Today, Walmart opened its first milk processing facility in Ft. Wayne Indiana.
The plant, which Walmart started building in 2016, is widely believed to be the reason more than 100 dairy producers, stretching from Indiana to Pennsylvania, who had been shipping to Dean Foods lost their contracts earlier this year.
The new plant will produce Great Value brand white and chocolate milk for nearly 500 Walmart stores in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. Bottling began last week and the plant will be at full production later this year, Walmart officials say. Milk will be sourced from nearly 30 dairy farms in both Indiana and Michigan with these farms being an average of 140 miles from the plant.
“This new plant is a perfect example of the kinds of efficiencies Walmart seeks in our supply chain to benefit our customers,” said Tony Airoso, senior vice president of sourcing strategy for Walmart. “Farmers and associates in Indiana have been critical in getting us to this point. As we begin to bottle milk for our customers in the area, they will continue to be the biggest factor in our success.”
According to Walmart, the company chose to build the plant in Indiana after the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) released its 2015 dairy strategy, aiming to expand the Hoosier dairy industry and capitalize on the state’s growing production capability and strong workforce.
“This new facility is a vote of confidence in our state, in the northeast Indiana region and the Fort Wayne community,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Even more, it’s a vote of confidence in our people. Today, we celebrate 300 new jobs for talented Hoosiers. That’s great news for those employees and their families, and it’s more evidence that Indiana is on a roll with its pro-business climate and skilled workforce.”
Walmart has awarded $10,000 in grants to local organizations that focus on the future of agriculture in conjunction with the opening, the company says.
More coverage of the new plant: