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MDARD Awards Nearly $2.5 Million in Grants to Address Challenges Facing Michigan’s Food and Agricultural Industry

Funding supports key priorities around sustainable ag practices

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring today announced Farm Innovation Grant investments for eight projects to help support sustainable and climate smart agriculture practices in the state. The Farm Innovation Grants are designed to develop and support innovative solutions to real, immediate, and future farm challenges facing Michigan’s food and agricultural industry.

“Implementing climate smart agriculture practices is fundamental to Michigan’s long-term supply chain resiliency and growth within our food and agriculture industry,” said Boring. “Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s bipartisan budget, MDARD is in position to use the Farm Innovation Grant dollars to support and take action for farmers to support future generations of agriculture.”

The department received 15 proposals with requests totaling more than $4.9 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following eight projects totaling $2,461,999:

  • Michigan State University – Tree Stress in Orchards – $263,000 (East Lansing) – Mitigating and Masking Climate-Induced Tree Stress to Reduce Damage by Ambrosia Beetles in Apple Orchards
  • Michigan State University – Disease Management – $231,700 (East Lansing) – Improving Disease Management in Carrot and Asparagus Production Through Climate-Smart Technology
  • Michigan State University – Regen Ag Practices – $322,499 (East Lansing) –Measuring and Modeling the Benefits of Regenerative Agricultural Practices in Three Agroecosystems in Michigan
  • Michigan State University – Fruit Tree Resilience Against Labor & Climate Challenges – $253,000 (East Lansing) – Growing Fruit Trees in Digital Environments to Improve Resilience Against Labor and Climate Challenges
  • Michigan State University – Electric Tractor in Vegetable Production – $225,000 (East Lansing) – An Autonomous Electric Tractor-based System for Precision Vegetable Crop Production
  • Michigan Technological University – $423,300 (Houghton) – Improving Climate Resiliency and Economic Return of Michigan's Labor-Intensive Produce Using Low-Cost, Modular Robotic Fleets
  • Centrepolis Accelerator (Lawrence Technological University) – $447,000 (Southfield) – Apple and Christmas Tree Supply Resiliency: Alternative Disease-Free Young Plant Propagation Method
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College – $296,500 (Kalamazoo) – Developing a Framework for Applied Research and Demonstration of Climate-Smart Agriculture and Horticulture Practices

The grant funds were established to develop innovative solutions for farm, agriculture processing, and supply chain problems facing the state’s food and agriculture industry in the following priority areas: Climate Smart Practices, Supply Chain Resiliency, Food Processing and Farm Production Automation, and Rural Resiliency.

The proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. For more information about this and other MDARD grants, visit


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