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Gov. Whitmer Announces Additional Funding to Assist Farmers with Specialty Crops


November 30, 2021 

Media contact:?Jennifer Holton, 

Program contact: Heather Throne,  

Gov. Whitmer Announces Additional Funding to Assist Farmers with Specialty Crops  

$1,291,191 in federal dollars coming to Michigan's food and agriculture businesses 

Lansing, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today announced the Michigan recipients of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.?The program offers federal funding to a state department of agriculture to support the specialty crop industry and the impacts to the food system due to COVID-19. These grants focus on marketing, training, certifications, food safety, pest control, and plant health for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, plants and/or flowers. 

"Investing in and supporting our rural economy is critical to Michigan's economic success and will help us put Michiganders first," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "The grants enhance opportunity for our specialty crops growers and workers, and they will help our supply chain recover, grow, and thrive. appreciate Senator Stabenow and USDA's commitment to expanding Michigan's local food economies and strengthening our rural communities." 

"Michigan leads the nation in the production of many fruits and vegetables and is second in diversity of our crops only to California. Our fruits, vegetables and nursery crops are not only a source of great pride?- they are critical to our state's economy."?said Senator Stabenow. "This new support is a big win for Michigan agriculture. It will help our farmers keep their competitive edge and continue to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to American families."  

"Michigan's food and agriculture industry was hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19 from farm to fork," said Gary McDowell, MDARD Director. "These much-needed funds will help our growers and processors continue to innovate and compete for new growth opportunities throughout the food supply chain, both nationally and globally. Michigan grown and made just tastes better." 

Below is the list of grantees:?


Project Title 


Amount Awarded 

Cherry Marketing Institute 

Inspire Michigan Tart Cherry New Food and Beverage Innovations 



Michigan Ag Council 

Specialty Crop Market and Festival Tour 



Michigan Apple Committee 

Raising Michigan Apple Brand Awareness through Online Engagement with Consumers 



Michigan Blueberry Commission 

Developing Export-Ready Pest Management Programs for Michigan Blueberries 



Michigan Celery Research Inc. 

Building resilience in MI celery: Strategies for weed, nematode, and fertility management 



Michigan Christmas Tree Association 

Sustainable Christmas Tree Production:  A Training Program for New and Current Christmas Tree Producers 



Michigan Department of Education-Office of Health and Nutrition Services 

Developing Regional Specialty Crop Supply Chain Connections and Innovations to Support 10 Cents a Meal Grantees 



Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) 

Diversifying Market Channels to Increase Competitiveness for Beginning and Historically Underserved Specialty Crop Producers 



Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Inc (dba Migrant Legal Aid) 

Improving Agricultural Sustainability by Improving Health for Migrant and Immigrant Food Workers 

Grand Rapids 


Michigan Potato Industry Commission 

Potato Nutrition Messaging to Address Food Insecure Audiences in Michigan 

East Lansing 


Michigan State Horticultural Society 

Orchard Innovations to Sustain Michigan Peach/Nectarine Industry Profitability 

Benton Harbor 


Michigan Wine Collaborative 

Developing a Competitive Brand for Michigan Wine to Sustain Grape Sales 



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