EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Clemens Food Group, based in Hatfield, Penn., has made a $100,000 gift to the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) to support MSU’s Project RAISE (Raise for Agriculture Industries, Shows and Education), an initiative to expand the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.
The gift from Clemens Food Group brings pledges and gifts to support the project to $1 million.
“We are truly grateful of this gift from Clemens Food Group, which provides momentum for this campaign and brings the total to 25 percent of our goal,” said George Smith, CANR associate dean and associate director for AgBioResearch. “It also provides a springboard for this campaign as we prepare to reopen the MSU Pavilion.”
Pending MSU Board of Trustees approval, the proposed $4 million MSU Pavilion expansion will provide a second indoor arena allowing concurrent events, increased animal housing and exhibit space, and an indoor area for warming up animals prior to events in the main arena.
“Supporting the MSU Pavilion Project has allowed us to give back to the state of Michigan and the strong agriculture community of the state as a whole,” said Doug Clemens, chairman of the board for Clemens Food Group.
Clemens Food Group is a sixth-generation, family owned company dedicated to providing service and brand solutions that help customers grow their businesses. Clemens is a vertically coordinated company that includes hog farming, food production and transportation.
“Five years ago, for the first time in our company history, we made the decision to expand outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the state of Michigan. We chose Michigan because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the people within the agriculture community we interacted with during our search,” Clemens said. “We hope this investment will provide continued interest in agriculture expansion throughout the state of Michigan, especially the younger generations through their college education.”
As an agricultural-based company, Clemens Food Group employs many graduates of MSU, as well as 4-H and FFA alumni. Their Michigan facility, located in Coldwater, Mich., began operations as a fresh pork facility in 2017.
“MSU is certainly part of the fabric of this community and, as we have many team members who have grown up in the community, it continues to weave itself into our organization,” said Joe Hughes, vice president of operations, Clemens Food Group Coldwater Facility.
Project RAISE steering committee members help support and promote the initiative. Dale Norton, a steering committee member representing the swine industry, was instrumental in making the connection between Clemens Food Group and Michigan State University.
“The Clemens family has high ethical standards and are very well thought of in the agricultural community. They have made a strong commitment to the people of Branch County and now with this gift, to the people of Michigan and MSU,” Norton said. “The Pavilion is a great place to showcase Michigan agriculture and I’m glad that Clemens was willing to step up and support this effort in such a big way.”
The MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education opened in December of 1996 and typically accommodates over 96 events per year, including numerous livestock, equine and commercial expositions – events that draw people from all over the state of Michigan and beyond. It is also the venue for major MSU events, such as the Spartan Stampede Rodeo and numerous instructional activities, and programs targeted to youth in our state through 4-H and FFA learning experiences. Though the main arena is a spacious 114’ x 214’, the Pavilion has outgrown its capacity, limiting not only the number of events, but also the quality, size and scope of events showcasing Michigan agriculture and supporting the local economy.
Learn more about Project RAISE, an initiative to expand the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education at https://www.canr.
— Michigan State ANR
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