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Governor Whitmer announces $1.2 million in USDA Grants to help Michigan’s Small Agriculture Businesses Expand

Six meat processing companies to receive federal grant dollars

LANSING, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell today announced a $1.2 million federal investment to help the state's meat and poultry processors to expand their processing capacity. This funding was made available through the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.

"Today’s investments in Michigan’s small agriculture businesses will strengthen our food supply chain and help reduce food costs while creating good-paying jobs for Michiganders," said Governor Whitmer. "Michigan is known for its strong food and agriculture businesses, and I’m thrilled that USDA is committed to helping them continue to thrive in our state. I will work with anyone to invest in every region of our great state and was proud to invest in rural and agriculture economic development in the bipartisan budget I signed a two months ago, empowering rural Michigan to compete for and win more projects and create good-paying jobs.”

MPIRG, a new program authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, is jointly administered by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service. The program was part of USDA's comprehensive funding package to help small and very small processing facilities weather the pandemic, compete in the marketplace, and get the support they need to reach more customers.

"Michigan's food and ag sector is an economic powerhouse generating billions for the economy and supporting jobs in our communities," said McDowell. "Our farmers and food-based businesses continue to show their resiliency and ability to adapt. These funds from USDA provide additional support to allow these help our small meat and poultry processors grow."

Six Michigan companies were awarded federal MPIRG grants:

Bellinger Packing & Associates Inc. in Ashley: $200,000
Country Smoke House in Almont: $200,000
Clear Water Meats in Eau Claire: $200,000
Thomas Elliott (Veritas Vineyard, LLC) in Jackson: $200,000
Marrow in Detroit: $200,000
Merindorf Meats Inc. in Mason: $200,000

With this grant funding, meat and poultry processing businesses can cover the costs for improvements such as expanding existing facilities, modernizing processing equipment and meeting packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements needed to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state's Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. These changes allow these facilities to serve more customers in more markets.

To learn more about MPIRG and see the full list of awards, visit