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Dairy Farmers of America
moving out of Platte County

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), with reported $18 billion in revenue last year, will be relocating its headquarters outside of Platte County.

On Tuesday, Kansas City's largest private company publicly announced its plan to build a new global headquarters in Kansas City, Kan.

According to a press release posted on the DFA website, the company plans on relocating its existing 325 local employees.

Dairy Farmers of America has leased the headquarters located at 10220 N. Ambassador Drive along Interstate 29 in Platte County since its inception 16-years-ago.

Its new state-of-the-art headquarters is currently being constructed in the burgeoning Village West area in Wyandotte County, Kan. The development is described as a three-story, 100,000 square foot structure designed to LEED standards.

“This building will pay tribute to our cooperative's farmer-owners and the sustainable practices they employ on their dairies,” said Rick Smith, DFA president and chief executive officer.

“More importantly, as DFA strives to be the workplace of choice for employees, the new building will feature a modern, flexible work environment designed for employees of today and tomorrow.”

DFA also plans on building a $235 million dairy ingredients plant in the Sunflower State.

“The ingredients facility is expected to be operational in 2017,” states the release.

The proposed plant site, located in western Kansas, will be used for manufacturing milk powder for a global market. DFA is partnering with Inner Mongolia Yili Industry Group, a Chinese dairy company.

"This move recognizes the important role Kansas plays in the dairy and agriculture industry, and we are pleased to welcome DFA to Kansas City, Kansas,” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said. “They are a leader in America's dairy industry and their decision to relocate to Kansas reflects our commitment to growing agriculture in Kansas.”

Kansas City Major Sly James commented on the announcement Tuesday, stating, “It is unfortunate that we have gone through this wasteful and destructive bidding war that doesn't result in any additional new jobs added to the area. We can no longer define economic development as engaging in self-destructive bidding wars with our neighbors who, like us, could put these funds to more productive purposes.”

Dairy Farmers of America's lease in the Northland will expire in 2018. Construction of their new global headquarters is expected to be wrapped up well in advance of that.

DFA did not reveal what factors led to its decision to relocate to another state. According to the press release, DFA is owned by some 15,000 American dairy farmers and is the sixth-largest global dairy company.