Dairy Pilot Plant renovation nears completion thanks to industry donations

Posted December 11, 2019

Renovation of the 30-year-old Daily Pilot Plant at UW-River Falls is scheduled to be completed in the spring, thanks in part to more than a half million dollars worth of donations from Greenwood, Wisconsin-based Grassland Dairy Products Inc.

The renovation is estimated to cost $3.5 million and is being financed by the Wisconsin State Building Commission, UW-River Falls, industry partners and donors. In October, Grassland Dairy announced it would be donating an additional $350,000 toward the Dairy Pilot Plant Renovation Project. The dairy previously, in 2013, gave $175,000, according to a university press release.

Grassland President Trevor Wuethrich said that the reason for the donation is that members of the company feel that UW-River Falls will have the premier food science program in the area.

Not only does this donation help the renovation, Wuethrich said that making this donation allows for Grassland to make connections and have access to graduates of the food science program. The donation helps to advance training and research which will then be available to the company.

The renovation includes updates to equipment and processes, according to the university, and enhancements to milk processing as well as cheese and ice cream manufacturing.

Wuethrich added that not only will the donation open doors to new employees from UW-River Falls, but many of the key employees at Grassland Dairy are UWRF graduates, so investing in the project is a way for the company to give back to the food science program that has provided Grassland with the knowledgeable and dedicated graduates that have helped make Grasslands successful.

Grassland Dairy was started in 1904 by the Wuethrich family. Greenwood is in central Wisconsin, east of Eau Claire.

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association also has pledged a total of $250,000 to the renovation project.