Our Town Luana plant Prairie Farms makes cheese sold all over the world

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - All this week, we’re featuring Luana, Monona, and Postville as ‘Our Town.’

In Luana, a milk plant has been turning out cheese for decades. The Luana Plant is Prairie Farm’s biggest cheese manufacturer, it sees 7-thousand milk trucks every year.

Rod Kregel is a Praire Farms cheese technologist. He’s responsible for the details of making cheese, finding defects, and figuring out how to make it better. His first day at the plant was on Christmas Eve, 43 years ago.

“I’ve been through all the roles, here at Luana, started on the floor, went and got some schooling, and worked by way up through the ranks,” Kregel said.

In that time, he’s seen a lot of changes at the plant. He says the farms are bigger now, the trucks can haul more milk, and the plant itself has doubled in size. That’s in addition to the role technology plans in helping them make a better product.

He says one of the biggest changes is food safety protocols, not just at the Luana plant, but everywhere.

“The food safety part of it has changed so much from when I started,” Kregel explained. “The food safety awareness to make sure we get a safe product going to the consumer has changed at least 180 degrees from when I started.”

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