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Farmer-owned co-ops explore joint ownership of Michigan cheese plant

NOVI, MI -- Three farmer-owned dairy cooperatives announced that they have committed to exploring joint ownership and operation of a major cheese processing plant in the state of Michigan. The three cooperatives are Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo, Wisconsin; Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Missouri, and Michigan Milk Producers Association, Novi, Michigan. All three have farmer-members located in the state.

This decision is driven by the growing milk supply in Michigan, the lack of available processing capacity within the region, market accessibility and transportation benefits.

“Michigan dairy producers own some of the most progressive and efficient dairy operations in the world, and they have positioned themselves to be a long-term supplier to domestic and global markets,” explained Michael Doyle, president & CEO, Foremost Farms USA. “Collectively, our respective organizations are extremely pleased we can come together to positively address this growing market.”

Greg Wickham, chief financial officer, Dairy Farmers of America, said, “Strategically, Michigan is well situated geographically to serve not only major U.S. markets, but also global markets. In addition to the quality milk supply in the region, it has a solid transportation infrastructure, one well served by major highways and various ports.”

“We are excited to potentially leverage the strengths and assets of our three cooperatives in order to accommodate the growing milk production in Michigan,” said Joe Diglio, general manager, Michigan Milk Producers Association. “Working collaboratively helps enhance our ability to better serve dairy producers in this region and align the marketing strengths of our organizations together.”

The plant is expected to process 6 million pounds of milk a day and make 220 million pounds of American-style cheese annually.

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