Case Study: Southwest Cheese

23 May, 2018

Southwest Cheese Company is a large scale manufacturer of premium quality block cheese and whey protein ingredients for consumer foods and beverage markets internationally. Southwest Cheese is a joint venture between Glanbia, a global nutrition company, and dairy cooperatives of the Greater Southwest Agency, including Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers. Its single state-of-the-art plant in Clovis, New Mexico is the largest natural cheese plant in the USA. Southwest Cheese and its employees spend approximately $700,000 annually in direct spending in the Clovis community, providing economic support to local businesses. Southwest Cheese invested $200 million in their original build and another $140 million for a 120,000 square foot expansion in 2016.

About the Company

  • Joint venture between Southwest Cheese's parent company Glanbia and the dairy cooperatives of the Greater Southwest Agency, including Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers
  • Partners with local dairy farmers
  • Produces high quality American, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack and Pepper Jack cheeses as well as whey protein powders for nutritional food and beverages
  • Offers internship opportunities as well as a Graduate Program for employees. The Graduate Program is a 2-year professional development opportunity placing employees in the United States, Canada, Ireland, China, Germany and the United Kingdom
  • 2017 US Cheese Contest awards: 4 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 Bronze
  • 2016 World Cheese Contest awards: 5 Gold, 6 Silver, 2 Bronze

In New Mexico

  • Expanded to New Mexico in 2006
  • Uses 180 dairy suppliers in Texas and New Mexico
  • New Mexico is #9 in top milk producing states
  • Over 400 employees
  • Positions include food engineers, production managers, entry-level operators, truck drivers
  • Southwest Cheeses processes over 3.8 billion pounds of milk, and produces in excess of 388 million pounds of superior block cheese and 29.1 million pounds of high value-added whey proteins powders each year
  • Each day the plant processes 32 truckloads of cheese and 220 tankers of milk
  • In 2018, production capacity increased by 25%
  • Average compensation is $20+/hour including benefits
  • The company exports 25% of their products internationally
  • Produces roughly 10% of US market share of American style cheese

Economic Development Toolbox

  • LEDA investment of $350,000 in 2016
  • JTIP commitment in 2017 and 2018 for a total of $538,156 to support 63 new jobs
“With this expansion we are making a significant commitment to our employees, our producers, our customers, our local community and the economy of New Mexico as we seek to capture further domestic and international cheese and whey market share.”

- Glanbia Global Ingredients CEO Brian Phelan