At Milk Specialties Global, it is important to our company that we support continued education projects that benefit future leaders in dairy processing and manufacturing. One project we are very passionate about is the Dairy Pilot Plant Renovation Project through the University of Wisconsin River Falls (UWRF). With more than 30 years of use in academic programs and commercial production use for cheese and ice cream manufacturing, the Dairy Pilot Plant facilities are in need of significant updates and renovation.
At this facility, UWRF students get the unique opportunity to work in a primarily self-supporting dairy processing facility which uses milk produced at the University Lab Farm. Under the direction of a full-time plant manager and licensed cheese maker, students produce food products that are served at campus events and in the dining hall, and sold in the Falcon Foods Store and to other UW campuses.
Currently, the manufacturing of the cheeses and ice cream are housed in the same space which lacks ideal climate control and raises issues of worker safety, food security, and product quality. To meet student demand and industry standards, UW-River Falls has developed a project to renovate its Dairy Pilot Plant. The total estimated value of the project is $3.5 million, of which a budget of $940,000 was recently approved by the Wisconsin State Building Commission to fund physical renovations and infrastructure upgrades. An additional $3 million is being sought from partners for the purchase and installation of equipment. To date over $1.7 million has been committed in funding for this project by private industry donors.
The goals of the renovation project are to:
• Modernize the Dairy Pilot Plant equipment and processes to help provide more effective teaching and outreach programming; overall space dedicated to the Dairy Pilot Plant will be more than 6,000 sq. ft.
• Introduce additional product and processing safety and security features by integrating separation of raw product
handling and whey processing.
• Enlarge the cheese manufacturing area and include dedicated space for raw milk processing and separation, increased HTST capacity, additional cheese vats (including a HCV).
• Enhance ice cream manufacturing with updated processing equipment (including a cup filling machine, continuous batch freezer, and an additional mixing tank), and separate raw and pasteurized processing areas.
The current design for the new facility provides a functional separation for the different manufacturing processes:
Modernizing the 30 year old Dairy Pilot Plant equipment and processes will help provide more effective teaching and outreach programming, but will also allow additional product and processing safety and security features to be introduced. All of this will give UWRF graduates a competitive edge as they enter the industry.
Interested in joining or donating to the UWRF Dairy Plant Advisory Committee? Contact the UWRF Foundation!
For questions or more information you may contact:
Michelle Farner, Dairy Pilot Plant Manager
[email protected] | 715-425-4161
Julie Stucky, UWRF Foundation
[email protected] | 715-425-4647