Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) state-of-the-art ingredients plant in Garden City recently received the Manufacturing Innovator of the Year Award from ProFood World magazine.
The award was presented at ProFood Live in Chicago, and honors cutting-edge food and beverage manufacturing companies.
Award winners were judged based on the use of high-level technology advancements in processing and packaging machinery; level of automation, software and controls in use; new-to-the-industry uses of technology and major plant production efficiency and cost savings.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for innovation in food and beverage manufacturing,” says Michael Lichte, vice president and general manager, dairy powder ingredients at DFA said in a press release. “As a Cooperative owned by family farmers, we’re committed to safely and responsibly producing high-quality, nutritious milk. This plant is absolutely a testament to that commitment.”
The plant, which is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in southwest Kansas, fulfills a key sustainable strategy by providing a home for local farmers’ milk, which was previously being transported hundreds of miles to other areas of the country. With the opening of the Garden City plant, DFA farm families now transport their milk about 25 miles, on average, drastically reducing hauling and trucking costs, as well as conserving energy and resources.
In addition to transportation from farm to the plant, the facility was built with a focus on conserving natural resources as much as possible, including the plant’s wastewater treatment facility, according to the release. With this process, all the water utilized at the plant is recycled and can be used by the city as a source of non-potable water.
“DFA’s Garden City plant showcases best-in-class food and beverage manufacturing technology by implementing highly automated and efficient systems as well as embracing food safety, worker safety and sustainability in its operation,” Joyce Fassl, editor-in-chief, ProFood World magazine, said in the release.
DFA Garden City produces whole and skim milk powder, nonfat dry milk powder and cream, and receives approximately 4 million pounds of milk a day from regional farms.
The plant was designed and built by Shambaugh & Son, L.P., utilizing the company’s vertically integrated project delivery model. Shambaugh self-performed wet process/drying/packing, mechanical, electrical, refrigeration, fire protection, process controls, wastewater treatment and building automation. Tetra Pak and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. also served as sub-contractors on the development of the plant.