First District Association relies on Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration to keep its high-volume dairy plant running smoothly.

First District Association relies on Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration to keep its high-volume dairy plant running smoothly.

At First District Association dairy cooperative, a typical day involves moving 3.8 million lbs. of product through its system. In addition to processing such a high volume, the plant’s system must maintain critical temperatures to optimize yield. That’s where Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration (CSR) has offered its expertise and engineering since the mid-1980s.

Every year, the Litchfield, MN.-based First District Association processes more than 1.5 billion lbs. of milk, producing 45-plus million lbs of powder, 140-plus million lbs. cheese and 190-plus million lbs. of Grade A milk.

“We are a single plant entity,” says Russ Albrecht, project manager, First District Association. “We stand alone, so it’s imperative we run efficiently, every day.”

Ten degrees of separation.

CSR provides all components of First District’s industrial refrigeration system. The cooperative began working with CSR during a critical system upgrade about 25 years ago. It was then that Art Rick, First District’s maintenance supervisor, turned to CSR’s Dave Grong, then-president (now advisor) of CSR.

“We worked hand in hand to develop an ammonia-chilled glycol system to cool lactose during production,” says Rick. “We need to maintain 10-degrees between it and the actual product to optimize our product yield.”

Since then, CSR has continued to return value to First District.

“The CSR guys are highly trained and not easily stumped,” says Albrecht. “What’s more, they have a core work ethic and professionalism that keeps us coming back.”  

The partnership keeps moving.

With a shared vision of continuous improvement, CSR and First District are now working on a new cooler addition and utility block design for the plant.

“Carlson & Stewart has been with us through all of our expansions,” says Albrecht. “And they’ve always helped us stay efficient and reliable.”