Monday, October 22, 2018
 VernDale Products Expanding Dried Milk Powder Operations  

VernDale Products Inc., a manufacturer of dried milk powder and ADPI membr, plans to open a second facility with a $16 million investment.

Michigan state has approved a $436,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to assist in the expansion.

"We are looking forward to being a part of Detroit's revitalization," company president Dale Johnson told the Michigan Strategic Fund board. The milk powder the company produces is used mainly by premium chocolate candy manufacturers.

The board had to agree to waive its guidelines to approve the project because a Michigan Business Development Program grant needs to create a minimum of 50 jobs to receive the incentive and this new plant is scheduled to only create 13. According to a briefing memo, the waiver was approved because it is an agriculture processing company working on a large expansion, and agriculture projects typically do not create the level of jobs that trigger such a grant. 

Also, the board looked favorably on the fact that the project was taking place in the city of Detroit and locating in an old industrial building that had been vacant for 10 years. The expansion will take place at the site of a former dairy operation, located at 18940 Weaver St., near an industrial park that borders the Southfield Freeway and Interstate 96. Work will begin this year. The city has pledged its support of the project with a 12-year plant rehabilitation tax abatement worth an estimated $3.3 million.

The company has five milk dryers at its current location with no ability to expand at that location. Johnson said the company has had to turn away customers because it could not keep up with demand at its present location.

VernDale uses a process called roller-drying or drum-drying; the company says it is the only milk powder company in the United States to use this process. Johnson said its main competitors are in Europe, where there are about 15 similar companies.

The company does not export its product, Johnson said, because it has just been trying to keep pace with existing demand. With the expansion, exporting is a possibility, he said.

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business (MI)

Posted on Friday, August 30, 2013 (Archive on Friday, September 06, 2013)
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