$425 Million Cheese and Whey Plant Begun in Michigan

Sept. 26, 2018
Spartan Michigan LLC is a joint venture of Glanbia Plc, Select Milk Producers Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America.

Ground was broken this month on a $425 million dairy processing facility to produce cheese and whey products in St. Johns, Mich., by Spartan Michigan LLC, a joint venture of Glanbia Plc, Select Milk Producers Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America.

The facility, on 146 acres, is expected to create 259 new jobs and process more than 8-million pounds of milk per day. It’s expected to be completed by December 2020.

Proliant Dairy Michigan is investing up to $85 million in an adjoining facility, which will take byproduct from the plant to manufacture whey permeate products and employ 30 to 38 new workers.

Two dairy cooperatives—Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers—will supply milk to the processing plant. While not an investor in the new plant, Michigan Milk Producers Assn. also is expected to supply milk.

When completed, the mid-Michigan site will be among the largest dairy processing facilities in the country, the developers say. Glanbia will oversee operations. The project is supported by a range of grants, investments and tax abatements from Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Dept. of Transportation.

The adjoining facility operated by Proliant will be the world’s largest permeate facility, according to Michigan Economic Development Corp. Having a complementary facility located on the same campus virtually eliminates the cost of transporting byproducts elsewhere for processing.

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