Dairy Farmers of America and Craigs Station Ventures recently joined to break ground on a $12-million cold milk separation facility at York, N.Y. It's DFA's first direct partnership with a group of dairy farms.
The joint venture in Western New York Enterprises LLC, will open next fall alongside a new methane digester and large-scale milking operation at Noblehurst Farms. The Craig Road facility will process more than one-million pounds of milk a day from Craigs Station Ventures' eight farm investors – Noblehurst and Lawnel Farms in York; Mulligan Farm and Coyne Farms in Avon; Baker Brook Dairy in Attica; McCormick Dairy Farms in Bliss; Southview Farm in Castile and Synergy LLC in Wyoming.
The 14,000 square-foot facility, powered by the digester, will use a pair of centrifugal separators to produce cream and low-fat, high-protein skim milk. Cold milk separation is commonly used to avoid double heating of the milk. It yields a higher quality cream and can improve yields with processing at 40 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Partnering with farmers allows DFA and our partners to utilize combined capital to develop sound projects that'll deliver value to all DFA members," says Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer of DFA. "This investment is consistent with our strategy to deliver value to members by better serving our customers, maintaining markets for our members and developing local plant opportunities."
The plant will help answer the region's rising demand for cream, created by existing dairy processors expanding production capabilities and new processors entering the marketplace, adds Smith. The remaining skim will be sold to local yogurt and cheese plants.
At completion, the plant will be capable of increasing processing to 2 million pounds of milk a day. It'll employ 11 full-time staff, and be able to provide value-added production in the future.
"Consumers want to know who produces their food. But they also want us to demonstrate that their food is produced in a way that minimizes impact on the environment," says Christopher Noble, partner Noblehurst and the CSV group. "We developed this project with those thoughts in mind."