HILMAR, CALIF. – Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.’s next processing plant will be in Dodge City, Kan., where the company broke ground Sept. 30 on its future facility.

The California-based company is investing $600 million in the state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant, which is expected to create 250 new full-time jobs.

“We are excited about this partnership with Dodge City,” said David Ahlem, president and chief executive officer of Hilmar Cheese. “This community has a local and skilled labor force, a supportive and expanding agricultural region and an excellent transportation network. It is a great location to invest in the future.”

Per Hilmar Cheese, the new facility will feature technology geared toward conservation and sustainability, as the company joined the US Dairy Stewardship Commitment to achieve a net zero dairy industry by 2050.

For example, the new plant will make use of instruments and control systems that minimize energy usage and the amount of water needed to keep the facility clean, and recycled water will clean the plant and equipment, and reclaim waste heat.

Additionally, plans for the site include native and drought tolerant landscaping that will decrease the facility’s green house gas footprint and minimize water use.

Currently, Hilmar Cheese has production facilities in California and Dalhart, Texas. The company employs more than 1,500 people between those two locations, and it has customers in more than 50 countries.

“The Hilmar project is a game-changer for southwest Kansas in terms of job growth, opportunity and lifestyle benefits for those living in Dodge City and surrounding communities,” said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, who took part in the ceremony.