Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Chinese company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group announced a new $100 million milk processing plant to be built in Kansas. Though the exact location hasn’t been announced, it will likely be in western Kansas, close to the highest concentration of milk producers.

The Kansas City Star reported that costs will be split, with the DFA investing 70 percent of the anticipated price tag. The plant will produce up to 88,000 tons of milk powder annually and focus on export to feed the growing Chinese demand for dairy.

That demand has increased in China, taking a jump after local infant formula sickened 300,000 children in 2008. China Daily USA reported that this incident has lead to China diversifying their milk sources by reaching out more internationally.

Yili made world-wide headlines earlier this summer because it was the first Asia-based company to make the Global Dairy Top 20 Report. The company has increased its international presence over the last several years by investing in a New Zealand milk plant and entering a partnership with the Italian dairy firm Sterilgarda Alimenti S.p.A., as well as taking steps to strengthen American relationships.

A drought in New Zealand last year hurt China’s milk supply and increased the need to secure more sources of high quality exportable milk to meet demand both internationally and locally.


China is also moving to develop and expand its own dairy industry. University of Wisconsin – Madison was selected earlier this year to develop a curriculum for a new $400 million Nestle dairy training center in the Heilongjiang province. The three-year project began earlier this year and will provide classes, instruction for future trainers and several teaching farms.

The global dairy market continues to grow and connect producers and consumers from across the world. The new Kansas plant will build those bridges and create opportunities for dairy producers both in America and abroad. PD

—Summarized by Progressive Dairyman staff from cited sources