Dairy Plant Breaks Ground in Hugoton

From The Garden City Telegram

Realizing some avenues of industry may not be sustainable long-term, Stevens County commissioners and economic developers are developing another form of revenue in the area — dairy processing.

Gov. Sam Brownback visited Hugoton Thursday to help break ground for Kansas Dairy Ingredients, a dairy ingredient and cheese processing plant that will create 60 jobs in Stevens County upon completion.

The first phase of the $20 million project could be implemented by Jan. 15, 2013, according to KDI officials. Representatives from JE Dunn Construction, which houses an office in Topeka, said they would be hiring local workers to help complete the project.

The project has been in the works for about five years, KDI representatives said.

Dave Bezone, chairman of the Stevens County Commission, has been a commissioner for 12 years. In those years, he said he’s learned Stevens County is very fortunate in development and industry. He said the oil and gas base that the county has helps the valuation and pays for a lot of projects that are necessary in the community.

“But we start to realize that gas and oil isn’t going to be here forever because it is a depletable asset, so we’re going to lose it,” he said.

Bezone said he’s glad commissioners and developers took the initiative to move on the dairy processing plant.

“Hopefully, this is just the beginning,” he said.

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