North Central Co-op Coming To The Cloud: October Groundbreaking Possible
Story and Photo by Charles Chandler
In previous media articles it was noted that North Central Co-Op had reached an agreement with City Officials to build a state of the art feed mill in the White Cloud Industrial Park. On July 26th an important step in that process...
was taken when Martin Hall the representative from the North Central Co-Op (NCC) in Fremont met with the White Cloud Planning and Zoning Commission.
Mr. Hall presented a comprehensive overview of NCC and the products and services the company provides to their national customers.
NCC is a producer-owned cooperative headquartered in Wabash, Indiana, serving north-central Indiana and regions of Michigan. With 36 different locations, 5,800 farmer-owners and 20,000 customers they provide agronomy expertise, fuels, and feed and grain processing. Three grain facilities are located in Medaryville and Goshen, Indiana and Fremont, MI. In these facilities they have grain-handling capabilities for processing corn, soybeans and wheat into customer feeds for livestock producers.
At the Tuesday evening meeting Mr. Hall presented an artist’s concept of the new facility NCC plans to build in the Industrial Park. From the preliminary drawings it appears that the new White Cloud mill will be similar to the NCC mill located at 510 West Main in Fremont, MI. It will be a typical grain process facility with vertical silos, storages areas and loading docks.
According to Mr. Hall there are several reasons for building a new feed mill in this area. Midwestern pork production is a growing market segment resulting in increased demands on grain farmers and feed processors and suppliers. To meet the demands for livestock feed NCC needs additional processing facilities and the Fremont mill has some age, capacity and space limitations.
The White Cloud industrial park was a logical choice for variety of reasons including area corn production, easy access to M 37 and M 20 highways, the CSX rail yards, adequate room for future development, and the collaborative support from City officials. Mr. Hall mentioned that access to transportation routes are critical and once the White Cloud mill is in production about 30 semi truck loads of feed a day will be shipped out to area farmers and livestock producers.
Mr. Hall gave the Commission members an overview of the development plan stating that the next step will be to clear the building site in the Industrial Park so the engineering firm can develop the required site plan. This site plan will be presented to the Commission at the August 23 meeting with a request for approval. Once the plan is approved construction will begin with the foundations being poured in October and the build out over the next 12 months.
During the meeting it became obvious that Mr. Hall was going to have not only the construction project oversight for the White Cloud mill but future operational responsibilities as well.
Asked a variety of questions about NCCs plans Mr. Hall began by stating very clearly that NCC values honesty and integrity above all else and he assured the folks in White Cloud that he and NCC wanted to develop the same partnership and the great relationship that the company has enjoyed with Fremont. He emphasized that NCC was not abandoning Fremont as the facility will continue to take grain and the agronomy and retail Facilities would remain in place while manufacturing would be moving to White Cloud.
When asked about himself and his family he proudly said that he was a “Buckeye” and “just a farm kid from Ohio” however he and family have lived in Michigan for about 20 years.
“We live in Caledonia and call Michigan our home,” he stated. “My wife is a school teacher in Caledonia, my daughter is a school teacher in Kentwood and my son is a bicycle design engineer working in Minneapolis Minnesota.”
As far as NCC’s plans for adding additional jobs and future development at the White Cloud facility Mr. Hall responded that at this time they were not sure about job numbers.
“We’re moving from a very old facility to a new state of the art facility and doubling production capacity,” he said. “We are not sure how many people it is going to take to run the new mill.”
However, it was his opinion that they would eventually have to add some new people to operate that new mill. As for expanding the White Cloud facilities, NCC feels that the added capacity of the new mill will meet their need for the next ten years, but if demand exceeds that capacity then additional development would be considered.
“What we want to do is become a good partner with White Cloud and hopefully other business like our service providers will follow us and relocate here in the Industrial Park.”
A new facility to take up residence in the Industrial Park, a company committed to partnering with the city and the possibility of more businesses tagging along in the future.
It appears that White Cloud hit a home run when they inked the deal with NCC.