HULL—The Agropur plant in Hull has been churning out various types of cheese for about 12 years.
“We have 250,000 square feet, including the cheese and whey production, offices and warehousing,” said Melissa Udovicic, director of marketing and communications of Agropur’s U.S. operations.
She noted the facility, which has 144 employees, has been running nonstop for the past few years. It makes 280,000-320,000 pounds of cheese per day and produces about 15 types of cheeses. The last time the plant was closed for a day was for on Christmas in 2012.
The cheese facility has undergone several expansions since it was built in 2008 and operated as Green Meadows Foods.
Agropur Cooperative, a dairy processing cooperative based in Quebec, bought the facility in 2009. It is one of seven cheese manufacturing plants the company has in the United States.
The company recently was deemed an essential business in light of the coronavirus pandemic because it produces food. That has meant employees have continued to work at Agropur’s facilities, including in Hull.
“With the current state of our country and our industry, we take great pride in being deemed an essential business,” Udovicic said.
“We have a responsibility to both our producers to supply a home for their milk and to our customers to ensure that we supply wholesome cheese and whey products and keep food on everyone’s table.”
The company also has experienced a surge in demand for its products in response to the pandemic.
Since the Hull facility already was functioning at full capacity before the outbreak started, the amount of cheese produced there has not increased. Instead, Udovicic said it has shifted to producing more American-style cheeses such as colby, colby jack and Muenster.
Doug Simon, president of Agropur’s U.S. operations, said in a March 18 statement the company’s leadership has been closely monitoring the situation regarding the pandemic.
“Agropur’s crisis management team meets daily to discuss, evaluate and share the control measures in place to guarantee the availability and safety of our quality products,” Simon said. “These measures are enforced among our employees, suppliers and visitors. We have implemented multiple initiatives to ensure our success through this event, such as enhanced employee communication, education and hygiene, travel restrictions, flexible working environments, illness reporting, increased facility sanitation and limitation of visitors and gatherings.”