Multi-million dollar cheese plant coming to Dodge City, bringing an immediate 247 jobs

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DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — New jobs are on the way for the state. A cutting-edge cheese facility is planting roots in the well-known cattle town, Dodge City.

Hilmar Cheese Company is a worldwide leading producer of dairy, delivering products to more than 50 countries.

Headquartered in California, the business has a second location in Dalhart, Texas. Dodge City will join the two with a new, state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant.

Hilmar Cheese Facilities (KSN graphic)

The Kansas expansion is bringing with it new opportunities for the region.

The project represents a $460 million capital investment and is expected to create 247 immediate jobs.

An additional $550 million in capital investment and another 750 jobs are expected within a 50-mile radius of the facility by 2023.

“We expect about threefold of each of the numbers within the next ten years,” said Jonathan Clayton, Kansas Department of Commerce.

The total investment will equal more than $1 billion in the first two years.

“You’re talking about an investment that will probably be $7 to $10 billion over the next 10 years. It’s just going to be a huge multiplying effect to the entire region,” said Nick Hernandez, Dodge City city manager.

According to the city, the company plans to work with local dairies and construct a handful of others.

“Hilmar is going to need approximately 30 million gallons of milk a year to produce all of their cheese which equates to about 45 ½ Olympic swimming pools,” said Clayton.

As for the wastewater produced by the facility, it will be used for further crop irrigation and biogas production.

“The water from the wastewater treatment facility actually goes to crop production which then, in turn, is fed to the cattle and then the cattle produce the milk and then the milk is made into cheese,” said Hernandez.

The groundbreaking will take place this summer, and the facility is expected to be fully operational by 2024. 

“This is a great opportunity for Dodge and for the community and for the county as well as the region. It’s not too often where we get a large American corporation like Hilmar Cheese to choose Dodge and a lot of times people will say, ‘Why Dodge?’ and we want to say ‘Why not Dodge?’” said Clayton.

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