During its regularly scheduled meeting yesterday, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted to approve Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grants for three food and agriculture projects in Michigan. The projects will help grow companies focused on cheese-making, asparagus packing and production, and grain processing as well as support the expansion of consumer-demand driven, value-added Michigan products.
“Despite being relatively new, our Food and Agriculture Investment Program is already having a significant and positive impact on businesses in every corner of the state,” said Gordon Wenk, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “These modest investments not only help create more jobs in the short term, but they also help food and agriculture businesses position themselves for long-term success. And that’s good for everybody.”
Ridgeview Orchards LLC, of Conklin, Michigan, will receive a $50,000 performance-based grant to expand their asparagus packing and production line in Kent City. The project will require a $257,500 investment and will lead to the installation of two new buncher and labeling machines that will make the asparagus packing operations more efficient. Michigan grows approximately 20 million pounds of asparagus each year and having an efficient supply chain to move the product from the fields to the retailers is key to maintaining a strong and healthy industry in Michigan.
“Food and agriculture processing is a diversified business in Michigan, and these three projects are great examples of the support we can give to small companies in order to accelerate their growth,” said Peter Anastor, Director of MDARD’s Agriculture Development Division. “We hope these companies continue to grow and establish themselves as key pieces of our food and ag supply chain that will support local, regional and national food companies and consumers.”
The Food and Agriculture Investment Program provides financial support for food and agriculture projects that help expand food and agriculture processing to enable growth in the industry and Michigan’s economy. Projects are selected based on their impact to the overall agriculture industry and their impact to food and agriculture growth and investment in Michigan.