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MDARD Awards Rural Grants to Support Infrastructure Sustainability of Land-Based Industries

LANSING, MI – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) awarded 21 Rural Development Fund Grants designed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

"I'm proud that so much of the work at MDARD remains focused on helping our rural communities thrive through sustainable approaches," said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. "When we can invest in our communities, it allows Michigan to continue to expand its economic footprint here at home and globally.”

The department received 114 proposals with requests totaling more than $9.6 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 21 projects totaling nearly $1.8 million, leveraging a match of more than $8.6 million:

  • Ishpeming Public Schools District No. 1 - $100,000 (Ishpeming)­ – Partnership with Partridge Creek Farm todevelop the infrastructure for an innovative Intergenerational Farm in downtown Ishpeming.
  • Golden Stock Farms, LLC - $100,000 (Mears) – Increase the local hydrocooling and storage capacity in the area reducing the stress on the current infrastructure.
  • Maria Del Barrio, Inc. dba Café Bodega - $100,000 (Marquette) – Expansion of cold storage and HVAC system to increase capacity for production and sales of Michigan grown and value-added products and job creation.
  • Michigan Select Farms - $100,000 (Morley) – Morley Agricultural Rural Energy Solar installation to save on energy usage costs.
  • Sleeping Bear Apiaries LTD – $100,000 (Beulah) Installation of an automated honey filling/capping line to expand output of their value-added honey products.
  • Powell Township - $70,000 (Big Bay) – Support recreation development opportunities for improving the health and recreation of the community and growing number of tourists attracted to the area.
  • Marquette-Alger RESA - $100,000 (Marquette) – Expanding childcare options for infant, toddler, and preschool children within the Ishpeming community.
  • Village of Baraga - $60,000 (Baraga) – Implement improvements by replacing ferric chloride chemical treatment tanks at the wastewater treatment plant to maintain the required treatment process of the village wastewater. 
  • Maple Transport - $100,000 (Hessel) – Process of expanding, modernization, and relocation of the company to improve production of forestry products.
  • Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation, dba MTEC Smartzone - $100,000 (Houghton) – Manufacture hardwood mass timber to meet the strong need for near term expansion and diversification in hardwood product markets.
  • Hiawatha Log Homes - $100,000 (Wetmore) – Business and workforce expansion project to increase manufacturing capabilities for domestic and export sales of the new TimberPro product line.
  • Beautify Pullman - $100,000 (Pullman) – Creation of a town square to display a more recreational destination for residents and tourists.
  • Coveyou Farms LLC - $55,000 (Petoskey) – Expansion for workforce housing and farm-stay business diversification on this Michigan centennial organic farm.
  • City of Croswell - $55,000 (Croswell) Improving the city’s sewer separation, water systems, storm drains. Improvements for roadways for both city and agricultural business districts.
  • High Five Spirits - $100,000 (Petoskey) – New facility to increase production capacity, formulate recipes with an improved canning line, create a stronger work force and attract tourists by helping the area grow.
  • Northwoods Meat Processing - $100,000 (Greenland) – Expand the operation by making structural and equipment upgrades to maintain safety and quality control.
  • Lake Effect Distillery, LLC - $100,000 (Escanaba) – Increasing the total production by installing distillation equipment that can handle commercial demand.
  • Butternut Ridge Farm Meatery and Market LLC - $70,000 (Coldwater) – New development of a meat processing facility and market to meet the needs of the consumer to maintain a family-owned business.
  • Barrel and Beam LLC - $21,900 (Marquette) – Establish a commercial kitchen to be utilized by public and private partners, as well as to develop a rural model for food waste reduction.
  • Jilbert Dairy-Dairy Farmers of America - $100,000 (Marquette) – Rebuild investment opportunity to help in the reduction of food product waste and energy efficiency.
  • County of Marquette - $59,500 (Marquette) – Completion of assessment and upgrades at Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area.

The grant funds, Public Act 411 of 2012, are aimed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries (food and agriculture; forestry; mining, oil and gas production; and tourism) and support workforce training, rural capacity building, business development and infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

Eligible counties include those with a population no greater than 70,000 residents or micropolitan statistical areas. Preference was given to projects in Marquette County.

The proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. For more information about this grant program or a complete list of eligible counties, visit Michigan.gov/MDARDGrants.