When operational, the company said it will cut per unit emissions by 25% compared its existing baseline.
“Our producers have been at the vanguard of the dairy sector for over 100 years, constantly building on their outstanding record of sustainability and stewardship practices,” said Stan Ryan, president and CEO of Darigold.
“They are proud to boost the co-op’s competitiveness with this future-forward investment in a next-generation dairy facility, preserving the legacy of nearly 350 multigenerational farms.”
Part of the Seattle-based organization’s wider transformation and trade-intensive growth plan, the specialized 400,000-square-foot protein and butter facility will incorporate a variety of technologies and conservation strategies that combined could mitigate more than 300,000 metric tons of CO2e per year.
Darigold will deploy anaerobic digestion technology as part of the on-site wastewater treatment strategy and use the extracted methane as a natural gas substitute, reducing fossil fuel use. This will be complemented by machinery enabling heat and energy recovery and reuse. In addition, the new infrastructure is designed to accommodate future electric vehicles, including a potential conversion of a large fleet of semi-trucks — further reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation.
The new operation furthers the cooperative’s advancement of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitment. Situated within the multimodal Port of Pasco on the Columbia River, it will have access to rail and barge facilities and will cut the distance trucks travel for milk pickups and deliveries by 5mn miles annually.
“We are thrilled to welcome Darigold to Pasco and the Reimann as the anchor tenant in the Port’s largest industrial park. It’s incredibly rare to attract a project of this size and scope,” said Randy Hayden, the Port of Pasco’s executive director.
“Darigold’s state-of-the-art facility will use the latest technology, serve as a model of sustainability, and create a new market for our region’s ag producers.”
As well as investing approximately $500m in the project, Darigold is expecting to create more than 1,000 onsite and indirect supply chain and services jobs. Initial site development is expected to start in early 2022 with full commercial production targeted for late 2023 or early 2024.
Construction of the facility and the Port of Pasco agreement are contingent upon fair and equitable treatment under all new Washington state environmental legislation, which the company is currently assessing.