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Business/Economy

New $500M Great Lakes Cheese factory moving forward

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Allegany County Industrial Development Agency
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Apparently, there is still a possible future for a giant cheese factory and warehouse planned for Allegany County.

Great Lakes Cheese wants to build a new half-billion-dollar cheese factory and warehouse not far from its current facility in Cuba, NY. It would provide hundreds of construction jobs and add hundreds of jobs making cheese.

The project became a big issue because of major potential tax breaks and a location on good farm land that would have been taken through eminent domain, a forced purchase. However, that site is now off the table.

Keeping the plant is important in a Southern Tier area that has lost lots of good jobs. State Assemblymember Joseph Giglio said the plant is essential to the dairy industry.

"There's probably 30,000-32,000 cows that contibute milk to the current plant. So that's a couple of co-ops and a whole bunch of, obviously, dairy farmers whose livelihood also had a significant dependence on that cheese plant," Giglio said.

The Olean Republican said he and Jamestown state Sen. George Borrello are working with Empire State Development to find a new site in the immediate area for the cheese plant, keeping those current and new jobs and the dairy industry in business.

"It's a very difficult place to do business," said Giglio. "There's easier places to do it, but we're counting on, again, it's a significant workforce, availability of product very close and easily shipped, obviously, and the fact, again, that we have a trained workforce."

Among the recent announced closings is the Siemens plant, which has employed generations of workers. Some 500 workers will lose their jobs with the closing planned for 2022.

"We got hurt with Siemens closing the factory in Wellsville and we have been hurt a lot by multi-national companies that have either closed or moved what had been traditional employers in our region," Giglio said, "and we're still battling, battling that."