COVID-19 Support

The West Michigan Food Processing Association is very engaged in supporting the State of Michigan and others to help manage the response to the COVID-19 crisis.    With the food processing sector identified as an essential business, the Association has become not only a resource link to the many sources of information about the issue, but has also taken an active role such as working with the FARM (Food, Agriculture, Research, and Manufacturing incubator that is slated for completion by the end of 2020) team and other companies to develop the production process for manufacturing critically needed hand sanitizer.   In addition, the Association leadership helped organize a survey of food pantries and food banks to determine what their critical resource needs are during this crisis so that distributors can direct excess food productsfor the increasing need in communities that would normally be sold to restaurants and other institutional food organizations that are currently closed.

The following links are principal sources for food processing companies to obtain information as they face the challenges of working in today’s COVID-19 environment:    

The Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, in collaboration with Microsoft, has created an online dashboard to quantify the potential risk to the supply of agricultural products as a result of farm and agricultural worker illnesses from COVID19. Please see this link for details.  

Michigan Talent Assistance

In addition, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and Michigan Works! provide a variety of services to help businesses attract, train and retain a skilled workforce for today and the future. They have set up specific points of contact for the Agri-Business sector by geographic area as listed in the attached PDF document.  

A Source of Information

The West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Association’s network is extensive throughout the region with connections throughout the agriculture and food processing sectors. With these connections, the Association leadership is prepared to work with existing food processors, ones considering a new location in West Michigan, and companies that are looking at new development opportunities.

The goal is not to displace or duplicate programs run by others, but to help be a catalyst for creating economic, job, and income growth in the region. For more information, contact Marty Gerencer, Executive Director, by writing to marty.gerencer@gmail.com

In addition, the Association team has access to a number of key studies and reports commissioned by Consumers Energy prior to the closure of the BC Cobb facility in Muskegon that present the details of the basis for establishing the West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Association. Copies of these reports are available for distribution upon request to Dennis Marvin, Senior Consultant, Programs and Communications, by writing to dcmarvin@aol.com. The reports include:

  • Muskegon County Food Processing Facility and Port of Muskegon-Marty Gerencer-John Sisson

  • Benchmark of BC Cobb Facility End Use Study-John Sisson

  • Port of Muskegon to Asia Competitive Analysis (Cross Lake Shipping)-Les Brand (Supply Chain Solutions)

  • FAM Benchmark Tour of Finger Lakes Region (NY) Report-Dennis Marvin

Updates

The West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Association program team issues periodic updates about each of the key pillars (and other information) as well as, through its Facebook Page. Questions can be directed to Marty Gerencer, Association Executive Director (marty.gerencer@gmail.com) or Dennis Marvin, Senior Consultant, Programs and Communications (dcmarvin@aol.com).

Executive Director Report

Key Links

The West Michigan Food Processing Association is supported by the Consumers Energy Foundation, Community Foundation for Muskegon County, and other regional stakeholders.

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