Coldwater Township to be new home for Clemens Food Group pork processing facility

A 550,000 square-foot pork processing facility will be located In Coldwater Township and $12.5 million in Community Block Grant funds is helping to make that possible.

A new Clemens Food Group pork processing operation is expected to bring 810 jobs to Michigan and create $255.7 million in capital investment in the Branch County community. "Being able to recruit a company with 800 is a game changer for us," says Lisa Miller, executive director of the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance. "It doesn't happen but once in a lifetime. Economic development is very difficult. To be able to land this project is a big win for us."

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

To make the project possible Coldwater and Coldwater Township agreed to a land transfer. 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 the block grant 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.

The Clemens family is a recognized leader in pork production. Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania-based Clemens Food Group is a sixth-generation, family-owned operation that includes farming, processing, transportation and logistics. The company has 2,200 employees. Doug Clemens, CEO, Clemens Food Group, says his company is "genuinely excited to be joining a great community of pork producers we've been working with over the past several years here in the state of Michigan."

Michigan is one of the nation's top pork producing states, ranking 13th in the country. There are 10,800 jobs related to the 2 to 2.5 million hogs marketed each year, says the Michigan State Extension office. With more than 2,600 producers in the state, the pork industry annually contributes more than $560 million dollars to the Michigan economy.

Pork exports previously accounted for a large portion of the economic impact in Michigan, generating an additional 700 jobs and $50 million of personal income for the producers. 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) worked with a group of Michigan pork producers for approximately three years and spent $100,000 to conduct a feasibility assessment for a pork processing plant in the state. This feasibility assessment was essential in convincing the Clemens Food Group to locate in Michigan.

Clemens Food Group considered both Michigan and Ohio for a Midwest expansion of its pork processing operations.  

“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," says Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director.

Says 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 U.S. with a business climate that enables their success."

Sources: Clemens Food Group and MEDC