GRAND RAPIDS — Michigan Turkey Producers Co-Op Inc. has received $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bolster its meat processing capacity.
The grant will help to expand the company’s Grand Rapids operations and upgrade its 40-year-old hot water system, wastewater treatment facilities and refrigerated trailers to accommodate an expansion.
The plant is also adding a shift and doubling its processing capacity to 10 million turkeys annually with help from the grant money. Those plans are in addition to a recent $1.2 million automation upgrade.
Michigan Turkey Producers has leaned into automation as the company struggles to hire enough people to work at the plant, Tina Conklin, Michigan Turkey Producers’ vice president of technical services, told MiBiz in July 2022.
All of the company’s 2022 upgrades required either compressed air, hot water or high-pressure hot water to operate, which taxed their existing systems and cut into efficiency, Conklin said.
The $1.5 million USDA grant announced today comes from the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program, and is part of a $12 million investment to expand independent meat and poultry processing capacity in Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota.
“USDA is committed to helping provide abundant and affordable food,” USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins said in a statement. “By adding to local capacity and shortening the supply chain, we are keeping food dollars close to home, reducing transportation costs and boosting Michigan agriculture.”
Michigan Turkey Producers was also among West Michigan food processors that received a $200,000 COVID-19 relief grant from the CARES Act in 2020.
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