Monday, October 22, 2018
 DFA to Build Milk Processing Plant in Western Kansas  

The dairy industry in Kansas, particularly in the western half of the state, has grown significantly over the past decade or so, and a $235 million dairy plant in Garden City’s future is expected to bolster the industry even more.


Earlier this month, the Garden City Commission approved a development agreement with Meadowlark Dairy Nutrition, LLC, a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America. Meadowlark plans to build a U.S.D.A. dairy dryer milk processing plant and related facilities on 156 acres on the south side of Garden City, Kansas.

The approximately 321,000-square-foot plant will include milk receiving and cream load-out, raw milk processing, pasteurized processing, milk evaporation, milk drying, filling and packaging, dry warehousing, shipping, support and utility spaces, sanitation corridors, office space and employee wellness areas.

Fred Ritsema, owner of Lakin Dairy and member of DFA, said he is excited about the dairy plant’s proximity to his dairy. “It makes a product that you can store, and it makes a product that you can ship so much cheaper,” Ritsema said.

Ritsema was referring to the process by which the plant will process milk from his dairy into milk powder that can then be shipped all over the world. He said this will save him on transportation costs because the milk powder will be lighter weight and more compact than shipping milk to similar facilities in other states.

Garden City’s plant will be located in the co-op’s southwest region, which also encompasses dairies in New Mexico and much of Texas.

Dr. Mike Brouk, a professor and Extension dairy specialist with Kansas State University, said a plant of this kind will grow the dairy industry, which has seen rapid growth over the past decade, particularly in western Kansas.

Brouk said communities in western Kansas tend to be open about large-scale animal agriculture, and the region’s climate and wide-open spaces are ideal for dairies.

According to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, there are about 325 dairies and 143,000 cows statewide, and according to, there were about 32 licensed dairy producers in the western third of the state as of October 2014.

Ralph Goodnight, director of Kearny County Community Development, said the Meadowlark plant will help the western Kansas dairy industry grow even more.

“It absolutely means there’s another market for the milk. I mean, right now, the milk has to leave here and travel for a number of hours to be processed, so if you can reduce freight, if you can reduce logistics, it would seem to me that this is another option for producers — an outlet for their milk,” Goodnight said.

The Finney County Economic Development Corp. and City of Garden City have worked to attract a milk processing facility to southwest Kansas since 2011. 

Lona DuVall, president of FCEDC, said the development agreement approved by the city Aug. 4 was signed by the DFA board a week or two ago, and the survey work and site plans are progressing. “All the pre-construction stuff is being finished up now so they can break ground later this fall,” DuVall said.


The facility is estimated to open May 31, 2017.

Source: The Garden City Telegram (KS)

Posted on Friday, August 28, 2015 (Archive on Friday, September 04, 2015)
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