Monroe County Business Development Corporation and Partners are Awarded Strategic Growth Initiative Grant for Feasibility Study in Southeast Michigan

On June 16, Monroe County Business Development Corporation was awarded The Strategic Growth Initiative Grant by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  The grant will provide funding to conduct a Feasibility Study to determine if a Soybean Processing Facility might provide value for the agricultural community in Southeast Michigan.

The regional partners involved include: Consumers Energy, the County of Monroe, Hillsdale Economic Development Corporation, Lenawee Now, the Michigan Soybean Association, the Port of Monroe and Spartan Agricultural Consulting.

The Strategic Growth Initiative (SGI) has an overall goal of increasing the economic impact of the food and agriculture industry in Michigan.  This initiative was developed with a focus on increasing the economic impact of the Food and Agriculture Industry in Michigan.

The overall priorities of the program include removing existing barriers and leverage opportunities identified as critical to business development and growth. Additionally establishing, retaining, expanding, attracting and/or developing value added agricultural processing and/or develop regional food systems by enhancing or facilitating aggregation and distribution of Michigan grown agricultural products.

The Southeast Michigan Soybean Processing Facility Feasibility Study is a multi-part project to document the feasibility of developing a soybean processing plant in southeast Michigan.

The project will analyze the Michigan market for soybeans and include soybean market analysis and processing plant requirements, labor market analysis, potential site evaluations and facility cost estimates, and quantification of positive economic impacts. Also included in this study will be the advantages of the multi-modal transportation and logistical capabilities of the potential southeast Michigan sites. Particular attention will be paid to the existing transportation infrastructure, including rail, Great Lakes shipping, and the new international bridge crossing.

Currently, approximately 90% of Michigan grown soybeans are exported out-of-state as raw soybeans for processing. The only in-state processing facility is further from southeast Michigan than out-of-state facilities.

The two greatest impacts of this project will be increased markets for processed soybean products grown by Michigan producers, and increased exports of value-added agricultural products from the State of Michigan. The addition of a local processing plant will give farmers additional options for the sale of their crops, which will result in in­creased competition among buyers and increased prices for soybean growers.