Jan. 25, 2017

By Oregon State University

OSU food science students muscle heavy cheese curds toward one side of the vat.

CORVALLIS, Ore – The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) has announced a gift of $1.5

million to support construction of a new Food and Beverage Facility at Oregon State University.

The planned facility, part of OSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology, will include space for innovative research, testing and teaching related to Oregon’s dairy industry and other food and beverage industries important to Oregon.

Total projected cost for the new dairy pilot plant facility is $6 million, which includes $3 million planned from philanthropic support and a matching $3 million proposed from state bonds pending legislative approval during the 2017 legislative session.

As part of OSU’s Oregon Quality Food and Beverage Products Initiative, the new dairy processing facility will include an automated, small-scale dairy manufacturing plant with state-of-the-art equipment for production of cheese, ice cream, cultured products and dairy-based powders. There will be contemporary lab and classroom facilities to ensure important educational experiences and enhanced research facilities for both student training and industry collaborations.

These innovations build on opportunities sparked by earlier contributions from Paul and Sandy Arbuthnot for OSU’s Arbuthnot Dairy Center. The new dairy facility will establish even greater emphasis on manufacturing for undergraduates. Graduate students will engage in high-level technical dairy research, which can be readily applied to the field as advised by industry.

The Tillamook County Creamery Association is a 108-year-old farmer-owned cooperative and producer of Tillamook-branded dairy products.

“We are extremely grateful to be part of such a thriving food and beverage industry here in Oregon and to operate in a state that has such strong education and research partners,” said Patrick Criteser, TCCA’s president and CEO. “This donation demonstrates our confidence in OSU to train the next generation of dairy scientists and to partner with other companies around the region to advance the industry in a significant way.”

Dairy foods are advancing in the Pacific Northwest on several fronts, with product innovation, expanded global markets and honors received for some of the world’s most respected dairy products, according to Pete Kent, executive director of the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. The Northwest dairy industry has potential to advance even further, he says.

“OSU’s dairy foods program is well-positioned to drive future success by providing a well-trained professional workforce, Extension assistance to processors and research focused on the needs of regional dairies,” said Lisbeth Goddik, professor and leader of OSU’s dairy processing program. “OSU thanks the TCCA for helping us grow the Northwest dairy industry.”

Eric Bastian agrees. “The proposed pilot facility at OSU will be a significant step forward as we train the next generation of dairy scientists and technologists,” said Bastian, vice president for industry relations of United Dairymen of Idaho. “A technically trained workforce will enhance trust in the Northwest dairy industry and increase demand for Northwest dairy products.”