Glanbia plc, Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) and Select Milk Producers Inc. said they finalized an earlier-announced joint venture partnership to build, supply and operate a planned large-scale cheese and whey production facility in Michigan. The facility is now expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2020. 

Glanbia, DFA and Select Milk Producers are the existing joint venture partners behind the “highly successful” Southwest Cheese (SWC) facility in Clovis, N.M. Glanbia will hold 50% of the equity of the new joint venture, with Kansas City, Kan.-based DFA and Artesia, N.M.-headquartered Select Milk Producers holding the balance of equity. Glanbia, with global headquarters located in Kilkenny, Ireland, will be the operational, technical and commercial partner in the joint venture, which mirrors the arrangement the partners have in the SWC joint venture. In addition, the partners said Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), Novi, Mich., will continue to participate in the project as a strategic milk supplier to the  new facility.

On completion in 2020, the facility will process 8 million pounds of milk per day into a range of cheese and whey products for U.S. and international markets. Pre-engineering and site selection for the project are well advanced, the companies said, and the new facility will be a strategic outlet for the large-scale, growing milk pool in the state of Michigan.

“We are delighted that we have concluded an agreement on the Michigan joint venture with our existing partners in Southwest Cheese to build, supply and operate this new facility,” said Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals. “The partners have a strong working relationship that has evolved over many years and a strong track record working together to successfully run large-scale cheese and whey facilities.

“We are also delighted that MMPA will continue to be closely associated with the project as a valued strategic milk supplier,” he added. “We look forward to progressing at speed now to build and commission the new facility.”

Greg Wickham, chief financial officer of DFA, said his company also is excited about the project and working with Glanbia and Select Milk Producers.

“Michigan is ideally situated for continued milk production growth and has ideal proximity to serve not only major U.S. markets, but also the global marketplace,” he said. “Once complete, this facility will serve as a home for our members’ milk in Michigan and complement our existing facility in Cass City, Mich.”