New equipment and technology at the Associated Milk Producers Inc.’s (AMPI) Paynesville, Minn., plant will produce more cheese as Americans love for Cheddar continues to grow. Consumption reached an all-time high in 2017 at more than 11 pounds per person.
“Making cheese is what AMPI does exceptionally well, and our customers want more of it,” said Mike Hinrichsen, AMPI vice president of cheese and whey manufacturing. “As consumers crave more cheese, we’re the farmer-owned cooperative that delivers.”
Paynesville cheesemakers began production this week in seven, state-of-the-art cheese vats. The new equipment will grow daily Cheddar cheese production to about 300,000 pounds. The new cheesemaking technology was also installed at AMPI’s Sanborn, Iowa, plant last December.
“The cooperative’s business plan is focused on updating cheese-making equipment and increasing capacity,” said Steve Schlangen, an Albany, Minn., dairy farmer and chairman of the AMPI Board of Directors. “The Paynesville project provides the capacity to process the milk produced on area member farms for years to come and cements our place in the community as a long-term employer.”
In recognition of the project’s benefits to the state’s economy, AMPI was awarded an Agriculture Growth, Research and Innovation Value Added Grant by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members annually market about 5.7 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.7B in sales for the cooperative.
AMPI owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where about 10 percent of the American-type cheese and butter in the U.S. is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.