CAMPBELL - Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. is doing phenomenal since purchasing the former Kraft-Heinz plant nearly nine months ago.
Jamie Johnson, Executive Director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, said Upstate Niagara has surpassed all of its job creation and investment goals at the Campbell plant.
“Actually they expect to increase production next year by 7 million pounds of cheese,” Johnson said. “So they are going to add 7 million pounds. The milk to cheese ratio is 10 to one. So that means they will be adding another 70 million pounds of milk into that facility.”
Johnson said the average size of a family farm in Steuben County is about 300 cows.
“You can do the math and see the impact of a project like this,” Johnson said.
Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said it’s been “thrilling” to see how well the company has progressed since purchasing the plant.
“We’ve very closely watched the development at the Upstate Niagara plant,” Wheeler said. “We knew after we met with (Upstate officials) when they were looking to purchase the (former) Kraft plant they are a great corporation, a great employee and everyone we talked to just echoed that.”
Wheeler said Steuben County officials were confident of Upstate Niagara going into the venture but it has even surpassed expectations.
“It a great thing for them and a great thing for the community,” Wheeler said. “It’s a great thing for everyone.”
State Senator Tom O'Mara, R-Big Flats, said the conversion Upstate Niagara has made at the former Kraft-Heinz plant has been critical, not only to the Town of Campbell, but the entire area and the dairy farm industry.
“Our dairy farmers are struggling all over the state,” O’Mara said. “If this plant had closed when Kraft-Heinz was looking to move out it would have been devastating for the region in many ways. Not only the workers at the plant, but everything that spins off of the plant. The trucking company and the dairy farmers. Really everybody.”
Upstate Niagara received significant incentives from the state to help with the conversion of the plant.
“These things do work out,” O’Mara said. “This is a very positive project.”
Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. is an American dairy cooperative located in Buffalo. Products provided by the cooperative include milk, cream, butter, yogurt, half and half, juices, eggnog, cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream mix and chip dips.