Swiss Valley plans Iowa cheese plant expansion

Swiss Valley Farms announced a $20.6 million expansion of its cheese manufacturing facility based in Luana, Iowa. The expansion centers around the improvement of the cheese manufacturing operating equipment, including a replacement of current press vats with a molding system solution, installation of additional system automation, updated press tunnels and new buffer tanks. The project also includes a 12,000 square foot expansion which will allow room for this new equipment and additional warehousing space.

The northeastern Iowa facility, acquired by the company in 1967, currently manufactures Swiss, Baby Swiss, Gouda, cream cheese, Neufchatel and sweet whey.

Increased demand for these products as well as new varieties of cheeses spurred the decision to move forward with this expansion, according to Swiss Valley Farms CEO Don Boelens. "Our goal is to increase capacity at this facility, drive efficiency and explore new cheese types that our customers are demanding," he said.

Expansion efforts are expected to break ground in 2015 and are anticipated to be completed in late 2016. Once completed, the expansion is expected to double the natural cheese production capacity and give the company the flexibility to produce new cheese varieties and sizes, such as Maasdam, Havarti and Muenster. This will also increase the production of Cream Cheese and Whey.

The Luana plant continues to be the largest of company"s manufacturing facilities, handling over 7,000 milk trucks per year. This milk is supplied by Swiss Valley"s network of farmer-members and used to make its award-winning cheese products. Since its acquisition in 1967, the plan has undergone several renovations. In 1971, the company reconfigured the plant to produce Swiss in 100 lb. blocks. In 2001, new Swiss cheese making equipment was installed. Most recently, in 2010, new silos were installed to allow for increased milk storage capacity.

Source: Swiss Valley Farms



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