Appliance Repair in Hilmar, CA

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Whatever appliance repair issue you're stressed over, there's no problem too big or small for our team to handle. At Appliance Service Plus, we offer a total package of quality service, fair prices, friendly customer service, and effective fixes. Unlike some appliance companies in Hilmar, our technicians are trained rigorously and undergo extensive background checks. We work with all major appliances and are capable of GE appliance repair, Maytag appliance repair, Frigidaire appliance repair, and more.

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Latest News in Hilmar, CA

Kansas Profile: Joann Knight, Hilmar Cheese

That was the title of a business book that was especially popular a few years ago, as a parable of how to deal with change. Today we’ll learn about a remarkable change that is coming to southwest Kansas, and it is literally about cheese. A new state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant is being constructed in Dodge City.Joann Knight is executive director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation with headquarters in Dodge City. She’s a native of the region and a graduate of Dodge City Community C...

That was the title of a business book that was especially popular a few years ago, as a parable of how to deal with change. Today we’ll learn about a remarkable change that is coming to southwest Kansas, and it is literally about cheese. A new state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant is being constructed in Dodge City.

Joann Knight is executive director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation with headquarters in Dodge City. She’s a native of the region and a graduate of Dodge City Community College and the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.

“Back in 1992, we started talking about recruiting dairies from California where they were being crowded out by population expansion,” Knight said.

Recruiting dairies became a successful strategy for the western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance in following decades. As milk production grew in western Kansas, leaders wanted to add value and create more jobs.

In 2021, Hilmar Cheese Company of Hilmar, Calif. announced that the company would build a state-of-the-art milk processing facility in Dodge City. “We’re excited,” Knight said.

“This will be a $630 million project and create 260 jobs. The average salary is projected to be $63,000.”

The plant will operate 365 days a year and have the capacity to handle 260 tanker trucks of milk per day, the equivalent of the production of 110,000 cows. “They’ll be bringing in milk from across the region,” Knight said.

Hilmar Cheese Company was founded in 1984 by 12 dairy farm families in central California. In 2007, the company opened a production facility in Dalhart, Texas. The company is now one of the world’s largest producers of high quality, American-style cheese and whey products.

“Hilmar is an incredibly environmentally sensitive company,” Knight said. One of the factors that attracted Hilmar to Dodge City is the city’s innovative waste water treatment system, which has won numerous awards.

“Milk is mostly water,” Knight said. “Once the cheese solids and whey are removed, that water will be recycled and reused. It can be re-irrigated and used in the biogas production system. They’ll actually be injecting water back into the aquifer.”

David Ahlem is president and CEO of Hilmar Cheese Company. “Dodge City gives us many opportunities, including a local and skilled labor force, a supportive and expanding agricultural region, and an excellent transportation network that allows us to easily reach our expanding markets,” he said at the time of the announcement in 2021.

The company specializes in the production of cheddar and American-style cheeses used by private label and national brand companies worldwide. It currently produces such cheeses as cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack, colby, colby jack and mozzarella.

Whey is processed into whey protein products that are used as ingredients in many foods including nutritional beverages and bars; and lactose, which is marketed internationally as an ingredient in confections and infant formula. Hilmar exports products to 50 countries.

Increased demand for milk will benefit area dairies such as High Plains Ponderosa Dairy near the rural southwest Kansas community of Plains, population 1,037 people. Now, that’s rural.

“Dairy production is so advanced these days,” Knight said. “They’re using robotic milkers and computer operators. They monitor 600 data points on each cow and can test the milk on the spot with their state of the art system.”

“The economic impact will be compounded substantially by the additional dairies, transportation and services that will be required. This could double the dairy industry in southwest Kansas.”

For more information about the company, see www.hilmarcheese.com. For more information about business opportunities in the region, see www.dodgedev.org.

“Who Moved My Cheese?” A few years ago, that was a popular business book about change, and now we are excited to see this change in the southwest region of the state.

We commend Joann Knight and the people of Hilmar Dairy for making a difference with this investment in value-added agriculture processing. I’m glad to see that the production of this cheese has moved to rural Kansas.

