Swiss Valley Farm Cheese

Swiss Valley Farms, a branded specialty cheese producer, announced the expansion of its cheese manufacturing plant in Luana, Iowa, US, in November 2014.

The official ceremony marking the start of construction for the $20.6m expansion was held in September 2015. The expansion is expected to be complete in late 2016, and will create additional employment opportunities, benefitting the local community.

Increase in demand for the company’s cheese products, as well as new ranges of cheese, spurred the decision to expand the plant. The expansion will benefit customers, farm members, and the Clayton County community. It will receive more than $1.8m in tax abatements, and other aid over the subsequent five years upon completion.

History of Luana cheese plant

The Luana cheese plant became part of Swiss Valley Farms when the co-operative merged with Northeast Iowa Dairy Cooperative in Luana in 1967. The plant was expanded in 1971 to manufacture specialty cheese, traditional Emmentaler Swiss, in 100lb cakes.

The plant was installed with modern Swiss cheese-making equipment in 2001. Its milk storage capacity was increased by installing new silos in 2010. The Swiss cheese made at the plant earned many awards nationally and internationally.

Details of Swiss Valley Farm’s Luana cheese plant expansion

The Luana cheese plant expansion will upgrade the cheese manufacturing operating equipment and install additional automated systems, advanced press tunnels and new buffer tanks, while also replacing the existing press vats with a moulding system solution.

The expansion will add 49,000ft² of space for new equipment and additional warehousing facilities. It will double the cheese production capacity and also also the plant to manufacture new cheese ranges and dimensions, such as Havarti, Muenster and Maasdam. The production capacity of cream cheese and whey will also be increased after the expansion.

Swiss Valley Farm’s network of farmer-members supplies milk to the plant.

"Swiss Valley Farms, the 23rd biggest dairy co-operative in the US, is headquartered in Davenport, Iowa."

Marketing commentary

Swiss Valley Farms, the 23rd biggest dairy co-operative in the US, is headquartered in Davenport, Iowa. It has production facilities in Luana, Shullsburg, Mindoro, Rochester, and Faribault, and is comprised of 575 dairy producer members in southern Minnesota, northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

The co-operative employs 320 people and produces Baby Swiss, Gouda, blue cheese, Gorgonzola, cream cheese, Neufchatel, Club Cheddar, process cheeses, and whey powder.

The Luana plant is the biggest of the co-operative’s facilities and handles more than 7,000 milk trucks a year. The plant is a leading supplier of high-quality, branded specialty cheeses to the local retail food industry. It also supplies high-value natural cheeses and dairy-based ingredients to customers across the world.