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Dairy cows

Cows eat at a Magic Valley dairy.

JEROME — A milk marketing cooperative in Jerome has just announced it will bring a $20 million expansion to its plant in Jerome.

Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers was founded more than 20 years ago in Jerome. The cooperative has 30 member farms and supplies raw milk to customers using its hauling company, Magic Valley Quality Milk Transport.

But now, the cooperative is fulfilling a goal it’s had for 12 years by branching out into milk processing, general manager Alan Stutzman said.

“The membership and board of directors recognize that while it is important to maintain the best relationship with its raw milk customers, it is also necessary to expand into the processing of milk in order to continue to be sustainable,” the company said in a statement. “As a result of the investment, MVQMP will be able to market ultra-filtered skim milk, condensed skim milk, and cream.”

The project will take about a year to complete, and will employ at least 15 new employees, Stutzman said. The cooperative currently employs 35 people.

“We’re looking to expand and do our own processing, but still sell to those customers,” he said.

The expansion at 1756 S. Buchanan St. will involve construction of a two-truck bay milk receiving building and bringing new processing equipment with steam, electrical and refrigeration systems. It’ll also include employee offices.

Jerome City Administrator Mike Williams said the expansion will add onto the existing facility in three different directions. It’ll provide more construction jobs and opportunities within the city.

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“This project didn’t require an upgrade to infrastructure,” he said.

Although it’s been projected the company will dump 100,000 gallons per day into the city’s wastewater system, Williams said this is still small compared to other industries. The expansion was company-driven, he said.

“We’re happy to see Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers growing in their Jerome location,” Jerome Mayor David Davis said in a statement. “It’s a great compliment to the city as a whole when businesses expand at their current locations. They are a terrific company and we’re grateful for their investment in Jerome.”

The $20 million project was designed by Power Engineers and Dairy Industry Consultants with Petersen Bros. Construction as the general contractor. Advanced Process Technologies Inc. is the primary milk process equipment supplier.

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