Schroeder and Agropur History Schroeder and Agropur History

When German immigrant Henry Schroeder founded Schroeder Milk Company in 1884, it is unlikely that he knew that he was beginning a family business that would continue to grow, change and prosper during the next 120 years.

The company had decidedly humble origins. Henry had one cow and a small parcel of swampy land, but he was determined to build a farm. The location, north of Larpenteur Avenue, east of Rice Street and south of what is now Highway 36, offered him the convenience of being close to the St. Paul city limits and he soon started delivering milk to home routes in St. Paul.

In 1928 and 1929, the State of Minnesota passed two laws-the first prohibiting the sale of raw milk and the second disallowing the purchase of milk from other farms. Despite the difficulty these laws caused for many dairy farmers, Henry-who at that time had the area's largest dairy-was always ready to experiment with new machinery that would modernize dairy farming. He converted one of his farm buildings to a pasteurization plant and used some of the area's first vacuum milkers, bottle washers and bottling machines.

In addition to being a shrewd businessperson, Henry was a smart marketer and began to market his milk using a slogan-"Safe for Baby Milk"-that had initially been the recommendation of Dr. Walter Ramsey, founder of Saint Paul's Children's Hospital. Ramsey had advocated the use of Schroeder milk to his patients due to its cleanliness and health standards.

By the late 1930's, Henry had handed over much of the responsibility for the business to his sons William and Henry Junior and the milk business was rapidly changing. Small stores sold milk and it was less expensive and more convenient than waiting for the milkman. Schroeder began to deliver, and even acquire, some of these small stores specializing in dairy products, adapting the dairy business in order to ensure the satisfaction of its customers and the customer satisfaction of the family business.

Over the next few decades the company more than doubled in size, growing in all areas and reinvesting the profits back into the company. The re-investments allowed the company to make some enhancements to the manufacturing processes by installing an automated cleaning system throughout all of the production machinery and updating the packaging from glass to cartons.

In 2008, Schroeder Company became part of Agropur Cooperative, a leading manufacturer of dairy products in Canada. Agropur is continuing the quality reputation of the Schroeder Company. Officially, known as Agropur Division Natrel USA, the Schroeder legacy still exists through the great tasting products, people, expertise and well-known brands.

In 2009 Agropur Division Natrel USA added a new member. Formerly Farmland Dairies, the new Grand Rapids, MI plant is an aseptic package processing facility. The Grand Rapids facility is also a leading contract manufacturer for many brands of aseptic, shelf stable food and beverages.

Founded in 1938, Agropur Cooperative is a leader in the Canadian dairy industry, with sales of 3.4 billion dollars (CAD). With 3,459 members/owners, it has more than 5,600 employees at its 27 manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and offices throughout Canada, as well as the United States and Argentina. It processes 3.3 billion liters of milk per year (close to 7 billion pounds) and offers an impressive product line, including famous American brands such as Schroeder and Masters Reserve, and Canadian brands as Qu├ębon, Oka, Sealtest and Natrel.