Construction almost complete on Garden dairy plant


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Tuesday, the community of Garden City is celebrating the near completion of a dairy plant that is expected to have a big impact on the local economy.

When the Dairy Farmers of America plant opens this fall, it will be a place for local dairy farmers to bring their milk, potentially saving quite a bit on shipping costs.

“This milk is currently leaving the area,” said Alan McEntee, the plant’s project manager, “and it’s costing a lot of money to transport it to other processing facilities, some as far away as 400 miles.”

The plant will process the milk into powdered milk, which brings new jobs to the area.

“It will create 66 permanent well paid jobs here,” said McEntee, “and the spinoff effect in the dairy industry locally will be fairly large as well.”

Officials expect even more jobs to come to the area to support the needs of the plant.

“There’s trucking jobs involved,” said Lona DuVall with the Finney County Economic Development Corporation. “There’s maintenance folks who will be servicing the plant from exterior companies and those types of things, so absolutely, it’s a much larger project than just what happens on that individual parcel.”

McEntee says the last plant he opened also attracted more dairy farmers to the area.

“That was a previous experience I had in New Mexico. When we built the plant, more farmers came to the area, and they’ve had to expand that plant twice over.”

He says there’s not room for that kind of expansion at the Garden City plant, but he still expects to see a similar rise in the number of dairy farms.

The plant is on track to take in its first load of milk by September 25.

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