Glanbia Nutritionals’ new $470 million (€396 million) cheese and whey plant in St. Johns, Michigan, began receiving milk today (Wednesday, October 21), marking the first day of operations for the facility and beginning the commissioning phase.

Commissioning operations in the “state-of-the-art” plant, called MWC, will take place over the next eight months. When fully operational, the 375,000ft² facility, based on a 120ac site, will process 3.6 million litres of milk per day into a range of block cheese and added-value whey products for US and international markets.

A joint venture between Glanbia Nutritionals, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Select Milk Producers, MWC is one of the “most technically advanced dairy processing facilities in the US”, designed and built over a two-year period to “meet exacting food manufacturing standards”.

In determining the site for the new facility, this site was selected due to the “growing supply of high quality milk in the region”, the transportation infrastructure in the region, proximity to customers and the positive business environment and strong local workforce reputation in the region.

Commenting, Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals said: “We are very pleased to reach this important milestone on our journey to deliver a new ultramodern dairy facility in Michigan for our customers.”

He added that the onsite team have kept the project “on track and on budget, particularly during the challenges of the last seven months”.

Dennis Rodenbaugh, executive vice president and president of council operations and ingredients at DFA said this will not only play a critical role in the dairy industry in Michigan, but will “bring value to our family farmer-owners here and across the country”. 

Wholly owned by Glanbia plc, Glanbia Nutritionals is a nutritional solutions and cheese business with over 2,600 employees and a presence worldwide.

Glanbia Nutritionals manufactures ingredients and cheese for use by manufacturers in their finished consumer products.

DFA is a family farm-owned cooperative of over 13,000 dairy farmers across the country, with more than 350 farmers in Michigan. DFA is the primary milk supplier to MWC, and is the nation’s largest dairy cooperative.