News

July 24, 2015

Pork processor breaks ground in Coldwater

A who's-who of the state's pork industry convened in a field outside Coldwater July 23 to turn over a row of mirror-buffed shovels, symbolically beginning the construction of the biggest new agricultural processing facility in Michigan's recent memory. Look for the same group two years from now to reconvene wielding oversized ceremonial scissors at a ribbon-cutting—to open Clemens Food Group's new pork processing plant.
 
Attended by four of the Clemens family's six generations, Thursday's ceremony also brought together some of the state's biggest pork producers—the group of farmers who themselves are largely responsible for bringing this new market to Michigan. Among them was Fred Wolcott, an Ottawa County hog producer and current president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association.
 
"For years we've taken our product to the market and accepted what the market will pay," Walcott said. "Today we're taking steps forward and opening up that market to our ingenuity—deciding that we can also play in that arena of price discovery in working more toward the finished product and bringing it up for all of agriculture in the state of Michigan, from the guys raising the grains to the guys contract-finishing hogs to the guys that are the founding partners of this operation." Other members of that founding-partner group in attendance Thursday were hog producers Harley Sietsema (Ottawa County), Ed Reed (Cass County), Pat Hunter (Kalamazoo County) and Joel Phelps (Ottawa County).
 
Once operational, Clemens' new 550,000-square-foot facility will process 10,000 hogs daily and create an estimated 800 new jobs—and fill a gaping hole in the state's agricultural processing landscape. Since Thornapple Valley pulled up stakes 15 years ago, Michigan farmers have had little choice but to ship market hogs out of state.

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February 1, 2014

Harley Sietsema named Master Farmer

When he was a young boy feeding turkeys on the family farm in west Michigan, Harley Sietsema could never have envisioned the land becoming part of Grand Valley State University, or raising upward of 1.4 million turkeys every year. Harley also didn’t anticipate helping organize Michigan Turkey Producers, a cooperative that generates more than $200 million annually; having pork operations across Michigan and Ontario, where upward of 35,000 sows and 750,000 market hogs are raised; owning two feed mills with close to a 300,000-ton capacity; or building the nation’s first biomass gasification system, where turkey litter is transformed into 300 kilowatts of electricity and 12,500 pounds of steam per hour. Those and a host of other ag-related accomplishments are cited by Harley’s family, friends and business associates as making him a worthy recipient of the 2014 Master Farmer award.

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Harley and Marcia Sietsema     Rick Sietsema accepting the award for Harley

July 18, 2013

Sietsema Farms Recognized By MABA For Sustained Green Efforts

Sietsema Farms of Allendale was recognized by the MABA with special green agribusiness designations at annual ceremony.

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July 23, 2012

Zeeland, Hamilton, Allendale Agri-Businesses’ Environmental Efforts Recognized

The Michigan Agri-Business Association awarded the 2012 Green Agri-Business Designation to 47 businesses for their efforts to protect Michigan’s natural resources and to conserve energy. Sietsema Farms is a family-owned network of farms that produces 800,000 swine and 1.3 million turkeys annually with their partners and associates. The company was recognized for purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles and equipment, implementing a recycling program, installing storm water containment on site and using irrigation scheduling for water and fertilizer. Its state-of-the-art turkey litter gasifier will dramatically reduce the feed mill’s carbon footprint and will decrease their utility usage by 90 percent.

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February 27, 2012

Sietsema Farms makes donation to Allendale Community Foundation

The Allendale Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that addresses critical community needs, received a $2,500 donation through America’s Farmers Grow Communities. The donations are made available through the Monsanto Fund. Through the program, winning farmers designate a local nonprofit organization to benefit from the donations. Jamy Sietsema of Allendale has been selected as a winner in the program, and he designated the $2,500 to The Allendale Community Foundation.
“We are very pleased the Grow Communities Program is supporting local philanthropy,” said Holly Johnson, VP of Development for the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. “We are proud of Sietsema Farms and the work they do to give back to the community, and we are happy to be their partner in philanthropy.”

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Sietsema Farms makes donation to Allendale Community Foundation

June 28, 2011

National Turkey Federation Representative Testifies Before Senate Agriculture Committee

A turkey industry representative told a Senate Committee that production costs are the greatest challenge currently facing the turkey industry.
Rick Sietsema, partner and chief financial officer of Sietsema Farms in Allendale, Mich., told the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry that the current run up in feed prices is due to short corn supply caused by the federal ethanol mandate and has created significant uncertainty on the turkey industry. Feed accounts for 70 percent of the cost of raising a turkey, and corn is 70 percent of the feed ration. Corn and other feed prices have risen to new levels, corn going from $4 per bushel to more than $7 in barely a year.
Sietsema Farms is a member of Michigan Turkey Producers Coop. and raises a quarter of the 4.6 million turkeys produced and marketed both domestically and internationally by the co-op. “The turkey industry is looking for reform of the existing ethanol policy, a safety net that ensures corn prices and availability will be less volatile in the future,” Sietsema said. Sietsema also told committee members that another challenge facing the industry is USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed marketing rule. The competitive injury provision in the proposed rule will make it easier to sue or bring regulatory action against livestock and poultry processors. Also of concern is the provision that requires processors to virtually guarantee growers they can recoup 80 percent of their capital investments. Sietsema went on to explain that studies have found that the proposed rule would have negative impact of more than $360 million annually in the turkey industry.

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Rick Sietsema At Capital

April 5, 2011

Sietsema Farms Chosen To Be The Demo Sight For SmartFarm Systems

Recently Sietsema Farms has been equipped with cutting edge farm site technology. SmartFarm Systems has installed their feed bin level monitoring system to help track on-site inventory and daily use of feed and grain. Since the equipment has been installed, our farm and feed mill managers have the ability to use the online web based portal to view inventory levels for their farm sites on any web enabled device. This tool enabled us to more cost-effectively schedule feed orders and deliveries. SmartFarm Systems bulk level management system has been very accurate and reliable from day one. Sietsema Farms plans to expand the use of this new technology and would recommend it to any other farming organization.

SmartFarm Systems

January 20, 2011

Sietsema Farms Featured In Michigan Farm Bureau Video

We at Sietsema Farms are proud to have been chosen by Michigan Farm Bureau to feature our farming operations in their latest video. We feel it is a great opportunity to help promote the farming industry and raise awareness of farming practices to consumers.

See more Farm Bureau videos here!

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