The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today awarded value-added and regional food system grants to 18 Michigan producers, processors, and community development organizations. These grants are designed to help retain, expand, attract, or grow agricultural transformation in the state through targeted investments in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, access to healthy foods, regional food systems and urban agriculture.
“Today’s investments show why Michigan is one of the top states in our thriving agribusiness and agriculture industry. We continue to create economic opportunities for agricultural businesses looking to grow and increase innovation,” said Governor Whitmer. “These investments reflect our commitment to increasing access to healthy food and strengthening our regional food systems as we work toward food security for all Michiganders.”
“I am proud that MDARD continues to make bold investments in Michigan’s food and agricultural industries,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “These investments span our state, underscoring the diverse and expansive opportunities that agriculture brings to our growing economy. We want everyone to know that Michigan is the best place for the food and agriculture industry.
MDARD received 98 eligible proposals with requests totaling over $7.9 million. Of these, the ministry awarded over $1.7 million for the following 18 projects, leveraging over $3.6 million in matching funds:
- New ErAmerican Apple Packing LLC – (New Era) – $100,000. New apple processing equipment to help expand the apple business to include cider, juice and other products.
- Keweenaw Cooperative Inc. – (Hancock) – $100,000. Project to expand opportunities for local and regional farmers and producers to bring their products to market, and for more local and regional consumers to have access to healthy and fresh food.
- Michigan Freeze Pack Company – (Hart) – $100,000. Install an automated and cost-effective bulk packaging line for IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) vegetables. This will contribute to more efficient packaging, better quality control, the creation of highly skilled jobs and the elimination of labor intensive packaging.
- Michigan Dairy Producers Association – (Novi) – $100,000. To engage a wastewater supplier to conduct a pilot scale study to determine the treatability of the wastewater stream produced by a potential project that uses a milk by-product.
- Granor Farms LLC – (Three Oaks) – $37,000. Expansion of Granor Farm’s retail spirits and wine manufacturing, with an emphasis on fortified wines containing organic grains, plants and herbs grown on the farm.
- Verdant Hollow Farms LLC – (Buchanan) – $100,000. Will convert an existing farm structure into a licensed on-farm dairy processing plant, on-farm store and cold storage facility for the processing, storage and sale of agricultural products.
- Barrister Brewing Company, LLC – (Owosso) – $100,000. New Microbrewery to install brewing and kitchen equipment to accomplish their mission of showcasing seasonal ingredients from local and regional agricultural partners.
- NJ Fox & Sons, Inc. – (Shelby) – $75,000. Project to convert an existing cold storage unit into a “pear ripening room” to ripen pears for Gerber Products Company.
- Milk and foam inc. – (Detroit) – $100,000. Purchase equipment to expand ice cream and pint production capacity to immediately meet existing wholesale demand.
- Ludington Meat Company – (Ludington) – $100,000. Meat manufacturing company, providing a one-of-a-kind meat shopping experience in Ludington to obtain a thermoforming vacuum packaging machine to increase packaging production capabilities and maximize efficiency to meet the customer needs.
- Lakeview Hill Farm – (Traverse City) – $98,440. Expand market reach and consumer engagement in small-scale agriculture with an annual spring plant sale.
- Bob’s Processing, Inc. – (South Haven) – $100,000. New processing equipment to increase production capacity to fulfill current co-packing contracts, accept at least two additional contracts from growers and food retail companies, and increase retail sales.
- Michigan Turkey Farmers – (Grand Rapids) – $100,000. Utility upgrades to meet current and future facility needs while reducing emissions to increase production and profitability.
- Eastside Lansing Cooperative – (Lansing) – $100,000. Installation of new refrigeration and freezing equipment to ensure increased access to food for low-income residents in coordination with SNAP and Double-Up Food Bucks.
- Zilke Farm Kitchen, LLC – (Milan) – $96,777. Breaking down food barriers for families by expanding production of our Michigan-grown ready-meal recipes, meal kits and ready-to-eat snacks to local food pantries for distribution to customers and local businesses in sale.
- Boss Dairy Farms dba Fromagerie Charlevoix – (Charlevoix) – $100,000. The expansion of an on-farm cheese factory will provide state-of-the-art equipment and technology to efficiently produce artisanal cheese.
- Shore Fruit, LLC – (Traverse City) – $100,000. Improved process for the production of a variety of shelf stable, food safe fruit and vegetable based powders for domestic and international markets.
- Peteets Famous Cheesecakes – (Oak Park) – $97,200. New equipment to dramatically increase production of products so the company can meet their current orders and solicit/fulfill additional wholesale orders for future expansion.