Pork producer invests up to $255M in plant, 800 jobs
A pork producer is planning to create more than 800 jobs after it builds a new plant in the region.
The 550,000-square-foot Clemens Food Group pork-processing plant will be located in Coldwater Township, southeast of Battle Creek, and is expected to generate up to $255.7 million in private investment, the state said yesterday.
“The Clemens family is a recognized leader in pork production and its investment here signals to executives of all industries across the country that Michigan is the place to do business,” Gov. Rick Snyder said.
Clemens Food Group
Hatfield, Pa.-based Clemens Food Group, founded in 1895, is a sixth generation, family owned integrated pork producer, including farming, processing, transportation and logistics. The company has 2,200 employees.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., or MEDC, the state’s marketing arm, said Clemens Food Group considered Michigan and Ohio for a Midwest expansion of its pork-processing operation and choose Michigan based on the state and community support, as well as the site feasibility and labor-force preparedness.
Choosing the site
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or MDARD, worked with a group of Michigan pork producers for about three years, considering the merits of siting a pork-processing plant in Michigan.
The producers used a $100,000 MDARD grant to conduct a feasibility assessment for a pork-processing plant in the state.
Based on that analysis, MDARD and the producers pursued a strategy to find "a business partner with expertise in marketing and value creation as an integral part of its business model" and create a relationship with the partner that would benefit the industry in Michigan.
The feasibility assessment was "essential in building the processing partnership with Clemens Food Group," according to MEDC.
“On behalf of our more than 2,000 employees, our family shareholders and our family farm partners who have joined us in this venture, we thank Gov. Rick Snyder and leaders in Michigan and Coldwater and Coldwater Township for having the vision to see the opportunities to position the state to compete in the global pork market,” said Doug Clemens, CEO, Clemens Food Group.
MEDC president and CEO Michael Finney called the jobs “significant for the Coldwater community.”
“We commend MDARD for its commitment to bringing this project to Michigan,” Finney said. “Clemens Food Group’s decision to invest here demonstrates to other global companies Michigan’s standing as one of the great agriculture centers in the U.S. with a business climate that enables their success.”
In support of the project, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $12.5 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the city of Coldwater for infrastructure improvements, land acquisition, workforce development and on-the-job training for the new development.
A key to the success of the project was the collaboration of Coldwater and Coldwater Township on a land-transfer agreement. The transfer will allow the city of Coldwater to contribute $4.5 million toward the project for infrastructure improvements at the site, including water and sewer main extensions and a new municipal electric overhead distribution line.
Clemens Food Group will benefit from an overall package of local and state support of $55 million for the project. The state said this also includes nearly $16 million in tax savings as a result of the recently approved personal property tax reform.