MWC, a $470 million state-of-the-art cheese and whey plant in St. Johns, Michigan, began receiving milk today from local farmers, marking the first day of operations for the facility and beginning the commissioning phase.
Commissioning operations at MWC will take place over the next eight months and will see the initial one million lbs. of milk per day increase to its designed capacity of eight million lbs. per day.
When fully operational, this 375,000 square foot facility built on a 120 acre lot will employ 260 local people and will process over 2.9 billion pounds of milk from local farmers into more than 300 million pounds of superior quality block cheese and 20 million pounds of value-added whey protein powders each year.
A joint venture between Glanbia Nutritionals, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA), and Select Milk Producers Inc., MWC is one of the most technically advanced dairy processing facilities in the U.S., designed and built over a two year period to meet exacting food manufacturing standards.
In determining the site for the new facility, St. Johns was selected due to the growing supply of high quality milk in the region, the excellent transportation infrastructure in the region, proximity to customers, and the positive business environment and strong local workforce reputation in the region.
“We are very pleased to reach this important milestone on our journey to deliver a new ultramodern dairy facility in Michigan for our customers,” said Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals, in a statement. “As we enter this key commissioning phase and begin production at the plant, I would like to thank the entire Glanbia Nutritionals team, and in particular the onsite team, whose expertise and focus have kept the project on track and on budget particularly during the challenges of the last seven months. In addition, I would like to thank the State and City authorities for their continued support and of course our great partners, DFA & Select Milk Producers.”
“We are excited about this important milestone in the operation, which not only will play a critical role in the dairy industry in Michigan, but will bring value to our family farmer-owners here and across the country,” said Dennis Rodenbaugh, Executive Vice President and President of Council Operations and Ingredients at Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)
Rance Miles, CEO of Select Milk Producers concluded: “This partnership began two decades ago with the creation of the Southwest Cheese JV by bringing dairy farmers, processors and local communities together to achieve beneficial results for all. This new facility in Michigan under the same JV partnership is a continuation of that success.”