Fonterra has announced plans for a new milk processing plant at Darfield in central Canterbury.
The dairy cooperative expects the plant to be operating in just over two years and to create more than 50 jobs.
Trade and operations managing director Gary Romano says the development is among the largest investments in manufacturing in New Zealand in the past five years.
Mr Romano says Canterbury is the fastest-growing dairying region, producing about 15% of the country's milk for export. He believes the plant could process up to 2.2 million litres of milk per day.
He says the development will create more than 50 new permanent jobs, in addition to work the construction of the plant will provide for local businesses.
It should be operating in just over two years.
Federated Farmers says the new plant at Darfield is a vote of confidence in the dairy industry in Canterbury.
Mid-Canterbury dairy chair Frank Peters says dairying in the region is now well-established with growth of 5% per year and potential for more farms.