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Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development Approves Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone for Soybean Processing Development in Gratiot County

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For Immediate release: November 10, 2016 Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-284-5725 

Lansing—The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development today approved an Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone proposal that would greatly expand the production capacity for ZFS Ithaca, LLC in Ithaca, Michigan. This project is expected to bring with it a $129 million total investment and 74 new jobs into the community.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Ithaca, Gratiot County and so many others in the state,” said Commission Chair Fred Walcott. “Without this project, the economy is missing out on the value that could be added to the soybean crop grown in Michigan today. By being able to process more soybeans in our state, not only does it reduce costs for Michigan consumers (particularly livestock growers feeding soybean meal), but it also helps add jobs and keep dollars in the state because we aren’t shipping soybeans out of the state for processing.”

In addition to the construction of grain shipping, receiving and storage facilities—as well as a new grain elevator facility and other on-site infrastructure improvements—the project will feature the construction of Michigan’s second soybean processing plant. Currently, Michigan’s solitary soybean processing plant (owned by ZFS Ithaca, LLC affiliate Zeeland Farm Services, Inc. in Zeeland Township) is capable of processing 10 percent of the soybeans grown in Michigan. The new facility is expected to have the capability to process another 40 percent of the state’s soybean crop, increasing Michigan’s soybean processing capacity to more than 50 percent of the current Michigan soybean crop.

“We are not building and sizing the facility for today, but for tomorrow,” said Cliff Meeuwsen, president of ZFS Ithaca, LLC. “This is a long-term, 40- or 50-year investment in Michigan agriculture. We are building a legacy plant that will fulfill all of Michigan’s soybean processing needs for decades.”

The Commission’s approval of the Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone is the first step in the process. The APRZ will also need to be approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund Board during its regular meeting on November 22. From there, it goes to the state Administrative Board for final approval.

A Renaissance Zone allows a company operating within the zone to operate free of the majority of real and personal property taxes over the life of the designation. In early November, affected counties and townships approved the APRZ. Michigan’s Renaissance Zone program is administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information about the MEDC, visit  Editor’s note: The media contact for ZFS is Tom Vilella, ZFS marketing manager, 616-879-1790.



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