Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, recently celebrated the opening of DFA Garden City, Kan., a new state-of-the-art dairy ingredients plant.
DFA Garden City is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in southwest Kansas that will help support the industry’s continued growth in the region as well as meet rising demand for U.S. dairy both domestically and globally.
“As a cooperative owned by family farmers, we are always looking for opportunities to help grow the dairy industry and provide value to our dairy farmer-owners,” said Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer of DFA. “This investment not only fills an important need for the region by providing a local home for DFA members’ milk, which was previously being transported to other areas of the country, but it also supports and enhances our global ingredients strategy, which benefits all our farmer members.”
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said, “Dairy is a growing and thriving industry for the state of Kansas. With this new plant, Kansas will play an even bigger role in helping to feed the world.”
Construction started on the Garden City facility in October 2015, and the first load of milk was delivered in late September 2017. The plant, which has brought 66 new jobs to the area, produces whole and skim milk powder, nonfat dry milk powder and cream and receives approximately 4 million lb. of milk a day from regional farms.
“As a farmer invested in this plant, it’s exciting, because we’re connecting our family farms to family tables in a truly sustainable and traceable way,” said Kansas dairy farmer Dan Senestraro, who also serves on the DFA board of directors. “This plant allows us to trace the product from the time it leaves the farm as raw milk to the time it arrives at the store, which is important to many consumers today.”
Beyond the traceable aspects of the product, DFA Garden City also focuses on sustainability, including operating as a water-neutral facility. Through this process, all of the water utilized at the plant is recycled and ultimately used to water landscaping and parks throughout the city.
DFA is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by more than 13,000 members on nearly 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA is one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients and is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products.