Company Selects Location Due to New York State’s World-Renowned Reputation as Agribusiness Global Leader: Expects to Create Approximately 250 New Jobs in the Town of Webster
Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that The Coca-Cola Company has selected New York State for its preferred location for a new fairlife production facility. The 745,000 square-foot facility is expected to create up to 250 new jobs and be built on property on Tebor Road in the Town of Webster, Monroe County. The company expects to break ground on the project sometime this fall, subject to appropriate approvals and final diligence, with the facility slated to be operational by Q4 of 2025. The total project investment has been estimated at $650 million.
“This decision by fairlife to expand their operations in Monroe County marks the next chapter in New York’s agricultural success story,” Governor Hochul said. “New York’s dairy industry serves as a crucial economic engine for our state, and this $650 million investment from fairlife will create jobs and drive economic impact, particularly in the Finger Lakes. We were in tough competition with other states for what will be the largest dairy processing plant in the Northeast and this decision, which comes on the heels of investments from major companies like Micron and Li-Cycle, confirms that New York continues to offer a competitive business environment. Coming from a family of dairy farmers in Ireland, I am proud to have secured this major opportunity to position our state as one of the nation’s top dairy producers.”
Founded in 2012, fairlife has designed a line of products that are made through an ultra-filtered milk process that removes the lactose and much of the sugar and leaves behind more of the protein and calcium. The company offers a wide range of products including fairlife® ultra-filtered milk, Core Power® protein shakes, and fairlife® Nutrition Plan® meal replacement shakes. The Coca-Cola Company has been a strategic partner to fairlife since it was launched in 2012 through the company’s ultimate acquisition of it in 2020.
fairlife Chief Executive Officer Tim Doelman said, “Consumer demand for fairlife products is at an all-time high, and a new production facility will allow us to significantly increase capacity and deliver fairlife to even more households across the country. As we continue to grow in the Northeast, Webster’s proximity and access to best-in-class dairy farmers make it an excellent location to support our next phase of growth in the region and beyond. We are sincerely grateful for the collaboration from Governor Hochul and her administration throughout this process.”
ESD is providing up to $21 million in assistance for the project through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for the job creation commitments. Additionally, the Monroe County IDA is expected to apply to ESD for a $20 million Capital Grant so that they can work to provide adequate power and other related infrastructure costs to service the site. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency, the Town of Webster, Rochester Gas and Electric and Greater Rochester Enterprise were additionally instrumental in bringing the company to New York State. The company selected New York State due to the invaluable assistance of these committed stakeholders, and to its world-renowned reputation as an agribusiness global leader with an unparalleled, innovative dairy community.
The research for fairlife’s® branded milk process using state of the art ultrafiltration originated at Cornell University over a decade ago. Unique to fairlife®, the ultrafiltration process gives their milk a longer shelf life and creates a product with less sugar, more protein and more calcium over conventional milk for sale in the marketplace. Expected utilization is equal to an estimated 5 million pounds of locally sourced milk per day, making it the largest dairy plant in the Northeast and positions New York to regain its position as the 3rd largest producer of milk in the U.S.
Today’s announcement also delivers on the Governor’s promise in her 2023 State of the State to address the need for additional agricultural processing capacity to help alleviate the gaps in the supply chain by developing an interagency team with Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets that will work with new and expanding businesses to spur further investment in food manufacturing in the State.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “We are incredibly excited to welcome fairlife to Monroe County. The company’s plans to put down roots in this upstate community, and its potential to create up to 250 new jobs, is well suited because New York has the unmatched farm and dairy infrastructure to support this project and is a clear leader in dairy production and research and development as well.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “fairlife's decision to locate its new plant in New York State is tremendous news for our state and for our dairy industry, which is New York’s largest agricultural economic driver. Today’s announcement highlights the world-class excellence of our dairy community whose farmers who will be supplying milk to this state-of-the-art processing facility. I thank Governor Hochul and all of the partners involved in this exciting project and look forward to the positive long-term impact this will have on our dairies statewide.”
New York Farm Bureau President and dairy farmer David Fisher said, "Fairlife's announcement that it will build a new processing plant in New York State is significant news for the state's dairy farms and our upstate economy. It will expand the marketplace for New York produced milk, which is needed for the long-term success of our farms. In addition, the construction and processing jobs that will be created highlight how agriculture contributes to the greater state economy. New York Farm Bureau thanks Gov. Hochul for her commitment to make this day a reality, and we welcome Fairlife to New York as a partner and supporter of the state's number one agricultural commodity."
