MSU dairy plant gets upgrade; customers urged to place cheese orders early

MSU dairy plant gets upgrade; customers urged to place cheese orders early

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. (Photo By: Russ Houston)

By: Vanessa Beeson

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 will be available for 2015.

"We lost three months of production this past spring," said Troy Weaver, MAFES sales store manager. "We will produce significantly less cheese this year compared to last year."

Since many individuals and companies buy cheese as holiday gifts for family, friends and clients, Weaver is encouraging everyone to get their Christmas orders in early. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, including orders placed in-store, online or over the phone.

The upgrades now are complete and production going forward will be business as usual, Weaver said.

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 and hope they will be patient with us during this time."

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."

The MAFES sales store offers a variety of products including various goods that also make ideal gifts, including cider, jelly, coffee, honey and more. Gift boxes also are available.

The MAFES Sales Store is a unit of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. For more information, visit or call 662-325-2338. To learn more about the upgrades, visit

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