Fonterra Co-operative Group is joining established USA dairy co-operative Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) and dairy producer Threemile Canyon Farms as equal shareholders in Oregon-based whey protein concentrate and lactose manufacturer Columbia River Technologies.
Columbia River Technologies, which was originally founded in 2013 as a joint venture between TCCA and Threemile Canyon Farms, has been producing high-quality whey protein products for the past five years at a state-of-the-art production facility in Boardman, Oregon, adjacent to the TCCA’s satellite cheese making plant. Since 2013, Fonterra has had the exclusive sales agency for these products.
TCCA has held milk supply agreements with Threemile for the last 16 years. The two organizations established the joint venture to maximize efficiencies at TCCA’s cheesemaking plant and increase value from the natural whey and lactose by-products of the cheese making process.
In addition to being an early customer of the whey protein products, Fonterra has shared its world-leading dairy expertise with the joint venture since its start-up, through onsite technical support and training.
Fonterra Regional Director Ingredients America Joe Coote says joining the joint venture as an equal shareholder is a natural progression of its long-term relationship with TCCA and Threemile Canyon Farms. It enables Fonterra to meet growing demand for ingredients such as whey protein from places outside New Zealand.
“The agreement reflects Fonterra’s move to develop a sustainable US-sourcing network, providing a reliable and efficient chain of supply, and complementing New Zealand-sourced ingredients for our sports and infant nutrition customers.”
TCCA President and CEO Patrick Criteser say the joint venture aligns with TCCA’s strategy to make responsible use of the by-products of its primary cheese-making business and continue to create value for its farmer-owners.
“We’re pleased to further strengthen our existing relationship with Fonterra, an organization that understands the cooperative mindset and brings significant expertise in the area of whey products.”
“This agreement represents the logical alignment of three successful businesses with compatible core principles and values. It leverages each company’s expertise and resources, and reinforces an already strong alliance for future strategic growth,” says Marty Myers, General Manager of Threemile Canyon Farms.
Joe Coote said, “The joint venture agreement also demonstrates Fonterra’s commitment to its partners in the US market”.