COLDWATER, Mich. — Pork industry members, local citizens and government officials came to celebrate the opening of the Clemens Food Group fresh pork processing plant with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house July 29 in Coldwater, MI.
With Michigan being the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation, the opening of this facility is good news for all of the agriculture in the state.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Governor Rick Snyder spoke about the impact the plant will have on the agricultural industry in Michigan. “One of the key things is what this place represents,” he said, “From the people growing the hogs themselves to the people transporting them to everyone working at this world-class facility.”
Snyder welcomed Clemens Food Group to Michigan and looks forward to the future of the plant. “I hope to see Clemens Food Group having a celebration in 100 years for their 100th anniversary here in Michigan.
Doug Clemens, CEO of the Clemens Family Corp., thanked everyone for their role in opening this processing facility. “Today these families and our family have joined together and made this vision a reality,” he said. “We are committed to job growth, economic growth, doing our part to feed the world, educating consumers where their food comes from, supporting this community and surrounding communities in which we live and work, and finally, committed to our core values of ethics, integrity and stewardship.”
Congressman Tim Walberg and Senator Debbie Stabenow also spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Following the ceremony, tours were given of the facility to an estimated 800 attendees.
The processing facility is expected to open in September 2017 and begin running at full capacity early in 2018. The site has created more than 800 jobs in the area and is expected to process 11,000 hogs/day. Approximately 80 percent of those hogs will come from Clemens Food Group producer partners in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
Bob Dykhuis, Michigan Pork Producers Association (MPPA) Board President, is excited for the potential growth a plant like this creates for the industry in Michigan. “To have a processor that can handle the increased production will strengthen the pig industry,” he said. “This allows for growth in Michigan, which means it’s a healthy and expanding industry. For those who are contract growers, it gives them space for growth, along with the feed industry including corn and soybeans. You want to be part of an expanding industry, not a shrinking one.”
Mary Kelpinski, MPPA Chief Executive Officer, is thankful for the opportunity this facility creates for the producers in Michigan. “This is an exciting time in the pork industry,” she said. “As we continue to see expansion and growth in production numbers, this packing plant could not have come at a better time.”
Kelpinski also said the processing plant would likely not be here without the help of the forward-thinking producers. “Thank you to the producers that pursued a plant to come to Michigan,” she said. “Thank you for all your hard work during the feasibility study and throughout the process of working with Clemens Food Group to bring this plant here.”
Michigan producers raise more than two million hogs annually with a market value exceeding $330 million dollars.
MPPA is an East Lansing-based commodity organization that administers producer-funded pork promotion, consumer information, and research programs, and monitors public policy activities affecting Michigan’s 2,000 pork producers.
— Emily Schmitt, Michigan Pork Producers Association
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