Ontario milk firm builds in New York

DRESDEN, Ont. — Canada’s largest manufacturer of milk replacer has set its eyes on the American market with the opening of a 60,000 sq. foot plant in New York state.

“The full capacity of the plant will not be realized for some years. In our projections we contemplate eventually outstripping the Canadian operation,” said Jurian Bartelse, vice-president of Grober U.S.

Grober Nutrition, based in Cambridge, Ont., has had a presence in the northeastern United States for years but until now, it has relied on third-party manufacturers. Due to trade restrictions, the export of milk replacer from Canada to the U.S. is prohibited.

The Grober facility is expected to be the only plant of its kind operating in the American Northeast. That should give the Grober a logistics advantage in the region. The company is also targeting the U.S. Midwest, Bartelse said.

New York is the third largest dairy state and neighbouring Pennsylvania ranks fifth.

“We’re the new kid on the block. We want to come in with high quality products and with ingredients that we control and we’ll see where that will take us,” Bartelse said.

The plant is to be located in Auburn, a city of about 30,000 in central New York state.

Next door is a large, farmer-owned dairy plant, Cayuga Milk Ingredients, that will supply Grober with milk permeate, one ingredient for its replacer.

For the next few months, the plant will be used as a blending facility. By next spring, it’s expected the capital-intensive drying and evaporation facilities at the plant will be running.

“We anticipate manufacturing ingredients, not just for ourselves but for the open market as well,” Bartelse said.

The milk replacer is to be marketed for replacement heifer calves along with kids and lambs.

Within five years, it’s expected to create 45 jobs created in the community.

While Grober’s plans are delivering an economic benefit to the city, other developments within the Canadian dairy industry have been less welcome by the community.

According to a Sept. 9 local media report, Cayuga Milk Ingredients is losing its Canadian market for milk protein ingredients and ultra-filtered milk because of Canada’s national ingredients strategy.

Cayuga chief executive officer, Kevin Ellis, has been quoted as saying: “Canada now desires to participate in the (Trans-Pacific Partnership), and these recent policy changes call into question whether the Canadian government can be trusted to honour their trade commitments long term.”

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