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Brand new cheese plant to boost economy in Tulare

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A multi-million dollar project coming to Tulare is expected to bring plenty of jobs to the city.

Tulare council members are set to vote on a $2 million dollar property in Southwest Tulare. Cali Cheese Company is looking to purchase the property to build a 300,000 square foot cheese processing plant.

Cheese plant representative Jeff Lee said they will construct and then operate a plant that will process 4 million pounds of milk a day, into block cheddar cheese or American style cheese.

The site is just a few blocks away from Saputo cheese production plant, and next door to the city's wastewater treatment facility.

The approval of the property's sale to Cali Cheese is one of the final steps for the company to secure its $350 million financing to build the plant.

"We have billion dollar companies that provide the milk, takes the product, builds the plant, provides the financing for us, and yes, I can tell you our focus particularly for the whey to rye products in the Asian markets right now," Lee said.

Cali Cheese is expected to bring 220 jobs to Tulare, and much needed sales tax revenue for the city

City of Tulare economic development manager Traci Myers said the jobs alone will boost Tulare's local economy.

Myers said the plant will also be helpful to local dairies who are struggling right now from high milk prices and what they believe is overregulation from the state.

Cali Cheese will not only be hiring local people but they will also be using milk from local dairies to process their cheese.

"From what I understand some local dairies have been having to ship out of the area because of the oversupply. If that oversupply can be utilized by a new company then it definitely will benefit the surrounding area sure," Myers said.

If all goes as planned, Cali Cheese expects to break ground on their facility this summer and open in 2015.

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