Whey ingredients from Hilmar Cheese Co. are used in beverages.

Hilmar Cheese Co., said the expansion at its cheese and whey processing facility in Dalhart, Texas, is nearing completion. The Hilmar, Calif.-based cheese processor said the expansion includes additional capabilities on an existing 40-pound natural American-style cheese production line, and improvements to a variety of processes to better serve domestic and international customers.

Hilmar built the Texas facility from a green-field site in 2005. The company began processing cheese in September 2007. A phase two expansion in 2010 included additional milk storage capacity and four additional milk receiving bays, and expansion to the natural American-style cheese production line.

Each day, the facility processes almost 1 million gallons of milk into cheese and whey products.

On the whey processing side, additional equipment enhanced the whey protein product offering from four varieties to nine varieties. Shipping options expanded to include a Union Pacific rail line to the shipping dock of the facility.

“We continue to invest in cheese to meet the need of our growing customers domestically and abroad,” David Ahlem, vice president, cheese. “One of our core values is constant improvement and innovation. The company walks the talk by investing in new equipment and processes each year,” he said in a statement.

Since 2010, other improvements have included additional water conservation and recycling capabilities.

Founded in 1984, Hilmar Cheese Co. is a privately held corporation owned by 11 dairy families. The company ranks 20th on the Dairy 100, Dairy Foods' annual ranking of the largest dairy processors. Hilmar reported annual revenues of $1.9 billion in 2012, up from $1.7 billion in 2011.

More than 1,200 employees process cheese (used in tacos, for example) and whey ingredients (for infant formula, among other uses) from its facilities in California and Texas.