Infant formula facility a boost for Ontario dairy

A significant new market for Ontario’s dairy sector is springing up.

The province recently announced a $24-million investment Canada Royal Milk ULC, a $225-million infant formula plant being built in Kingston, Ont.

The owner is China’s largest domestic infant formula company, Feihe International. The company produces, packages and distributes milk powder and related products in China. 

First outside of China

The Kingston plant, which will be operational in 2020 and employ nearly 280 people, will be the company’s first baby formula production facility outside of China.

The Ontario agricultural sector expects new opportunities for the province's dairy and goat producers.

“It can only be positive for the dairy goat industry,” says Erin Harris, dairy goat consultant at B-W Feed and Seed Ltd., of New Hamburg. “The opportunity to continue to diversify the market for raw milk will help the sector to develop and provide increased stability.”

She says currently, about 80 per cent of dairy goat milk is processed into cheese, “so increasing the amount of products it’s used in will help farmers to continue to grow.”

Market for surplus

The plant could provide a market when the sector is experiencing surplus production, like it is currently. That’s led to reduced prices.

“Farmers would welcome the ability to have more of that milk processed,” Harris says.

Dairy farmer Tim May of Rockwood says the plant will add to the already strong growth of the dairy industry in Ontario.

The exact source and quantity of milk required for the Kingston plant has yet to be announced. However, company chair Youbin Leng says Ontario has a natural geographic advantage for milk production that he finds attractive and familiar.

Bottom line

China's largest baby formula company is building a production facility in Ontario, a move that's expected to strengthen the province's dairy and goat milk market.

Article by: Owen Roberts