BY ANGELINA MARTIN
Less than five years after its completion, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. announced it will be parting ways with its Turlock milk powder facility.
Hilmar Cheese has entered into an agreement to sell the plant to Visalia-based California Dairies, Inc. — an asset sale agreement which allows both parties to begin due diligence in preparation to complete the transaction. The facility was originally announced by Hilmar Cheese in 2014 and completed 18 months later in the Turlock Regional Industrial Park, adding 65 jobs to the local economy.
Hilmar Cheese decided to sell the facility as part of its new Strategic Plan 2021, which contains three strategies meant to focus on people, operational excellence and delivering both products and solutions that “wow” customers. In short, the company hopes to dedicate its attention to core offerings like cheese, whey and lactose.
“We’re committed to building on Hilmar Cheese Company’s strong culture and purpose to improve lives while setting a bold vision for the future,” Hilmar Cheese President and CEO David Ahlem said. “The Strategic Plan 2021 identifies the strategies we will use over the next three years to create sustainable growth that is repeatable, ethical and responsible to current and future communities…The Turlock milk powder facility sale supports our plan to focus on products to grow the strength of our business and fulfill our vision for the future.”
Since 2015, the milk powder facility has integrated advanced processing technology to manufacture whole milk powder and skim milk powder for the export market. The manufacturing process at the Turlock facility also uses the most technologically-advanced equipment to capture the water in milk for reuse to conserve precious ground water, recycling, reusing and treating water before it goes on to the Turlock Regional Water Quality Control facility.
The close of the purchase and transfer of ownership and associated assets is expected to take place in May, and Hilmar Cheese will continue operations with no impact to the dairy farm families who contract to sell their milk to the company. In addition, CDI will offer positions to Turlock-based Hilmar Cheese Company employees so they can continue their roles in producing milk powder.