From Issue Fall 2015
Recent upgrades to the Custer Dairy Processing Plant at Mississippi State University are helping ensure the next generation of Bulldogs can enjoy the same quality which MSU cheese connoisseurs have come to appreciate and expect.
Julie Wilson, quality control supervisor in the plant, said upgrades were essential. The project included replacing and waterproofing the plant floor and updating the plumbing and electrical systems.
“This is the first time the plant has been down for any length of time since we moved into this facility in December 1970,” Wilson said. “The plant has been basically running nonstop for about 45 years. This renovation was vital to ensure continued production of a high-quality product people have come to know and love.”
Though the upgrade will have long-term benefits, the renovation also is cause for a short-term cheese shortage. Fewer balls of Edam and other cheese products at the MAFES sales store are available for 2015.
“We lost three months of production this past spring,” said Troy Weaver, MAFES sales store manager. “We produced significantly less cheese in 2015 compared to the year before.”
The upgrades were completed in spring 2015 and production returned to business as usual.
Cheesemakers produce more than a thousand pounds a day, five days a week, all year long except when the university is closed for holidays.
“We regret the shortage and don’t take it lightly,” said Reuben Moore, associate director of MAFES. “We appreciate the loyalty our customers have demonstrated throughout the years.”
Wilson said there was no way the plant could make cheese ahead of time or catch up after the fact. “Since the milk we use comes from the MSU dairy, there was no way to make up for lost time.”