Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) is completing the installation of 18 new cheese vats at its largest cheese plants located in Blair and JimFalls, Wis. The $7.5 million investment is projected to increase cheese production at both plants by 3.6 million pounds per year.
AMPI is the first manufacturer in the U.S. to install the innovative vats, which redefine the benchmark for cheese-making production and quality. The new equipment features advances in technology and automation to produce cheese more efficiently, with improved texture and taste.
The new equipment is gaining fans and has already proven to be a winner for the dairy farmer-owned AMPI. A trial vat installed at the Blair plant produced award-winning cheese for the 2011 World Dairy Expo Dairy Products Championship Contest. Judges named AMPI’s Cheddar cheese entry first place in a very competitive category.
“The noticeable boost in cheese yield and quality make this a smart investment for the cooperative,” AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch said. “Growing demand from our customers reaffirms AMPI’s commitment to be a premier cheese producer. These vats will enable us to produce more cheese from our members’ milk, increasing their returns.”
AMPI is a dairy marketing cooperative with 3,000 member farms, 6 billion pounds of milk and $1.7 billion in annual sales. Members operate dairy farms located throughout the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
They own 12 manufacturing plants and market a full line of consumer-packaged dairy products, including the Cass-Clay® brand. For more information about AMPI, visit the cooperative’s website at www.ampi.com.