The City of Ulysses is in the running, along with towns in Michigan and South Dakota, for a new dry-milk processing plant. The same investor, from Europe, had looked at Ulysses back in 2004, but the area did not have enough milk production at the time. Now, with 70,000 cows in southwest Kansas being milked daily, the investor is interested again. The plant would be an economic boon to the area, bringing about 60 new jobs with it.
“With the milk supply and the progressive nature of Grant County, we are prime for some kind” of facility, [Grant County Economic Development Director Leslie] Mangels said, noting state officials with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas Department of Commerce have been instrumental in the process. “We’re ready, we’re here, we have the infrastructure.”
Other folks in the region have pointed out that there may need to be an even bigger milk production presence in southwest Kansas to attract a plant. Also of concern are unknown changes in immigration policy in the state. Steve Irsik, who owns a dairy outside of Ingalls, and sits on the governor-appointed Kansas State Board of Agriculture, believes immigration policy must be settled first.
“A huge, huge issue is we need a rational immigration plan,” Irsik said. “That is just huge.”