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Hiland Dairy Foods wins Manufacturer of the Year

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Hiland Dairy Foods is the winner of the 1998 Springfield Area Manufacturer of the Year Award. The company was presented the award at a luncheon Dec. 9. The award is sponsored by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

The other two finalists for the award were Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co. and Dayco Products. The award originated in 1995.

Hiland is now 60 years old and started in 1938 when two men milking a herd of 50 dairy cows began selling milk door-to-door in the area. The company now bottles an average of 225,000 gallons of milk per day at its Springfield plant. The company saw the most growth in the mid-1980s, after Prairie Farms and Mid-America Dairymen formed a partnership to purchase the company in 1979.

Hiland processes, packages and ships several dairy products under its label and under private labels for retailers such as Smitty's, Git-n-Go, Wal-Mart and others.

Hiland's line of products includes fluid milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, dips, yogurt, orange juice, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and buttermilk. The company is also the Midwest-area distributor for other companies such as Haagen-Daas, Breyer's and Ben & Jerry's.

"We've always thought of ourselves as small in the community, but this nomination is something that makes you stand back and think we really are a big part of the community," said Randal Hyde, human resources manager.

Jim Anderson, chamber president said in a release, "Hiland is truly a national leader in the dairy processing industry. The company has grown steadily over the years and strategically adapted to customer and consumer demands, always with an unwavering focus on consistent quality. The recent international recognition Hiland has received certainly underscores this commitment and we're pleased to honor them locally as well."

The international recognition was in the form of the Irving B. Weber Award, the most prestigious award given to a member of the Quality Chekd Association, an international association of dairy food companies of which Hiland is a member.

Hiland has received the Weber Award two years in a row, Hyde said, and is the first company to do so.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Randal Hyde receives the Manufacturer of the Year Award for Hiland. From left are Sheila Collins, chamber vice chair of economic development; Hyde; Sye Engelke, chair of the Manufacturer of the Year event; and Bob Ringgenberg, chair of the industrial council.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Randal Hyde, human resources director for Hiland Dairy Foods, stands inside the company's Springfield plant. See the story on page 26 for more about the Manufactuer of the Year, awarded at a Dec. 9 luncheon.[[In-content Ad]]

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