MDARD Awards Rural Development Fund Grants

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) awarded 20 Rural Development Fund Grants designed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“This round of rural development grants has turned out to be one of the most diverse yet,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Just look at that list. Funds will be helping to develop or support everything from infrastructure and community gardens to craft beverages and beehives. With every round of grants, not only are we making an impact on rural areas in Michigan, but we’re also learning just how much is going on in our state, and how much it has to offer.”

The department received 110 proposals with requests totaling more than $8.4 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 20 projects totaling $1,400,241, leveraging a match of more than $2.3 million:

  • County of Marquette – $100,000 (Marquette). Expansion of the hangar at the KI Sawyer Airport.
  • Northern Great Lakes Initiative d/b/a Northern Initiatives – $50,000 (Marquette). Helping Central and Western Upper Peninsula Manufacturers Grow and Thrive Through the Continuous Solutions Group (CSG) Model.
  • Bois Blanc Township – $100,000 (Pointe Aux Pins). Development of the Westend Beach Park to increase marine access.
  • Corullo Forest Products Corporation – $100,000 (Bessemer). Pulpwood yard improvements for all season access.
  • Empire Business Association – $10,000 (Empire). Engineering feasibility study for cooperatively owned wastewater system.
  • Manthei Inc. – $100,000 (Petoskey). Purchase of equipment entailing a 5-foot wide sander.
  • Bay Mills Indian Community – $84,000 (Brimley). Expansion of a wastewater project.
  • West Central Michigan Horticulture Research Inc. – $100,000 (Hart). Development of a west central research facility.
  • Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region – $14,647 (Hancock). Development of shelter-based and school-based garden infrastructure.
  • Arbre Farms – $100,000 (Walkerville). Construction of a multiple-unit housing structure to support current and potential employees in housing transition.
  • J & DC Chocolates LLC – $80,794 (Empire). Installation of equipment for frozen specialty treats.
  • Copper Harbor Trails Society – $32,500 (Copper Harbor). Enhance and expand non-motorized easy trail from Keweenaw Mountain Lodge to Manganese Falls.
  • Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC – $50,000 (Johannesburg). Expansion of potato sorting and sizing equipment.
  • NutriFeed LLC – $100,000 (Powers). Expansion of a salt block press system.
  • Village of Colon – $50,000 (Colon). Upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • DeVooght’s General Store Inc.  – $95,000 (Skandia). Installing a maple syrup processing and commercial kitchen.
  • North Channel Brewing Company – $100,000 (Manistee). Installation of equipment for brewhouse expansion.
  • Wunsch Farms – $100,000 (Traverse City). Construction of a 40-person workforce housing unit.
  • Honor Area Restoration Projects – $20,000 (Honor). Develop Platte River Park restrooms and ADA improvements.
  • Keweenaw Bee Company LLC – $13,300 (Chassell). Expansion of beehive capacity and processing equipment.

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

Eligible counties include those with a population no greater than 60,000 residents or micropolitan statistical areas. Preference was given to projects in Marquette County.

The proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. For more information about this grant program or a complete list of eligible counties, visit