Economic Development, Food Service & Agriculture, and Manufacturing

Milk co-op investing $57.9M in new campus

February 27, 2018
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Foremost Farms dairy plant Greenville partial rendering
A partial rendering of the Foremost Farms dairy campus in Greenville. Courtesy The Right Place

An out-of-state dairy processing co-operative is set to invest $57.9 million at its new campus in the area.

Baraboo, Wisconsin-based Foremost Farms is working on a multi-year building project on the 96-acre site in the Greenville Industrial Park in Greenville, according to The Right Place today.

The co-operative hopes to break ground on the first phase, a 55,000-square-foot milk condensing facility, in the coming weeks, and be operational before the end of the year. The first phase is expected to create 33 jobs.

Foremost Farms is a farmer-owned milk processing and marketing cooperative with about 1,400 dairy farmer members and annual sales of $1.5 billion.

Last November, the co-operative acquired the 96-acre parcel at 6501 S. Fitzner Rd. in Greenville from the City of Greenville for $1.1 million.

Once open, the plant will condense 3.2-million pounds of raw milk per day, roughly 386,000 gallons. The final product, condensed milk solids such as cream and skim milk, will be used for Foremost and other partners to make products such as cheese, butter and yogurt.

At capacity, the plant will be able to condense up to 4-million pounds of raw milk per day. Future phases at the campus call for facilities to produce up to 6-million pounds daily.

Foremost Farms officials hope this initial investment will spur the development of a large-scale dairy processing campus over the next several years. The co-operative is already engaged in talks with companies interested in creating value-added production facilities on the campus to serve Foremost’s co-operative partners.

“In addition to creating more jobs for Greenville, it also will provide much needed processing for the dairy farmers in this region of Michigan,” said Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The impact of these investments on local, regional and statewide economics cannot be overstated.”

Incentives

The Michigan Strategic Fund is granting the project a private activity bond inducement, or loan, valued at up to $12 million, with approval of the bond-authorizing resolution expected to take place at an upcoming MSF meeting.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is providing the project a $500,000 grant from its Food and Agriculture Investment Fund, pending approval during its March 21 meeting.

The City of Greenville is providing the project a 12-year property tax abatement valued at $2.33 million.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, or MEDC, will consider incentive support for the project at a future date.

The co-operative is also expected to receive a grant from West Michigan Works!

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