April 24, 2015
Congratulations to Michigan Economic Development Corporation on being selected as a semi-finalist in the Job Creation Category for the NDC Academy Awards 2015. The NDC Academy Awards Semi-Finalists represent some of the most innovative and impactful developments changing the lives for residents in underserved communities across the country, NDC is honored to highlight the achievements of these organizations at the NDC Academy 2015.
City of Coldwater / Clemens Food Group Expansion – City of Coldwater, MI
A three-year collaboration between Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Michigan pork producers culminated in a grant to conduct a feasibility assessment for a pork producing plant in Michigan. Drawing on the merits of the plan, the pork producers group secured a processing partner, Clemens Food Group. Clemens Food Group is a Pennsylvania-based, sixth-generation, family-owned integrated pork production operation, including farming, processing, transportation and logistics. Clemens’ products are sold through grocers, food-service distributors, and consumer packaged goods companies, primarily in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
In their site exploration to determine where to locate a new pork-processing plant, Clemens partnered with a range of family-owned pork producers with farms in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Clemens’ decision was based on considering the advantages of a potential expansion of their processing capacity into the Midwest compared to the benefits of adding capacity with physical expansions on-site in Eastern Pennsylvania or the Mid-Atlantic/Southwest United States.
The company’s search focused on Michigan and Ohio for the potential Midwest location. Each location was within a two-hour (driving) radius to all pork producers engaged in the project. (NOTE: Partnering pork producers in Ohio and Michigan provide a significant percentage of hogs in the pork-producing process.) In addition to state and community support when selecting the final location, Clemens considered site feasibility and labor force preparedness.
The new facility will be located on a greenfield site in the City of Coldwater. Currently, the site does not have infrastructure in place to support the project. The Coldwater location will require the following infrastructure improvements: extensions to the Community’s water and sanitary sewer mains and extension of a new municipal electric overhead distribution line. In addition, the community was required to have a trained workforce available to meet the company’s employment ramp-up schedule and ongoing training support for newly hired workers.
A comprehensive incentive package to secure the project was based on a partnership between the state and local community. The deal included local investment for infrastructure upgrades, community development block grants, property tax abatements, road improvement grants, and job training funds. The CDBG funds will be used to assist with municipal infrastructure extensions, property acquisition, workforce development and on-the-job training. The community will fund the electrical extension and a portion of the new water main and sanitary sewer main to the new Clemens’ site.
In addition to the direct benefits of significant job creation and investment, the project plays a major role in building and diversifying Michigan’s economy and the global pork market. Specifically, the project is a catalyst in the development of the state’s agribusiness and food economy.
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