NORCROSS, Ga., Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Atlanta-based Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc. has an agreement in principle with Kerfam Inc. to purchase the former Dean Foods Fairmont Products facility in Belleville, Pa. This Dean Foods facility was a dairy processor that served the mid-Atlantic region and had annual revenues of around $30 million. Fairmont marketed and distributed milk products, whey, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, soft-serve ice cream mixes and yogurt. The facility is located at 15 S Kishacoquillas St, Belleville, PA 17004.
When the Texas-based Dean Foods Company closed its Fairmont Products dairy processing plant in Belleville,PA. in October 2008 about 80 employees lost their jobs. The plants closure also affected local dairy farmers who supplied milk to the plant. Hi-Tech hopes it will be able to begin purchasing milk from local farmers and begin its processing in the coming months. The significant effort on the part of Hi-Tech to keep this business operating in the community will bolster its presence in Pennsylvania where it also has a Pharmaceutical plant.
Jared Wheat, President of Hi-Tech said, "Many former employees we have spoken with have extensive experience in the manufacturing of natural and process cheese products in the state of Pennsylvania. We are excited about the opportunity of re-opening a dairy plant in our state. The Dean Foods facility has had a wonderful reputation for its cheese, milk and the whey products manufactured there. We believe this will open many new doors for Hi-Tech as we continue our goal of complete vertical integration.
"Pennsylvania is a key growth area for Hi-Tech, and decisions such as this will help us achieve our aggressive growth goals," said Stephen Smith, Senior Vice-President of Hi-Tech. "The investments at our Belleville plant will provide our members with increased opportunities to grow production in this critical region for our company." As part of the realignment, the company is planning on making a multi-million dollar investment to increase capacity and expand receiving at its Belleville plant through improvements in plant infrastructure. Among the improvements at the Belleville facility will be new milk silos, new cheese vats, upgraded whey receiving and a new vat room. We expect to be able to handle large, stainless-steel milk trucks rolling into the five-stall receiving bays of the Belleville Dairy Proteins plant 24/7, delivering over 1 million pounds of milk each day.
That's the daily output of more than 15,000 dairy cows, who will supply Hi-Tech, a milk, cheese and whey protein concentrate plant located in Belleveille, Pa., some 70 miles northwest of Harrisburg. The plant is ideally situated within the heart of Kishacoquillas Valley of Mifflin County, still a very large dairy county in Pennsylvania. "About 70% to 75% of our milk supply comes from within a 50-mile radius, and the majority of that milk comes from Mifflin, Centre and Lancaster County ," says Jared Wheat. Centre County comprises Penn State Universities campus, which lies at the southern end of the Nittany and Penns Valleys, and this area is also known as "Happy Valley". The name "Happy Valley" is the name given to the area since the Great Depression of the 1930s as the area was generally not hit hard financially because of the presence of Penn State University.
With some of the most fertile non-irrigated soil in the U.S., Lancaster County has a strong farming industry. Lancaster County's 5293 farms and is responsible for nearly a fifth of the state's agricultural output. Agriculture is likely to remain an important part of Lancaster County: almost exactly half of Lancaster County's land – 320,000 acres (130,000 ha) – is zoned for agriculture, and of those, 276,000 acres (112,000 ha) are "effective agricultural zoning", requiring at least 20 acres (8.1 ha) per residence.
Once it arrives at the plant, milk is processed into a variety of cheeses, ranging from hard Italian varieties such as Parmesan and Romano to Mozzarella. The hard, Italian-style cheeses are cured and used for grated, fresh grated and shreds. The Mozzarella styles are going to be utilized for further manufacturing, handled in 500-lb. barrels and marketed to any number of customers. The whey proteins, left over from the cheese making process, are going to be further concentrated into liquid whey protein concentrates of 34% and 80%. Additionally, permeate that is separated from the whey stream is to be dried and used for food and animal feeds. "A fair amount of this material is then will be exported internationally," Smith says.
Through avant-garde technological processes and modern facilities, we will process milk and whey into various value-added by-products and dairy ingredients, which will be used in a multitude of food, industrial, nutraceutical and agricultural applications. The Hi-Tech Team offers commonly used dairy ingredients such as Skim milk powder, Whole milk powder, Lactose, Sweet whey powder; and Whey protein concentrates. We also offer value-added ingredients, which include Micellar casein, Whey protein isolates and Whey protein hydrolysates. We can also develop products with specific technical characteristics for our clients.
Hi-Tech's Bellville plant will also be a bottler of liquid nutraceuticals, juices, teas, dietary supplements, isotonic drinks, and RTD beverages. Hi-Tech takes pride at being the best and most experienced liquid manufacturer in the East. From our equipment engineers to our food scientists, this is our passion. With our State-Of-The-Art facility and highly competent professionals, we are quickly becoming recognized as the benchmark of integrity and quality in the health and wellness industry for manufacturing. Our process includes a high temperature short time continuous pasteurization hot fill. We will be operating two, food grade, liquid filling lines accommodating both large, medium and small runs.