Great Plains Dairy Partners LLC has taken over the former Schultz Creamery in Bismarck ND and revived the Deja Moo brand, which offers milk from cows not treated with the growth hormone commonly used on dairy cows in the United States.
"We have listened to consumers who have told us they want a fresher-tasting milk made in smaller batches from cows not treated with growth hormone," says Great Plains Dairy executive Jim Odney. "This will be our niche."
Dairy farmers began injecting cows with the rBST (recombinant bovine somatotrophin) hormone in 1994 to stimulate milk output.
Schultz Creamery was closed more than two years ago, falling victim to national conglomerates and industry consolidation. What secured the dairy's revival was a deal with Bon Appetit Management Co, a foodservice provider to colleges and corporations, to buy Deja Moo milk. Bon Appetit's Farm To Fork program is dedicated to sourcing from local producers.
"Without Bon Appetit, we could never have reopened our plant," says Odney, who has rehired 10 employees, many of whom were working at the factory when it closed. "They have a lot of emotional stock in the dairy, and some are second or third-generation family farmers. We are grateful to Bon Appetit for revitalizing our business."