Glanbia Nutritionals, Evanston, Ill.; Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Kansas City, Kan.; and Select Milk Producers Inc., Artesia, N.M., announced plans to build a large-scale cheese and whey production facility in St. Johns, Mich.

The $470 million joint venture project is expected to be operational fourth quarter of 2020.

The new facility will process 8 million pounds of milk per day into a range of cheese (300 million pounds per year) and whey products for U.S. and international markets, employing approximately 250 staff. In addition, an agreement is in place with Proliant Dairy Ingredients, Ankeny, Iowa, to process the whey permeate. Proliant will invest $85 million in an adjoining facility, creating up to 38 jobs.

The St. Johns site meets key selection criteria in terms of strategic location relative to milk supply, strong transport links, a positive business environment and labor availability.

“The finalization of the preferred location is a critical step on our journey to deliver a new ultra-modern dairy facility in Michigan,” says Brian Phelan, chief executive officer of Glanbia Nutritionals.

“The construction of this plant in St. Johns will not only address a growing industry need for Michigan plant capacity, but it also adds value and supports our local dairy farm families in this area,” says Greg Wickham, chief financial officer at DFA.