Kansas Dairy Industry Gets Boost

When the Hilmar Cheese Company announced in May 2021 that it would be building a cheese and whey processing plant south of Dodge City, it marked another major success for the Kansas dairy industry.Hilmar’s facility, which is expected to be operational in 2024, will create 247 new jobs. The project and associated dairy farms needed to supply the facility will bring an additional dairy farm and other support positions to the region. Hilmar officials said it represents more than $1 billion in investments to southwest Kansas....

When the Hilmar Cheese Company announced in May 2021 that it would be building a cheese and whey processing plant south of Dodge City, it marked another major success for the Kansas dairy industry.

Hilmar’s facility, which is expected to be operational in 2024, will create 247 new jobs. The project and associated dairy farms needed to supply the facility will bring an additional dairy farm and other support positions to the region. Hilmar officials said it represents more than $1 billion in investments to southwest Kansas.

“Dodge City was selected because it is a supportive agricultural region in close proximity to the local dairy industry,” said Hilmar’s chief executive officer and president David Ahlem.

But the bottom line is Kansas has been generating plenty of milk production over the past quarter century.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture reported in 2021 that the dairy industry had contributed $1.39 billion to the state’s economy along with 4,018 jobs when considering indirect and induced impacts.

Over the past 29 years, the Kansas cowherd doubled while milk production quadrupled, according to KDA data.

It begs the question: Why has this sector of the state’s agricultural industry exploded over the last three decades, and how did it happen?

“Abundant feed, ag-friendly policies and communities, and room to grow were the main factors in our move to Kansas,” said Ken McCarty, a 2005 graduate of Kansas State University’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, and who was still a teenager when his parents, Tom and Judy, moved the family’s dairy from Sugar Run, Pennsylvania to northwest Kansas in 1999.

Another factor, Ken McCarty adds, is location: “As my dad always tells us: ‘In Kansas, we are halfway to everywhere.’”

The McCarty’s processing plant in Rexford is one of three large processing plants currently operating in the state, the others in Garden City and Hugoton.

“What was really driving recruiting efforts is that we had the feed supply,” said George Blush, who was the dairy program inspection manager for the KDA from 1999 to 2018. “We had silage, we had corn; we had everything (dairies) needed readily available. There were a couple California dairies that came in and expanded their operations in Kansas. They said that within a few years, they could pay for a dairy just based on the cost (savings) they experienced in feed and transportation.”

Mike Brouk’s 24-year career as a dairy specialist for K-State Research and Extension has put him smack dab in the middle of Kansas’ dairy growth. He remembers the early part of his career when cow numbers were struggling: “That was a real low point,” he said.

While marketing efforts were getting dairy producers’ attention, K-State specialists went about doing what they do best: Brouk was involved in studies that aided cow comfort, including installing fans in barns and other heat abatement strategies. He worked on strategies to improve nutrition and forage quality, and to develop heifers that have been raised for several states and even for producers in Qatar.

Agricultural engineer Joe Harner, who retired in June 2022 after 40 years at K-State, was instrumental in designing facilities on Kansas dairies, including waste and water management systems that used sand to filter manure.

“If you look at work like Mike (Brouk) did with heat stress, everybody could adopt it,” Harner said. “Regardless of the size of operation, everyone could benefit from the work we were doing.”

“John Shirley (who retired from K-State in 2005) taught me how to do feed rations the right way,” said Brent Buessing, a 2003 K-State graduate who owns the 300-cow Buessing Dairy in Baileyville, Kan. “Because of what I’ve learned from K-State, I trust what I’m doing. I can run my rations much cheaper and still get excellent milk production.”

K-State’s dairy on the north side of its Manhattan campus is the “highest-producing dairy in the state,” according to Brouk, adding that the dairy is critical for helping K-State’s team implement practices that eventually help Kansas dairymen.

Russell Plaschka, the agribusiness development director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, said K-State’s land-grant mission – providing objective, science-based information to the people of Kansas – “has played a critical role in growing agriculture in our state.”

The western side of Kansas has been preferred for the so-called mega-dairies – those with 2,000 cows or more. The eastern side of the state has been more common for smaller dairies.

“Western Kansas attracted larger dairies because of low land prices, ample feed supply and reasonable regulations,” said Orville Miller, owner of Miller Dairy near Hutchinson in the central part of the state.

Technology also has played a critical role the past 20 years, including systems that recycle water so that it is used multiple times on the farm; and automated milking systems – often called robotic milkers — that allow cows access to the milking parlor 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We know that dairies in the area rely on K-State’s research to advance the industry,” Hilmar’s Ahlem said. “Research and education are critical as our industry progresses toward sustainability goals.”

