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Cheese plant attracts neighbors

Byproduct of cheese plant key ingredient for milk replacer


Capital Press

RUPERT, Idaho -- Calva Products Inc. will build a new milk-replacer plant in Rupert next to Brewster West LLC's cheese facility.

The plant will convert cheese byproducts from Brewster West --and potentially other local manufacturers -- into liquid milk replacer for calves.

Calls to Calva have not been returned, but the operation is expected to begin production in April or May, said Richard Brumley, plant controller at Brewster West in Rupert.

Brewster West has shipped its whey byproduct to Calva in California for 2 1/2 years but will now be able to pipe the whey to the new Rupert plant. Calva has locations in Acampo and Tulare, Calif.

The plant will be built behind Brewster's plant on property owned by the cheesemaker. The arrangement will cut shipping costs for Calva and help lock in a customer for Brewster's byproduct for a longer period of time, he said.

"Our new facility in Rupert will give us a tremendous competitive advantage in Idaho, the Intermountain and Northwest regions since our products can be made and shipped locally with a local supply of ingredients from Brewster West," Calva President and CEO Jim Cook said in a press release from the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization.

"Product freight costs will be significantly reduced, and we will be better able to serve existing and new customers from this strategic location," he said.

Calva will start with Brewster's byproduct, but will have to secure byproduct from other area cheesemakers as its production of milk replacer grows, Brumley said.

Minidoka County commissioners helped seal the deal, approving a five-year property tax exemption, the press release stated. Calls to the commissioners and the Rupert city administrator were not returned.

"The local and state incentives were instrumental in our decision to locate and invest in Minidoka County. We have found the business climate here absolutely refreshing," Kevin Schwemley, Calva's controller, said in the press release.

Calva's capital investment in the facility is estimated to exceed $9 million, according to the economic development organization.

Calva Products has manufactured infant animal milk formulas and care products for domestic and international markets for nearly 60 years.

Brewster West produces 28 million to 30 million pounds of cheese annually.


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