FALLON, Nev. (AP) -- Plans for a powdered milk processing plant in Fallon that would create 44 full-time jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs have moved a giant step closer to reality.

Quail Hollow LLC, a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, on Thursday closed an agreement with the city of Fallon to buy 31.5 acres in the city's New River Business Park for the facility.

Construction of the facility is tentatively scheduled to begin in May and be completed by the summer of 2013, Fallon's Lahontan Valley News reported (http://bit.ly/yVS4Gp ). The 150-square-foot facility is expected to cost about $70 million.

The plant will pay an average wage of $20.07 an hour, and generate an annual payroll of $1.8 million, according to local officials. The facility also will provide a significant boost to dairy farmers in the region.

Eric Grimes, executive director of the Churchill Economic Development Authority, said the plant would have a "massive impact on the county and the region."

"Just the size of the dairy herds is going to have to double," he said. "The economic impact of that alone is $25 million. ... This project itself is something that I would say is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Kansas City, Mo.-based Dairy Farmers of America is a farmer-owned cooperative focused on securing markets. It owns more than two dozen dairy-products plants.

Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. said the plant would benefit the entire region, including Washoe, Lyon and Pershing counties.

"I think it's a good thing. It's a huge project," he said.

Glenn Wallace, chief operating officer for Dairy Farms of America's Ingredients Division, said two million pounds of milk will be processed a day into whole milk powder for worldwide distribution. The facility will operate around the clock seven days a week.

"Quality is going to be the most important thing we can do," he said. "There's no way we can be successful without producing an extremely high quality product."

Churchill commissioners voted to approve a tax abatement request for the project. If approved by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, the abatement would result in forgoing sales and use tax, 50 percent of personal property taxes for 10 years and 50 percent of the modified business tax for four years. The total abatement is estimated at $6.1 million.

Quail Hollow purchased the 31.5 acres in the business park for $25,000 per acre, the Lahontan Valley News reported.

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Information from: Lahontan Valley News, http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com

Copyright 2012 The AP.

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