Farm Progress

South Dakota says 'more cheese'

Agropur and Valley Queen Cheese Factory are on track to complete expansions in 2019.

September 24, 2018

2 Min Read
MARCH TARGET: Tim Czmowski, Midwest regional operations vice president for Agropur, oversees an expansion that will triple milk processing capacity at the Lake Norden, S.D., plant. The plant is on schedule begin taking milk in March 2019.

Expansion at three South Dakota cheese processors are on track to be completed in 2019.

Agropur is tripling the capacity of the former Davisco plant in Lake Norden, S.D. The plant will have the capacity to process about 9 million pounds of milk per day. Currently, it can process about 3 million pounds.

The $250 million investment — the largest in Agropur’s history — will push the plant’s total economic impact on the state to $1 billion annually.

Agropur expects to start processing milk in the new plant in March 2019. It will take a couple year to ramps up production to full capacity, says Tim Czmowski, Midwest regional operations vice president for Agropur.

Milk from approximately 85,000 more cows will be needed to supply the plant. There are enough dairies in the region that are currently expanding, being built or that have permits pending to eventually supply the plants.

Valley Queen
Doug Wilke, Valley Queen Cheese Factory CEO, expects to complete a $50 million addition to the plant in Milbank, S.D., by the second quarter of 2019. The addition will increase Valley Queen’s daily milk processing capacity by 1 million pounds to total of 5 million pounds per year.

The milk from about 15,000 more cows will be needed to operate the at capacity. The 45 dairies that are currently supply Valley Queen with milk are expected to eventually increase production to supply the new plant, Wilke says.

Dimock Cheese
Dimock Cheese, an artesian cheese company in Dimock, S.D., (pop. 131)  is also expanding. It expects to complete the first phase of a new $1 million retail storefront, office, packaging room and refrigerated storage space by the end of the year. It will continue to process cheese at its long-time Main Street location, but the retail store will be located on the highway on the outskirts of town.

The owners are planning for a 30% increase in business because of the store’s increased visibility to passersby on the highway.

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