Maytag Dairy Farms sold
By KRISTIN DANLEY-GREINER
NEWTON – After almost 80 years in business as a family-owned agriculture entity known worldwide, the Newton-based Maytag Dairy Farms has been purchased by private equity fund manager Midwest Growth Partners, of West Des Moines.
The equity fund manager plans to generate “capital resources” for the Iowa craft cheese producer in order to pave the way for its “continued success.”
All 40 full-time and 40 part-time and seasonal employees of Maytag Dairy Farms have been retained.
In a press release issued by Midwest Growth Partners, Fritz Maytag, former chairman of the dairy farms, emphasized how important it was for the longtime family business to partner with “fellow Iowans whose values align with our own.”
“…and who will continue to carry on our passion for our customers, our products and the people who create them,” Maytag said. “The Midwest Growth Partners team shares our vision for the future of the company, and we’re confident the operations will be in good hands well into the future.”
Maytag and other relatives have been running the family business for the past 50 years. He and nephew John Dannerbeck, former chairman of the Maytag Dairy Farm Board of Directors and treasurer, respectively, will retain their seats on the company board and assist with the transition.
Midwest Growth Partners intends to help the Newton business grow by expanding the producer’s state-of-the-art production facilities, look at other potential spin-off products and expansion into new markets.
“Financial stability is certainly something to aim for, but it’s much more than just increasing profits alone,” Andrew Gillman, a spokesman for Midwest Growth Partners, said. “This partnership is all about utilizing MGP’s experience, guidance and hands-on leadership to help Maytag Dairy Farms reach its full potential.”
Gillman explained that Midwest Growth Partners’ management team, John Mickelson and Mike Taylor, already had developed an existing relationship with the family ownership of Maytag Dairy Farms.
“When the family decided the time was right, they started a conversation,” Gillman said. “More than anything, Maytag Dairy Farms was looking for hands-on, local, dynamic ownership to help carry on the culture of the company and the quality of the products. The family have a lot of confidence in the Midwest Growth Partners team to do just that.”
The farm was established by E.H. Maytag in 1919, son of Maytag Appliance company founder F.L. Maytag, with just one Holstein cow tasked with providing fresh clean milk to the Maytag children.
According to the company’s website, E.H. Maytag fell in love with the breed of Holstein-Friesian cows and sought to create a farm full of blue ribbon champions that also provided quality milk.
“At its peak in the 1930s, E.H. likely had the finest herd of Holstein cows in American and produced offspring that were prized by important buyers from around the world, some of whom made the trek to Newton, Iowa, to see his famous herd,” the website stated.
The farm was passed on to Frederick Louis Maytag II and Robert Maytag when their father passed away in 1940, according to the company’s website. One year later, the business began producing its notable Maytag Blue cheese after teaming up with Iowa State University to create its “uniquely American blue cheese” made from cow’s milk, a vision Frederick Louis Maytag II had held.
It was created in an on-site cheese plant and cured as wheels in caves.
Myrna Ver Ploeg, president of Maytag Dairy Farms, expressed excitement about the partnership and opportunities that lay ahead.
“John Mickelson and MikeTaylor have a shared passion for artisan cheese and the rich history of the Maytag Dairy Farms,” she said. “With the continued involvement of the Maytag family we are confident the best is yet to come.”
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