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MDARD Awards Food and Ag Investment Program Grants
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​Today, during its regularly scheduled meeting, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to award a Food and Agriculture Investment Program grant to Herbruck Poultry Ranch Inc. in Ionia County, and another to Continental Dairy Facilities LLC and fairlife LLC, two separate companies that are co-located on the same processing site in Coopersville.


Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-284-5725

MDARD Awards New Grants to Expand Dairy Production, Convert Poultry Farm to Cage-Free


​Today, during its regularly scheduled meeting, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to award a Food and Agriculture Investment Program grant to Herbruck Poultry Ranch Inc. in Ionia County, and another to Continental Dairy Facilities LLC and fairlife LLC, two separate companies that are co-located on the same processing site in Coopersville.

“This is our first round of Food and Agriculture Investment Program grants, and I couldn’t be more excited about the impact they could have on Michigan agriculture and jobs,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “Through these grants, and with the investment of other partners and stakeholders, we can help ensure Michigan’s food and agriculture businesses remain national leaders in food production and consumer trends. This is a great example of how a public-private partnership can work to create jobs and improve communities.”

"The commission is proud to support these development projects," said Dru Montri, chair of the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. "The investment in infrastructure improvements will increase capacity and contribute to the growth of Michigan's food and agriculture industry."

Continental Dairy Facilities and fairlife will use their $225,000 performance-based grant from MDARD to help expand operations to include new products and production lines. Fairlife aims to increase capacity by adding a third packaging line to produce fairlife milk, Core Power, and Yup. The additional line will result in $120 million in private investment and 42 new jobs. Continental Dairy is expanding operations to produce butter and buttermilk powder from cream, which will result in $53 million in private investment and 10 new jobs. In total, the companies will invest $173 million and create 52 new jobs to support the Coopersville Dairy Park Campus.

The expansion and development of Continental and fairlife will require additional wastewater treatment capacity, which is estimated to cost approximately $3.7 million. The grant will be used for the waste water project to support the expansions from both companies.

“Continental Dairy is very pleased to partner with the state of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to identify investment opportunities that recognize growth potential in the state’s dairy industry while working to protect the environment that we all share and cherish," said Steven Cooper, chief operating officer and general manager of Continental Dairy.

Herbruck Poultry Ranch will receive a $100,000 performance-based grant to help convert much of the operation to cage-free housing. The company, which began in the late 1920s and remains family-owned and managed, has several major customers that are moving toward requiring certified cage-free egg production by 2025. To meet this objective, Herbruck Poultry will convert a layer facility (approximately three million layers) located in Ionia to cage-free housing by 2024. This project will create 50 new jobs over three years. 

Both projects require additional funds to meet their goals. In addition to the MDARD funding, the Herbruck Poultry Ranch project is also being considered for support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Ionia County. Additional funds received would be used to improve public roads to support the project.

And on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, the Michigan Strategic Fund board authorized a $2,407,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the Continental/fairlife project. The city of Coopersville also has offered support to the project through a $1.1 million upgrade to its own wastewater treatment plant. 

The Food and Agriculture Investment Program provides financial support for food and agriculture projects that help expand food and agriculture processing to enable growth in the industry and Michigan’s economy. Projects are selected based on their impact to the overall agriculture industry and their impact to food and agriculture growth and investment in Michigan.

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