In 2007, David Ahlem posed by the nearly completed Hilmar Cheese plant in Dalhart, Texas. It was the company's first expansion outside of California. (Photo: Catherine Merlo)
From a 2005 dream, the Dalhart processing facility has grown to process almost 1 million gallons of milk into cheese and whey products.
Source: Hilmar Cheese Co.
Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. is nearing completion of its most recent processing expansion at its facility in Dalhart, Texas.
The expansion includes additional capabilities on an existing 40 lb. natural American-style cheese production line, and improvements to a variety of processes to better serve domestic and international customers.
"We continue to invest in cheese to meet the need of our growing customers domestically and abroad," explained David Ahlem, vice president, cheese.
Hilmar Cheese Company built the Texas facility from a green-field site in 2005. The company began processing cheese in September 2007.
In 2010, the facility expanded as part of Phase II. This included additional milk storage capacity and four additional milk receiving bays, and expansion to the natural American-style cheese production line. On the whey processing side, additional equipment enhanced the whey protein product offering from four varieties to nine varieties. Shipping options expanded to include a Union Pacific rail line to the shipping dock of the facility.
Since 2010, other improvements have included additional water conservation and recycling capabilities.
From a 2005 dream on the Plains to today, the Dalhart processing facility has grown to about 400 employees. Each day, the facility processes almost 1 million gallons of milk into cheese and whey products.
"One of our core values is constant improvement and innovation," Ahlem asserts. "The company walks the talk by investing in new equipment and processes each year."
The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2014.
The steady growth of the company continues to provide opportunity for dairies. Last June, Amarillo was the host location for the National Jersey Cow Convention. More than 150 dairy farmers from throughout the United States visited the region.
"The completion of this project provides the dairy farm families who ship milk to us the opportunity to grow their business," concluded Ahlem.
Hilmar Cheese Company, founded in 1984, is a privately held corporation owned by 11 dairy families. More than 1,200 employees process high-quality cheese and whey ingredients from its facilities in California and Texas. Cheese customers include supermarkets, food service, and national brands; and whey ingredient customers include many of the world’s food and beverage manufacturers. Operating within a framework of environmental sustainability, 100 % of the water used is reclaimed for irrigation. The company improves the communities in which it operates through support of education, local activities, and food bank programs. From the shredded cheese in tacos to the whey protein and lactose in infant formula, Hilmar Cheese Company and its division, Hilmar Ingredients, deliver the promise of dairy to consumers around the world.