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Prairie Farms Dairy Plans $8.7 Million Expansion At Fort Wayne, Indiana, Operations Center

Prairie Farms Dairy, a farmer-owned cooperative and one of the largest and most successful dairy cooperatives in the Midwest, will invest $8.7 million to expand its production hub in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company will add specialty products to its portfolio and increase opportunities for the Hoosier dairy industry.

Headquartered in Carlinville, Illinois, Prairie Farms will construct and equip a 22,500-square-foot addition to its existing production facility at 3400 Lima Road, which currently produces fluid milk, ice cream mix, specialty drinks, cottage cheese, sour cream and dips.

The company will add new processing tanks and systems, production equipment, packaging lines, a cooler and a dry storage warehouse in order to accelerate growth through production of value-added products for retail and food service customers, and to grow their business as an ingredient supplier to other manufacturing companies.

“Prairie Farms has been a part of the Fort Wayne community for 23 years, and we are looking forward to many more,” said Chuck McQuaig, Fort Wayne General Manager for Prairie Farms. “We currently employ 117 people, and through this expansion, we are pleased to offer more local jobs. Along with the expansion comes a bigger distribution footprint for us. Once complete, we will ship more Prairie Farms products from coast to coast, and to Central America.”

“Fort Wayne is a business-friendly town that encourages expansion, not only for Prairie Farms, but all local companies,” McQuaig said. “We appreciate Mayor Henry’s willingness to work with us and are thankful for the support of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Fort Wayne’s City Council Members, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Metro Chamber Alliance and Northeast Indiana Works.”

Construction of the expansion is expected to begin in April and be complete within 18 months.

“Indiana’s agriculture industry contributes $31 billion to the state’s economy and supports more than 100,000 Hoosier jobs,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “We are proud that Prairie Farms is choosing to grow in Indiana, and we look forward to our continued partnership as we work to create new jobs and support Indiana farmers.”

As an incentive, The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Prairie Farms Dairy up to $50,000 in performance-based conditional tax credits and up to $15,500 in training grants based on the company’s investment and growth plans. The city of Fort Wayne will consider additional incentives at the request of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Indiana is home to 25 dairy processing plants and 12 farmstead operations, helping the Hoosier state rank No. 14 in the nation in milk production and No. 2 in ice cream production. Indiana has roughly 185,000 milk cows, which can produce an average of 61 pounds of milk per day.

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