What Fuels Littlefield's Economy Beyond Cotton? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/28/04

What Fuels Littlefield's Economy Beyond Cotton?

While many towns on the South Plains are watching their populations shrink, Littlefield is holding steady at right around 6,500 people; thanks in part to the hard work and vision of the locals and several area businesses who make the community thrive.

Littlefield's Economic Development Coordinator, Melvin Hall, says, "The dairy industry. The explosion here in West Texas and in the whole panhandle region, started because of some forward thinking people here in Littlefield."

Lamb County is the fourth largest milk producing county in the Lone Star State. It's home to seven dairy farms, and someone has to equip those farms to do business. Around Littlefield, that's Dairy Innovations. Owner, Cheri Smith explains, "Dairy Innovations is a business. We supply all the dairy equipment for the inside of the dairy." Project Manager, Donovan Smith adds, "We take care of everything from the time it comes out of the cow all the way to when it leaves the dairy to go to the plant."

Ben Dora Dairy in Littlefield, is just one of Dairy Innovations' customers. The farm has a payroll of $500,000 a year. Their crews work around the clock milking some 1,800 cows. Chances are some of that milk, ends up right back on the retail shelves of another Littlefield business. Lowe's Supermarket President, Roger Lowe, says, "We're a family owned business that operates grocery stores in West Texas and New Mexico." Up and running since 1964, Lowe's runs 48 supermarkets in Texas and 16 in New Mexico but its corporate headquarters is in Littlefield.

Melvin Hall names another local business saying, "We have VTS which is Vertical Turbine Specialists. Their market is international." VTS fabricates and manufactures vertical turbine pump parts for irrigation wells, municipal treatment plants, commercial uses and more. In business since 1955, VTS is the fourth largest employer in town.

Not far away, North Texas Truss is yet another Littlefield success story. Hall says, "They have done three expansions since opening here in December, 2002. They were shipping trusses even before they had their business operational here."

Littlefield's Bill Clayton Detention Center also plays a vital role in Littlefield's economy. The medium security prison employs 63 full-time workers. Its 192 inmates come from Wyoming, which contracts with the facility.

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