Months after completing an expansion of its Sunnyside plant, Darigold is looking into future development.
An executive with the Seattle-based dairy cooperative said that Darigold is in the process of purchasing 23 acres behind its plant at 400 Alexander Road. The property is owned by the Port of Sunnyside.
In an emailed statement, Scott Burleson, Darigold senior vice president of operations, said different options for the property have been considered but no final plans have been made.
“What we do know is that our Sunnyside plant will continue to be a key component to the overall future success of Darigold,” he said. “And purchasing adjacent property, when available, will allow us room to grow, should that be necessary to support our member owners.”
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If the due diligence process is successful, the property sale could close sometime in December, said Jay Hester, Port of Sunnyside executive director.
The property is being used as farmland and the Port of Sunnyside has asked Darigold to honor the lease for the current tenant, he said. The lease goes through 2018.
“We’re just excited (Darigold has) made a larger commitment to this community, Hester said.
Earlier this year, Darigold completed construction of a 35,000-square-foot addition that included new receiving bays to improve the plant’s ability to receive milk from its growers and a new milk-separation and drying facility that would enable the company to produce dry milk powder used in nutritional products, such as baby formula.
The $97 million expansion also increased the plant’s milk capacity from 5.2 million to 8.7 million pounds of milk a day, reducing the need for Yakima Valley dairy growers to truck milk to other Darigold facilities throughout the Northwest.
The plant, which has 178 employees, also started producing a white cheddar that is sold in retail stores.