BROOKINGS, SD - The Bell Brands announcement of a new cheese plant in Brookings is good news for the South Dakota State University Dairy program because some of the jobs created will likely go to students and graduates.
Bell Brands officials said Tuesday that the SDSU dairy facilities and programs are world-class and that putting their new factory near the campus could provide research and partnership opportunities.
There is already plenty to smile about at the Alfred Dairy Science Hall on South Dakota State University's Campus. Last fall, the building reopened after it's first upgrade in 51 years.
"I like cheese. It's where our milk goes to," senior Johnna Schuur said.
And now the smiles are making way for laughter, Laughing Cow cheeses, to be exact. News that Bel Brands is building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for its Mini Baby Bel cheese products in a vacant field not far from SDSU didn't take long to spread to campus.
"Right now, I have an internship lined up for this summer. But next fall is when I graduate. So who knows where I could be going next fall," SchuUr said.
It's good news for students here who knew they wanted to work in agriculture and dairy but didn't know the options could be so close.
"SDSU and Brookings are excited we could offer opportunities in fields with dairy sciences manufacturing programs. Bel Brand would be a great career option for our students," Brookings Mayor Tim Reed said.
And the little cheeses pack a big financial, impact with them. The city of Brookings expects more than an additional $160 million to flow into the city's economy.
"It just helps the entire Brookings community, SDSU, and South Dakota as a whole," Schuur said.
And it may help these students promote the industry that has helped them grow, and in some cases even helped their families pay for their education.
Bel Brands also has plants in Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company plans to break ground on its 170,000 square-foot cheese plant this summer.