Canada-based dairy giant Agropur has chosen a site in northeast Wisconsin to build a $168 million, state-of-the-art cheesemaking plant.
Agropur U.S. President Doug Simon said the facility will help the cooperative meet growing demand for cheese and dairy products and will “solidify our leadership position in the dairy industry. Beyond speed and efficiency, the process and equipment will provide greater flexibility and will allow Agropur to offer a broader line of products to meet our customers’ needs.”
With sales of approximately $5.7 billion a year, Agropur is the largest dairy cooperative in North America and is one of the top 20 worldwide. Agropur makes about 1 billion pounds of cheese a year and is the No. 1 producer of whey protein in North America.
The 210,000-square-foot factory in Little Chute, Wisconsin, will update an older plant nearby and will more than double its milk processing volume, from 300 million pounds a year to 750 million pounds a year. About 85% of the milk will come from dairy farms within 40 miles of the plant.
The new manufacturing facility is Agropur’s second-largest investment in its U.S. operations. The cooperative will be eligible to receive up to $4.5 million in performance-based state tax credits over a four-year period if hiring and capital expenditure goals are met.
The new dairy plant will sit on 24.5 acres—valued at $1.2 million—which the village of Little Chute sold to Agropur for $1.
Founded in 1938 in Quebec, Canada, Agropur operates 32 plants across North America, including five facilities in Wisconsin that employ 850 people. The new dairy plant is expected to add at least 54 full-time jobs when it is completed in 2023.
Wisconsin has 6,700 dairy farms—more than any other U.S. state. “Wisconsin is uniquely positioned to help Agropur develop new products and succeed in the dairy industry,” WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said.
The new plant will include a cutting-edge wastewater treatment facility that will also generate energy.
“This project is great news for our economy and for Wisconsin,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “We are thrilled to support Agropur’s investment in America’s Dairyland and in the future of the dairy industry.”