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New Ohio dairy to help supply Danone yogurt plant

MVP Dairy MVP Dairy FDS.jpg
State-of-the-art farm includes features for maximum cow comfort as well as a robotic carousel parlor.

MVP Dairy, a partnership between McCarty Family Farms and VanTilburg Farms, have opened a new dairy in northern Mercer County, Ohio, creating 35 new local jobs. MVP Dairy produces milk that is Non-GMO Project Verified for Danone North America, the leading maker of yogurt in the U.S. MVP Dairy is only 18 miles from Danone's facility in Minster, the largest yogurt-making plant in the U.S., which produces leading brands such as Activia, Danimals, Dannon, Light & Fit and Oikos.

The new dairy is home to nearly 4,500 cows that live in six freestall barns built for optimum cow comfort. The cows are milked in a state-of-the-art carousel milking parlor, providing a predictable and efficient milking routine.

This is the fifth McCarty Family Farms dairy and its first in Ohio. The VanTilburg family, who live next to the MVP Dairy site, are lifelong residents of Celina, Ohio.

The farm also features an innovative and patented anaerobic treatment cell system on the farm that significantly reduces waste solids, consumption of water and waste odor, with a recycling system that benefits the animals, crop care and the environment.

"Our desire to work with Danone started with their commitment to create more healthy and more sustainably produced foods," MVP dairy co-owner Kyle VanTilburg said. "Our family has been farming here in Celina for more than four generations, and we are passionate about using farming methods to ensure we are conserving the land and improving soil health for generations to come."

In accordance with Danone North America's strict animal welfare guidelines, MVP Dairy is certified by Validus, an independent audit firm with stringent requirements for socially responsible, scientifically based, economically viable, long-term solutions for dairy animal care. The cows are monitored daily and provided with routine health screenings. In addition, all employees are regularly trained in animal welfare and farm safety.

"We are constantly striving to provide our cows with first-class care," MVP Dairy co-owner Ken McCarty said. "We know our cows' well-being and sustainable farming practices bring value to the foods produced by Danone that are made with our milk, so it's important that we continue to push ourselves to do even better."

Mariano Lozano, chief executive officer of Danone North America, added, "We are very pleased that our partnership with the McCarty family, which began almost 10 years ago, now includes this state-of-the-art new dairy farm. The McCarty VanTilburg dairy is leading the way in highly efficient, sustainable agriculture and best-in-class cow care. The innovative practices employed at this dairy will undoubtedly inspire others to follow."

MVP Dairy operates as part of Danone North America's “cost-plus” model, which helps keep farmers farming. Rather than a dairy farmer being subject to the volatility of commodity and dairy prices, Danone North America establishes long-term contracts with its cost-plus farmers that cover the cost of production plus a profit margin for the farmer. This model smooths market swings and gives farmers better protection over the long term, allowing for a more seamless generational transfer and more focus on investments for long-term sustainability in areas such as soil health and regenerative agriculture, which are priorities for MVP Dairy and Danone North America.

The MVP Dairy also includes a 7,500 sq. ft. Learning Center that will be open to the public, with interactive displays that share the story from soil to cup on how milk and dairy foods are made. In addition to viewing the dairy farm's 80-cow carousel milking parlor, guests can explore and learn from interactive games and displays as well virtual reality experiences and a digital Danone grocery store to learn more about dairy foods.

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