Michigan will get some much-needed milk processing capacity, although project completion is more than two years away.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Glanbia late last week announced it will move ahead with three U.S. dairy cooperatives to build a cheese and whey production facility in Michigan. The joint venture combines Glanbia, based in Ireland, with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMA) and Foremost Farms USA. Glanbia would own 50 percent of the business, with DFA, MMPA and Foremost Farms splitting ownership of the other 50 percent.

The companies are still exploring central Michigan site options for the plant. It has not been determined whether it will be a stand-alone plant, or connected to an existing facility. Commissioning of the new facility is expected in the second half of 2019.

When completed, the plant is projected to process 8 million pounds of milk per day. DFA, MMPA and Foremost Farms would supply all milk required by the plant under the agreement, while Glanbia will have full responsibility for all commercial, technical and operational aspects of the business.

Michigan has been one of the fastest-growing milk-producing states in the U.S., with cow numbers increasing from 380,000 in December 2013 to 425,000 in December 2016. That explosive growth has stretched processing capacity in the state, and resulted in Michigan dairy farmers seeing some of the lowest milk prices.


“In the dairy industry, we value the opportunities provided by working together—from farmers with fellow farmers to co-ops with fellow co-ops. By enhancing synergies between cooperatives, we can effectively serve our members with this joint venture,” said MMPA general manager Joe Diglio. “Michigan is home to a quality milk supply with increased needs as production continues to grow. This cheese and whey facility will provide a strategic solution for the region moving forward.”

DFA, MMPA and Foremost Farms also issued a joint state following the Glanbia announcement:

“Working together on this project is a true sign of the cooperative spirit. This joint venture with Glanbia and our cooperative partners allows us to strategically grow dairy processing capabilities in the state of Michigan and support future generations of dairy farmers in the state. With milk production projected to continue growing in Michigan, and the increased demand for cheese, the facility’s 8 million pound-per-day processing capabilities provides long-term market opportunities for area dairy farmers and is well situated geographically to serve not only major U.S. markets, but also global markets.”

Headquartered in Baraboo, Wisconsin, Foremost Farms has about 1,500 members and annual sales of $1.5 billion.

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, national dairy marketing cooperative DFA has nearly 14,000 members on nearly 8,000 farms in 48 states. It markets about 30 percent of milk produced in the U.S.

Based in Novi, Michigan, MMPA serves approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. MMPA owns milk processing plants in Ovid and Constantine, Michigan, and the cooperative handles over 5 billion pounds of milk annually. end mark

Dave Natzke