Dairy firm eyes move into Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN – An Iowa dairy company is proposing a nearly 39,000-square-foot project at the Johnstown Industrial Park to process excess whey from yogurt manufacturer Fage USA.

Proliant Dairy, of Ankeny, Iowa, is proposing a 38,893-square-foot addition at 199 Enterprise Road to an existing, vacant 34,907-square-foot warehouse building on 10 acres at the industrial park.

“It appears Johnstown is their primary site,” Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese said today.

The addition would be built near Fage USA. The existing warehouse is currently owned by Boston-based Stag Capital Partners. It used to house the former H&J Leather, Finkle Distributors and Core-Mark International firms.

Proliant’s proposed site plans will come before the city Planning Board at its next session at 4 p.m. Aug. 5 at City Hall.

“They’re looking to dry Fage’s whey that we can’t handle,” Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility engineer Tyler Masick said Monday.

The sewage treatment plant is involved in a $7 million upgrade project for the sewer plant’s treatment process to deal with more waste products from the local dairy industries. Those industries include the Fage USA yogurt plant and the Euphrates cheese factory. The whey is also converted into biogas for energy needs.

Fage itself is also undergoing a $120 expansion, creating 150 more jobs at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Proliant Dairy in November announced a deal to purchase some of Fage’s whey and turn it into a shelf-stable, easily transportable, dry ingredient for global food and feed industries. According to its website, Proliant Dairy is part of Lauridsen Group Incorporated, a privately-owned holding company. LGI companies specialize in producing, manufacturing and marketing protein-based and other food or feed-grade products for the food, nutrition, human health, nutraceutical, diagnostic, research, pharmaceutical and veterinary vaccine industries.

Proliant Dairy and LGI process many food industry byproducts into value-added food and feed ingredients. Annually, hundreds of millions of pounds of raw materials are redirected into commercially viable products, the website says.

It was uncertain this morning how many jobs the new project will create. Proliant Dairy officials couldn’t be reached for comment Monday and this morning.

Masick said Proliant Dairy may end up being another big revenue producer for the sewer plant just like Fage, its current top customer.

“They’ve given us some preliminary numbers,” Masick said of Proliant.

According to its application to the city Planning Board, the proposed Proliant Dairy redevelopment site will have a drainage area of about seven acres.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.