$510 million dairy processing project approved in Clinton County

SAINT JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Strategic Fund board has approved a $510 million private investment in Michigan's dairy industry.

The decision to approve two separate projects was made during a special board meeting Thursday morning in Lansing.

A $425 million world-class dairy processing facility will be built at 1600 Technical Drive in Saint Johns. “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.

The 146-acre facility is expected to improve the current oversupply of milk and reduce shipping costs for Michigan dairy farmers. In 2017, Michigan milk producers lost more than $164 million.

“This is tremendous news for the dairy farmers in our state,” said MDARD Director Gordon Wenk. “Almost every dairy farm in Michigan is family-owned. It’s been very difficult to watch so many hard-working people struggle unnecessarily.”

Up to 259 jobs will be created and more than eight million pounds of milk per day will be produced.

“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. “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."

And Senator Debbie Stabenow said, “When we make things here and grow things here, we create jobs in Michigan. This new dairy plant and recent improvements we made in the 2018 Farm Bill are bringing new jobs to Michigan and giving our state’s top commodity a needed boost at a critical time.” (Dairy is Michigan’s top commodity, contributing over $15 billion to the state’s economy. )

Companies Glanbia, Select Milk Producers and Dairy Farmers of America are making the investment in the facility.

“I thank Glanbia, Select Milk Producers, Dairy Farmers of America and Proliant for choosing to invest in Michigan and look forward to watching our state’s dairy industry continue to grow and thrive long into the future,” Snyder said.

“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.”

Construction is expected to begin in September and be completed by December 2020.

Proliant Diary will also invest $85 million in an adjoining facility that will manufacture whey per, adding another 30 to 38 jobs 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.”

The project will make Mid-Michigan home to one of the two largest dairy processing facilities in North America and the largest milk permeate facility in the world.