Swiss Valley Comes to Shullsburg

12:00AM Oct 26, 2011
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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. - Swiss Valley Farms has moved its Swiss cheese production operation from Platteville to Shullsburg, in nearby Lafayette County.

The Davenport, Iowa,-headquartered cooperative transitioned production of its Baby Swiss wheels, loaves and no-salt-added Swiss blocks from its former manufacturing site in Platteville to White Hill Cheese Co. in Shullsburg.

Swiss Valley entered into a joint venture with Emmi-Roth Käse USA to establish White Hill Cheese in August 2010, with the goal of increasing the production of Baby Swiss and other Swiss varieties.

According to Swiss Valley Farms CEO Don Boelens, the relocation of production to the Shullsburg location was eminent.

"We were eager to move our Platteville production to a more modern and expanded facility, and we found that opportunity with White Hill," said Boelens in a news release.

The Shullsburg site, which was acquired by Swiss Valley Farms in 2005, consists of a 24,000-square-foot cheese-manufacturing plant, a 50,000-square-foot warehouse and a waste-water treatment facility.

Ken Harwood, executive director of Lafayette Development Corporation, said the move had been in the works for a long time.

"It's a wonderful addition to Lafayette County," he said. "They were running out of room in Platteville."

Because the new site is located in southwestern Wisconsin, Boelens noted that Swiss Valley cooperative members are unaffected. "Co-op member milk is the sole milk supplier to White Hill, which means there is still a secure market for our members' milk," Boelens said.

The Platteville manufacturing plant is no longer operational. Former Platteville employees were encouraged to apply and interview for positions at White Hill Cheese. Boelens said 13 former Platteville employees accepted offers at White Hill Cheese or elsewhere within the Swiss Valley Farms organization.

Swiss Valley Farms is considering opportunities for the Platteville property, which is still owned by the cooperative, Boelens said. Swiss Valley Farms is a Midwestern cooperative that manufactures premium specialty cheeses for industrial, food service and private-label customers. Created in 1958, the company is owned by approximately 900 dairy producers.