The Ionia County Economic Alliance (ICEA), The Right Place and Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and other state and local partners, announced Oct. 18 a major public-private partnership to expand Herbruck’s Ionia-based farm, creating 33 jobs and $16.3 million in capital investment.
“We understand the critical role infrastructure plays in our region’s ability to continue growing, expanding, and creating jobs in Ionia County,” said Morgan Carroll, business development manager with the Ionia County Economic Alliance. “We advocated for Herbruck’s growth plans in Ionia to our local and state partners, helping to build support for this unique public-private partnership. We are thrilled that Herbruck’s continues to invest in Ionia County and remains dedicated to being a good corporate citizen in the community.”
Herbruck’s plans to construct three cage-free pullet-rearing facilities to raise 2.5 million young hens, (known as pullets) annually in Ionia. The project, which also calls for significant investments in aviary equipment and construction, will create 33 jobs over the next three years. The total project is estimated to take three years to complete due to pullet raising cycles.
“Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch truly appreciates the strong partnerships of our local and regional economic development organizations, local officials and state government agencies that enable critical infrastructure improvements, helping us to create new jobs while benefiting everyone in Ionia County,” said Herb Herbruck, executive vice president of Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch. “As a fourth-generation family farm, Herbruck’s is proud to call Ionia County home, and we’re thankful for the assistance provided by the Ionia County Economic Alliance, The Right Place, MEDC and many other partners to help us expand and create additional jobs.”
The feed used to raise the cage-free pullets will be locally sourced, potentially creating $3 million in local contracts annually.
The MEDC is supporting the expansion and investment through a $523,280 Michigan Development Block Grant which will support road infrastructure enhancements such as upgrading the quality of Haynor and Rector Roads to Class A (all-season) standards to accommodate increased truck traffic.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) and Easton Township are also supporting the project with grants.
Expected cost of the road enhancement phase is just over $1 million.
Herbruck’s will invest an estimated $150,000 for the road project.
“The Ionia County Economic Alliance and The Right Place have maintained a longstanding relationship with Herbruck’s and understand the complexities of bringing together multiple local and state agencies to support growing businesses,” said Susan Hatto, current ICEA Chair, and Dean for Industrial Education and Workforce Training, Montcalm Community College. “As well, this project may not have happened if there wasn’t adequate support for the necessary roadway improvement.” This latest expansion builds on a previous announcement in 2015 when Herbruck’s released plans for a $43 million expansion, including the investment of $1.5 million in a new, public main sewer line tied directly to the Lakewood system.
Ernie Birchmeier is Manager of the Center for Commodity, Farm & Industry Relations at Michigan Farm Bureau.
“Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch is the backbone of our egg laying industry in Michigan,” Birchmeier said. “Their continued growth and stability are an important part of Michigan agriculture and our economic infrastructure. It’s great to see the continued investment they make in their business and community.”