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Milbank Company Hopes China Will Boost New Product Line

May 12, 2014, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Milbank Company Hopes China Will Boost New Product Line

Business representatives from South Dakota are in Asia with the governor this week on a trade mission to China.

The CEO of Valley Queen Cheese in Milbank is hoping the trip will lead to more international customers than it already has.

"If we make our way into the export market, there'll be plenty of room for us to grow and we hope we can continue to expand in the market," CEO Mark Leddy said.

Leddy says the company could benefit from more customers in China. Valley Queen Cheese is undergoing a $20 million upgrade to its system so it can process a new Whey Protein Concentrate.

"There's a high demand for the product in China and most of it goes into infant formula," Leddy said.

Orders from China could lead to more jobs created by Valley Queen Cheese in South Dakota. The Milbank company already has one product going to China.

Truckers haul a butter fat product to Minneapolis where it moves by rail to Portland, transfers to a container ship, crosses the ocean in 45 days, makes its way to Beijing and eventually ends up at a chocolate plant.

"On the trade mission, they're going to the plant just east of Beijing and they'll see Valley Queen Cheese product being added as an ingredient," Leddy said.

Leddy says that will be an exciting report to hear when representatives return from the trade mission. So, too, will potential new opportunities that could make their way by truck, rail and ship overseas.

Leddy says this new product line will replace another one so it won't add jobs right away. Still, it could if the company finds more customers for it.

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