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Growing AgTech and Food Innovation in Lansing

The Lansing region's central location and existing agriculture industry is ripe with strategic growth opportunities for companies in the agriculture and food processing industries. 

Booming Dairy Processing

Spartan Michigan 
at a Glance
$555 Millon
Private Investment

$470M (Glanbia) +
$85M (Proliant)

300 Jobs
Jobs Created

The Lansing region has a long strong history of dairy processing, largely thanks to the Michigan Milk Producers (MMPA). MMPA's largest processing facilities are anchored in Ovid and manufacture milk powders, creams and butters, in addition to liquid milk. 

Lansing is also the long-time home of Quality Dairy (QD), a vertically integrated convenience store chain with its dairy plant, bakery and injection plastic molding facilities all in Lansing. QD's dairy plant distributes milk from local dairy farms to its 30 retail stores daily, and also produces flavored milks, juices, fruit drinks, chip dip and ice cream.

Though the state of Michigan, including the Lansing region, can claim the most productive cows in the nation, the more than 1,500 dairy farm families around the state have been suffering from low prices caused by immense productivity gains per cow since 2000. This high productivity created an oversupply, resulting in depressed prices. This issue with oversupply can be resolved by bringing more processing to the area.

In September of 2018, Glanbia broke ground on a 146 acre property in St. Johns, the future home of the Spartan Michigan and Proliant Michigan dairy processing campus, designed to process 8 million pounds of milk every day from the onset, or nearly a quarter of all milk produced in Michigan. Spartan Michigan, a joint venture partnership between Glanbia Nutritionals, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), and Select Milk Producers, is investing $460 million into these new state-of-the-art facilities to produce a variety of cheese and whey protein products. Glanbia is Ireland's 5th largest company, and the world's #1 producer of American-style cheddar cheese.

But it does not end there! Based on Spartan Michigan's intentions, a supplier partnership emerged with Iowa-based Proliant Dairy Ingredients to establish facilities of their own adjacent to Spartan Michigan, which would take the dairy solids byproduct from Glanbia and process it into various whey permeate products used in baking, confectionery, drink mixes, and animal feed.

Existing Industry

The Lansing market is home to a strong and growing cluster of innovative food processing, distribution, and production companies and facilities, as well as traditional agricultural commodity supplies. 

Agriculture and food contributes approximately $450 million each year to our local economy and provides more than 5,000 jobs to our residents. The conventional agriculture industry is be bolstered by new food processing operations that add tremendous value to Michigan's economy, and a growing number of AgTech companies providing technology-driven solutions for the agriculture and food processing industries are growing their presence in the Lansing region.

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Opportunity in AgTech

Beyond the actual production and processing of various food products, digital transformation and technology-driven innovation is creating new opportunities across the agricultural value chain just like in many other industries. Our existing industry is no slouch in this area. 

AgroLiquid

AgroLiquid, a leading provider of advanced crop fertility products, has been headquartered in the Lansing region since its founding in 1963, with a huge focus on research and development in the sustainable fertilizer space and a devotion to both respecting an agricultural heritage and innovating into the future with their approach to cultivating talent and new products alike. 

Neogen

Neogen Corporation is a food safety and biotech company with over 1,500 employees worldwide and nearly $400 million in annual revenue, constituting business in 114 countries. Neogen makes products geared toward every piece of the food industry imaginable. Headquartered in Lansing, about half of the company's total employment is located here across a number of manufacturing, research & development and office facilities. Neogen has continuously opted to invest millions into rehabilitating old obsolete buildings in Lansing's urban core and has been a dynamic community partner in that way. 

JMT US

JMT US is the US subsidiary of Janny MT, a French AgTech company that manufactures controlled atmosphere and airtight storage equipment that drastically extend freshness of fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, nuts, and other perishable product. JMT US landed in Lansing in 2015 with a pilot project involving Michigan State University apples. In 2018, the company launched distribution services, and is continuing to build supply chain components and their customer base across the country with Lansing as their home base.

Talent

Michigan State University logo

The Lansing region is home to Michigan State University, a historical land grant agricultural college offering numerous world-leading programs, as well as both agricultural and biotech research opportunities. Additional 2-year agricultural technology programs, with food processing curriculum, are in the works.

Over 4,000 students in College of Agriculture & Natural Resources studying:

  • Agribusiness Management 
  • Animal Science 
  • Biosystems Engineering 
  • Dietetics 
  • Food Industry Management
  • Food Science
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Packaging

Also includes nearly 500 in the Institute of Agricultural Technology's 2-year programs:

  • Dairy Management 
  • Horse Management
  • Livestock Management
  • Agricultural Industries
  • Sports & Commercial Turf Management
  • Fruit, Vegetable & Organic Horticulture Management
  • Electrical Technology

The Local Ecosystem

The Lansing region has 18 farmers' markets across Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. Most operate seasonally, but some like the Allen Farmer's Market, are open year round.

Research, Product Development and Commercialization
  • MSU Product Center
  • MSU Food Processing Innovation Center
  • MSU Extension
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(517) 702-3387

1000 S. Washington Ave Suite 201 Lansing, MI 48910

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  • Copyright Lansing Economic Area Partnership