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Behind the Business: Idaho Milk Products’ empire grows to meet demand for milk protein

Idaho Milk Products has grown from humble beginnings to a large Magic Valley employer
Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 9:02 AM MST
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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — What began as a group dairy families has turned into a multi-million dollar empire and large Magic Valley employer. This week’s Behind the Business highlights Idaho Milk Products in Jerome.

“There were a lot of emotions with that first bag of product that rolled off the line,” said Idaho Milk Products Marketing Manager Ron Hayes.

It was humble beginnings for Idaho Milk Products — which was founded by three dairy families — but, these days they are a bonafide juggernaut.

“When they first started, they were handling about two million pounds of milk per day ... and they thought that was pretty good,” Hayes said. “Right now, we’re handling about 4.5 million pounds. We are — as far as we know 1 the world’s largest dedicated milk protein processor.”

The products they send off to buyers are used in a variety of ways, ranging from ice cream to protein bars. Despite the company’s rapid growth, Idaho Milk Products believe being located in Jerome allows the freshness of its products to stand out.

“That location in Jerome happens to be smack dab in the middle of farms where we source our milk,” Hayes said. “Freshness does really make a difference. After the milk comes out of a cow, the longer it’s out of the cow — even if it’s refrigerated — the more it breaks down. The sooner you can get the milk into a processing plant, the fresher the flavor will be of the product you’re creating.”

Idaho Milk Products makes sure to support the Magic Valley, as well. Not only in terms of good-paying jobs, but also through community service.

“We decided early on that we would focus resources towards helping our community,” Hayes said. “We look for how we can help with families, kids and those people who are struggling in any way. We have a nice budget amount that we are able to dedicate towards making monthly charitable contributions.”

In what is the third-largest dairy-producing state in the country, Idaho Milk Products sees a bright future ahead.

“We see the potential for our business to continue to grow as dairy protein begins to be exported more and more,” Hayes said. “In Asia, the Middle East and even into South Africa, they’re seeing dairy protein can really be beneficial to their population. We see that there is going to be a lot more demand for dairy.”

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