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PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bulldogs to face Edison in opener, Hilmar gets first-round bye

Turlock and Hilmar high schools learned their postseason fates on Sunday, both earning home games to start the 2022 Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.Seventh-seeded Turlock (6-4) will host No. 10 Edison (Stockton) this Friday at Joe Debely Stadium in the Division I bracket, while No. 4 Hilmar (7-3) earned a first-round bye and will take on an opponent to be determined on Nov. 11 at McSweeney Field in Division V.The top four seeds in divisions I through VI earned first-round byes.A victory Friday would earn the Bulldogs a trip...

Turlock and Hilmar high schools learned their postseason fates on Sunday, both earning home games to start the 2022 Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Seventh-seeded Turlock (6-4) will host No. 10 Edison (Stockton) this Friday at Joe Debely Stadium in the Division I bracket, while No. 4 Hilmar (7-3) earned a first-round bye and will take on an opponent to be determined on Nov. 11 at McSweeney Field in Division V.

The top four seeds in divisions I through VI earned first-round byes.

A victory Friday would earn the Bulldogs a trip to Stockton for a date with No. 2 St. Mary’s (10-0), a team that owns wins this season over Central Catholic and De La Salle.

“I think we’re getting hot at the right time,” said Turlock head coach James Peterson. “This was our goal — to play in the in the postseason. We wish we could’ve finished up against Downey and taken the CCAL title, but our goal all season has been to win a section championship.”

Assistant section commissioner Will DeBoard, a former sportswriter who has seen his fair share of playoff football, gives Turlock a puncher’s chance.

“Turlock could be dangerous in that bracket,” said DeBoard. “They’ll certainly be an underdog if they get past Edison, but anybody in that bracket can be dangerous. They’ve all had their moments.”

One of those moments for Turlock was a 14-7 win over Rocklin in the season opener. That win takes on added significance when you consider top-seeded Folsom beat Rocklin by the same score in Sierra Foothill League action last week.

Hilmar closed the regular season with a relatively easy two-week stretch against Modesto Christian and Riverbank. The first-round bye pretty much guarantees that Hilmar will be as fresh as any team in the bracket. Certainly fresher than Trans-Valley League foe Escalon, the No. 5 seed that likely will be Hilmar’s opponent on Nov. 11.

Yellowjackets’ coach Frank Marques believes any potential Escalon-Hilmar rematch should’ve come deeper into the playoffs.

“I just think that that the TVL doesn’t get the credit for how hard of a league it is, and has traditionally been,” said Marques. “And I don’t think we got enough credit for our preseason schedule.”

DeBoard said he understands Hilmar’s frustration.

“This was by far the lengthiest discussion that we had,” said DeBoard, referring to the seeding committee’s back-and-forth over the D-V bracket. "Whoever ended up being No. 4, we knew they were not going to be super happy because the four was going to have an extremely tough second-round matchup.”

Had Hilmar been seeded first, second or third, it could’ve avoided a potential rematch with Escalon until the semifinal or final round. For that to have happened, though, No. 1 Sutter (10-0), No. 2 Sonora (8-2) and/or No. 3 Liberty Ranch (10-0) would’ve had to be seeded beneath the Yellowjackets.

Hilmar lost to Sonora 28-20 on Sept. 2, so that wasn’t an option. And the seeding committee was loathe to drop a 10-0 team beneath a team with three losses.

Then again, neither Sutter or Liberty Ranch defeated a single team with a positive CalPreps rating. All their opponents’ rankings were below zero. Hilmar’s Trans-Valley League foes Hughson and Escalon, along with preseason opponents Sonora (the Mother Lode League champion), Patterson (the Central California Conference champ and No. 2 seed in D-III), Los Banos (the Western Athletic Conference champion) and Palma of Salinas (the Pacific Coast League-Gabilan champion) all had positive rating figures.

Though Marques thought his team deserved better, he was pragmatic about the perceived slight.

“Hey, we’ve got to beat ’em all eventually, anyway," he said.

Haviland hosts community gathering in preparation for growth

By Jennifer Stultz Kiowa County Signal Editor Special to the SignalThe community of Haviland came together on the evening of October 18 for a night of information, conversation and consideration of the future for this Kiowa County small town.More than 30 community leaders and residents took part in the meeting held at Barclay College and by Mark Miller.Attendees heard from a var...

