Dairy Farmers of America began construction on a $40 million ingredient processing facility in Cass City, Michigan
“This plant will provide a local home for our members’ milk, answering the growing need for Michigan plant capacity while building a base for value-added processing in the future,” said Mark Korsmeyer, Executive Vice President of DFA. “Furthermore, the project is consistent with DFA’s strategic plan, creating supply chain efficiencies and increasing commercial investments to bring increased value to our farmer owners.”
At completion next fall, the 33,000-square-foot plant will process up to 3 million pounds of fresh milk each day, which will be supplied by DFA member farms in the Michigan Thumb area. Initially, the plant will produce condensed whole and skim milk, as well as cream. A phased construction plan will allow for growth among current and future DFA members, and the potential to manufacture value-added demand products, according to the DFA.
The facility’s operating system will deliver superior taste, protein functionality and yields, with reduced operating costs and a smaller physical footprint than alternative systems, DFA officials said. Reflecting the Cooperative’s focus on sustainability, the plant is designed to recover and re-use water in plant cleanup operations.
Numerous partner agencies contributed substantial support to the plant will serve a region where milk production is steadily outpacing local plant capacity. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant and a $1 million Community Development Block Grant. In addition, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation contributed $300,000 in corporate funds. MSF also awarded Tuscola County and Cass City a new 15-year Agriculture Processing Renaissance Zone designation for the project.
The Village of Cass City also offered support by providing revenue bonding valued at approximately $6.7 million for a wastewater pretreatment system and public infrastructure improvements.
In addition to creating at least 25 full-time positions at the facility, increased employment opportunities are expected to occur on member farms and in agricultural support industries.
“This new plant underscores the growth and continued expansion opportunities for Michigan’s food and agriculture companies,” said Jamie Clover Adams, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The plant will not only increase our dairy processing capabilities in the state, but it will also create jobs and support the Thumb region.”