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Western Milk Pool Provides Update on Dairy Innovation West

The Western Milk Pool (WMP), a collaboration between BC Milk, BC Dairy, Alberta Milk, SaskMilk and Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, is pleased to provide a formal update on Dairy Innovation West (DIW), the state-of-the-art milk concentration plant under construction in Blackfalds, AB.

The first facility of its kind in Canada, DIW marks a significant advancement in the dairy industry’s commitment to innovation and environmental sustainability. Representing an investment of $75 million, DIW is at the forefront of adopting innovative practices and technologies aimed at reducing emissions, aligning with the industry’s target of achieving net zero by 2050.

“The progress on DIW is a significant leap forward for the dairy industry in Western Canada,” shares Henry Holtmann, Chair, DIW. “This project is not only setting a precedent for facilities like this in the country, but it is also a testament to western Canadian dairy farmers’ commitment to innovation and sustainability. As we continue to advance, we are confident that DIW will serve as a shining example of what can be achieved when farmers come together to drive positive change.”

On-site construction activity started in December 2023, managed by Pacific Process Canada Ltd. Over the next several months, Pacific Process is working to complete construction milestones including piling work, groundwork and fabrication of the precast building panels. Substantial completion of the facility is targeted for November 2024, with operational testing to begin first with water, followed by milk trials from January through March 2025. The official opening of the facility is on track for Spring 2025.

“Our team has been hard at work, laying the foundation for what will be a game-changer in Canada’s dairy industry,” said Chris Scheidt, President, Pacific Process. “DIW is not just a building; it’s a symbol of collaboration, innovation and progress for dairy farmers across Western Canada. With each project milestone we reach, we are one step closer to completing this industry leading milk concentration plant.”

Once operational, DIW will result in a reduction of the western Canadian dairy industry’s environmental footprint through the concentration of liquid raw milk. For every three or four trucks of raw milk coming in from local farms, one truck of concentrate will leave for a processing plant. DIW has the capability to produce reverse osmosis (RO) milk ingredients (whole and skim) as well as ultra-filtered (UF) skim milk and cream.

By supporting projects like DIW, the dairy industry is demonstrating its commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability, setting a new standard for dairy production in Canada.

About the Western Milk Pool

The Western Milk Pool (WMP) was initially formed in 1997 as a large milk shed, with a pooling agreement for revenue and markets. Over the last few years, it has been undergoing a transformation into a modern collaboration between the independent dairy organizations in the four western provinces: BC Milk, BC Dairy, Alberta Milk, SaskMilk and Dairy Farmers of Manitoba. This historic and modernized partnership has created a new governance model that allows for a more cohesive, organized and unified representation of western dairy farmers at the national level and with all dairy stakeholders.

About Dairy Innovation West

Dairy Innovation West (DIW) is a milk concentration facility under construction in Blackfalds, AB. First of its kind in Canada, the $75 million facility is owned by the Western Milk Pool and has two key strategic objectives: to support processing expansion in Western Canada and to reduce transportation costs for Western Milk Pool producers. This state-of-the-art facility will have the capacity to accommodate up to 300 million litres of milk from western dairy farmers per year and is set to open Spring 2025. 

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