Agropur, Appleton, Wis., said it broke ground on a substantial expansion of its cheese manufacturing facility in Lake Norden, S.D. This project should, upon completion, increase the plant’s daily milk processing capacity from 3 million pounds to more than 9 million pounds, equal to the output of an additional 85,000 cows.

Agropur said it identified the expansion as a strategic investment to help it further serve its customers. The plant will produce cheese and whey products that are marketed globally. The expanded plant is expected to be fully operational by early 2019. Once the project is completed, Agropur plans to add 125 employees to its current workforce. 

“Agropur is committed to continuing its development in the North American market,” said René Moreau, president of Agropur. “This announcement is very good news for the growing dairy industry and dairy farmers in the region.”

Robert Coallier, Agropur’s CEO, said the project is a key part of the company’s long-term business strategy targeting both expansion via acquisitions and organic growth.

“We are eager to get to work on this new and important project,” he stated.

Governor Dennis Daugaard noted that Agropur has a great relationship with the Lake Norden community.

“The company’s decision to reinvest in South Dakota — a decision that will have an estimated $1 billion annual economic impact in our state — is a prime example of how our dairy industry supports economic development from farmer to small town to processor and beyond. If you want an example of the right way to build a multi-million-dollar cheese plant, look no further than the partnership created among Agropur, the State of South Dakota and Lake Norden.”