Agropur Inc. announced it will invest $21.3 million and create 62 news jobs over the next three years at its processing plant in suburban Grand Rapids.
Most of the $21.3 million expansion project at Agropur’s at 5252 Clay Avenue SW will be for new equipment with a portion going toward building modifications, according to news releases by The Right Plac Inc and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).
“This investment is driven by the need to meet growing customer demand, and will result in a modernized production line, increased production capacity, and the creation of 62 new jobs,” according to a Right Place news release issued Wednesday, April 11.
Agropur is the Wisconsin-based subsidiary of Agropur Cooperative, a Canadian firm has grown to become the largest dairy cooperatives in North America. Agropur processes more than 13 billion pounds of milk per year at its 39 plants across North America.
The plant currently employs 161 people and primarily produces non-dairy products such as soy milks, protein drinks, and broths. The expansion will include modernizing certain steps of the production line and increasing production capacity.
“Agropur’s investment here rather than in another state means good jobs for Michigan residents and underscores the strength of the state’s food and dairy processing industry,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC.
“It is thanks to many public and private partners that this project is taking place, and we are pleased to support that collaboration,” Mason said.
The former Farmland Dairies plant, which was purchased by Agropur in 2010, produces a variety of shelf-stable dairy products that are distributed across the country.
Originally built in 1991 as a fruit juice processing plant, the plant was converted to milk processing in March 1994 after it was purchased by Parmalat, an Italian food processing company.
The MEDC is supporting the expansion effort with a $434,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The expansion will also be supported locally by a tax abatement from the City of Wyoming.
“The City of Wyoming is a phenomenal place for manufacturing and we are so proud to have companies like Agropur in our community,” said mayor Jack Poll, City of Wyoming. “We are excited to be a part of their growth story and we look forward to watching their continued success.”
“We’re excited to be expanding our facility in Grand Rapids, which will allow us to better serve our customers,” said Doug Simon, president of US Operations for Agropur. “This investment is a key to continuing Agropur’s impressive growth and will also create jobs in the state of Michigan.”