Cheese plant won’t hurt milk transportation

Mike Linn

Dairy operators will send class-three milk, a low grade of milk, to the Southwest Cheese plant rather than having it shipped to farther locations, which will save dairy operators money, Portales dairy operator Alva Carter Sr. said.
This will allow dairymen to send their higher grades of milk out of town, Carter said. Currently dairy operators send high and low grades of milk out of state, which can be costly in travel expenses.
“The growth in dairy production is on the rise by about 5 to 6 percent in that region,” said Amy Clapper of Dairy Farmers of America. “There will be enough milk for the cheese plant and to ship out.”
Clapper said the cheese plant would not negatively impact the Portales-based Milk Transportation Services either.
“Everybody benefits from this,” Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang said after Friday’s ground-breaking ceremony at the future location of the plant.
Wang said Clovis city officials have applied for an $8 million loan for a wastewater treatment system to serve the facility. Officials with Southwest Cheese, not Clovis tax dollars, will pay the loan.
The excess water used to make cheese — much of which will come from milk — will be filtered through the plant’s own treatment system, then passed on to the Clovis wastewater treatment plant.
The water will then be recycled and used for agricultural crops not planted for human consumption.
Kim Huffman, chairman of the Roosevelt Community Development Corporation, said he has heard nothing but positives about the future plant, which will be the largest of its kind in America.
Clapper said more dairies in the near future are likely to break ground in the Portales and Clovis areas.