2021 Dairy Digest

Dairy Digest

June is Dairy Month!

As part of our June Dairy Month celebration, MDARD will feature Michigan cheese and ice cream makers on our social media channels, plus post weekly podcasts highlighting different aspects of Michigan’s dairy industry. Please follow and share the posts throughout the month of June to make sure everyone knows how awesome our state’s dairy farmers, processors and retailers are!

Facebook - Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development 

Twitter - Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Linkedln - Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Instagram - Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

YouTube - Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

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MDARD Dairy Food Safety and Inspection Program

Staff Updates

Due to promotions within the Dairy Safety and Inspection Program, three vacancies were created and recently filled by the hiring of new dairy inspectors, Matthew Hatch and Suzanna Hull in the Dairy West Region, and Shannon Oudsema in the Dairy East Region.

Matthew Hatch started with the Dairy Safety and Inspection Program West Region as a dairy inspector on December 14, 2020. Matt grew up in Grand Haven and graduated from Grand Valley State University. Matt worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division for 10 years prior to coming to MDARD. Much of the initial training has been conducted virtually due to COVID-19. Matt began training in the field in late January 2021. Matt will cover the territory that includes Allegan, Berry, and Eaton counties. Matt reports to Paula Dankert and can be reached at 517-582-4262.

Suzanna Hull started with the Dairy Safety and Inspection Program West Region as a dairy inspector on May 17, 2021 and will begin training immediately. Suzanna graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Animal Science. She earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University in 2020. Suzanna will cover the territory that includes Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. Suzanna reports to Paula Dankert and can be reached at 517-320-5522.

In early November 2020, Shannon Oudsema accepted the vacant position in the East Region of MDARD’s Dairy Food Safety and Inspection Program and covers the territory including Calhoun, Jackson, Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties. Shannon is from Holt and is a 2019 graduate of Ferris State University where she earned a BS in Biology. She recently relocated to Homer and is excited to start her dream job in her new area. Shannon reports to Joni Thompson and can be reached at 517-930-6592.

Tajalli Hodge has been promoted to Laboratory Evaluation Officer. Tajalli is responsible for evaluation of approved laboratory screening sites, confirmation sites, and commercial laboratories that conduct Appendix N beta lactam drug residue testing, as well as training of Certified Industry Supervisors and evaluation of laboratory analysts. Additional duties include preparation of multi-state split samples, assisting with the Appendix N Industry Workshop, and tracking and reporting data to the National Drug Residue Database.

Carianne Endert-Klaasen has been promoted to Pasteurizer Specialist. Carianne is responsible for assisting with mandatory quarterly testing of all dairy plant pasteurizers, including High Temperature Short Time (HTST), Higher Heat Shorter Time (HHST), and Ultra High Temperature (UHT) systems. Additional duties include assistance with vat pasteurizer testing, review of drawings for new and updated pasteurizer systems, and training of inspection staff regarding pasteurizer construction and testing requirements, and assistance with the Certified Industry Pasteurizer Sealer program. Carianne also recently earned a Master of Science degree in Food Safety from Michigan State University. Congratulations, Cari!

Regional Updates

Dairy West Region: Expansion at Hudsonville Ice Cream

Hudsonville Ice Cream is currently undertaking a large expansion of its facility in Holland, MI. The expansion will include a new storage freezer, production, packaging and palletizing equipment, storage silos and wastewater treatment. The expansion will allow the ice cream to move from the manufacturing lines straight to the freezer space for distribution to retailers, where the ice cream will reach homes in over 12 states.

Dairy East Region: Michigan’s Largest Dairy Plant Opens in St. Johns

On March 12, 2018, MDARD had its first conference call regarding a major cheese manufacturer targeting Michigan for its newest manufacturing location. Full details of this project, known as Project Spartan, were not known until October 9, 2018, when a meeting of project partners, contractors, engineers, vendors, and MDARD officials was held at MSU’s Kellogg Center. It was at this meeting where Senior Dairy Inspector Rick Sokol was introduced to the Project Manager, John Murphy, as the lead inspector for MDARD for this $555 million project. From that point forward, Rick and John kept in almost weekly contact regarding project details.

After St. Johns was finalized as the destination for Project Spartan, construction went full steam ahead with a deadline of October 2020 to begin receiving milk. The project, now known as MWC, is comprised of Irish owned Glanbia and partners Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk.  Construction and installation of equipment in this massive 375,000-square-foot facility experienced very few delays, even throughout two Michigan winters. Led by Inspector Sokol and with the help and expertise from MDARD’s Laboratory Evaluation Officers, Pasteurization Specialists, State Rating Officers, and the Resource Specialist, the facility passed all inspections and was licensed on schedule.

As planned, MWC received its first load of milk on October 20, 2020. MWC is currently receiving approximately four million pounds of milk daily with the goal of bringing in eight million pounds daily by the end of 2021. MWC manufactures 40-pound blocks of cheddar cheese and ramped up its 640-pound block lines in March 2021. MWC also puts the whey, a byproduct of cheese making, through a drying process, where it is bagged and sent primarily to Glanbia Nutritionals. The processing of whey creates another byproduct called permeate, which is piped to the new adjacent $85 million ProLiant plant where it is dried into solids for use in many types of food products. ProLiant is licensed by MDARD’s Food Safety and Inspection Program.

MWC provides much needed manufacturing capacity for the excellent quality of milk produced by our state’s dairy farmers. This alleviates the need for some our milk to be trucked to southern markets, lessening the burden on our milk haulers. MWC employs nearly 260 people and is a great addition to our dairy industry and state economy.

