MORE DAIRY: A new study concludes that North and South Dakota are among the best places to expand dairy processing.

More dairy processing for the Dakotas?

Region is ripe for investment and is one of the best places in the country to expand, study concludes.

A study commissioned by the North Dakota Dairy Coalition and the state of South Dakota concludes that the Dakotas are two of the best places in the country to build new dairy processing plants.

“We’ve got the feed, the water, a dependable workforce and a favorable business environment to attract new investment in dairy production and processing,” says Russ Edgar, president of the North Dakota Dairy Coalition. “This study provides us with new ideas and a new direction to focus our efforts and show the dairy industry in the U.S. that North Dakota is truly a great place to invest in and grow.”

The four-part study, “A Vision for Dairy in the Dakotas,” reviews dairy investment trends across the country. It includes a financial analysis of hypothetical dairy plants, comparing the Dakotas to other regions of the country. The study also reviews factors investors consider when locating a new dairy plant. Finally, it offers options to help the Dakotas attract more dairy processing capacity.

“It costs less to do business here than most other states,” says Mike Jaspers, South Dakota secretary of agriculture. “We need more dairy processors to know that and consider the Dakotas first for their next expansion.”

Blimling and Associates, a prominent dairy consulting and research firm, did the study. “We’ve been studying this area for a long time through a variety of public and private engagements,” says Phil Plourd, president of Blimling and Associates. “While there are still hurdles to overcome, the region appears ripe for investment. Now it's more a matter of time and who takes the leap.”

“The Dakotas have the necessary resources to attract more dairy producers and to expand our milk processing capacity,” says Doug Goehring, North Dakota agriculture commissioner. “This study is a great starting point for those discussions. With Blimling’s credibility among the nation’s dairy processors, this study tells them that the Dakotas are serious about the dairy industry. We are already working with our partners in state government to make the Dakotas even more appealing for expansion.”

Paul Kostboth, South Dakota’s agricultural development director, adds, “The findings from this study will refocus efforts to draw the right processors to the Dakotas. We need to get the word out that the Dakotas can grow milk production quickly to fill new plants. We are already working with the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the North Dakota Department of Commerce to identify opportunities.”

Source: North Dakota Dairy Coalition

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