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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Boring Hosts Final Industry Stakeholder Roundtable in 2023

Director Boring concluded his food and agriculture tours for 2023 by visiting VernDale Products in Detroit

Detroit, MI - Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring held the final industry stakeholder roundtable for 2023. Attendees, including several Michigan commodities, discussed increased collaboration, innovation, upcoming grant opportunities and sustainability practices at Eastern Market

"These conversations with our industry professionals have been critical as we prepare to move MDARD forward in 2024," said Director Boring. "As Michigan's food and agriculture sector continues to expand our state, we will ensure MDARD can respond to real-time and changing needs of our growers, producers, and local businesses. When we work together, we can ensure that Michigan remains a powerhouse for food and agriculture."    


Next year, MDARD will be launching new grant opportunities, which include over $10 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program and $1.8 million in state dollars for supporting Michigan's food and agriculture supply chains. 

Additionally, MDARD received $2.9 million for a new program aimed at helping minority-owned food and agriculture ventures in the Governor s Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The department is working to build out this new program to support and expand minority food and agriculture businesses throughout Michigan.

The RFSI program is designed to build resilience in the middle of the food supply chain, provide more and better markets for Michigan s small farms and food businesses, and support the development of value-added products for consumers, fair prices, fair wages, and job creation. Funds will support expanded capacity for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of locally and regionally produced food products, including specialty crops, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products, excluding meat and poultry.

While in Detroit, Director Boring toured VernDale Products, concluding his food and agriculture tours across Michigan for 2023. Throughout the year, Director Boring met with Michigan s food and agricultural businesses to discuss how they can continue to succeed and how MDARD could best assist their continuous growth and expansion. 

For over 50 years, premium chocolate manufacturers have chosen VernDale as their supplier of roller dried whole milk powder. VernDale Products' artisan approach to dairy processing combines trusted craftsmanship with modern equipment and technology, resulting in a milk powder used only in the most desirable chocolate formulas.

"Throughout this year, I have had the privilege of meeting with many food and agriculture businesses across Michigan, just like VernDale Products," added Boring. "My goal was to hear directly from the people on the ground how best MDARD could help them accomplish their goals. These conversations allow us to best adapt to the needs of local food and agriculture businesses looking to thrive in Michigan."  


For more information on current MDARD grant programs, go online at

In 2024, MDARD will continue to meet with Michigan s food and agriculture businesses.


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