2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Portable Cheese Plants
"Our first one is now being used for R&D at an existing cheese plant," says Tim Thuli, company vice president. "It can process about 5,000 lbs. of milk per day. It is completely self-contained with chillers, heat source and all the equipment needed to make cheese. It even has its own cooler to hold cheese for a few days before taking it to storage."
Thuli notes that until now anyone considering setting up a cheese plant would have had to put up a building, provide heating and cooling sources and then try to find a line of small equipment to make cheese. Financing what would be in the $300,000 to $400,000 range and resale would be difficult.
"Lenders we have talked with like this portable concept," says Thuli. "A buyer can try to establish a market, but if it doesn't work out or he wants to quit, he can sell the unit. The new owner just hooks on and pulls it away."
Thuli believes the new cheese plant is particularly well suited for Wisconsin with its strong specialty cheese industry. While the company worked closely with Wisconsin regulators in design and development, Thuli says the plant could be set up anywhere.
"We have a consultant who will work with buyers in other states to get approval," says Thuli. "It would be inspected before it left our shop to meet all pasteurized milk ordinance codes."
The mobile cheese plant sells for $245,000 and can also be equipped to make pasteurized milk, yogurt, ice cream or butter. Thuli cites a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture study that showed the plant could return a profit of $34,000 a year over and above wages with milk priced at $23/cwt. If a person was processing his own milk, profits could be even higher. Costs included were the price of the unit, a price per vat for cheese production, insurance, labeling, start-up fees, permits and licensing.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ted Thuli, Darlington Dairy Supply Co., Inc., Highway 81 West, Darlington, Wis. 53530 (ph 608 776-4064; website: cheeseon wheels.com).
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