The $600 million facility will process roughly 8 million pounds of milk per day when fully operational. The milk will come from more than 100 dairy farms in surrounding communities, the company said in a press release.
"The Pasco project represents our third major capital investment in as many years, the largest investment in our co-op's 104-year-history and a significant step in an ongoing strategy to expand and modernize Darigold ," said Joe Coote , the Darigold CEO.
The facility will help Darigold become a top-tier global dairy producer, he said.
The Pasco facility will be outfitted with two specialized milk dryers and two packaging lines for powdered milk products, two butter churns, two bulk butter packaging lines and five consumer butter packaging lines.
When fully operational, the facility will have the capacity to produce about 175 million pounds of butter and nearly 280 million pounds of powdered milk products annually, including products for use in the most sensitive applications such as infant formula.
The facility's proximity to rail lines and global shipping ports will help the co-op realize transportation efficiencies for products going to both domestic and global customers.
"The growth of the dairy sector both domestically and internationally presents an opportunity for our dairy farmers," said Allan Huttema , chairman of Darigold's board of directors and operator of Almar Dairy in Parma, Idaho .
"Dairy farmers in the Pacific Northwest have a unique opportunity to benefit from global demand for dairy, which is rising considerably faster than it is domestically," he said.
In addition to adding capacity to Darigold's overall production capability, the new facility will incorporate a variety of innovative technologies and conservation strategies that combined could mitigate more than 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
The co-op is also in talks with the city of Pasco for the planned expansion of its Process Water Reuse Facility.
Beyond design features that support the advancement of Darigold's environmental, social and governance commitment, the facility's location within the multimodal Port of Pasco on the Columbia River gives it access to both rail and barge facilities, creating transportation efficiencies for the co-op.
Darigold expects the facility to employ about 200 people.
The groundbreaking marks the culmination of two years of collaboration between the Port of Pasco , Darigold and several other public and private partners.
The Port of Pasco is the developer for the project. The facility was designed by architectural firm E.A. Bonelli and Associates , and Miron Construction is the builder.