Great Lakes Cheese breaks ground on new plant

A rendering of Great Lakes Cheese's new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and packaging plant in Cattaraugus County. (Contributed image)

Great Lakes Cheese recently broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and packaging plant in Franklinville and Farmersville.

With a capital investment of more than $518 million, the project is the largest infrastructure investment in the company's history and the largest economic development project in the history of Cattaraugus County. Great Lakes Cheese will retain 228 jobs in the region, while adding an additional 215 employees. It will also double its milk consumption to 1.42 billion pounds annually, which will directly benefit New York dairy farmers. The new plant will replace the existing facility in Cuba, NY, upon project completion in 2025. 

"New York's economic comeback is stronger than ever and the new state-of-the-art Great Lakes Cheese manufacturing and packaging plant is a historic win for Western New York," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "The new facility ... will provide an extraordinary boost to the region's economic growth, nearly double the company's workforce, and increase the stability of our state's dairy farms. I have never been more hopeful for the future of Cattaraugus County and Western New York as we continue to make historic investments to better the lives of hard-working New Yorkers." 

Great Lakes Cheese CEO Dan Zagzebski added, "Great Lakes Cheese was uncompromising in its search for a site that worked for our employee-owners, our business, and the local community. Franklinville checked every box. The community has understood and embraced our vision of, 'Together, for generations to come.' They have partnered with us on this historic investment so that generations of employee-owners can thrive in Western New York."

Great Lakes Cheese is a national manufacturer and packager of natural and processed bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses. The company has eight existing plants, including two New York manufacturing plants in Cuba and Adams. The company is also constructing a new facility in Abilene, Texas, which is set to open at the end of this year. The expanded capacity and capabilities of the new 500,000-square-foot facility in Cattaraugus County will support the growing Great Lakes Cheese network of facilities. The new facility and the company's processing facility in the North Country will together make use of about 14.4 percent of New York's total milk production. 

Empire State Development, the state's economic development agency, provided an award for a $3.7 million grant and up to $14.6 million in performance-based New York State Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in exchange for creating 215 new jobs.  Additionally, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will provide more than 5.3 megawatts of low-cost ReCharge NY power to support the facility.

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