Cargill plays vital role in Michigan’s dairy industry growth

Kali Klein

Monday, September 24, 2018

Dairy farmers contributing $15.7 billion to the state’s economy

Investing nearly $20 million in Owosso, Cargill has emerged as a dynamic force in the heart of Michigan’s rapidly growing dairy industry. And, it’s no wonder one of the top privately owned companies in the world (with revenue around $134 billion) is at the center of one of the state’s bedrock industries – agriculture and food processing.

Cargill’s investment in Michigan is not just a testament of the company’s prowess in identifying an opportunity, it also clearly demonstrates that the state offers fertile ground for long-term profitability.

“Michigan has some of the most progressive diary producers in the world and if they were going to grow we wanted to grow with them,” said Josh Hushon, spokesperson for Cargill.

Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for total milk production, with dairy farmers contributing $15.7 billion to the state’s economy.

Since opening in April on a 20-acre site behind the city’s former sugar beet factory, the new Cargill animal feed production facility is vital to the state’s expanding dairy industry that has added several major developments in the past few months, including:

  • $510-million private investment from Glanbia, Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers and Proliant Dairy in an expansive processing plant in St. Johns
  • Michigan Milk Producers Association, a dairy farmer-owned cooperative and dairy producer serving more than 1,700 farmers in the Midwest, plans for a 7,500-square-foot, $24-million processing area facility 35 miles south of Kalamazoo

These developments place Cargill’s 75,000-square-foot Owosso plant in a strategic location as the state’s dairy processing industry undergoes a period of unprecedented expansion, and Michigan’s output for milk increases along with its processing potential.

“Cargill has quickly shown themselves to be a tremendous addition to the Owosso community. Their plant turned a brownfield that was vacant for many years into a source of investment, tax base and new good paying jobs. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the company,” said Justin Horvath, President and CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership.

Cargill’s facility helps supply farmers with animal feed and nutritional resources. Farmers benefit from Cargill’s strategic location, and thereby are likely to spend less on transportation costs; reducing expenses is always appreciated in business.

In Michigan, there are 1,747 farms, including 1,498 Grade A farms and 249 manufacturing grade farms. The average farm in Michigan has 176 cows and are 98-percent family owned.

“Cargill is playing a vital role in strengthening Michigan’s agricultural economy,” said Jeremy Webb, MEDC Sr. Business Development Project Manager. “Contributing animal feed to the dairy processing supply chain is integral in making sure dairy farmers and processing facilities are working efficiency and cost effectively.”

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