Durst Bros. Dairy and Rochester, Minn., manufacturing plant are tour stops
NEW ULM, Minn. (July 2, 2013) — The Young Cooperator (YC) members of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), a leading Midwest dairy cooperative, toured Durst Bros. Dairy, Mantorville, Minn., and the cooperative’s cheese manufacturing facility in Rochester, Minn., June 24-25. More than 80 members and their families participated in the annual event that provides cooperative education to members age 40 and under.
“Meeting fellow AMPI members, touring their farms and visiting a plant we collectively own is what I enjoy most about the summer event,” said Aaron Radermacher of Brooten, Minn., who serves as the YC chaircouple with his wife, Jessica. “Every year we learn something new about our cooperative.”
Following the milk from farm to plant, the YCs first stop was Durst Bros. Dairy. The family operation owned by brothers Ron, Allen and Ken Durst, features 1,500 milk cows and 1,150 heifers. YCs toured facilities that include free-stall barns, one of which is cross-ventilated, and a double-24 parallel milking parlor. Cow comfort is maximized on the farm by utilizing sand bedding, misters, and maintaining constant airflow. Attendees also toured the dairy’s heifer facilities, which feature a calf barn and two monoslope barns.
The member-owned AMPI plant in Rochester was the second tour stop. Half of the plant is a cheese and whey operation, located just blocks from the downtown area, and the other a bottling plant leased by Kemps. YCs toured the facility that processes about 2.4 million pounds of milk and 195,000 pounds of cheese per day. The same location also produces whey protein concentrate, lactose powder, and is the only AMPI facility producing ice cream mix.