A dairy processing plant in Maine plans to reopen after being closed for five years.
Pineland Farms Dairy Co., owned by the non-profit Libra Foundation, will start operating a 75,000 square foot cheese processor in July according to the Bangor Daily News.
The cheese plant is being retrofitted inside a former fluid milk plant in Bangor, Maine that was closed by Dean Foods in 2013. Pineland Farms bought the facility in 2017.
The plant will serve as a replacement to a cheese processing facility that was sold by Pineland Farms when Bob Evans Farms Inc. acquired the Pineland Farms Potato Co. in January 2017. The facility was located in Mars Hill, Maine.
Costs to renovate the plant were projected at $6 million but are now at $10 million.
The plant has hired 16 employees thus far and may hire up to 50 people when it is completely operational. It will also include a milk blend operation that will sell 300 gallon totes for milk ingredients at other processors for products like soup or ice cream.
The reopening of the dairy plant will help local producers as they won’t have to haul milk as far away as Boston.
“The renovation and reopening of the Bangor facility is great news for the state and our [Dairy Farmers of America] family farms in this area, as it will help provide increased processing capacity as well as help create efficiencies in the local milk shed,” says Brad Keating, chief operating officer for Dairy Farmers of America.
DFA has 50 members in Maine, which is about 30% of the state’s producers and owns Oakhurst Dairy in Portland.
Pineland Farms owns a number of agriculture businesses on the 5,000 acre farm near New Gloucester, Maine, including a 300 acre produce farm, an equestrian center and a dairy farm.