News: Lynn Dairy (1973)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Schwantes, Thomas, Schmidt

----Source: Tribune – Record - Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 6/21/1973

Lynn (Lynn Dairy – June 21,1973)

Back in 1949, Walter Schwantes thought he had retired from the cheese factory business after selling the Holton Cheese Factory in Abbotsford. After one year, had passed since he left Abbotsford, Schwantes decided that the cheese business was what he wanted to continue doing and so with his family he moved to a factory located three miles west of Granton. Today the factory, known as Lynn Dairy, is owned, and operated by Schwantes’s son, Bill, and has become Clark County’s largest privately owned cheese factory.

Lynn Dairy, Clark County’s largest privately owned cheese factory, located three miles west of Granton.

Starting the cheese factory business with his dad at the age of 19, Bill had completed one year of college at the University of River Falls and decided that he would go into the cheese business with his Dad, and today one can see that Bill made a very wise decision. When the factory was taken over by the Schwanteses the average intake of milk was 12,000 pounds from 32 farmers. Today the factory takes in 250,000 pounds per day from 207 patrons. Starting out with two milk haulers who brought in canned milk in 1949, the operation has grown to seven bulk trucks, two are contract haulers and five are owned by Bill. The bulk haulers cover a radius of approximately 30 miles, going as far as the Greenwood vicinity. The factory was turned over to bulk milk only in 1970. Bill stated that a few small patrons were lost, but a gain of a few larger patrons was witnessed. Both grade A and B milk are brought into the factory, 65% being grade B, and 35% being grade A.

Operating seven days a week, from approximately midnight until 4:30 p.m., the plant employees 28 persons including the haulers. In 1949, there were employed in the plant. With an intake of 250,000 pounds of milk per day, the factory produced Colby Cheese which is sold to Kraft Inc. The cheese is shipped to the Green Bay area after being aged for three days at the factory. Approximately 40,000 pounds of cheese is shipped by truck, five days a week. No cheese is sold in the area stores but may be purchased at a shop in the front of the factory.

Working in the front shop where cheese and other dairy products may be purchased is Suzanne Schwantes.

As in all cheese factories, the problem of whey is found, but for the Lynn Dairy, the problem may be solved. Under construction in the rear of the cheese factory is a 140 x 70-foot plant, which is 40 feet high. Going into business with Frank Thomas of Greenwood, Lynn Proteins Inc. will produce the whey into a powdered state and usable for human consumption. Thomas has devised a process that will extract the protein from the whey, referred to as reversed osmosis. The new whey plant will employ a minimum of six persons and can go as high as 25 employees. The whey will be brought into Lynn Proteins Inc. from other pollutants. The average 100 pounds of milk will produce ten pounds of cheese, and the remainder being whey, which is usually considered a pollutant.

Located behind the cheese factory is the new Lynn Protein Inc. building or processing of whey products.

Progress is one factor that has affected the Lynn Dairy. Since 1949, three additions have been constructed. When the factory was bought two small vats for making cheese were used. Today there is a room for four large vats, with ten vats of cheese being made daily.

Plant manager, Bob Schmidt, operates one of the vats found in the cheese factory.

Besides making cheese, the factory also ships approximately 30,000 pounds of Grade A milk to West Dairy Plant in St. Paul, with the milk being trucked down daily.

Being Clark County’s largest privately owned cheese factory, the president is Bill Schwantes, his wife Beverly is vice-president, and Bill’s mother, Ruth Schwantes of Greenwood, is secretary-treasurer. The factory has the help of the children also. Bill’s son, William L., hauls milk, and will attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls this fall with plans of going into business management. Bill stated that his son will perhaps will come back to the factory after his college education is completed.

From 1949 to 1973, Lynn Dairy has seen great advancement, it has gone from can milk to bulk, three employees to 28 and still growing, and a probable solution to the whey problem. Lynn Dairy is an asset to the Lynn-Granton area, but more so an asset to Clark County and Wisconsin.



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