New Pork Processing Operation Creates 800 Jobs in Michigan

US - Michigan Strategic Fund actions to support construction of a new Clemens Food Group pork processing operation in Coldwater Township, a project that is expected to generate $255.7 million in total capital investment and bring 810 new jobs to Michigan.
calendar icon 17 December 2014
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"The new project in Coldwater Township is agricultural entrepreneurism at its best with producers, the state of Michigan and local government working together to bring 800 new jobs to our state,"said Governor Rick Snyder.

"The Clemens family is a recognised leader in pork production and its investment here signals to executives of all industries across the country that Michigan is the place to do business."

MSF today approved $12.5 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the City of Coldwater for infrastructure improvements, land acquisition, workforce development and on-the-job training for the new development.

The 550,000 square-foot Clemens Food Group pork processing facility will be located in Coldwater Township and is expected to generate up to $255.7 million in private investment. It is projected to create 810 jobs, 644 of which will be supported by the CDBG funding.

"Today's (16 December) announcement marks a major milestone in the history of our company and the future of pork production in the state of Michigan," said Doug Clemens, CEO, Clemens Food Group.

"On behalf of our more than 2,000 employees, our family shareholders and our family farm partners who have joined us in this venture, we thank Governor Rick Snyder and leaders in Michigan and Coldwater and Coldwater Township for having the vision to see the opportunities to position the state to compete in the global pork market."

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) worked with a group of Michigan pork producers for approximately three years considering the merits of siting a pork processing plant in Michigan.

The producers used a $100,000 MDARD grant to conduct a feasibility assessment for a pork processing plant in the state.

Based on that analysis, MDARD and the producers pursued a strategy to find a business partner with expertise in marketing and value creation as an integral part of its business model and to create a relationship with this partner that would benefit the industry here in Michigan.

This feasibility assessment was essential in building the processing partnership with Clemens Food Group.

"This decision by the Clemens family only underscores that Michigan's food and agriculture sector is ripe for innovative business opportunity, economic development, and new jobs. It's a growing industry and we're excited to have a pork processing plant back in the Great Lakes State," said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director.

"The project further highlights the commitment and partnership by local and state officials, economic development groups and private industry to bring new companies and investment into Michigan."

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania-based Clemens Food Group is a sixth-generation, family-owned integrated pork production operation including farming, processing, transportation and logistics. The company has a total of 2,200 employees.

Clemens Food Group considered both Michigan and Ohio for a Midwest expansion of its pork processing operations, choosing Michigan for the location of the facility based on the state and community support as well as site feasibility and labor force preparedness.

"These are significant jobs for the Coldwater community and the region, and we commend MDARD for its commitment to bringing this project to Michigan," said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney.

"Clemens Food Group's decision to invest here demonstrates to other global companies Michigan's standing as one of the great agriculture centers in the US with a business climate that enables their success."

A key to the success of the project was the collaboration of Coldwater and Coldwater Township on a land transfer agreement. The transfer will allow the City of Coldwater to contribute $4.5 million toward the project for infrastructure improvements at the site, including water and sewer main extensions and a new municipal electric overhead distribution line.

That support, along with today's MSF CDBG approval, is part of an overall package of local and state support that will total $55 million. This also includes nearly $16 million in tax savings as a result of the recently approved personal property tax reform.

"We strive to sustain and grow our local and regional community," said Paul Beckhusen, Branch County Economic Growth Alliance president and Coldwater Board of Public Utilities director. "The addition of the Clemens Food Group to our community exemplifies our vision and illustrates the positive direction in which we continue to lead.

"This project has been a template of success for state, regional, local and private partnerships - all working together to attract an ideal corporate citizen like the Clemens Food Group."

Charlotte Rowney

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