Long-awaited good news for Michigan dairy producers came this week when Irish-based Glanbia PLC announced its plans to build a new cheese and whey production facility in Michigan.
Working in cooperation with three of Michigan’s dairy cooperatives (Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Foremost Farms USA (Foremost Farms), the company is awaiting some investigation into infrastructure and potential tax incentives before announcing a final site.
“We hear it’s been narrowed down to three sites, and they’re all scattered from west to east to central Lower Michigan,” said Chuck Cortade, DFA's regional manager in Michigan. “They’re hoping to break ground this fall and have it going in the fall of 2019.”
The plant is expected to have the capacity to process 8 million pounds of milk a day.
“This is welcome news to Michigan, and we certainly commend our co-ops for working together and finding a company that is willing to invest in our dairy industry,” said Ernie Birchmeier, dairy and livestock specialist with Michigan Farm Bureau. “Eight million pounds, if my math is right, amounts to the milk from approximately 100,000 cows, considering an 80-pound average. The extra processing capacity will be critical to the growth of our dairy industry.”
“Glanbia is delighted to announce this exciting proposed project in the state of Michigan with DFA, Michigan Milk Producers Association and Foremost Farms,” said Brian Phelan, CEO of Glanbia Nutritionals.
“Consistent with Glanbia’s growth strategy, this proposed venture will build on our position as the number one producer of American-style cheddar cheese and simultaneously expand our global position as a supplier of advanced technology whey protein to the nutritional sector. This proposed joint venture is a strategic move by all the partners to benefit from the growing, large-scale milk pool in the state of Michigan.”
Glanbia employs more than 6,000 people across 32 countries and its products are sold or distributed in more than 130 countries with an annual turnover of €3.6 billion. Glanbia’s major production facilities are located in Ireland, the U.S., the U.K., Germany and China. It has four segments; Glanbia Performance Nutrition, Global Ingredients, Dairy Ireland and Joint Ventures & Associates. Shares are listed on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges (symbol: GLB).
Michigan dairy facts
Michigan’s dairy industry provides nutritious foods produced and processed locally, while making a significant economic impact on communities across the state.
Here are some fun facts about one of our state’s largest agricultural industries:
- Michigan’s dairy industry provides jobs, employing local veterinarians, equipment dealers and farm employees. One dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.
- Michigan has approximately 1,800 dairy farm families who care for over 420,000 cows.
- The average dairy herd in Michigan has approximately 230 cows. Just like businesses grow to support more families, herd sizes increase to allow the next generation to continue farming.
- 97 percent of Michigan dairy farms are family owned, many by multiple generations of the same family.
- Michigan ranks 6th in milk production in the U.S. In 2016, dairy cows in Michigan will produce nearly 11 billion pounds of milk.
- The average Michigan cow produces more than cows in any other state, approximately 26,280 pounds of milk each year. That’s 3,056 gallons of milk!
- Milk in Michigan is local! Michigan’s approximately 1,800 dairy farms produce more than enough milk to supply the entire state. Surplus milk is exported to help meet demand in other states.
- In supermarkets and local farmers markets, you can find milk, cheese and yogurt produced by Michigan dairy farmers. When you buy Michigan dairy products, you not only “buy local” and support area farmers… you buy quality.
- Only 1.7 percent of the U.S. population produces food for all of us, plus millions worldwide.