Cheese plant construction to begin

By Glen Seeber

Ground breaking for the Southwest Cheese plant will be Feb. 6, Alan McEntee said Friday night at the conclusion of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.
“It’s been a lot of months of hard work, coming to this point,” said Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation.
Feb. 6, he said, is the first day all three partners in the operation will be able to get together in Clovis for the ground breaking.
In the meantime, “construction crews will be moving their trailers onto the site and getting their equipment in there,” he said.
“We have extended invitations to the governor and our federal delegation, our local state leaders and local leaders as well. We only got final word (about the planned ground breaking) today.”
McEntee had little to say about the ground breaking, except for the scheduled date. “We are enjoying our stay here in Clovis,” he told banquet attendees.
The community has shown “great hospitality” and “we look forward to participating fully in your community over the coming years.”
Southwest Cheese Co. is a joint venture of Glanbia, Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Select Milk Producers Inc., and other dairy cooperative members of the Greater Southwest Agency Inc., according to a Glanbia press release.
Contracts have been awarded to Dahlgren/Skanska and Carlisle Process Systems to begin construction on the $190 million facility, and production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2005, the release states.
In full operation, sales are expected to be $350 million per year, with employment for 220 people.
One of the largest plants of its kind in the world, the news release states, the facility will process more than 2.4 billion pounds of milk and produce, 250 million pounds of cheese and 16.5 million pounds of high value-added whey proteins.