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April 30, 2018

Pineland Farms' Bangor dairy gearing up for production this summer

Photo / Mainebiz archives
Photo / Mainebiz archives
Mark Whitney, president of Pineland Farms Dairy Co. Inc., stands in front of a steam boiler, one of the few working pieces of equipment remaining in the former Grant's Dairy in Bangor, which is being renovated to become a working dairy once again this summer.

Activity is underway at the former Grant's Dairy at Bangor's Hildreth North Business Park, which is now under the ownership of Pineland Farms Dairy Co.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Pineland, which is setting up silos and machinery, expects to have the dairy in production for cheese and milk by July. Pineland already has 16 employees, primarily in administration, and may hire up to 50 people after it finishes work on the refurbished facility, BDN reported.

"The renovation and reopening of the Bangor facility is great news for the state and our [Dairy Farmers of America] family farms in this area, as it will help provide increased processing capacity as well as help create efficiencies in the local milk shed," Dairy Farmers of America Chief Operating Officer Brad Keating told the BDN.

Pineland Farms Dairy Co. is owned by the Libra Foundation in Portland. The 75,000-square-foot Bangor facility was first a milk bottler called Grant's Dairy. Garelick Dairy bought Grant's in 1994, and Garelick in turn was bought in 1997 by Suiza Foods, which acquired and took on the name Dean Foods Co., which is based in Dallas. Dean made a milk blend at the plant before shuttering it in January 2013.

Pineland Farms purchased the facility in 2017. Its first priority was to move its cut, wrap and cheese-aging operations from Mars Hill to the Bangor facility, Mainebiz reported in August 2017.

That was necessitated when New Albany, Ohio-based Bob Evans Farms Inc. acquired Pineland Farms Potato Co. in January 2017 and didn't want the cheese operation to continue at the Mars Hill facility. Nine months later, Post Holdings Inc. announced its plans to buy Bob Evans Farms Inc. for $1.5 billion, a deal that closed in January 2018 and included the Mars Hill refrigerated potato facility, which Post continues to operate.

Three days before it closed the potato company sale to Bob Evans Farms in 2017, Libra Foundation spun out the cheese operations into the new dairy company.

It named Mark Whitney, creamery manager at Pineland Farms Creamery in New Gloucester, president of the Pineland Farms Dairy Co. Inc., the new for-profit company created to consolidate operations in New Gloucester and Mars Hills into the Bangor site.

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