‘Bold Investments’ in Agriculture to Help Michigan Farmers Feed Their Communities

Michigan Farm to Freezer was among the grant recipients. (Michigan Farm to Freezer via Facebook)

By Kyle Kaminski

August 8, 2023

Nearly $2 million in grants awarded this week by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are set to give a big boost to farmers in two dozen communities. 

LANSING—Two dozen food producers, processors and community development groups scored more than $1.8 million in state grants this week designed to expand the agricultural supply chain in Michigan and boost local access to healthy foods statewide.

State officials said that spells good news for farmers, who plan to invest that cash into new technology and equipment, regional food systems and urban agriculture—and even better news for the dozens of communities across the state that lack meaningful access to fresh foods.

“These investments highlight the unique opportunities available to our local food and agriculture businesses while allowing companies to increase capacity, secure supply chains, and implement climate-smart practices,” MDARD Director Tim Boring said in a statement. “We’re ensuring Michigan is an essential destination for our food and agriculture industry.”

The biennial state grant program—which is designed to boost Michigan’s food and agriculture industry—provides grants of up to $100,000 for various projects that are intended to establish, retain, expand, attract, and develop agricultural processing facilities in Michigan, as well as create new regional food systems. That includes farmers markets and urban hoop houses.

The grants require a 30% match from the recipients. This year, 109 applications were received from nearly every county in Michigan. Of those, 24 projects were picked to receive funding:

$100,000 Grants

DeVries Meats in Coopersville will buy automated harvesting equipment. 

Valley Farms in Imlay City will buy a carrot polisher to increase carrot production.

Michigan Farm to Freezer in Detroit will establish a new production facility in Grand Rapids.

Farm Club in Traverse City will expand its processing kitchen and farm market offerings. 

Lake Effect Distillery in Escanaba will expand the capacity of its grain milling facility. 

Dutton Farm in Rochester Hills will expand access to healthy foods in Oakland County. 

Request Foods Inc. in Holland will expand its ready-to-eat soup production line.

Kids Food Basket in Grand Rapids will expand access to healthy foods in West Michigan. 

Tim Campbell Farm in Imlay City will expand a vegetable packing line. 

Zingerman’s Creamery in Ann Arbor will build a new receiving garage for its dairy products.

St. Julian Wine in Paw Paw will buy new equipment to upgrade its wine production line.

$50,000+ Grants

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County received $70,000 to expand equipment and refrigeration capacity at its Food, Agriculture, Research and Manufacturing (FARM) facility.

Flatwater Farms in Buchanan received $74,000 to increase access to fresh, organic produce.

BK Slaughter House in Grass Lake received $95,000 to buy meat production equipment. 

Brinks Family Creamery in McBain received $79,000 to market more dairy products to families—with the goal of increasing sales and improving the viability of a smaller dairy farm.

Anavery Fine Foods in Traverse City received $60,000 to develop an egg production facility.

Myrtle & Maude’s in Williamsburg received $99,000 to invest in a new commercial kitchen. 

Swanson Grading & Brining received $75,000 to expand its pickling operations.

$20,000 + Grants

Dennis Dairy Farms in Laingsburg received $31,000 to buy new equipment that will increase the capacity, sustainability, and efficiency of its cage-free egg and beef production facilities.

Top Hops in Goodrich received $21,000 to boost the production capacity of hop pellets. 

Lazy Ballerina Winery received $40,000 to boost production of grapes and other fruits.

Rowlands Family Farm in Swartz Creek received $23,000 to expand access to local beef, pork, and poultry products—including by taking more of their products to local farmers markets.

Lake Superior Oil & Vinegar received $25,000 to produce more new flavors of oil and vinegar.

Shady Side Farm in Holland received $30,000 to expand grain and bean processing facilities.

READ MORE: 11 Rural Michigan Communities Score Federal Cash to Boost Health Care

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Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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