ProFood World magazine presents innovation award to new DFA Garden City plant.
Award winners were judged on the use of high-level technology advancements in processing and packaging machinery; the 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. “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 is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in Southwest Kansas. It fulfills a key DFA sustainability 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 serving natural resources as much as possible, including the plant’s wastewater treatment facility. 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,” says Joyce Fassl, editor-in-chief of ProFood World magazine.
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.