The DFA Garden City facility, located in southwestern Kansas, produces whole and skim milk powder, nonfat dry milk powder, and cream, according to the dairy organization.
The plant was originally announced as a joint project between DFA and Chinese dairy company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group to process powdered milk for the global export, but Yili announced in 2014 that it would “pause on moving forward as an investor” due to the volatility of global milk prices at the time.
“Dairy is a growing and thriving industry for the state of Kansas,” Governor Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), said. “With this new plant, Kansas will play an even bigger role in helping to feed the world.”
Kansas ranks 16th in the US for milk production with more than 290 dairy farms, according to the Kansas Livestock Association. In 2016, the state produced roughly 379 million gallons of milk.
Construction started on the Garden City facility in October 2015 and brought 66 new jobs to the area, according to DFA.
“This investment not only fills an important need for the region by providing a local home for DFA members’ milk, which was previously being transported to other areas of the country, but it also supports and enhances our global ingredients strategy, which benefits all our farmer members,” DFA president and CEO, Rick Smith, said.
The first load of milk was successfully delivered in late September 2017.
The facility receives approximately 4m lbs of milk a day (the equivalent of 550,000 lbs of whole milk powder) from regional farms, all of which can be traced from the time it leaves the farm as raw milk to when it arrives at the store, according to a Kansas dairy farmer and DFA board member.
In addition, the plant will operate as a water-neutral facility where water utilized is recycled and used to water landscaping and parks throughout the city.