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Easy Decision to Invest in Dairy Plant

June 3, 2013
 
 

**Extended comments are highlighted in blue.


Jon Patterson

Jon Patterson
Auburn, N.Y.

Jon Patterson’s dairy milks 1,100 cows on a farm that’s been in the family since 1832.

 

 


The first thing that comes to mind for me when asked about market demand for dairy products is Greek yogurt and the growth in the consumption of milk to make these products. I attended the Governor’s Yogurt Summit last fall where the New York governor promoted the idea of New York growing into the leader in yogurt production in the U.S.

This market has grown a great deal over the last 5-10 years in the Northeast, and consumption is increasing nationwide. There are many different manufacturers looking into investing in plants in the Northeast. This should help keep milk short in the Northeast and keep prices good in our area.
We are also working with 26 other dairy producers in central New York to manufacture superior-quality dairy ingredients for use in the global food and nutrition industries. This will help meet the global demand for milk protein concentrates, milk protein isolates, cream, skim milk powder and whole milk powder.

This plant is under construction in Auburn, N.Y., and should be online in the next 12 months. Cayuga Milk Ingredients is the name of the company that owns the plant. We plan to make high-end powders for the global market.

These 26 farms ship about 36 trailer loads of milk per day. The plant will take 26 of them under this phase of operation and is being built with expansion in mind. As the export market continues to grow, we hope the need for products from this plant will grow also.

The decision to invest in a milk processing plant was not hard. I am looking forward to having some control over milk pricing. I have been frustrated for years that we have so little control over the price we receive for our milk. So making the investment to have some control--or at least some return to the farm--as an owner of the plant is a good thing. The market so often takes $1/cwt. or more from us, so the decision to invest in something that has the potential to return more was easy.

The location of the plant is ideal as it is only 6 miles from our farm. The closest plant that we ship to now is over 100 miles, so the new plant will have a great impact reducing hauling costs for our farm.

Social media are also having an impact on what consumers think. I have more than once been looking through Facebook to see a negative milk post pop up. I am quick to call them on it and offer to educate them about the misconception they are relaying to the public. We try hard to promote a positive image of dairy on social media with the farm’s Facebook page and website. I believe it is important for everyone who is using social media to do the same. With so few people actively involved in dairying, and agriculture in general, misconceptions and misinformation are everywhere.

Patterson’s recent prices

Milk
$19.86 (3.89 bf, 3.19 prt)

Cull cows
$74/cwt.

Springing heifers
$1,775/head

Alfalfa hay (milk cow)
$380/ton

Cottonseed
$313/ton

Corn meal
$274/ton

Canola
$324/ton

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