Employees at AMPI’s Sanborn, Iowa, plant will soon be making more of the cheese that has made them famous. The cheese and whey manufacturing plant is in the midst of a construction project that will more than double its processing capacity. Eight, state-of-the-art cheese vats will be installed, expanding daily processing capacity to 3 million pounds of milk.
“Increased demand for AMPI’s award-winning cheese, along with growing milk production on member farms, is the basis for this cooperative investment,” said Steve Schlangen, a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn., and chairman of the AMPI Board of Directors.
Construction is underway to expand the facility to accommodate the new cheese vats. AMPI cheesemakers will begin producing cheese in the new vats by the end of 2017.
AMPI cheesemakers have built a reputation for making award-winning cheese. In 2016, the Sanborn team captured first place Mild Cheddar honors in the World Dairy Expo Championship Cheese Contest for the third year in a row.
The cheesemakers produce blocks of cheese weighing nearly 700 pounds — known in the industry as 640s — which are then sold to customers and packaged as cubes, slices, shreds or snack sticks. “Our cheese performs well across all these applications,” said Marshall Reece, AMPI vice president of sales and marketing. “The consistency of our cheese gives customers more flexibility, and they love it. They call it their ‘go-to’ cheese.”
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. In 2016, AMPI members marketed 5.5 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.6 billion in sales.
AMPI owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese, butter, dried whey and sliced American cheese is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.