click image to zoomMI Dept. of Ag. and Rural DevelopmentFrom left: Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director; Jeff Galbraith, Continental Dairy Plant Manager; Ron Thompson, Continental Dairy Director of Operation’s; Governor Rick Snyder; Steve Cooper, Continental Dairy COO/ General Manager; Bruce Born, Continental Dairy Controller; and Jamie Zmitko Somers, MDARD International Marketing Manager. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) selected Continental Dairy Facilities, LLC of Coopersville as the "2014 Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year.” The company was honored today with a presentation of the award by MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams to Steven Cooper, COO of Continental Dairy Facilities. The company is a top U.S. dairy exporter that found immediate success after opening in 2012.
“Michigan dairy product exports in 2012 totaled over $231 million and Continental Dairy Facilities is certainly doing their part in the continual growth of dairy exports from the state,” said Clover Adams.
Continental Dairy Facilities processes raw milk from West Michigan farms and produces several products, including nonfat dried milk, which is shipped globally. The company sold their products domestically and in Mexico in 2012; and then increased exports by a staggering 706 percent in 2013 reaching new markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. This rapid growth positioned them as a leading milk exporter. In 2013, five percent of all U.S. milk powder products were exported by Continental Dairy.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious award after just our second year of operation. MDARD has been a key partner in not only our business development, but our achievements as well,” said Cooper. “This award truly illustrates the dedication of our team of owners, management and employees working together to produce ‘Gold Star Quality Product’ for the global marketplace.”
Michigan is second in the nation for agricultural diversity and exports one-third of its agricultural commodities every year. Michigan food and agriculture exports totaled $3.25 billion in 2012 according to USDA figures and employ more than 20,000 residents.
The award review committee consisted of representatives from the Van Andel Global Trade Center, Comerica Bank, Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University’s International Business Center. The decision was based upon several factors including, marketing plans, ability to expand into new markets, alliances with other organizations, and exports sales growth over the last three years. To be eligible, the products must be more than 50 percent grown, processed or manufactured in Michigan.
For information on MDARD's International Marketing Program contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at (517) 284-5738 or visit Michigan.gov/agexport.