Foremost Farms: Remaining relevant
Part II in a two-part series
By Kris Leonhardt
The newly formed Hub Dairy Cooperative added $90,000 worth of equipment to manufacture non-fat milk in powder form. The company then had the capacity to put out 1,200 pounds per hour, but stayed at a more comfortable 1,000.
Cheese production was suspended and the coop began to focus on butter and powdered milk, producing 4,000 pounds of butter a day and developing a half dozen types of non-fat milk powder.
In 1963, after experiencing several years of loss, the Hub Dairy Cooperative merged with Consolidated Badger, based in Shawano. With 350 cooperative members, a 136-16 vote supported a decision by the board of directors that would help the company sustain.
The plant, which was still owned by Land O’Lakes, was paid for in the form of securities granted by Consolidated Badger.
Consolidated Badger products were marketed under the Morning Glory and Cleary’s brand names.
In 1966, Consolidated Badger also purchased Parkin Dairy Products, in Marshfield, from John Parkin for the Morning Glory label.
In 1967, the company began a series of remodels with a $10,000 addition for can washing, followed by a $55,000 remodel to accommodate new equipment so the company could focus on cheese production. They then acquired the Foremost Foods whey evaporating facilities, and in 1970, completed a 91-foot by 136-foot steel frame building for refrigerating cheese.
From its sale to Consolidated Badger in 1963 to the completion of their refrigeration addition in 1970, the company added 70 employees. In 1970, they were honored for their growth and development with the Marshfield Area Chamber’s Firm of the Year.
Four years later, the company became a forerunner as one of just two plants in the nation to use the automated continuous cheese-making machine, becoming a seven-day-a- week operation, utilizing three shifts. The move cut the staff numbers by more than half.
In 1986, the company merged with Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI) and became known as Morning Glory Farms Cooperative. With the use of an automated cheese making machine, combined with block forming towers, and automated packing equipment, they were producing 140,000 pounds of cheese per day and processing 1.1 million pounds of milk per day to 1.7 million.
The company began producing 40-pound blocks of cheddar cheese, selling over half to pizzerias on the East Coast and the remainder to a sister plant in Portage, which catered to companies such as Taco Bell and Nabisco.
In 1994, a new evaporator system was added that was capable of handling all of the whey product, rather than shipping a portion to be concentrated in another facility.
The following year, Foremost Farms acquired the Morning Glory Farms division of AMPI, producing fluid milk, sour cream, cheese, butter, and other dairy ingredients.
Today, the company continues to operate as Foremost Farms, producing American style cheese, cream, and condensed whey. Foremost Farms currently employs 54 staff members.