State Department of Agriculture provides grants to help rural communities


The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has awarded 21 Rural Development Fund grants designed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“I am proud that so much of MDARD’s work remains focused on helping our rural communities prosper through sustainable approaches,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “When we can invest in our communities, it allows Michigan to continue to expand its economic footprint here at home and around the world.”

The ministry received 114 proposals with requests totaling more than $9.6 million. Of these, MDARD has awarded the following 21 projects totaling nearly $1.8 million, mobilizing consideration of more than $8.6 million:

    • Ishpeming Public Schools District No. 1 – $100,000 (Ishpeming) – Partnership with Partridge Creek Farm to develop infrastructure for an innovative intergenerational farm in downtown Ishpeming.
    • Golden Stock Farms, LLC – $100,000 (Mears) – Increase local hydrocooling and storage capacity in the region by reducing stress on current infrastructure.
    • Maria Del Barrio, Inc. dba Café Bodega – $100,000 (Marquette) – Expansion of cold storage and HVAC system to increase capacity to produce and sell Michigan-grown and value-added produce and job creation.
    • Michigan Select Farms – $100,000 (Morley) – Morley Agricultural Rural Energy Solar installation to save on energy usage costs.
    • Sleeping Bear Apiaries LTD – $100,000 (Beulah) – Installation of an automated honey filling/capping line to increase production of their value-added honey products.
    • Township of Powell – $70,000 (Big Bay) – Support recreational development opportunities to improve community health and recreation and the growing number of tourists drawn to the area.
    • RESA Marquette-Algiers – $100,000 (Marquette) – Expand child care options for infants, toddlers and preschoolers within the Ishpeming community.
    • Village of Baraga – $60,000 (Baraga) – Implement improvements by replacing the ferric chloride chemical treatment tanks at the sewage treatment plant to maintain the required village sewage treatment process.
    • Maple Transport – $100,000 (Hessel) – Process of expansion, modernization and relocation of the company to improve the production of forest products.
    • Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation, dba MTEC Smartzone – $100,000 (Houghton) – Manufacture solid hardwood to meet the strong short-term need for expansion and diversification of hardwood product markets.
    • Hiawatha Log Homes – $100,000 (Wetmore) – Business and workforce expansion project to increase manufacturing capabilities for domestic and export sales of the new TimberPro product line.
    • Beautify Pullman – $100,000 (Pullman) – Creation of a public plaza to display a more recreational destination for residents and tourists.
    • Coveyou Farms LLC – $55,000 (Petoskey) – Expanded workforce housing and diversified farm stay activities at this century-old Michigan organic farm.
    • Town of Croswell – $55,000 (Croswell) – Improved separation of sewers, water systems and storm sewers in the town. Pavement improvements in the city’s business and agricultural districts.
    • High Five Spirits – $100,000 (Petoskey) – New facility to increase production capacity, formulate recipes with an improved canning line, create a stronger workforce and attract tourists by helping the region develop.
    • Northwoods Meat Processing – $100,000 (Greenland) – Expand the operation by improving structure and equipment to maintain safety and quality control.
    • Lake Effect Distillery, LLC – $100,000 (Escanaba) – Increase total production by installing distillation equipment capable of meeting commercial demand.
    • Butternut Ridge Farm Meatery and Market LLC – $70,000 (Coldwater) – New meat processing plant and market development to meet consumer needs to sustain a family business.
    • Barrel and Beam LLC – $21,900 (Marquette) – Establish a commercial kitchen for use by public and private partners, as well as develop a rural model for reducing food waste.
    • Jilbert Dairy-Dairy Farmers of America – $100,000 (Marquette) – Rebuilding an investment opportunity to contribute to food waste reduction and energy efficiency.
    • Marquette County – $59,500 (Marquette) – Completed assessment and improvements to the Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area.

The grant funds, Public Law 411 of 2012, are intended to promote the sustainability of land-based industries (food and agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism) and support workforce training, rural capacity building, enterprise development and infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

Eligible counties include those with populations not exceeding 70,000 or micropolitan statistical areas. Preference was given to projects in Marquette County.

Proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. For more information on this grant program or a full list of eligible counties, visit


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