A new cheese plant and a facility expansion at an aseptic food and dairy plant were announced by Hilmar Cheese Co. and Steuben Foods last month, and a group of co-ops says it is considering building a brand new milk plant in Kansas.

Hilmar says it plans to build a plant in the Texas panhandle that will produce about a half-million lbs of cheese a day. Hilmar, and Texas governor Rick Perry announced last month that the $190 million cheese plant in Dalhart would begin first phase production in fall 2007. Texas will offer tax incentives to help bring the business to the Lone Star State, and Hilmar, which has had run-ins with California over waste water issues, also said it was influenced by the state's "positive business climate" and "reliable regulatory environment."

Meanwhile, Steuben Foods is planning an $18 million expansion at its Elma, N.Y. plant to increase capacity for organic milk and soy products. An organic milk processing facility is also being added through a joint development with Horizon Organic. Previously, Steuben had no raw milk processing capability at the plant.

From Kansas comes reports that Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers, Artesia, N.M.; Lone Star Milk Producers, Windthorst, Texas; and Zia Milk Producers, Roswell, N.M, are mulling the idea of building a $50 million milk plant to get processing closer to some 20 large-scale producers in the southwestern part of the state.