Modern labs and classrooms will allow for educational experiences and research projects for both student training and industry collaborations.

BY JULIE NOLTA

Early this year, the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) announced its plans to donate $1.5 million towards the construction of a new dairy pilot plant at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

The planned Food and Beverage facility is part of OSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology and will provide space for research, testing, and teaching related to the dairy industry and other important Oregon food and beverage industries.  OSU’s current dairy processing program provides education to train a professional workforce, conducts research benefiting the needs of regional dairies, and offers extension services to professors.

TCCA is a 108-year-old cooperative owned by Oregon farmers who produce Tillamook branded dairy products, and they state their donation demonstrates their confidence in OSU to train the next generation of dairy scientists and to significantly advance their industry in partnership with other companies around the Northwest.  This donation builds on earlier contributions which helped create the existing Arbuthnot Dairy Center.  OSU thanks the TCCA for helping them grow the Northwest dairy industry.

As part of OSU’s Oregon Quality Food and Beverage Products Initiative, university students will produce cheese, ice cream, dairy based powders, and other cultured products in an automated manufacturing plant with state of the art equipment.  Modern labs and classrooms will allow for educational experiences and research projects for both student training and industry collaborations.  The undergraduate program focuses on manufacturing, and graduate students participate in higher level, technical research to directly benefit the industry.

The Northwest dairy food industry is making great strides in the development of new and award-winning products now being sold around the world, notes the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.  With the new proposed pilot facility at OSU, it has the potential to advance even further with a technically trained, new generation of food scientists and technologists.

The United Dairymen of Idaho agree, and state that along with a skilled workforce will come increased trust in the Northwest dairy industry and increased demand for Northwest dairy products.

The new OSU dairy facility is projected to cost $6 million, $3 million of which is planned to come from donations. The other $3 million is in the form of a proposed state bond now before the 2017 Oregon Legislature