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Agriculture Development Division (AgD)

The Agriculture Development Division delivers expertise and leadership to support economic prosperity in Michigan's food and agriculture sector through industry focused economic development, export assistance, and grant management. The division also provides executive support for the Craft Beverage Council and serves as the liaison with Michigan's many agriculture commodity groups. 

Division Director

Jamie Zmitko-Somers

How can we help you?

Economic & Community Development

The Agriculture Development Economic & Community Development Team delivers expertise and leadership to support growth of Michigan's food, agriculture and forest product industries and communities. Working hand-in-hand with community partners and other state and federal agencies, the team strives to create a culture of seamless customer service delivery to existing and new businesses. The team connects businesses to technical and development resources including funding and financing, regulatory assistance or international trade.

Contact: Donna LaCourt, Acting Economic & Community Development Program Manager

International Marketing Program

The International Marketing Program assists Michigan food and agriculture businesses in developing trade opportunities to effectively export their products and achieve economic growth.

For information on the programs and services that the International Marketing Program offers in conjunction with various partners and service providers, please see the International Marketing Program's web page

Contact: Elissa Mutschler or Holly Gaffney, International Marketing Program Coordinators

Grants Program

MDARD's Agriculture Development Division currently offers two competitive grant programs:

USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant:

The Specialty Crop Block Grant is funding that comes to Michigan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) via the Farm Bill. The sole purpose of these dollars is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops include: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).

Value-Added/Regional Food System Grant:

This grant is to promote the expansion of value-added agriculture production, processing, and access within the state in order to enhance Michigan's food and agriculture industry.  Proposals submitted must detail how the project will establish, retain, expand, attract and/or develop value-added agricultural processing in Michigan, and/or expand or develop regional food systems or access to healthy food in Michigan.

See the Grants & Funding Opportunities page for more information, MDARD - Grants & Funding Opportunities

Contact: Heather Throne, Grant and Commodity Program Manager

Michigan Craft Beverage Council

The Michigan Craft Beverage Council is a 10-member, governor-appointed board that is advisory to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Craft Beverage Council was established within MDARD to provide for research into Michigan agricultural products, such as fruits, hops and barley, that are used in the production of Michigan wine, cider, beer, spirits and mixed spirit drinks. The Michigan Craft Beverage Council may also take actions that will enhance the marketing and promotion of Michigan agricultural products, such as fruits, hops and barley, that are used in the production of Michigan craft beverages.

Contact: Jenelle Jagmin, Director of the Michigan Craft Beverage Council

Michigan Agricultural Commodity Organizations

Michigan is home to many commodity organizations representing the state's diverse agricultural sectors.

View a list of commodity groups and contacts

Producer Security

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) works to help ensure our state's farmers are paid for the grain they transact with Michigan's grain dealers. Commodities covered by the Farm Produce Insurance Authority include corn, soybeans, dry beans, small grains and cereal grains. Learn more about the Producer Security Program at MDARD.

Contact: Jeff Haarer, Producer Security and Ag Products Manager