garden city, ks

DFA - Powder Drying Facility


Shambaugh & Son, L.P.


Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.


MSKTD & Associates, Inc.

Services Provided

  • Automation Engineering
  • Electrical
  • Fire Protection
  • Mechanical
  • Process Controls
  • Refrigeration
Close up view of milk powder

Value Delivered

Shambaugh designed and built the 267,000-square-foot Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Garden City plant. The facility has the capability of receiving four million pounds, or 84 tanker loads, of milk per day from regional dairy farms.

Thanks to the plant’s streamlined design, it takes approximately 68 minutes to offload a tanker’s milk, clean the truck, and test the milk. Due to the close proximity of the plant to the milk supply, a 5,000-gallon milk tanker that may have taken days to deliver and be processed, can now return to the dairy in the same day.

The location of the facility helps to drastically reduce hauling and trucking costs for DFA members, and shortens turnaround time, which also creates significant financial advantages. Shambaugh’s highly automated, energy- and water-efficient design helps the plant conserve resources and function sustainably.

In 2018, Food Engineering magazine named the facility “Sustainable Plant of the Year,” recognizing the plant for outstanding sustainable engineering features that go above and beyond industry standards. It also received ProFood World's 2018 Manufacturing Innovation Award for usage of reundant systems and advanced automation systems to keep its processes running 24/7.

Client Objectives

DFA wanted to provide a local home for their member’s milk in southwest Kansas. In partnership with 12 of its member farms in the southwest region, DFA chose Garden City, KS, as the new home for a state-of-the-art plant capable of whole, skim, and nonfat dry milk powder, and cream production.

DFA needed a plant with processing capabilities large enough to centralize their dairy distribution in the Southwest region and fill an essential role in their sustainable strategy for the area. Additionally, they wanted the plant to be designed with a focus on efficiency, water conservation, and advanced energy-saving technologies.


The 156-acre Garden City site is North America’s largest whole and skim milk powder drying facility. The facility has highly advanced bio security, which eliminates risk by implementing various hygiene zones, incorporating HEPA filters throughout the plant, and minimizing contact with the product.

The plant was designed with built-in redundancies that allow for 24/7 continuous operation. Additionally, numerous environmental safeguards were built into the system including a diffusion tank that allows trace emissions to be captured to help ensure contaminants are not released into the environment.

During the project, Shambaugh delivered the following:

  • Wet process/evaporation/drying/packaging
  • Mechanical, electrical, and refrigeration
  • Fire protection
  • Waste water treatment
  • Process controls and building automation
  • 24-hour milk processing capabilities
  • The completed Garden City campus houses the following:
  • Dairy processing, separation, evaporation, and drying equipment
  • Milk tanker receiving
  • Laboratories
  • Sanitation and utility corridors
  • Bulk chemical and storage distribution
  • Associated utility infrastructure

Client Background

DFA is a national cooperative that markets and sells milk products to wholesale buyers around the globe. Formed in 1998 by four of the nation’s leading milk cooperatives, DFA now includes more than 13,000 dairy farmers in 48 states.