Michigan's $91.4 billion food and agriculture industry recently got several boosts with the announcement Dec. 13 of Strategic Growth Initiative grants to help fund 14 projects aimed at bolstering the state's second-largest economic sector. Of 75 applications received by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, 14 were approved.
Projects chosen to receive grant funds included blueberry research by MGB Marketing of Grand Junction; a workforce development program by Marlette-based ThumbWorks; specialty food production research by the Michigan Bean Commission in Frankenmuth; value-added potato processing by the Michigan Potato Industry Commission; and several ag-related research endeavors based at Michigan State University.
View MDARD's press release online for more information about each of the individual grants.
"These are the kind of forward-thinking investments that will help solidify Michigan agriculture's position as one of the state's leading industries," says Wayne H. Wood, president of Michigan Farm Bureau.
"With our food and farm sector contributing more than $91 billion into the state's economy every year, I think this $2.25 million investment is not only warranted, but demonstrates a welcome commitment by the state to the long-term health of the work Michigan farm families and ag processors do every day."
The Strategic Growth Initiative grant program is a product of Gov. Rick Snyder's 2011 Summit on Production Agriculture and recommendations from the House Agriculture Sub-committee on Agricultural Processing. A joint venture between MDARD and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the initiative aims to encourage the growth of Michigan's food and agriculture industry and foster economic opportunities for Michigan-based food processors, agribusiness and those involved in food production.
"I'm comfortable saying—on behalf of our 48,500 farmer members across the state—that this effort by MDARD and MEDC to invest in our food and farm sector represents greatly appreciated support for the great things our industry is doing here in Michigan," Wood says. "It's encouraging to see this vital sector of our economy encouraged to continue down a path of progress and excellence."