Fon­terra’s new Lich­field plant opened

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Nor­mally a guest list of over 200 would fill a venue but that wasn’t so dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of Fon­terra’s mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar milk powder dryer in the South Waikato.

South Waikato mayor Jenny Shat­tock, Taupo MP Louise Up­ston, Raukawa rep­re­sen­ta­tives, farm­ers, Fon­terra staff, and oth­ers from the com­mu­nity were like a dot in one of the Lich­field based plant’s mas­sive rooms where they gath­ered on Fri­day to cel­e­brate its open­ing.

The new 30 met­ric tonne an hour dryer, which has cost a stag­ger­ing 390 mil­lion dol­lars to build, is ca­pa­ble of pro­cess­ing 4.4 mil­lion litres of milk a day mak­ing it the com­pany’s most ef­fi­cient dryer to date.

Fon­terra chair­man John Wil­son said while Lich­field is one of Fon­terra’s younger sites, over its 21 year his­tory it has be­come one of the most sig­nif­i­cant for its abil­ity to meet grow­ing global de­mand for dairy.

‘‘This new plant will help us to strike a bal­ance in our pro­cess­ing that al­lows us to switch be­tween prod­ucts quickly to meet de­mand changes in global mar­kets, push the pace on pro­duc­tion when milk vol­umes dic­tate, and ul­ti­mately de­liver the best prod­uct mix to gen­er­ate re­turns,’’ he said.

Up­ston said it was an hon­our to take part in the open­ing.

‘‘[This] is one of the most sig­nif­i­cant busi­nesses in the whole of the Taupo elec­torate and I can’t think of any other in­vest­ments to this ex­tent,’’ she said.

‘‘[This] is one of the most sig­nif­i­cant busi­nesses in the whole of the Taupo elec­torate.’’

She said the de­vel­op­ment had re­sulted in over 70 new jobs.

‘‘[That’s] a re­ally big deal for a district like this,’’ she said.

Shat­tock said some­thing as sig­nif­i­cant as the de­vel­op­ment had not been seen in the district for a long time.

‘‘I look at it now and it is ab­so­lutely mag­nif­i­cent,’’ she said.

She ac­knowl­edged Fon­terra for its fore­sight in choos­ing the South Waikato to in­vest.

‘‘They recog­nised the im­por­tance of dairy farm­ing in our district, they recog­nised our dairy farm­ers, and they recog­nised our cen­tral po­si­tion,’’ she said.

‘‘It is due to the lead­er­ship shown by Fon­terra in­vest­ing in our district and recog­nis­ing our strengths that has ac­tu­ally sparked other in­dus­tries to fol­low suit and look to the South Waikato for growth and new de­vel­op­ments.’’

The dryer also has a new dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre, ser­vice and a so­phis­ti­cated waste­water treat­ment plant.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

The of­fi­cial open­ing of Fon­terra’s new milk powder dryer in Lich­field.

Fon­terra’s Lich­field plant.

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