Lansing Region's $555-million Dairy Processing Campus Marches Forward

ST JOHNS, Mich. - Several key local and state approvals for two new world-class dairy processing facilities developing in St Johns were recently approved. Announced by LEAP on August 9, the new dairy processing campus is expected to dramatically improve the production, profitability, and long-term prospects for one of Michigan’s top agricultural products.

On Wednesday, August 22, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) unanimously approved the Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone, the primary incentive tool used to support the massive investment projects by Ireland’s 6th largest company and its three US-based partner companies. The Commission also approved a $750,000 grant for Spartan Michigan and a $250,000 grant to Proliant Dairy Michigan to support infrastructure costs. The Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone had previously been authorized at the local level with approvals from the City of St. Johns, Bingham Township, and Clinton County. Under Director Gordon Wenk, MDARD and staff provided critical leadership in moving this process forward.

On Monday, August 27, the St. Johns City Commission approved the site plans for both Spartan Michigan and Proliant Dairy Michigan, and authorized E.T. MacKenzie Company’s work on the drain relocation project, which is now just pending approval of a purchase and development agreement between the City and Glanbia. Further, per Public Act 198, the City Commission approved the establishment of an Industrial Development District and subsequently approved Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT) Exemptions for both Spartan Michigan and Proliant Dairy Michigan make the projects financially viable. The IFT exemption applications will go before the Michigan State Tax Commission for final approval later this year.

Glanbia plc, a global nutrition group based in Ireland with a presence in 32 countries, who has partnered with Select Milk Producers Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America to form Spartan Michigan LLC. Spartan Michigan will develop a new $470 million, dairy processing facility in St. Johns, which is expected to create 259 new jobs. The facility will process more than 8-million pounds of milk per day. In addition, Proliant Dairy Ingredients is investing $85 million in an adjoining facility, which will manufacture whey permeate products and employ 38 new workers.

“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.”

“Proliant Dairy looks forward to expanding our business to central Michigan and developing a productive, long-term relationship with Glanbia, DFA and Select,” said Mike Matter, Proliant Dairy president/CEO. “We appreciate the support from the state and local teams to make this project successful.

Construction for both facilities on the 146-acre industrial park site is expected to begin in September of this year and be completed by October of 2020. When complete, the Lansing region’s site will be among the largest dairy processing facilities in the country.

 “The City of St. Johns has strived for years to create a business-friendly atmosphere and specifically created the Business Park to showcase all that St. Johns has to offer,” said St. Johns Mayor Dana Beaman.“St. Johns’ ideal location, friendly residents, and strong business community makes it an ideal location for any type of business.”

 “LEAP is proud to have led, for over three years, a dynamic partnership involving four state departments, three local government units, four education and workforce organizations along with a number of private sector actors in order to reach this point – we collectively thank Glanbia and its investing partners for choosing St. Johns over other location options,” said Bob Trezise, LEAP President & CEO. “This is a big win that further positions the Lansing market as a leader in AgTech and food innovation.”