Alta Roqueplot, Human Resources Manager of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), visited Rotary Club 89 on Monday, April 16, 2018. Alta represents the New Wilmington and West Middlesex plants and has been with the company for two months.
DFA has 42 plants nationwide, represents 13,000 farmers, and has 6,000 employees. The corporate office is located in Kansas City. The plants all make dairy products. Their local plants make cheese and whey, which is a by-product of making cheese.
The New Wilmington plant has been open for over 60 years. It operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year with 210 employees. It produces mozzarella, provolone, and sweet whey. It takes 2.9 million pounds of milk to produce 400,000 pounds of cheese each day that is shipped around the world. Most of the milk comes from the region (PA, MI, NY and WV), and is tested upon delivery for bacteria. Milk will be turned away if it does not meet the standards of the lab testing.
The milk is then pasteurized, skimmed, and cooked to create cheese. The cheese is formed into 20-40 pound blocks and is considered bulk cheese, mostly used for frozen pizzas. During this process, the whey is filtered out and placed into an evaporator to be crystalized and dried into a powder. The whey is then shipped worldwide for a variety of uses such as powdered milk, animal feed, and protein powder.
Alta was proud to announce that the New Wilmington plant was 2016 World Dairy Expo Champions and won first place for their provolone. In 2018, they won second and third place for mozzarella.