GALLERY: Walmart opens new Indiana milk processing plant

Plant expected to be at full production by late 2018.

Walmart held a grand opening this week for its new milk processing facility in Indiana. Gov. Eric Holcomb joined Walmart executives and Allen County commissioner Therese Brown to celebrate the opening of the company’s 250,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art milk processing plant in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Walmart, which began construction on the plant in 2016, has hired nearly 200 new Walmart associates to work in both milk processing and transportation and created more than 100 additional jobs in the Hoosier dairy industry.

“This new facility is a vote of confidence in our state, in the northeast Indiana region and the Ft. Wayne community,” Holcomb said. “Even more, it’s a vote of confidence in our people. Today, we celebrate 300 new jobs for talented Hoosiers. That’s great news for those employees and their families, and it’s more evidence that Indiana is on a roll with its pro-business climate and skilled workforce.”

Tony Airoso, senior vice president of sourcing strategy for Walmart, said the new plant is a perfect example of the kinds of efficiencies Walmart seeks in its supply chain to benefit customers. “Farmers and associates in Indiana have been critical in getting us to this point. As we begin to bottle milk for our customers in the area, they will continue to be the biggest factor in our success,” he said.

Walmart worked closely with local officials to build the plant in in northeast Indiana after the Indiana State Department of Agriculture released its 2015 dairy strategy, which aimed to expand the Hoosier dairy industry and capitalize on the state’s growing production capability and strong workforce.

“When a company of Walmart’s size and scope comes to our community with hundreds of steady jobs, we welcome their investment,” Brown said. “It’s rare that a single project can do so much for the business, agricultural and workers’ interests at one time, and we in Allen County are excited to have this opportunity to partner with Walmart.”

In conjunction with the opening of this facility, Walmart awarded $10,000 in grants to local organizations that focus on the future of agriculture.

New employees at the dairy processing plant join nearly 40,000 associates across Indiana among Walmart’s 130 retail units and 10 distribution centers in the state. Walmart is also proud to support local businesses in Indiana, spending $2 billion with Hoosier suppliers in the 2017 fiscal year that supported nearly 59,000 supplier jobs.

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