What’s the cheese? Leprino Foods talks about their work with local dairy farmers

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Leprino Foods partnered with West Texas dairy farmers to help supply products for the 10th plant in the hub city.

The investment coming to Lubbock is about $870 million and will produce over a million pounds of cheese. Although, they will need the help of local dairy farmers.

Lance Fitzsimmons, executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at Leprino Foods, said the new facility will be supported by about 120,000 milking dairy cows, and their partner, Dairy Farmers of America, will work with them on the milk supply and identify farms in West Texas to help supply the facility.

“Most of the milk will come from, you know, call it a 50 to 100-mile radius is probably pretty, pretty typical,” Fitzsimmons said.

Local farmer and owner of Fox Dairy Farms John DeVos said that for him to be able to contribute to this big investment gives him a lot of confidence.

“It’s good to know that there is a processing plant close by in this area that will take our end product basically, and in that way, it gives us a lot of confidence for the future and that this industry. 25 years ago, there was hardly any dairy industry in the West in the panhandle here, and now we have processing plants, and we’re going to get another plant, and that gives a lot of confidence for the future.” DeVos said.

Leprino says the average size of a dairy farm is anywhere from 2,000 cows to 10,000 cows, and that’s where they expect most of the milk to come from.

“The biggest benefit for a farmer is that when you know when Leprino foods puts a plant in a location, they know that plants going to be there for 50 to 100 years. And the biggest benefit for them is a guaranteed processor of their milk. And that they are able to build and expand and make investments and know that there is a home for their milk.” Fitzsimmons said.

DeVos said one good reason for the plant being in the Hub City is that it is going to provide employment opportunities and that the community will be able to help each other.

“We have a wholesome product that we produce, and we really hope that by now Leprino coming to this area, that people are aware of this wholesome product that is produced in their own area and they will buy cheese… We hope we get more visibility in this area now that there is even a processing plant close by here and in that way, and it’s good for economic development, and it will bring other people to this area.” DeVos said.

Leprino said they are not concerned whether they will be successful as the business will grow, and the sooner, the better.

RELATED STORY: $1B dairy plant to become largest capital investment in Lubbock history

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