Darigold Inc. recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its future production facility in Pasco, Wash., designed by architectural firm E.A. Bonelli & Associates with building by Miron Construction. The $600 million facility is scheduled to open early 2024. The company states the new facility will process approximately 8 million lbs. of milk per day from over 100 dairy farms in surrounding communities once the plant is fully operational.

"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," says Joe Coote, the co-op's chief executive officer. "We are a beloved heritage brand with deep roots in Washington and around the Pacific Northwest, but there's still considerable opportunity for us to leverage industry growthhere at home and around the worldto become a top-tier global dairy producer. This facility will play an important role in helping us achieve that vision."

The facility will house two specialized milk dryers, two packaging lines for powdered milk products, two butter churns, two bulk butter packaging lines and five consumer butter packaging lines. Darigold states that with this equipment the facility will have the capacity to produce 175 million lbs. of butter per year and nearly 280 million lbs. of powdered milk products annually. The company also states the production output will also include products that meet the highest industry specifications 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.

In addition to adding capacity to Darigold's overall production capability, the new Pasco facility is stated to incorporate a variety of innovative technologies and conservation strategies that combined could mitigate more than 300,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

The milk dryers in the new facility will include dryer burner technology that significantly reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Use of this dryer burner technology will reportedly reduce the facility's nitrogen oxide emissions to make it one of the lowest NOx emitting milk dryer facilities in the state. The co-op is also in talks with the City of Pasco for the planned expansion of its Process Water Reuse Facility (PWRF). The expanded PWRF will treat agriculture related wastewater from local food processors using a set of anaerobic digesters, which will generate renewable natural gas (cleaned from methane) for sale in the West Coast renewable natural gas (RNG) market.