TUSCOLA COUNTY — When Erin Davis thinks of Tuscola County — of Michigan — she thinks of family.
Despite being a Wisconsin-based company, Davis said Quality Roasting Inc.’s new facility in Tuscola County is right at home in Michigan. The joint-venture project between Quality Roasting and the Wisconsin-based grain supplier DeLong Co. is expected to process 2.2 million bushels of soybeans annually. When complete, the site will create high-quality soybean meal to be used as protein in dairy rations.
On Friday, Davis of Quality Roasting and various state ag leaders broke ground on the future site, which will operate as Quality Roasting LLC.
Here again, Davis mentioned family.
She mentioned Michigan.
“I am a second-generation family member of Quality Roasting,” said Davis, director of business operations for Quality Roasting. “I understand the importance of family. I think when we first started in Michigan, it felt like family from everyone that we met — state representatives, the local government and even the local community were all really supportive of us.
“From the beginning, we just felt there was a common culture from where we come from (in Wisconsin) to here in Michigan.”
According to Davis, the soybean processor will start accepting new crop grains for 2019 with the receiving area up and running by the end of September. By October, the company plans to complete the processing-end of the facility.
“We hope to start commissioning our plant in November through the end of the year,” Davis said. “(Local producers) don’t have to ship it as far as they were. One of the items we researched is the beans being grown here were leaving the state and coming back as a finished product.
“Being able to keep beans local … is an amazing thing for us to do.”
As developers of Exceller Meal, an expeller soybean meal product high in by-pass protein, Quality Roasting “wants to meet the need and high demand for high-quality soybean products in cattle diets.”
“With the abundance of soybeans and the abundance of dairy cows (in Michigan), why not bring it here?” said Carl Bednarski, president of the Michigan Farm Bureau. “This wasn’t a small task by any means. We’ve been working for this for quite some time. … This is what we need. This is what we want in the state — to get more ag processors in the state. We want to see this economic impact to benefit our local communities, and this will do that exactly.”
In February, Michigan Farm News reported Quality Roasting’s new processing facility would generate a total capital investment of $10 million and create eight jobs.
Contingent with the expansion, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded Quality Roasting an $80,000 performance-based grant and the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development approved a $75,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Fund performance-based grant.
According to its website, Quality Roasting employs 20 people between two Wisconsin locations.
Theresa Sisung, associate field crops and advisory team specialist for the Michigan Farm Bureau, said Michigan farmers “scored a big win by attracting a new value-added agricultural processing business in Quality Roasting.
“The new Quality Roasting plant will help keep Michigan commodities in the state and give a much-needed boost to the price of soybeans for the farmers who grow them,” Sisung said.