New York State has a robust, thriving agricultural industry, home to almost 3,500 dairy farms and 620,000 cows. Thanks to its abundant resources, good land, access to water, and innovative farmers, a large majority of its farms statewide also participate in the state’s AEM program and in national programs such as the NMPF FARM program. By utilizing the most advanced on-farm technologies available, New York dairy farmers remain uniquely poised to continue to produce the highest quality milk, in the most environmentally sustainable way.
Assemblymember Brian Manktelow said, “Every year our farmers invest countless dollars into their operations, making central and western New York a premier agricultural community. I am beyond thrilled that fairlife and the state have recognized their commitment to agriculture, to our animals, and hopefully they realize what this will mean to our community. Beyond the new 250 jobs in the production facility we will see an increased demand for local dairy production and transportation. This is an important step in preserving and improving our status as a top-5 dairy producing state. I thank fairlife CEO Tim Doelman, for choosing the Town of Webster for this facility and welcome all members of the fairlife family to the 130th Assembly District.”
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “Monroe County has a rich heritage of championing dairy and agriculture, and we eagerly anticipate collaborating with fairlife to carry on this tradition. Their $650 million investment will not only create new jobs and a new market for our region’s quality milk supply, but also boost our local economy and reinforce our reputation as a hub of opportunity. I’m grateful for the tremendous support for this project from Empire State Development and Gov. Kathy Hochul. Fairlife’s decision to establish their new plant in Webster is one more proof point that Monroe County is a leader in economic development, with an exceptionally skilled workforce that continues to attract innovative, high-tech food and beverage manufacturing.
Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty said, “The Town of Webster is delighted to be selected by fairlife as the location of its first northeastern US production facility. I would like to thank Governor Hochul, Empire State Development, Monroe County, and the Greater Rochester Enterprise for their leadership and guidance to bring this investment into our community. We are also extremely grateful to fairlife’s leadership for the opportunity to be a partner in this important milestone decision for the corporation. The Town of Webster and the Webster Economic Development Alliance are ready, energized, and determined to support fairlife as it embarks upon one of our community’s single largest manufacturing projects. The construction of the 745,000sf state-of-the-art facility will create high-paying jobs and provide economic opportunity for hundreds of families in and around our community.”
Pedro Azagra, CEO of AVANGRID, parent company of RG&E, said, “We are delighted to support fairlife and New York’s dairy industry through economic development assistance which will help offset electric infrastructure costs for this project and help create 250 jobs. This great opportunity to back the state’s agricultural economy and deliver the energy that makes it possible, is one that Avangrid and RG&E enthusiastically support for this company and for various companies around the state.”
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO and Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Bob Duffy said, "The selection of the Greater Rochester region for fairlife's new manufacturing and processing facility is a testament to our world-renowned reputation as a global leader in agribusiness. This investment will not only bring significant economic growth to the region, but also create new job opportunities for our residents. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her leadership in bringing fairlife to New York State, and to the leadership of fairlife for recognizing the incredible opportunities presented by our region. We look forward to welcoming fairlife to Monroe County!”
Matt Hurlbutt, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise said, “The Greater Rochester, NY region provides fairlife with a rich ecosystem capable of building a competitive advantage focused on product innovation and business growth. By locating in the Greater Rochester, NY region, fairlife gains an ideal site with access to both abundant, quality milk supply as well as highly-skilled engineering talent needed for high-volume advanced manufacturing. Throughout its site selection process, GRE led regional collaboration across business, community, and academia to help fairlife meet essential infrastructure and workforce requirements. GRE looks forward to supporting fairlife and its leadership to establish its first northeast U.S. facility and contribute to the Greater Rochester, NY region’s thriving food and beverage manufacturing sector.”
To learn more about fairlife, visit: fairlife.com
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. More information is available here.
About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.
About the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYS Dairy Industry
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets promotes New York State agriculture and its high-quality and diverse products, fosters agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguards the state’s food supply, land, and livestock to ensure the viability and growth of New York’s agriculture industries. New York’s dairy industry is a critical sector of the state’s economy and as its leading agricultural sector, dairy accounts for approximately one-half of New York’s total agricultural income. New York State has nearly 3,200 dairy farms that produce over 15 billion pounds of milk annually, making New York the nation’s fifth largest dairy state. New York’s unique and talented dairy producers and processors provide significant contributions to New York’s agriculture industry, the economy, and to the health of our communities.