Three farmer-owned dairy cooperatives announced June 2 that they have committed to exploring joint ownership and operation of a major cheese processing plant in the state of Michigan. The three cooperatives are Foremost Farms USA based in Baraboo, Wis.; Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) based in Kansas City, Mo., and the Michigan Milk Producers Assn. (MMPA) based in Novi, Mich.. All three have farmer members located in Michigan.
The companies said the decision is driven by the growing milk supply in Michigan, the lack of available processing capacity within the region, market accessibility and transportation benefits.
“Michigan dairy producers own some of the most progressive and efficient dairy operations in the world, and they have positioned themselves to be a long-term supplier to domestic and global markets,” explained Michael Doyle, president and chief executive officer of Foremost Farms. “Collectively, our respective organizations are extremely pleased we can come together to positively address this growing market.”
Greg Wickham, chief financial officer of DFA, said, “Strategically, Michigan is well situated geographically to serve not only major U.S. markets but also global markets. In addition to the quality milk supply in the region, it has a solid transportation infrastructure - one well served by major highways and various ports.”
Joe Diglio, general manager of MMPA, said the partnership could potentially leverage the strengths and assets of the three cooperatives in order to accommodate the milk production growth in Michigan. “Working collaboratively helps enhance our ability to better serve dairy producers in this region and align the marketing strengths of our organizations together.”
The plant is expected to process 6 million lb. of milk per day and make 220 million lb. of American-style cheese annually.