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MMPA Vows Involvement in $58 Million Foremost Dairy Plant
USAgNet - 03/08/2018

In a statement released Wednesday, Michigan Milk Producers Association leadership vowed their cooperative's involvement in a $58 million plant being built by Foremost Farms USA, a dairy cooperative based in Baraboo, Wis. The Wisconsin processor's plan to build the plant in Greenville, Mich., won the support of the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) on last week Tuesday. The Wisconsin cooperative plans to build a 55,000-square-foot plant that will employ 33 workers to condense 3.2 million pounds of raw milk per day -- roughly 386,000 gallons.

"We look forward to playing an active role in the success of the recently announced joint Michigan cheese plant project," said Joe Diglio, MMPA general manager, and Ken Nobis, MMPA president, in a joint statement. "We have appreciated working collaboratively with multiple industry partners on this and other projects of this magnitude to further assist in addressing the state's milk production growth. We look forward to our continued involvement in the project and finalizing the role we will play in servicing the needs of the new cheese and whey facility soon,"

The two leaders admitted that, in addition to the investment MMPA members currently have in dairy manufacturing facilities and the joint cheese plant project, additional capacity needs to be constructed.

"As an extension to our existing Strategic Alliance with Foremost Farms at our MMPA Constantine plant, the two cooperatives are working together on a cheese barrel line at our Middlebury Cheese Co. facility in Middlebury, Ind., that will initially process up to an additional 500,000 pounds of milk per day," Diglio and Nobis said.

"In tandem with the barrel line project, MMPA and Foremost Farms are committed to studying additional opportunities to support milk production growth. One such example is MMPA's active involvement in the recently announced dairy campus project in Greenville with Foremost Farms.

Foremost has reported that the final products from the Greenville plant will be used by the cooperative's other facilities and its partners around the Midwest to make dairy products such as cheese, butter and yogurt. Future phases at the plant call for processing up to 6 million pounds daily.

Support of the dairy plant was announced last week by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and was one of several that are expected to generate a total capital investment of $154 million and create 868 jobs.

"The Michigan Strategic Fund continues to help fuel new economic activity across Michigan, strengthening our communities and creating good jobs for our residents," said Jeff Mason, CEO at the MEDC, the state's chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

"Foremost Farms' new milk processing plant in Greenville will elevate the profile and profitability of our state's dairy industry," he said.

MSF actually approved the money for Greenville Venture Partners, LLC is a subsidiary of Foremost Farms. Foremost Farms is owned by about 1,500 farmer-members and has annual sales of $1.5 billion. Pending approvals of state and local incentives, Greenville Venture Partners plans to establish the dairy plant in the city of about 8,500.

MSF approved a private activity bond inducement valued at up to $12 million in support of the project. Approval of the bond authorizing resolution is expected to take place at an upcoming MSF meeting. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is supporting the project with a $500,000 grant from its Food and Agriculture Investment Fund, and the city of Greenville plans to support the project with a 12-year property tax abatement valued at $2.33 million.

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