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MDARD Awards over $1.7 million for 18 Projects to Improve, Grow Local Agricultural Business Processes

Grants aimed at food desert, processing and improving state’s supply chain

LANSING, MI — 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 develop agricultural processing in the state through targeted investments in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, healthy food access, regional food systems, and urban agriculture.

“Today’s investments showcase why Michigan is one of the top states to be in our thriving food and agricultural industry. We are continuing to create economic opportunities for agricultural businesses looking to expand and increase innovation,” said Governor Whitmer. “These investments reflect our dedication to increasing healthy food access and bolstering our regional food systems as we work towards achieving food security for all Michiganders.”

“I’m proud MDARD continues to make bold investments into Michigan’s food and agriculture industries,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “These investments span our state, highlighting the diverse and expansive opportunities agriculture brings to our growing economy. We want everyone to know Michigan is the best place for the food and agricultural industry to call home.”

MDARD received 98 eligible proposals with requests totaling more than $7.9 million. Of those, the department awarded over $1.7 million for the following 18 projects, leveraging more than $3.6 million in matching funds:  

  • New Era’s American Apple Packing LLC – (New Era) - $100,000. New apple processing equipment to help expand 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 offerings to market, and for more local and regional consumers to gain access to healthy, fresh food.
  • Michigan Freeze Pack Company – (Hart) ­- $100,000. Install a cost-effective automated bulk case packing line for IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) vegetables. This will contribute to more efficient packing, better quality control, creation of high-skill jobs, and eliminating labor intensive packing.
  • Michigan Milk Producers Association – (Novi) - $100,000. To engage a wastewater vendor to perform a pilot scale study to determine the treatability of the wastewater stream produced from potential project that utilizes a milk by-product.
  • Granor Farms LLC – (Three Oaks) - $37,000. Expansion of Granor Farm retail spirits and wine manufacturing with an emphasis on fortified wines with organic grains, botanicals, and herbs grown on-farm.
  • Verdant Hollow Farms LLC – (Buchanan) - $100,000. Will convert an existing farm structure to an on-farm licensed dairy processing plant, farm store and cold storage for processing, storage, and sales of farm products.
  • Barrister Brewing Company, LLC – (Owosso) - $100,000. New microbrewery to install brewery and kitchen equipment to accomplish their mission to feature seasonal ingredients from local and regional agricultural partners.
  • N.J. Fox & Sons, Inc – (Shelby) - $75,000. Project to convert a current cold storage unit into a “Pear Ripening Room” to ripen pears for Gerber Products Company.
  • Milk & Froth Inc. – (Detroit) - $100,000. Purchase equipment to increase ice cream and pint production capacity to immediately fill existing wholesale demand.
  • Ludington Meat Company – (Ludington) - $100,000. Meat manufacturing company, featuring one-of-a-kind meat shopping experience in Ludington to obtain a thermoformer vacuum packaging machine to increase packaging production capabilities and maximize efficiency to fulfill customer needs.
  • Lakeview Hill Farm – (Traverse City) - $98,440. Expanding 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 livestock producers and food product sale companies, and increase retail sales.
  • Michigan Turkey Producers – (Grand Rapids) - $100,000. Utility upgrades to support facility's current and future needs while reducing emissions to increase production and profitability.
  • Eastside Lansing Co-op – (Lansing) - $100,000. Installation of new refrigeration and freezing equipment to ensure increased food access for low-income residents by coordinating with SNAP and Double-Up Food Bucks.
  • Zilke Farm Kitchen, LLC – (Milan) - $96,777. Removing food barriers for families by expanding production of our recipes for Michigan-grown produce-based prepared meals, meal kits, and ready-to-eat snacks to local pantries for distribution to clients and to local businesses to sell.
  • Boss Dairy Farms dba Charlevoix Cheese Company – (Charlevoix) - $100,000. Expansion of an on-farm cheese facility will provide state-of-the-art equipment and technology to efficiently produce artisan cheese.
  • Shoreline Fruit, LLC – (Traverse City) - $100,000. Enhanced process for the production of a variety of fruit and vegetable based, shelf stable, food safe powders for the national and international markets.
  • Peteets Famous Cheesecakes – (Oak Park) - $97,200. New equipment to increase the output of the products substantially so the business can fulfill its current orders and solicit/fulfill additional wholesale orders for future expansion.
For more information on available MDARD grants, visit