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.