By Jennifer Stultz Kiowa County Signal Editor Special to the Signal

The community of Haviland came together on the evening of October 18 for a night of information, conversation and consideration of the future for this Kiowa County small town.

More than 30 community leaders and residents took part in the meeting held at Barclay College and by Mark Miller.

Attendees heard from a variety of local leaders including Haviland Mayor Aaron Stokes, County Commissioner John Bertram, Barclay College President Royce Fraizer, Kiowa County Economic Development Director Julie Lyon, Sandy Fruit of the Haviland Heritage Foundation, and special guest Joann Knight. Knight serves as the Executive Director of the Dodge City/ Ford County Development Corporation and was present to discuss and answer any questions pertaining to development around the new Hilmar Cheese Plant that just broke ground south of Dodge City.

Challenges and opportunity come with the potential for rapid growth and groundwork was laid for communication about what happens to the local economy when a influx of workers moves into Kiowa County.

The Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. founded in 1984 in California, has announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant in Dodge City, Kansas.

The new facility is expected to create 247 new jobs and represents $460 million in capital investment. The project is estimated to bring an additional $550 million in capital investment and 750 new jobs within a fifty-mile radius of Dodge City by late 2023.

The new facility will help Hilmar Cheese Company meet the growing demand of its customers and the marketplace for cheese and whey products worldwide.

Mayor Stokes shared updates about the town’s recent changes to ordinances, the addition of a code enforcement officer and municipal court, water and sewer projects, and additions to the city’s staff. He explained that they have hired Wes Adams to train and get licensed to be the Water/Sewer Operator. This takes time, but will be necessary in the future.

Commissioner Bertram discussed the recent Revenue Neutral Rate procedures for Kiowa County and shared information provided by the county clerk. Bertram also added that the county has recently purchased a building for storage of county equipment that is currently sitting in the elements. The building was bought for far less money than anything could currently be built for, and he feels that it was a responsible use of funds. He also talked about the fact that the county has not spent any of their ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) Funds, but that department heads have had multiple meetings to determine the best use of the money. Overall, he feels the county is in good shape budget wise, and is optimistic going forward.

Dr. Royce Frazier, President of Barclay College, welcomed the crowd to the Ross-Ellis building of Barclay College and thanked them for coming. President Frazier gave updates on the current enrollment at the college, new academic programs offered, and a few details about the proposed Wellness Center. In addition to Ministry Degrees, the college offers Degrees in Business, Education, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sports Management, and Nursing with Campus Students receiving Full-Tuition Scholarships

Kiowa County Economic Development Director Julie Lyon started her presentation by saying “A Connected Community is a Healthy Community.” She explained that there are several groups working toward the benefit of Haviland and that her goal is to connect them to both each other and the resources they need. She talked about Small Business Loans available to residents of Kiowa County, the recent completion of a County Wide Housing Study, and some of the grants that she has applied for. Ms. Lyon also talked about the recent ribbon cutting for Little Sprouts Daycare and how her role in Economic Development allowed for new outdoor toys to be purchased for both the existing daycare (Marti’s Daycare) as well as Little Sprouts, both located in Haviland.

Joann Knight gave a general overview of the Hilmar Cheese plant coming to SW Kansas.

23% of the cheese consumed in the US is created by Hilmar, with the first plant opening in 1984 in Hilmar, California. They have a second plant in Dalhart, TX and the new facility outside of Dodge City will be a 484,000 square foot building and will employ 260 factory workers plus an additional 750 workers in support industries. Expected production will require approximately 110,000 milk producing cows per day, and the total influx of income to SW Kansas will be over 1.5 billion dollars. At the height of the construction, there will be as many as 1000 contractors on site, looking for any available housing or RV Parking spots within a 45 mile radius of Dodge City.

Sandy Fruit was able to share exciting news from the Haviland Heritage Foundation with the newly named Heritage Park. The park consists of the Konkel House and the grounds where the annual Thresher Show takes place. The foundation is looking to establish a walking trail around the grounds, and has applied for a SEED Grant through the Department of Commerce for Foundation Repair of the Konkel House itself. Other renovations, such as painting the exterior of the house are underway.

