In November 2017, Foremost Farms closed on the purchase of 96 acres of land in Greenville, Michigan, where it would build the facility and create 33 jobs. Once fully operational in early 2019, the plant would receive up to 6m pounds of raw milk and process roughly 3.2m lbs of milk per day.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is also 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 $2.33m.
Foremost Farms has farmer membership across seven states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio) and the Michigan plant is an effort to help revive Michigan’s $15.7bn dairy industry, which lost $164m in 2017, according to MDARD.
“Foremost Farms’ executive management and board of directors plans to strategically build this facility in Greenville in order to control our own destiny in Michigan and unify our seven-state membership. All of our members produce high quality milk and this facility is part of the plan to optimize that value today and into the future,” Foremost Farms’ president and CEO Michael Doyle said.
“The move effectively incorporates our Michigan member milk production into our core manufacturing business with a path to growth and stability in the region and for all Foremost Farms members.”
Foremost Farms said it would initially use the plant to process milk solids for internal use in farmer-owned production facilities in the Upper Midwest, and for sales to customers and to strategic alliance partners then progress to manufacturing cheese, butter, and yogurt.