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Joint Venture Spartan Michigan Plans St. Johns, Michigan, Dairy Processing Plant

Glanbia plc, a global nutrition group, partnered with Select Milk Producers Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America to form Spartan Michigan, which will develop a new $470 million, 146-acre dairy processing facility in St. Johns, Michigan.

The facility, which plans to create 259 jobs, will process more than 8-million pounds of milk per day, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. When completed, the Mid-Michigan site will be among the largest dairy processing facilities in the country. More than 20 percent of the entire state’s milk supply is expected to flow through this new processing campus once complete. Glanbia will oversee commercial, technical, and business operations to produce cheese and whey products at the campus, state officials said.

In addition, Proliant Dairy Michigan is investing up to $85 million in an adjoining facility, which will manufacture whey permeate products and employ 30 to 38 new workers. Construction for both facilities is expected to begin in September and be completed by December 2020.

The adjoining facility operated by Proliant will use byproducts from the milk processing facility to make whey permeate products for both human and animal consumption. By having a complementary facility located on the same campus, this virtually eliminates the cost of transporting byproducts to another state for processing.

“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.”

“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.”

“We’re pleased to continue our investment in Michigan’s dairy industry,” said Rance Miles, CFO & COO of Select Milk. “Our long and successful relationship with our partners and the support of local and state agencies are keys to building this world-class dairy facility.”

Two dairy cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers, will supply milk to the processing plant, ensuring Michigan dairy farmers have a dedicated home for their milk. While not an investor in the new plant, Michigan Milk Producers Association is also expected to supply milk to the plant.

“The Spartan Michigan dairy processing campus will be profoundly transformational at the most local level right up to statewide based on the stabilizing effect for Michigan’s dairy industry and its 1,500 dairy farm families,” said Bob Trezise, President & CEO of LEAP. “LEAP is proud to have led 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. This is a big win that further positions the Lansing market as a leader in AgTech and food innovation.”

As an incentive, the project is supported by an estimated $27.6 million in grants and tax abatements from Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Michigan Department of Transportation.

“Once again, Michigan’s national reputation as the best place to grow jobs is bringing new investments to our thriving agriculture sector,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “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.

“This project is vital to the success of the Michigan dairy sector,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “Michigan’s dairy producers, already among the most efficient in the world, will now be even more competitive and prepared for the market challenges ahead,” he said.

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