Alpina Foods broke ground on its first North American manufacturing facility, bringing up to 50 jobs and a $15 million investment to Batavia, N.Y.

“This is a tremendous day for Alpina Foods,” says Carlos Ramirez, general manager. “Not only are we building our first North American plant, enabling easier distribution to U.S. and Canadian markets, but we will also develop new products here, specifically created for North American consumers.”

Drawn by access to the thriving agriculture and dairy industry of upstate New York, along with a ready labor market, Alpina Foods chose Batavia for its 10th global manufacturing facility, following locations in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The company worked closely with the state’s Excelsior Jobs Program and numerous state and regional economic development organizations on the location of the 10-acre site, and was further attracted to the region after its work with nearby Cornell University and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Alpina Foods has already begun hiring for the 40,000-square-foot facility, and is in talks with local dairies to supply milk. The Batavia plant is expected to be fully operational by July, and will produce nearly 4,000 tons of yogurts in its first year.

“By combining our European heritage with our Latin edge, we have continued to innovate, grow and create hundreds of beloved products while contributing to the development of the communities around us,” says Julian Jaramillo, chief executive officer for the Bogota, Colombia-based company. “It is our corporate practice to grow with our surroundings, hand-in-hand with our neighbors.”