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Lakeland Dairies €40 million expansion of milk powder operations

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD has officially opened a new € 40 million technologically advanced milk powder plant at Lakeland Dairies, Bailieboro, Co. Cavan.

The Bailieboro facility is among the most advanced milk powder plants in the world and one of the largest such plants in Europe.

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD also attended, together with Alo Duffy, Chairman of Lakeland Dairies, the Board and regional committees of the co-operative and Group Chief Executive, Michael Hanley. The event forms part of a series of open days where hundreds of Lakeland Dairies milk supplying farmers, and their families, are also visiting the new facility.

The investment has been supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland. This is creating 85 new jobs across the Lakeland Dairies Group between now and 2019. Over 180 construction workers were employed by contractors during the building, installation and commissioning phases for the new facilities. With 2,400 dairy farmers supplying milk to the co-operative across 15 counties north and south, Lakeland Dairies now employs over 800 people.

One of Ireland’s leading farmer owned dairy processing co-operatives, Lakeland Dairies processes over 1.2 Billion litres of farm produced milk annually into 240 value-added dairy foodservice products and food ingredients for export to over 80 countries worldwide.

This is Lakeland Dairies’ third milk drying plant at its Bailieboro processing centre. It will now produce over 160,000 tonnes of milk powders and 50,000 tonnes of butter annually on the same site, which allows great flexibility in milk throughput and overall economies of scale for the food ingredients business.

The development by Lakeland Dairies is designed to ensure that the co-operative is well positioned to take advantage of all future market opportunities for its milk producers. The expansion saw the installation of a new 7 tonne per hour milk dryer and evaporators where total milk powder production capacity has now increased to 20 tonnes per hour. The plant has the highest levels of efficiency including heat recovery systems and its energy centre can also supply electricity back into to the national grid.

Agriculture , Food and Marine Minister Michael Creed said: “International markets hold big growth potential for Ireland as a global exporter of high quality dairy food ingredients. With this impressive new facility, Lakeland Dairies will compete strongly in serving its existing long standing customers and will also access new markets. The new plant is a model of innovation and efficiency and is exemplary of the very high standards of food quality and production which our dairy industry is projecting across the world.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and The Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD said: “This technologically advanced new plant is a jewel in the crown of Ireland’s dairy industry. The integration of facilities that Lakeland Dairies has achieved on a single site is very impressive and an excellent achievement of engineering. It is also notable that this is a co-operative enterprise where the collective endeavours of dairy farmers are creating competitive progress for the good of dairy farming, processing and exporting from the northern region and nationally from Ireland.”

Lakeland Dairies’ Chairman, Alo Duffy said, “With this new facility Lakeland Dairies will compete at the forefront of the global dairy food ingredients industry. This development will underpin our further progress in a rapidly changing world of international trade where we have a heritage of over 120 years in dairy farming and an unstinting commitment to making the most excellent dairy products for all of our customers.”

Lakeland Dairies’ Group CEO Michael Hanley said, “Our strategy is to create long term competitiveness and sustainability for our milk producers and to meet the long term needs of our valued customers in the global food industry where we see constant demand for our products. We have created a culture of innovation and excellence across our entire organisation which will continue to drive the business forward. In particular, we are addressing opportunities in the areas of infant formulas, dairy proteins, food manufacturing and health related nutritional products, among other categories, where we are already a globally recognised leading supplier of powders.

Orla Battersby, Head of the Food Division, Enterprise Ireland said; “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support the development and expansion of the Lakeland Dairies Milk Powder Plant which will directly support innovation across the food and dairy sector and ultimately contribute to export growth. The development and expansion of the Lakeland plant is another important milestone in the growth of the Irish food industry, which is Ireland’s largest indigenous manufacturing sector. The opening of this new showcase plant reflects highly on the entire Irish dairy sector – pooling together innovation with best in class facilities which further leverages our strong international reputation in the sector.”