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Heather, Grants and Commodity Program Manager, Agriculture Development Division
The Agriculture Development Division (AgD) delivers expertise and leadership to support the growth of Michigan's food, agriculture and forest product industries and communities. Working hand-in-hand with community partners and other state and federal agencies, AgD connects businesses to technical and development resources including funding and financing, regulatory assistance and international trade.
As the department's Grants and Commodity Program Manager, Heather serves as the liaison between MDARD and the state's 15 legislatively established commodity boards with producer check-offs or producer assessments. MDARD has legal, fiscal and program oversight responsibility for these programs.
Heather also manages four grant programs, from requesting grant proposals to awarding grant funds and working with grantees through successful completion of the project. The grant programs housed in AgD include specialty crop grants (federal funds), and state funded grants to assist Michigan's food and agriculture sector in expanding production of value-added products, increased access to food for all Michiganders and supporting rural communities. Heather's team oversees between 130 and 170 open grant projects at any one time.
Heather has been with MDARD nearly 20 years, serving in a multitude of marketing and communications positions. For her, the best part of her job is working with growers and producers around the state to help them expand their businesses or tackle challenges they are facing. She finds it truly gratifying to be able to help small businesses get started in Michigan and especially enjoys working with first-time grantees new to the grant process. Their success is her success.