A new cheese plant under construction in Hull, Iowa, is on track to begin operations by the end of the year.
The plant will have the capacity to use approximately 700 million pounds of milk annually, says Tim Czmowski, general manager of the plant.
Green Meadows Foods plans to make several different cheeses and sell them to food companies.
Even though construction is still underway, Green Meadows Dairy is already planning an expansion for 2010 that will more than double the plant's capacity.
"It's good news," says David Skaggs, South Dakota Department of Agriculture dairy development specialist.
The additional processing capacity will help continue the expansion of dairy in the Interstate 29 Corridor.
Valley Queen Cheese, Milbank, S.D., is expanding, too. Mark Leddy, CEO of Valley Queen Cheese, says upgrades to its cheese packaging and whey processing operations and expansion of its warehouses will increase their processing capacity 30%. Construction and equipment installation is proceeding in stages. The project should be complete by mid 2009.
The Midwest dairy industry is likely to continue growing, Leddy says.
Dairy farms in other parts of the country, particularly the Southwest and West, have to ship feed in long distances and then ship out finished product.
In the Midwest, milk producers are at least able to use locally grown feed.
"We think the benefits of dairying in the Midwest have greater value today than when energy was cheap," Leddy says.