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

LANSING – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) awarded 22 Rural Development Fund Grants designed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“At MDARD, we are proud to continue to make investments into our rural communities that create more economic opportunities, and good-paying jobs, while expanding our food and agriculture industry,” said MDARD Director Tim Boring. “These 22 new projects show why Michigan is a competitive powerhouse in the food and agricultural industry.”

MDARD received 78 proposals with requests totaling more than $6.3 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 22 projects totaling just over $1.8 million, leveraging a match of more than $1.6 million. 

  • Binkley Deer Processing, LLC- $100,000 (Shiawassee) – A current “custom exempt” deer processor to grow their existing business while expanding into processing livestock, primarily beef and swine.
  • Cass County- $100,000 (Cass) – Cass County to develop a countywide, parcel-level, GIS-based map of broadband availability, which will be used to develop a specific, actionable plan to bring broadband infrastructure to all unserved and underserved parcels.
  • Cherry Bay Orchards- $100,000 (Leelanau) – Expansion of housing infrastructure for employees, including those in the H2A program and full-time domestic employees with families.
  • Christian Youth Enterprises dba New Life Camp - $100,000 (Ogemaw) – Expand tourism and recreational opportunities in Ogemaw County specifically in and around the communities of Rose City, Mio and Lupton.
  • City of Negaunee- $100,000 (Marquette) – Water main replacement in downtown Negaunee to allow various businesses to connect and install fire suppression systems where they are needed.
  • Delta County Road Commission- $100,000 (Delta) – Upgrade the 1.0-mile segment of CR-434 from a gravel road to a paved all-season road to provide a vital link in the farm to market road network.
  • EPIC: Educational Partnership in the Community - $100,000 (Marquette) – Promoting safe and affordable child care through the addition of supervised and trained care volunteers to assist with infant and toddler care to implement EPIC’s Child Care Compliance and Volunteer Sustainability Program.
  • Ethanology LLC- $100,000 (Antrim) – Increasing barrel-aged spirit production annually via the renovation of the existing warehouse to ensure long-term viability of the business.
  • Fremont Regional Digester - $7,053 (Newaygo) – New infrastructure to provide a drop off point that would collect food waste receptacles and informational signage to enable residents to divert waste from landfills.
  • GTA Children’s Garden - $20,000 (Grand Traverse) – A transformative plan to sustain the garden campus with infrastructure upgrades, enhance existing programming and inclusivity measures, educate community members, and deepen the connectivity to the community through broader partnerships.
  • Iron Ore Recreation Authority- $56,000 (Marquette) – Project to improve trail maintenance equipment, add administration with volunteer support, and to maintain this asset for the physical, mental and economic fitness of the community.
  • Kiwanis Ski Club- $100,000 (Dickinson) – Project to continue generating income through the KSC events by renovating the complex by adding an elevator to the ski jump tower and expanding tourism/non-ski jumping events held throughout the year.
  • Lakeview Hill Farm- $100,000 (Leelanau) – Convert a historical Leelanau County one-room schoolhouse into ‘The Schoolhouse Store at Lakeview Hill Farm’ that meets the requirements of a retail food establishment.
  • Marquette County Land Bank Authority- $50,000 (Marquette) – This project is addressing the lack of affordable/attainable housing options for many county residents and municipalities by providing target market analysis and implementation.
  • McCormick Farmz LLC- $67,844 (Cheboygan) – Proposes to purchase and put into use equipment and infrastructure to facilitate the expedited expansion of budding lavender farm in Wolverine, Michigan.
  • River Trails LLC- $100,000 (Houghton) – Enhance the existing trail system near MTU by planning for future protection of the Pilgrim River to create economic benefit for future homeowners and development community.
  • Skinny Pete’s LLC- $40,600 (Houghton) – Project to address the critical need to meet the demand of customers and promote a more efficient workday for staff while providing capacity to service more businesses to the success of our local economy.
  • Superior Sawmill, INC- $100,000 (Alger) – Infrastructure expansion and business development to provide southern Marquette County contractors and residents with a rural supply of lumber and employment opportunities.
  • TCA Management, LLC dba Michigan Gravel- $100,000 (Tuscola) – Expand production with new mine screening plant to be fuel-efficient, create several new jobs, and provide consistent reliable product availability to the area.
  • Wilson Enterprises, Inc- $100,000 (Menominee) –Project to provide a wide variety of crucial benefits to the local economy including: increases in purchases of raw forestry materials, order increase in containers, increase production of Michigan products, additional jobs, and packaging from an upper peninsula business.        
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 in accordance with Public Act 411.

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




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