By DAN WHEAT
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Darigold Inc., the Seattle-based Northwest dairy cooperative, is planning a $22 million expansion of its Sunnyside plant, according to the Washington Department of Commerce.
Darigold officials could not be reached for comment. It is not known if the expansion has anything to do with Darigold's plans to build an infant-formula plant for which it recently received a $500,000 tax break from the state Legislature.
However, Dan DeRuyter, a Sunnyside dairy owner, said the expansion is additional capacity to process milk that is needed during certain times of the year. The Lower Yakima Valley has more than 50 dairies and about 70,000 milking cows, he said.
The state Community Economic Revitalization Board announced $2.1 million in public investments to target business growth and job creation on July 18. In that amount is an $850,000 loan and $150,000 grant for the Port of Sunnyside to construct a wastewater pre-treatment facility for the Darigold expansion at the Port, according to a Department of Commerce news release.
The Port is also receiving $5 million in local and federal funds for the wastewater improvements and the Darigold expansion will add 25 new jobs to the plant's 137 jobs, the news release states.
The new pre-treatment wastewater facility will include a new anaerobic system that will double the discharge capacity of one of the wastewater units, which will help Darigold's expansion, a port official has said.
Darigold produces more than 6.5 billion pounds of milk annually, grosses more than $2 billion annually, has 12 processing plants and 1,240 employees, according to various sources.