Swiss Valley Farms, the dairy cooperative based in Davenport, Iowa, said today it will invest $20.6 million to expand its cheese manufacturing facility in the northeast Iowa town of Luana.

The plant makes Swiss, baby Swiss, Gouda, cream cheese, Neufchatel and sweet whey. Increased demand for these products as well as new varieties of cheeses spurred the decision to move forward with this expansion, said Swiss Valley Farms CEO Don Boelens in a statement.

Swiss Valley Farms is one of the largest dairy processors in North America. It ranks 52 on the Dairy 100, Dairy Foods’ list of the 100 largest dairy processors. The co-op reported revenues of $430 million in 2013 and $404 million in 2012. It operates six plants in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Swiss Valley said it will replace current press vats with a molding system solution, install additional system automation, update press tunnels and add new buffer tanks. The project also includes a 12,000-square-foot expansion which will allow room for this new equipment and additional warehousing space.

The northeastern Iowa facility was acquired by the company in 1967. Dairy Foods visited the plant in 2012 (“Swiss Valley Farms’ plant runs 24/7”).

Boelens said in a statement that the co-op’s goal is to increase capacity, drive efficiency and explore new cheese types that customers are demanding, such as Maasdam, Havarti and Muenster.

Expansion efforts are expected to break ground in 2015 and are anticipated to be completed in late 2016.

Read more about Swiss Valley Farms in this 2012 article: "Swiss Valley Farms brings a sharp focus to cheesemaking."