Western Kansas finally has dairy processing after nearly three decades of dairy development in the region thanks to Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) new powder plant.
The dairy ingredients plant was built in Garden City through a partnership with DFA and 12 member farms from Southwest Kansas. The plant will primarily be focused on powder production for export, but will produce products for domestic consumption, too.
A grand opening ceremony was held on Nov. 9 with local and state politicians in attendance along with DFA members.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says the plant could have an impact for Southwest Kansas similar to when the first major beef packing was built in the area around 40 years ago. Following the construction of the IBP plant (now owned by Tyson Foods) in Holcomb there was major growth seen in cattle feeding and more packing plants were built.
“It transformed the region. It transformed the beef industry,” Brownback says.
He can remember 30 years ago when serving as the state’s Secretary of Agriculture efforts starting to attract dairy producers to Kansas. Those efforts have finally culminated in a processing plant after many years of milk being shipped across state lines to be processed.