Reynolds tours construction site of Swiss Valley Luana plant expansion

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, with Swiss Valley CEO Chris Hoeger (left) and Luana plant manager Rod Kregel, visited Swiss Valley’s cheese manufacturing facility in Luana May 4 to tour the construction site of the plant’s $21 million expansion. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Reynolds, who visited with members of the Swiss Valley management team, along with Luana plant manager Rod Kregel, Swiss Valley employees and city officials from both Luana and Monona, cited the dairy industry’s importance in Iowa. “We need to look for ways to expand and grow the market,” she said, commending Swiss Valley for making a commitment to doing that.

Reynolds chats with some of the Swiss Valley Luana plant employees during her stop May 4.

The 49,000-square-foot expansion project centers around improvement of the cheese manufacturing operating equipment. It will increase the plant’s capacity by six tankers of milk per day of additional milk volume. Extra production is set to begin in late 2016 or early 2017.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds visited Swiss Valley’s cheese manufacturing facility in Luana May 4 to tour the construction site of the plant’s $21 million expansion.

Announced in Nov. 2014, the expansion centers around improvement of the cheese manufacturing operating equipment, including replacement of the current press vats with a moulding system solution and installation of additional system automation, press tunnels and new buffer tanks. The project includes a 49,000-square-foot expansion that will allow room for the new equipment and additional warehousing space.

The Luana plant currently manufactures 20 million pounds of cheese each year, including Swiss, baby Swiss, Gouda, cream cheese, Neufchatel and sweet whey. The expansion is expected to double the natural cheese production capacity and give Swiss Valley the flexibility to produce new cheese varieties and sizes. The production of cream cheese and whey will also be increased.

Acquired by Swiss Valley in 1967, the Luana plant is the largest of Swiss Valley’s manufacturing facilities, handling over 7,000 milk trucks per year. The expansion will increase the plant’s capacity by six tankers per day of additional milk volume. According to Swiss Valley CEO Chris Hoeger, that’s the equivalent of the daily milk production of around 4,000 dairy cows.

Hoeger, referencing a study by the Iowa State Dairy Association and Iowa State University, said every cow will make around a $24,000 economic impact, per year, in the area.

Reynolds, who visited with Hoeger and other members of the Swiss Valley management team, along with Luana plant manager Rod Kregel, Swiss Valley employees and city officials from both Luana and Monona, cited the dairy industry’s importance in Iowa.

“We need to look for ways to expand and grow the market,” she said, commending Swiss Valley for making a commitment to doing that.

The expansion project benefits from over $1.8 million in incentives, including $465,000 in direct financial assistance, along with tax benefits, from the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board. The Clayton County Supervisors offered a 100 percent, 10-year tax abatement on the expansion.

“It’s a true partnership between state and local government,” Reynolds noted. “We appreciate you staying here and maintaining employees.”

“We are excited to be a part of the northeast Iowa communities and to add value to our members’ milk with the growth and addition to our Luana facility,” Hoeger said. “We have a great group of employees who help turn our members’ milk into wonderful cheese for consumers to enjoy.”

Swiss Valley expects extra production to begin in late 2016 or early 2017, after construction is complete and the new equipment has been installed.

Rate this article: 
Average: 2.5 (27 votes)