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Dairy Processor HP Hood Repurposes Dairy Plant in Batavia, New York

Dairy processor HP Hood purchased the former Dairy Farmers of America plant at Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, New York. HP Hood will invest more than $200 million over several years and create 230 new jobs in New York State over five years.

Hood will repurpose the 363,000-square-foot, idle state-of-the-art processing facility to produce extended-shelf-life beverages. The company will also construct a 100,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse.

Hood plans to commence construction this summer and begin operating by the second quarter of 2019. Hood has four other manufacturing locations in the State of New York which manufacture fluid and cultured dairy products such as milk, cream, cottage cheese and sour cream.

John A. Kaneb, President & CEO of HP Hood LLC, said, “We are fortunate that our need for more capacity coincided with an opportunity to expand our capabilities in the great State of New York. We have been welcomed by a resourceful and business savvy team at the Genesee County Economic Development Center and we look forward to becoming a supportive member of the local community and an employer of choice.”

To support the project, Empire State Development will provide up to $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits and a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center board will also amend the current PILOT, which will provide Hood with more than $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years, with an anticipated total economic benefit to the region of more than $330 million.

The plant, which was originally constructed by Muller-Quaker to process yogurt, was later purchased by DFA, a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative in 2016.

Rick Smith, President & CEO of DFA, said, “We originally made a strategic decision to purchase this plant, as it’s in an important milk shed for the industry and this area. Our primary goal was to ensure that this facility remained active in dairy for the long term. We explored opportunities with more than a dozen dairy companies and think HP Hood is a great fit to serve the local milk shed and community.”

"This major commitment from one of the nation's most prominent dairy companies will inject new life into the community, creating hundreds of jobs and spurring new investment in the Finger Lakes," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "Agriculture and food processing is a key pillar of economic growth in our Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan, and this latest investment shows that our multi-pronged strategy for growing the region’s economy is working."

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The purchase of this facility by HP Hood is great news for New York’s dairy community, who are experiencing challenging times. This expansion will not only mean our State’s dairy farmers will have another market for their milk but also that an idle facility will now be back online, creating innovative dairy products for consumers worldwide and supporting the local economy through investment and new jobs.”

Genesee County Economic Development Center Board President Paul Battaglia said, “This is tremendous news for Genesee County and the region and we are very grateful to HP Hood for this significant investment at the Ag-Park. This project is the continued collaboration among our economic partners, including Empire State Development and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. Everyone has worked hard to help get this facility back online and create employment opportunities for our residents.”

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