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Michigan Commission of Agricultural and Rural Development grants $300,000 to local companies for expansion, increased sustainability, and employment opportunities

For immediate release: November 10, 2021

LANSING, Mich. - Today, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to approve three Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grants for local Michigan businesses, totaling $300,000. These funds will allow businesses to improve operations, expand services through a sustainable focus, and create good-paying jobs. The grants were awarded to Maple Hardwoods, Sprinkles Donut Shop LLC, and West Michigan Beef Company.

“These grants help to make Michigan small businesses more competitive on a global scale by allowing them to improve operations and create more unique employment opportunities for Michiganders,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “As we work to put Michigan first, it is important we look at all avenues of innovation to support rural development. With Michigan’s agricultural and food entrepreneurial spirit, I know our food production companies will continue to advance and thrive.”

“I’m proud of the continued investments the State of Michigan continues to make into local food and agricultural based businesses,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “These three businesses will now be able to increase production, hire more skilled Michiganders, and increase sustainable practices. I am excited to see the progress these companies make over the coming months and years.” 

Sprinkles Donut Shop LLC was established in 2014 in Hudsonville, Michigan. Since its opening, Sprinkles has opened five retail locations and has more than 30 wholesale customers. Thru this $60,000 grant, Sprinkles will transition from a small retail bakery to an industrial kitchen to meet growing demand. This transition will allow for a more efficient production line, create jobs, and help the company expand the local retail and wholesale business and produce and co-pack for a national restaurant chain.

The new kitchen will enable Sprinkles to fulfill new wholesale business with multiple national brands, including a Michigan-based business shipping to 26 states. The expansion will also allow the company to export products and co-pack over 200,000 donuts a month and create an estimated ten new jobs.

“The entire Sprinkles Donut Shop team is deeply appreciative of the encouragement and support we have received from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development,” said Gary VanderStelt, owner and president. “The partnership with MDARD will allow us to build-out a larger production space to meet both wholesale and retail opportunities, create new jobs and continuing our rich family history of providing the best product in Western Michigan and beyond.”

Maple Hardwoods, Inc. is a second-generation timber company in Hessel, Michigan. Their management team has been dealers in hardwood logs, forest management, and the lumber business for more than 50 years. This $90,000 grant will provide the funds for a sawmill expansion and modernization project that will create approximately 10 new jobs. The project involves equipment installation, interior construction, and buildout in an existing 57,000 square foot building to support a sawmill line and office area.

“This investment today is for the betterment of our employees’ livelihoods tomorrow,” said Andrew Jaroche, second generation and vice president of Maple Hardwoods, Inc.

West Michigan Beef Company (WMBC) is a family-owned, wholesale beef packing plant that focuses on personal service, food safety, and humane animal handling. Thru the newly approved grant, WMBC will start an expansion to increase capacity both for custom slaughter and conventional slaughter for beef. The company will construct a 70,000 square-foot modern beef processing facility in Hudsonville, Michigan. This will enable WMBC to support most of the livestock markets in Michigan, in addition to local 4H livestock sales, by giving a local option for slaughter. The company will be able to hire approximately ten new employees.

The Food and Agriculture Investment Program provides financial support for food and agriculture projects that help expand food and agriculture processing to enable growth in the industry and Michigan's economy. Projects are selected based on their impact to the overall agriculture industry and their impact to food and agriculture growth and investment in Michigan.

For more information about MDARD grants, visit