Milk co-op buying Byrne Dairy plant

Byrne Dairy fresh milk will be processed by Upstate Niagara Cooperative when it purchases the Byrne Dairy plant in Syracuse. Watertown Daily Times

SYRACUSE — Fresh milk from Byrne Dairy will be processed and bottled by a new company from Buffalo when it acquires the Byrne Dairy plant in Syracuse.

Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc. on Wednesday announced its agreement to purchase Byrne Dairy’s fresh dairy products plant and distribution centers in Watertown, Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester and Utica. The Buffalo cooperative expects to close on its acquisition in December, said Marketing Manager Eva Balazs.

Byrne Dairy processed several products, including fresh milk, creams, eggnog and juices, at the Syracuse plant.

Ms. Balazs said Upstate Niagara will process the Byrne Dairy products from the Syracuse plant, except for the ice cream, which will not be included in the acquisition, and sell them with the Byrne Dairy brand at Byrne Dairy stores.

The prospective acquisition does not include Byrne Dairy stores, cultured and extended shelf life products, or its other plants.

Byrne Dairy did not return request for comment.

“We really wanted to extend our reach more towards the east” portion of New York, Ms. Balazs said.

Upstate Niagara is one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the country, with about 340 member farms, including some in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

Workers at its plants in New York and Pennsylvania, including one in North Lawrence, process fluid milk, flavored milk, cream, flavored dip, sour cream and other products under the Upstate Farms, Valley Farms and other brands. Ms. Balazs said acquiring some of Byrne Dairy’s assets should not affect Upstate Niagara’s other operations. When asked whether milk from its member producers, including north country farms, will be used to make Byrne Dairy fresh dairy products, Ms. Balazs said Upstate Niagara will evaluate that closer to the acquisition date.

“As we transition the business, milk will continue to be provided by Byrne Dairy,” she said. “During the transition, we’ll assess the available milk supplies to determine our needs as we integrate the Oneida Street facility into the Upstate Niagara family of dairies.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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