Leprino expansion in Greeley shows continued dairy growth in Colorado | TheFencePost.com

Leprino expansion in Greeley shows continued dairy growth in Colorado

Bridgett Weaver

The dairy industry in Colorado is continuing to grow.

Leprino Foods Company submitted plans to the city of Greeley for the long-planned Phase Three expansion.

"It indicates that they're following through with the phasing that's been planned out for quite some time," said Greeley city planner Brett Walker. "I think it means good things for Leprino and for the city (of Greeley)."

The international cheese and milk products factory has been expanding in phases since construction began in 2009. The factory is located on 1st Avenue at 13th Street in Greeley.

The plans submitted are for the final phase of the building and it is expected to bring the factory footprint to 847,000 square feet.

The plan includes a new boiler, two raw milk silos, two skim milk silos, a dry tower, a break area for additional employees and expanding the dry storage warehouse, locker rooms and processing area.

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Walker said it's unlikely that the general public will notice much of a difference on the outside of the Leprino campus.

"Nothing is going up there that nearly approaches the height that's already there," he said.

He also said the approval should come quickly.

"As far as planning and development is concerned, they're doing everything we're asking," Walker said.

Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Leprino, the biggest producer of mozzarella cheese in the world, started the process of building the Greeley factory in 2009. The facility's Phase One, which included nonfat cheese production, was operational in November 2011. Phase Two, which was the cheese and whey line, came along in March 2013.

At full operating capacity, the plant is expected to produce 700,000 pounds of cheese each day and employ 500.

The factory already employed 420 workers as of August 2015.

The cheese factory requires the milk of about 80,000 dairy cows every day. All of the milk comes from within a 60-mile radius of the factory, which is mostly in Weld County, and is used within 24 hours of milking.

Leprino Foods is headquartered in Denver and sells to more than 40 countries through nine manufacturing plants across the country, and a joint plant with another operator in the United Kingdom. The company also has a manufacturing plant in Fort Morgan.❖