership roles upon graduation.”

• Valley Milk, Turlock, California

Valley Milk LLC earlier this year announced a 10,000-square-foot expansion of its milk processing facility in Turlock, California. Consistent with the overall business strategy of creating value-added products, the ownership of Valley Milk LLC announced its intention to begin producing anhydrous milkfat (AMF) at the facility in 2024.

“In discussions with various customers, we believe the U.S. marketplace has a need for additional high-quality AMF for use in the ice cream and confectionary business. Additionally, there are strategic opportunities to export AMF into the international market,” says Valley Milk CEO Glenn Wallace.

The 10,000-square-foot expansion will provide the capability to produce AMF in drums, totes and eventually pails to serve industrial and foodservice customers. Valley Milk will continue to market bulk cream in California.

“We are excited about the continued growth of our customer relationships, and the AMF project will allow us to provide an additional line of product to market domestically and into the world market,” says Valley Milk Chairman Don Machado.

Valley Milk LLC is a state-of-the-art 24/7/365 powdered milk ingredient processing facility on a 30-acre site in Turlock, California. The plant is designed for and has capacity to process 2.5 million pounds of raw milk per day. The company is owned by five multi-generational Central Valley California dairy families along with other dairy professionals including nutritionists and veterinarians.

Photo courtesy of Valley Queen Cheese
ON TRACK — Progress continues on Valley Queen Cheese’s expansion project in Milbank, South Dakota, the largest in the company’s 93-year history.

• Valley Queen Cheese, Milbank, South Dakota

Valley Queen Cheese held a groundbreaking event last summer to celebrate its new expansion project in Milbank, South Dakota.

The project is going well and is right on track in spite of a few winter weather delays, officials say. Construction crews have completed all of the foundation work for the new four-bay drive-through intake, warehouse and new employe facility/office area. In the last few weeks, the steel erection has progressed very quickly on the warehouse, and last week, the crew began erecting the employee facility/office.

The expansion is set to be fully operational by January 2025 and will be the largest in the company’s 93-year history.



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