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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