2024 Governor's Conference on Economic Development

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Brookings Bel Brands location home of Mini Baby Bel

For 150 years now, Bel Brands has been successfully making cheese. Beginning in France in 1865, arriving in America in 1970, and in Brookings, SD in 2012, the Bel Group has continued to expand, evolve, and say yes to the growing demand for its product.

With success on five continents, in 120 countries, and at 28 production sites, Bel Brands is widely known for its original taste and unique options.

Just over a decade ago, construction began in Brookings on their new, state-of-the-art Mini Babybel plant. A flagship location for automation, equipment, processing, and efficiency, this $140 million facility pumps out approximately 1.7 million Mini Babybels a day, using 650,000 pounds of milk each day.

“We have continued to automate our process each year. The biggest change would be the amount of automation we have in packaging versus when we opened the plant,” said Jeff Kjenstad, HR manager.

Seven flavors, original, light, mozzarella, sharp cheddar, monetary jack, gouda, and white cheddar are all produced on the most modern of equipment by the companies nearly 260 employees.

Kjenstad said that he is most proud of the entire team at the Brookings plant.

“The employees are the biggest thing that make me come to work every day,” he concluded.

South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development

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