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MDARD Announces One-Time Grant Opportunity to Support Michigan Seafood Processors

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is seeking applications for the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant program to support the state’s seafood processing sector. Funded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, this program provides relief and assistance to eligible seafood processing facilities and processing vessels in response to the ongoing impacts from COVID-19. The grants will provide cost reimbursement for eligible expenditures that occurred between January 27, 2020, and December 31, 2021.

"Michigan's seafood processing industry is robust, and like so many sectors across food and agriculture, our seafood processors demonstrated their resilience and innovation during the pandemic," said McDowell. "This grant offers an opportunity to provide needed relief for unexpected business costs incurred during the pandemic. Seafood processing remains an important part of Michigan agriculture and our state's economy."

Grant funding can be used to cover the activities associated with:

  • Workplace Safety Measures
  • Market Pivots
  • Retrofitting Facilities
  • Transportation
  • Worker Housing
  • Medical Costs

Eligible applicants are MDARD-licensed seafood processing facilities and processing vessels, including at-sea processors or dealers. Qualified beneficiary definitions include:

  • Processor The owner, operator, dealer, or agent responsible for any activity that changes the physical condition of a fisheries resource suitable for human consumption, retail sale, industrial use, or long-term storage, including cooking, canning, smoking, salting, drying, shucking, filleting, freezing, or rendering into meal or oil. Any owner, operator, dealer, or agent exclusively gutting, gilling, heading, or icing seafood without performing any of the above activities is NOT considered a processor eligible for payments under this award;
  • At-Sea Processor A vessel or other platform that floats and can be moved from one location to another, whether in State waters or water of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), receiving fish and operating as a processor;
  • Dealer An entity that first receives fish by way of purchase and sells directly to restaurants, markets, other dealers, processors, or consumers without substantially altering the product.
For more information about expenditure eligibility and how to apply, please visit MDARD Grants & Funding Opportunities. The application period closes on December 31, 2022, or until funds are exhausted.