Dairy farmer-owned AMPI updates, expands plant to meet customer demand
NEW ULM, Minn. (Dec. 19, 2017) — New equipment and technology at the Associated Milk Producers Inc.’s (AMPI) Sanborn, Iowa, plant will more than double production of award-winning cheese to meet customer demand.
Sanborn plant employees are now making cheese using eight, new vats located in an expanded facility.
“We are pleased with the performance of the new vats and the new space,” says AMPI Vice President of Technical Services Wayne Jorgenson. “This investment makes it possible for a talented team to make even more sought-after AMPI cheese.”
The improved cheese-making technology will increase the amount of cheese made from every pound of milk processed. The varieties of cheese produced will grow to include Monterey Jack, Colby and Marble Jack.
The expanded facility features increased automation to boost efficiencies. Upgrades to the plant’s whey processing and storage area are expected to wrap up in March. Once completed, the plant’s processing capacity will more than double, and daily cheese production will tally about 300,000 pounds.
The AMPI Sanborn team made history in 2016, earning first place Mild Cheddar honors in the World Dairy Expo Championship Cheese Contest for the third consecutive year. The Sanborn cheesemakers produce blocks of Cheddar cheese weighing nearly 700 pounds — known in the industry as 640s — which are then sold to customers and packaged as cubes, slices, shreds, bars or snack sticks.
“The cooperative’s new business plan is focused on updating cheese-making technology and increasing capacity,” said Steve Schlangen, an Albany, Minn., dairy farmer and chairman of the AMPI Board of Directors. “The Sanborn project marks an important first step in seeing that plan come to life. It cements our place in the community as a long-term employer and provides the capacity to process the milk produced on area member farms.”
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. In 2016, AMPI members marketed 5.5 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.6 billion in sales.
AMPI owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where about 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese, butter and dried whey is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.