$510 million in dairy facilities coming to mid-Michigan, creating nearly 300 jobs

Posted at 11:05 AM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 09:01:48-04

Two new dairy facilities, totaling $510 million in investments, are coming to mid-Michigan with plans to reduce high shipping costs and improve the oversupply of milk.

The facility in St. Johns, north of Lansing, comes from a collaboration of farmers, private investors, state and local economic developers. Construction will begin in September and be completed by 2020.

Glanbia, a global nutrition group, partnered with Select Milk Producers and Dairy Farmers of America to form a new limited liability corporation, Spartan Michigan. That group will develop a $425 million dairy procession facility in St. Johns on 146 acres. It will process more than 8 million pounds of milk per day and create 259 jobs.

On top of that, Proliant Dairy Michigan is investing $85 million in an adjoining facility which will manufacture why permeatepowder and employ up to 38 new workers.

“Once again, Michigan’s national reputation as the best place to grow jobs is bringing new investments to our thriving agriculture sector,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a release. “Michigan’s dairy industry is an essential economic driver in our state, and this new investment elevates and expands our potential to rise even higher while bringing new jobs and opportunities to this region.

When it's finished, the new site will be one of the largest dairy processing facilities in the country. Glanbia will oversee the commercial, technical and business operations to help produce cheese and whey products.

“The support of local and state agencies demonstrates why Michigan is such a great location to invest,” said Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals. “We are looking forward to getting up and running with our partners and farmers providing world-class dairy products while bringing jobs and economic development to the area.”

The funding for the projects came from several grants, investments and more from the Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Department of Transportation.

The state currently has an oversupply of high, and combined with high transportation costs, milk producers lost more than $164 million last year.

Both the Dairy Farmers of America and Select Mil Producers will supply milk to the processing plant.

“Michigan is ripe for growth with a surplus of quality milk, so there’s tremendous opportunity to not only benefit the dairy farm families in this area but also the local economy and region,” said DFA CEO Greg Wickham.

Currently, there are more than 1,700 farms in the state and nearly 1,500 Grade A farms. The average has 176 cows and 98 percent of them are family-owned farms. The state ranks fifth in the nation for total milk production with dairy farmers contributing $15.7 billion to the Michigan economy.