Gov. Whitmer Announces 12 Well-Paying Jobs from New Dairy Processing Facility in Southwest Michigan, Will Support Agricultural Industry

May 26, 2023

By Kathleen Achtenberg

Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in announcing Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approval of a new dairy processing facility in the village of Constantine that will reduce the carbon footprint of dairy byproduct and bring new jobs and infrastructure to the community. The project is expected to create 12 well-paying jobs and generate a total capital investment of $41.1 million. Michigan was chosen for the project over a competing site in Indiana.

“This investment by Dairy Distillery will create long-term opportunity in our state’s vital food and agriculture industry and builds on our efforts to create good-paying jobs, support sustainability efforts, and invest in every region of our great state,” said Governor Whitmer. “Our future is bright, and by continuing to work together on bipartisan economic development efforts, we can bring in more investments like this one by Dairy Distillery to us move Michigan forward.”

Dairy Distillery Alliance, LLC is a joint venture between Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Dairy Distillery USA. MMPA is a farmer-owned cooperative that includes more than 1,000 dairy farmers in the Great Lakes Region and has two facilities in Michigan. Dairy Distillery is a Canadian company that has developed technology to transform milk permeate, a byproduct of milk and other dairy processing, into ethanol.

MMPA and Dairy Distillery plan to build a milk permeate ethanol plant at the MMPA Constantine dairy facility. The plant will use Constantine’s milk permeate to produce 2.2 million gallons of low carbon ethanol. When blended with transportation fuel, the permeate ethanol will offset 14,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, lowering the carbon footprint of the milk processed at Constantine by five percent.

The project includes the construction of a new, state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system that will produce natural gas to power the ethanol plant’s distillation system, further lowering the carbon footprint of the milk permeate ethanol. The output of the wastewater system will be a clean water stream that will eliminate Constantine’s dependence on the local utility to treat its process waste. The plant is scheduled to start production in early 2025.

The project will further boost Michigan’s agribusiness industry by lowering its carbon footprint, reducing waste and creating more value for the state’s dairy industry. It will serve as a model that can be replicated elsewhere and will also benefit the community through job creation and the new wastewater treatment system.

The village of Constantine anticipates approval of a property tax abatement in support of the project. The MEDC also authorized a State Education Tax abatement to be used in conjunction with the locally approved abatement. More information about this project is available in this video.

“Projects like these are a prime example of the diversity and strength of our dairy industry and demonstrates the Whitmer Administration’s commitment to growing agriculture businesses in Michigan,” said Tim Boring, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “In 2022, MDARD provided a $100,000 Value-Added Grant to the Michigan Milk Producers Association and Dairy Distillery in this first of its kind venture. The department is proud to support business expansion with multi-pronged benefits – creates good-paying local jobs; opens up new markets for Michigan’s farmers to continue to thrive; lowers carbon footprints; and reduces the overall waste stream. I hope this serves as a model for others into the future.”

“This is an exciting growth opportunity for St. Joseph County and our region,” said Jill Bland, executive vice president at Southwest Michigan First. “Along with job growth and a total capital investment of over $41 million, we're seeing a significant step forward in sustainable practices in Michigan's agribusiness industry.”

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