Skip to main content

Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development Grants $155,000 to Local Companies for Increased Production Facilities and Job Creation

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted at its regular meeting yesterday to approve grants for two local Michigan businesses totaling $155,000. Long Road Distillers LLC and Manthei Wood Products will use the grants to increase their production space, expand and advance their product availability, and create 15 new jobs.

The funding comes through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Food and Agriculture Investment Program which provides financial support for projects that help expand food and agriculture processing to enable growth in the industry and Michigan’s economy. Projects are selected based on their impact on the overall agriculture industry and food and agriculture growth and investment in the state.

“In Michigan, we’re committed to making deliberate investments to advance business development within our food and agriculture industries while demonstrating a vision for growth that reflects our quality-of-life values, creates new economic advancement opportunities and good-paying jobs,” said MDARD Director Tim Boring. “Investments like these in community businesses such a Long Road Distillers and Manthei Wood Products show why Michigan is the place to be when it comes to food and agriculture.”

Long Road Distillers was created as the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids and has continuously supported and maintained relationships with local Michigan farmers to create their products. Each product is milled from locally sourced ingredients, fermented, and distilled on site. They have been fully committed to the utilization of Michigan grown agricultural products since their opening in 2015 and have already met capacity with their equipment and locations including their tasting rooms in Grand Rapids and Grand Haven and warehouse and storage facilities, requiring a need for expansion.

This $65,000 grant investment will allow for Long Road Distillers to purchase new larger equipment with a higher capacity, so they are able to produce more distilled products to meet demand while creating five new jobs.

“Long Road Distillers has been committed to utilizing Michigan agricultural products as the foundation of our world class spirits since our inception,” said Long Road co-owner Jon O’Connor. “The support of MDARD to assist with our distillery expansion efforts will allow us to double-down on utilizing even more Michigan grain and fruit as we craft innovative, category leading products.”

Manthei Wood Products originated from the purchase of a “basket-making machine” in the 1940s so two brothers who were strawberry farmers could make their own fruit baskets. The basket-making machine turned out to be a veneer lathe, so instead they began manufacturing veneer turning their company into a national leader in precision hardwood face veneers. In 2018, the company purchased used plywood pressing equipment to enter the plywood industry and established a reputation for high quality plywood products. With their success, their outdated equipment limited their production, opportunities for innovation, and growth. 

With this $90,000 FAIP grant, the company will be able to purchase new state-of-the-art plywood press, inspection and repair line, and trimming line. This will eliminate the limitations of the outdated machinery and will allow them to increase their veneer-faced plywood panel production by over three times. In addition, this will create 10 new positions.

“This expansion is a big step forward in executing our strategy of growth and innovation. The new plywood processing line will include the latest technology for producing veneer-based wood panel products in Michigan while creating an increased market for responsibly harvested, locally sourced hardwood timber and job opportunities for skilled technicians to operate the new line,” said Jeremy Manthei, President of Manthei Wood Products. “We are very excited about this next phase of our company. We’re thankful for the continued investment and support from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.”  

For more information about MDARD grants, visit MDARD - Grants & Funding Opportunities (


Media Contact: