Agropur said the new facility is to meet growing market demand and increase its production of cheese and dairy ingredients.
"Having a new state-of-the-art facility in Little Chute will help us solidify our leadership position in the dairy industry. Beyond speed and efficiency, the new processes and equipment will provide greater flexibility and will allow Agropur to offer a broader line of products to meet our customers' needs. With this new plant, we're increasing production capacity so Agropur can help its clients live up to their brand promises," said Doug Simon, president, US operations, Agropur.
The $168m investment is Agropur's second largest ever in the US, after the expansion of the Lake Norden facility in 2018.
"The announcement of this significant investment highlights our commitment to modernize our asset base in both Canada and the US and expand our cheese manufacturing activities in the US Midwest. It pursues the vision behind other major projects we have carried out, such as the Lake Norden plant, which has already reached record production levels in recent months," Émile Cordeau, CEO of Agropur, said.
The facility, with an area of more than 210, 000 square feet, will increase capacity and expand Agropur's production of cheese and ingredients. In addition, the project will involve construction of a waste-water treatment facility to generate energy and support sustainability efforts.
The new plant will be built just north of Agropur's existing Little Chute facility. The facility's milk processing volume should more than double, from 300m pounds to 750m pounds per year. The expanded plant is expected to be fully operational by early 2023.
With sales of approximately $5.7bn, Agropur has grown to become the fifth-largest producer of cheese and dairy ingredients in the US and one of the 20 largest dairy processors in the world. With this new facility, Agropur will create up to 54 new jobs for local workers.
The Little Chute expansion will also lead to an increase in milk demand from local farms that supply Agropur.
The construction itself will have a significant economic impact on the Fox Valley area, Agropur said. It is projected that, as a result of this project, more than $100m will flow directly or indirectly to Wisconsin suppliers and subcontractors for concrete, tradespeople, materials, project management, packaging, and transportation.