It’s Official

Southwest Cheese plant opens in Clovis, N.M.

One of the largest cheese and whey plants in the world — on target to meet a $340 million goal to supply national and international markets — opened October 6 in Clovis, N.M.
The official opening of the Southwest Cheese plant has made a strong impact in the economy of New Mexico and solidifies the state at the forefront of the dairy industry nationwide. Already ranked seventh among the top 10 milk producing states in the nation, New Mexico is one of the fastest-growing dairy production areas as well, along with nearby West Texas (Texas ranks ninth among milk-producing states).
Located on a 54-acre site in Clovis, N.M, Southwest Cheese is the first joint venture of its kind, pairing milk producers with cheese producers. At full capacity, the plant takes in 140 tankers of milk every day, producing 40,000 pounds of cheese every hour and processing 275,000 pounds of whey every day. The company, which employs more than 200 people, is on target to achieve sales of $340 million this year, with a $1.2 billion economic impact to the Eastern New Mexico/West Texas region.
The $190 million joint venture is one of the largest investments in the dairy industry worldwide in the past few years. The plant is owned 50 percent by Glanbia plc and 50 percent by the Greater Southwest Agency, consisting of Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers, Zia and Lonestar.
“Clovis was an ideal choice of location for the plant,” says Maurice Keane, Southwest Cheese chief executive officer and president. “New Mexico has production advantages that include good climate, ready supply of feed and great neighbors. In addition, being right in the center of a strong milk supply will naturally reduce transport costs for farmers.”
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was one of the many dignitaries attending the official opening, which included tours of the 340,000-square-foot plant.  m
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America’s dairy producers, through the National Dairy Council (NDC), in partnership with four leading health professional organizations, have launched a nutrition-based marketing and education campaign to promote healthy bones throughout life. NDC is the nutrition education and research arm of the national dairy checkoff program. The campaign, launched in early October, communicates to parents and families that eating a healthy diet that includes the government-recommended three daily servings of nutrient-rich, lowfat and fat-free dairy foods — such as milk, cheese or yogurt — helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the National Medical Association (NMA) support the campaign. Campaign elements include advertising, media relations, Web-based efforts, public service announcements, and health professional outreach. For more information, visit www.3aday.org or www.nationaldairycouncil.org.
Parent company Organic Farm Marketing Inc. has announced that Thorp, Wis.-based Grass Point Farms, manufacturer of the first nationally distributed, certified-humane line of pasture-raised dairy products, placed second in the cheddar division of the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest. The World Dairy Expo, with its comprehensive format, is the only national judging contest of its kind in the United States. The raw-milk cheddar, the newest offering from Grass Point Farms, was judged against numerous entries and by the dairy experts including Marianne Smukowski from the Wisconsin Center of Dairy Research and Dr. Robert Bradley from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Food Science Department.  
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), Modesto, Calif., has launched a promotional campaign in Kansas City to introduce Real California Cheese. The million-dollar advertising and promotional effort announces to consumers that many of the more than 250 varieties and styles of California cow’s milk cheeses are now widely available in Kansas City-area supermarkets, specialty food stores and restaurants. The campaign launch includes TV, radio and billboard advertising, as well as a promotional program including leading supermarkets such as Hen House and Price Chopper. Selected California cheeses will also be available in many fine Kansas City restaurants including Jasper’s and The American Restaurant. Coinciding with the Kansas City kickoff, two new television commercials from the award-winning Happy Cows series debuted nationwide continue the theme of humorously suggesting California cheese tastes great because it is made with milk from California’s Happy Cows.
Sabres fans have another reason to cheer this hockey season. Perry’s Ice Cream, Buffalo’s regional ice cream company located in Akron, N.Y., has announced that it is the “Official Ice Cream of the Buffalo Sabres.” The ice cream company sponsored the Sabres’ October 14 home game against the New York Rangers, during which fans received one of the coolest giveaways of the season — the Sabres magnet schedules. Perry’s will sponsor the “Perry’s Player of the Game” for select games throughout the season, during which players’ personal favorites — including their favorite Perry’s Ice Cream flavor — will be revealed to fans.” We are thrilled to team up with the Buffalo Sabres again this season,” says Robert Denning, president of Perry’s Ice Cream. “We admire the team’s energy, work ethic and tenacious spirit and we look forward to supporting the Sabres throughout another exciting season.”
At 23, Kikkan Randall is the top female US cross-country skier and among the best in the world. That’s young to have already won five national championships, raced in two winter Olympics and placed fifth in last year’s World Cup races. Matanuska Maid Dairy, Anchorage, Alaska, has agreed to sponsor Randall at least another year, according to corporate marketing consultant and company spokesman Greg Galik. “Matanuska Maid has sponsored Kikkan’s athletic efforts since 2003, and these sponsorships allow her to devote her time to training without having to work,” he says. Randall says the generous sponsorship also includes a supply of Matanuska Maid Dairy products, “which contain important proteins and carbohydrates to sustain strong bones and to help regenerate muscles after tough workouts and racing.” Matanuska Maid is among the world’s largest dairy processors located in the far north. Offering a full line of dairy, juice and beverage products, the company celebrates its 70th anniversary in Alaska this year. For more information, visit  www.matmaid.com.
For countless generations, family and friends have gathered around the kitchen table to share stories and bond over their favorite foods. Now Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth Wis., is giving Gina Marino of Hope, R.I., the opportunity to have her collection of cheese recipes published as a cookbook after the 36-year-old won a cookoff last month at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, Calif. Marino edged out Lisa Patrin of Chanhassen, Minn., and Andrea Laguna of Los Angeles, Calif., after the three judges — Emmy-winning chef Michael Chiarello, Bon Appétit contributing editor Mara Papatheodorou and Sargento corporate chef Guy Beardsmore — decided that Marino’s Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Pizza recipe demonstrated the best creativity, use of Sargento cheese and overall taste. Co-sponsored with Bon Appétit and in cooperation with Chiarello and the celebrated Culinary Institute of America, Sargento began the nationwide search this past spring.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based Sorrento Lactalis Inc. has donated $50,000 through national sales of its snack cheese products to support cancer agencies in Western New York. Gilda’s Club WNY and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk received the support from Sorrento during the month of October, which is also breast cancer awareness month. The company made a $15,000 donation to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk held in downtown Buffalo. The gift honored two local breast cancer survivors, Rose Ann Ross and Donna Monczynski, for their courage and persistence in battling breast cancer. Sorrento also donated $35,000 to Gilda’s Club WNY for capital improvements, including urgent repairs to the club’s historic 1908 home.