After the presentations, there was time set aside for Questions and Answers. Discussion focused mostly around the cost of upgrading water and sewer for Haviland residents, the need for additional housing in the town, and improvements to Main Street. Overall, it was a great evening of fellowship and conversation.

If you have questions about anythingdiscussed, or would like to know more details, email livekiowacountyks@

Hilmar FFA members shine in summer fairs

Hilmar FFF ReporterOver the last couple months Hilmar FFA students have had the opportunity to exhibit their Ag Mechanics and Livestock projects at the 2022 Merced County Spring Fair, Stanislaus County Fair and California State Fair. These students put countless hours in their projects and spent a great deal of time preparing for the fair.In construction and management of these projects students learned responsibility, the importance of attention of detail, time management and commitment. Students that are enrolled in the Intro...

Hilmar FFF Reporter

Over the last couple months Hilmar FFA students have had the opportunity to exhibit their Ag Mechanics and Livestock projects at the 2022 Merced County Spring Fair, Stanislaus County Fair and California State Fair. These students put countless hours in their projects and spent a great deal of time preparing for the fair.

In construction and management of these projects students learned responsibility, the importance of attention of detail, time management and commitment. Students that are enrolled in the Introduction to Ag Mechanics Skills, Welding & Fabrication and Ag Woods classes all had shop projects exhibited in these areas. Any student enrolled in an Agriculture class is eligible to exhibit breeding and/or market livestock at these fairs as well.

Hilmar FFA was well represented taking home many awards. Highlighted below are the major awards from all three fairs.

Ag Mechanics

? Ag Mechanics Chapter Sweepstakes Award – Merced County Fair

? Ag Mechanics Chapter Sweepstakes Award - Stanislaus County Fair

? 2nd Place Chapter Group - California State Fair

Ag Mechanics - Large Projects:

? Dylan Baballe – Brush Fork, 1st Place State Fair

? Jesus Cervantes – 8’ Picnic Bench, 1st Place at Merced, Stanislaus and CA State Fair

? Rodrigo Padilla – 8’ Picnic Bench, 2nd Place at Merced & Stanislaus Fair

? Caden Peterson – Nut Crowder, 2nd Place at Merced & Stanislaus Fair, 1st Place at CA State Fair

? Anthony Reyes – 4’x8’ Santa Maria Style BBQ Trailer, 1st Place at Merced & Stanislaus Fair, Best of Division at CA State Fair

Livestock

Merced County Spring Fair - Los Banos

? 1st Place Chapter Group – Dairy

? Supreme Champion Dairy Cow – Joseph Oliveira

? Reserve Supreme Champion Dairy Cow – Avery Oliveira

Merced County Fair

? 1st Place Chapter Group – Dairy

? 1st Place Advanced Dairy Cattle Showmanship – Avery Oliveira

? Supreme Champion Dairy Cow – Avery Oliveira

? Supreme Champion Dairy Bull – Colby Gomes

? Reserve Supreme Champion Dairy Bull – Colby Gomes

? 1st Place Chapter Group Dairy Goats

? 1st Place Advanced Dairy Goat Showmanship – Derek Oliveira

? Supreme Champion Dairy Goat Doe – Mike Vieira

? 3rd Place Chapter Group – Sheep

? 3rd Place Chapter Group – Goats

? 6th Place Master Showmanship – Avery Oliveira

? 7th Place Master Showmanship – Derek Oliveira

Stanislaus County Fair

? 2nd Place Chapter Group - Dairy Cattle

? 1st Place Advanced Dairy Cattle Showmanship – Daniel Diniz

? 1st Place Intermediate Dairy Cattle Showmanship – Finley Rosa

? 1st Place Novice Dairy Cattle Showmanship – Sophia Vieira

? Supreme Champion Grade Dairy Cow – Anthony Diniz

? Reserve Supreme Champion Grade Dairy Cow – Daniel Diniz

? Supreme Champion Dairy Bull – Colby Gomes

? 5th Place Master Showmanship – Daniel Diniz

With the help of the Hilmar and surrounding communities, these opportunities are made possible for Hilmar FFA students. Hilmar FFA is grateful for the continued support as students are eager to begin shop and livestock projects, and come up with new ideas for next year!

The Hilmar High School Agriculture Education Department and FFA strives to fulfill the mission of the National FFA Organization which is as follows: “To make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through Agricultural Education.”

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