Otta Dairy

(Norwegian version) Otta Dairy was established in 1925 as a cooperative enterprise by the farmers in the Sel community. Throughout the years the activities expanded, and not only milk products were provided.

Text: Per Erling Bakke

Adapted and translated into English by Ivar Teigum

The initiative was taken in the previous year, and the building was erected on a parcel at the north side of the Main Street east of the railway line. In spite of a period of economic depression, not least in the agricultural sector, the cooperative had payed off all its tebts by 1939.

Otta Dairy in 1953 with the original building to the right.

To begin with milk was transported to the dairy with horse and cart by the farmers themselves. From the summer abodes in the mountains neighbours would cooperate during the season. Otta Dairy bought its first lorry in 1946, and gradually the dairy took over all the transport. Participation on the farmers’ side grew, and Otta Dairy even got contributors from the neighbouring communities Vågå and Fron.

Milk delivered at the dairy by horse and cart, and by lorry in the 1950s.

The activities expanded. Not only milk products were provided, but a purchasing and sales cooperative, caustic treatment of grain plants for fodder, a storehouse for concentrated grain fodder and fertilizer, and product control. Animal health improved by the help of the new penicilin which was introduced. In the 1950s a canteen was run by the dairy for the benefit of the personnel.

The flagship among dairy products in the Gudbrandsdalen valley has been the brown cheese, a mixed product of concentrated milk from cows and goats, so also with Otta Dairy. But in 1960 this production line was moved to a few dairies to specialize on, and Otta Dairy from then on focused on milk consumption in all the neighbouring communities.

Otta Dairy with its high chimney in 1979.

In 1985 an era was over, and the large chimney was dismantled. Milk for consumption was moved to a central dairy factory in Ringebu. The earlier cooperative has been turned into a shareholding company with the previous members as owners. Premises in the building have been refurbished and are let to various firms.

The chimney is raised in 1925.