Nampa cheese factory to expand, add jobs



Posted on May 29, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 3:19 PM

What the expansion means

NAMPA - The Sorrento Lactalis cheese factory in Nampa is expanding.

The plant on Franklin Road near the Idaho Center will get a $50 million expansion in coming months - boosting production capacity.

Congressman Walt Minnick, Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, Lt. Gov. Brad Little and others were on hand for today's announcement.

It's an expansion at a time when many companies are struggling.

The tower expansion will create 250 construction jobs that is expected to take 14 months to complete.

When that is finished there will be 50 more production jobs added to a staff of already more than 500 employees.

The Nampa cheese factory is the largest in the Sorrento family.

"In the mozzarella department we are making 300,00 pounds of cheese a day, and in the string cheese we are close to 90,000 pounds of cheese a day," said production manager Olivier Delobbe.

Broken down that is 1.4 million sticks of string cheese per day.

Since Sorrento took over Swiss Cheese Village, it has already put $100 million into the plant and doubled the number of employees.

There will be a new whey tower -- that is the liquid left over after production is dried out and turned into a powder product that is sold to other plants for more production.

The water left over is cleaned and put into the local irrigation system.

Sorrento Lactalis purchases more than $200 million worth of milk each year from Idaho dairy farmers, and 65 percent comes from dairies within a 45-mile radius of the plant.

Idaho is now the third largest milk producer in the state, and in the top five for cheese production.