MDARD Creates Mobile Milkhouse for Hauler/Sampler Inspections and Outreach

The MDARD Dairy Safety and Inspection Program is pleased to announce the completion of a custom-built mobile milkhouse. The mobile unit was made possible through funds from MDARD’s Rapid Response Team FDA grant and other funds. The 7 x 14-foot, single-axle trailer contains everything you would see in a small conventional dairy farm milkhouse including a fully functional bulk tank with recording chart, hand sink, and lights. It also has a small poly tank for holding water that can be pumped over to the bulk tank with the flip of a switch. The mobile milkhouse will allow staff to conduct hauler inspections where multiple haulers may congregate, such as dairy processing plants or milk transportation companies. This should significantly increase hauler/sampler inspection rates within the dairy safety and inspection program, which is vital to Michigan’s success under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance and Interstate Milk Shipments program. Additionally, the mobile milkhouse can be used as a training tool for sampling team events and as an educational tool at events, including the Great Dairy Adventure. This is a huge achievement for MDARD, the Food and Dairy Division, and the Dairy Safety and Inspection Program.

Dairy Assessment, Standardization and Training Team

The Dairy Assessment, Standardization and Training Team (DAST) was created to align MDARD’s dairy regulatory program with the FDA’s Manufactured Foods Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) and provide standardization and consistency throughout non-IMS listed dairy facilities in Michigan. DAST members will conduct on-site assessments of all licensed non-IMS listed dairy facilities in Michigan and thoroughly evaluate corresponding enforcement records. This will help build consistency in the Dairy Safety and Inspection Program. The DAST Team will also gather data to be used by the Dairy Safety and Inspection Program training team to develop targeted training opportunities.  

Hauler/Sampler Continuing Education Training Course Available Online

All licensed hauler/samplers are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) to participate in a certified training program at least once every 24 months. This is in addition to an on-farm inspection.

In the past, MDARD has offered training meetings around the state for licensed hauler/samplers to attend and to meet the FDA requirements for a certified training program. In an effort to provide a safe and convenient way for hauler/samplers to train during the current COVID-19 crisis, MDARD now offers the required certified training in an online format.

If you are interested in online training, please follow these steps:

  • Go to https://www.schoology.com/

  • If you have never used Schoology before:
    1. Click on the SIGN-UP icon in the upper right corner.
    2. Click on the STUDENT
    3. Enter access code: JG2GT-MTHHN
    4. Fill out required information using your name as it appears on your MDARD license.
    5. Click on the COURSES tab and select the 2020-2022 Online Hauler/Sampler Continuing Education Training Course.
    6. Complete each assignment.
    7. You are all set for the licensing period!

  • If you have used Schoology for MDARD training before:
    1. Click on the LOG-IN
    2. Enter your name and password.
    3. Click JOIN a Course under the COURSES
    4. Enter access code: JG2GT-MTHHN
    5. Complete each assignment.
    6. You are all done!

  • Hauler/Samplers need to attend a meeting in person (not currently offered due to the ongoing pandemic) or do this online training every licensing period (before June 30th of even years) to avoid a possible Administrative Fine.


If you have questions, please email MDARD at: MDARD-HAULERS-TANKERS@michigan.gov.

Sign Up to Receive Email Updates

To receive emails about dairy program updates and emergency response efforts, or provide occasional feedback via customer service surveys, please type the link that pertains to your license/business below into your web browser and provide your email address when prompted.

Dairy Farmers: https://bit.ly/2Kxh4t5

Dairy Manufacturing/Processing Plants: https://bit.ly/2Iu2bXS

Dairy Haulers/Shippers: https://bit.ly/2L7RHis

Michigan’s Dairy Industry by the Numbers

  • Michigan’s dairy industry is one of the largest agricultural industries in our state with an annual economic impact of $15.7 billion.

  • Michigan’s dairy industry generates nearly 40,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, both on and off the farm.

  • Michigan has 440,000 dairy cows on 1,153 dairy farms. Ninety-seven percent of Michigan’s dairy farms are family-owned, many by multiple generations of the same family.

  • Michigan produced 11.56 billion pounds of milk in 2020, ranking the state 6th in the nation for milk production.

  • Michigan milk production averaged 26,875 pounds of milk per cow in 2020, leading the nation.

  • Michigan dairy farmers produced more than one billion pounds of milk in January 2021, joining an elite group of five other states to reach this production level.

  • Michigan has seen remarkable expansion in new dairy businesses and technologies, from large dairy processors and automated ‘robotic’ milking systems to smaller on-farm artisanal cheese makers. This expansion trend has had a tremendous economic impact on our state, especially Michigan’s dairy farmers.

  • The increased capacity for dairy processing in our state provides a stable market for the high-quality milk our dairy farmers produce, which in turns supports our farm families and communities across the state and keeps healthy, nutritious dairy products affordable for all Michigan residents.

  • Michigan has 117 licensed dairy processing facilities (Grade A, manufacturing, transfer stations and cleaning facilities).

  • Michigan is 2nd only to Vermont in the number of small non-traditional (artisan) dairy processors.

  • Michigan has 243 robotic milking units (automated milking installations) on 55 farms.

  • Michigan has 137 pasteurizer units in use in the state.

Consumer Complaint Hotline

If you see a food- or dairy-related problem, please report it to the MDARD Food and Dairy Division at 800-292-3939 or through the MDARD website at Michigan.gov/MDARD.