“One of the biggest challenges was keeping the existing whey plant running during construction. We couldn’t afford to be down a day, and we never were.”
– Dave Kindt
- 2008, Plant of the Year, Dairy Field Reports
Calling it one of the largest dairy production expansion projects in the Midwest in decades, Davisco Foods International built a mozzarella cheese plant adjacent to its food ingredient plant in Lake Norden, South Dakota. In 2002, Big-D began construction on a cheese plant adjoining the existing whey products plant; it was operational by November 2003. “We had to connect a brand-new plant with an antiquated plant,” Jon Davis, Davisco’s COO says. “You can’t see the transition from new to old. It’s like brand-new, like both parts of the plant were built together.”
The total area, including the mezzanine, upper level and remodel of the existing plant, was approximately 160,000 square feet. New construction included precast concrete walls and roof, single ply roofing and interior finishes as appropriate for food processing plants. The project also required extensive site development including new sanitary and process sewer, water, storm water and electrical utilities installation. A new process wastewater treatment plant was also constructed concurrently with the new manufacturing plant facility.
Lake Norden receives nearly 3 million pounds of raw milk every day from farms in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Along with the 600,000 pounds of whole milk equivalent brought in from Davisco’s plant in Jerome, Idaho, Lake Norden processes 3.4 million pounds of milk daily. They produce 370 million pounds of cheese annually and are one of the largest suppliers of cheese to Kraft Foods.