Cities in the Texas Panhandle and South Plaines region are all trying to woo a new $200 million cheese plant to locate in their community.

Select Milk Producers, Inc., plans to build the plant, and according to Rance Miles, chief executive officer for Select the company has talked with city offials in Amarillo, Hereford, Lubbock, Muleshoe, and Plainview — all in Texas and Clovis, N.M.

Once online the cheddar and mozzarella cheese plant would employ about 120 people and use six million pounds of milk per day That means it take about 100,000 cows in the area to meet the plant’s needs.

Select Milk Producers hopes to make its site selection within the next 90 days and begin construction in the spring of 2003. The goal is to have the plant operational by the summer of 2004.

According to Miles, the biggest economic benefit for the city selected is not the cheese plant itself, but the dairies that would locate in the area. Although the cheese plant would employ 120 people, each dairy would add another 25 to 30 jobs, too. In addition, the dairies and plant would both purchase equipment and supplies locally which supports existing local industries while encouraging growth.

Select Milk Producers Inc. is a producer cooperative based in Artesia, N.M.,. It currently has 75 members located in Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The producers have an average herd size of 2,300 milking cows.

Factors that Miles said the group is seeking in its site selection include dairies located in the area, and where they are anticipated to locate, water supply, air quality, and transportation infrastructure including close proximity to an airport.

Miles offered high praise for each of the communities he has contacted so far.

Amarillo Globe News