New cheese manufacturer locating in Swanton at former Via Cheese plant

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas announced today that a new cheese manufacturing company will be locating in Swanton, creating up to 55 jobs over the next several years.  Swan Valley Cheese will occupy the former Via Cheese facility in the Swanton Town Industrial Park. Via Cheese stopped production and laid of its workers in May.‘I am very pleased to welcome Swan Valley Cheese to Vermont,’ Governor Douglas said. ‘This new entity will not only create jobs in Swanton, but will also use milk from Vermont farms.  Swan Valley Cheese will occupy a production facility that has been vacant for some time.’ The company received assistance from the Vermont Economic Development Authority and has initial approval for $384,133 worth of Vermont Employment Growth Incentives from the Vermont Economic Progress Council.With extensive experience in the cheese-making industry, Swan Valley will produce asiago, fontina and other artisanal cheeses, as well as mozzarella. ‘Restarting cheese production at this plant will also provide local dairy farmers with a place to sell their products, another important boost to the local economy,’ Douglas said.‘We are excited to be a part of Vermont’s agricultural business community,’ Chris Lotito, President of Swan Valley Cheese, said. ‘The availability of milk, the skilled workforce and the strong support that we have received from the Town of Swanton, the Village of Swanton and the State of Vermont was critical to our decision to locate there.’Via Cheese, which had upwards of 50 workers, received a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant to the Town of Swanton, which was to be loaned to Via Cheese, which manufactured mozzarella, provolone, and other products. Additional funding was provided in the form of a $150,000 loan from the Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation.Via Cheese began operations in October 2006 at the former Lucille Farms facility in Swanton’s industrial park. The grant and loans were to fund capital improvements; repairs and upgrades to increase efficiency; and to bring the plant into compliance with Vermont Department of Agriculture and USDA inspection standards.Just prior to its closing, the plant was fined for improper waste disposal. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Compliance and Enforcement Division announced in March that it reached a settlement with the company involving environmental violations. The settlement included a $10,000 penalty.        Through the Agency’s investigation, it was discovered that Via Cheese discharged approximately 18 loads of waste whey and process waste water into a manure pit in Alburg. Discharge, record keeping, and reporting for these materials is governed by an Agency-issued indirect discharge permit. This discharge location was not authorized by its indirect discharge permit. Additionally, it inaccurately reported to the Agency in March and April 2009 that it did not discharge any waste during those months. The company also failed to submit monthly reports from May through December 2009 and did not maintain a bound daily wastewater disposal journal for 2009 as required by its permit. Along with the fine, the company agreed to follow the Agency’s guidelines.Sources: Governor’s office. Vermont Business Magazine.Via Cheese fined $10000 by DEC | Vermont Business MagazineState announces $750000 grant to Swanton for Via Cheese | Vermont …Via Cheese To Buy Lucille Farms | Vermont Business Magazinelast_img read more

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