Several UP entities awarded MDARD rural infrastructure grants

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

“Rural Michigan isn’t some strange, faraway, uninhabited land,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Most of the people in this great state are either from or currently live in rural areas, so these grants have a real impact on the lives of people we know and in communities not far from our own. Rural Michigan has unlimited potential, but it needs opportunity. The Rural Development Fund grants help provide those opportunities.”

The department received 139 proposals with requests totaling more than $11 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 20 projects totaling $1,700,000, leveraging a match of more than $6.7 million:

  • Apsey Farm LLC – $90,000 (Reed City) – Expansion of livestock processing and distribution.
  • Beaver Island Historical Society – $31,800 (Beaver Island) – Implement a tourism campaign, upgrades at Heritage Park and Blue Buffalo Camp Trail, development of a mobile app for tourists.
  • City of Ishpeming – $100,000 – Development along Malton Road to create an additional campground and to increase tourism to the region.
  • City of Negaunee – $82,600 – Multiple upgrades to the Teal Lake Shoreline Beach Area.
  • City of Stephenson – $41,500 – Wastewater treatment facility upgrades.
  • Gallagher Farms LLC – $100,000 (Traverse City) – Establishment of a craft spirits distillery at the farm as a complement to its current Bay View Weddings at Gallagher Farms destination wedding venue.
  • Gatien Farm and Forest Products Inc. – $100,000 (Powers) – Upgrade equipment with new highly automated machines for wood products.
  • Great Lakes Tissue Company – $100,000 (Cheboygan) – Expansion of new processing equipment to add value to the plastic byproduct of recycled poly-coated paper feedstock of cartons, paper cups, food trays, and post-industrial paper used in the 100% recycle context tissue manufacturing.
  • Harbor Hills Fruit Farm – $100,000 (Lake Leelanau) – Purchase of a crossflow filtration unit to enhance the quality of Michigan wines.
  • Lakeshore Depot L3C – $100,000 (Marquette) – Increase capacity for sales, distribution and value-added processing of Michigan-grown produce and agricultural products at a new FarmStop local food store.
  • Mackinac Bluffs Maple Farm Inc. – $100,000 (Pickford) – Construction and installation of a “sap house” that will contain equipment to collect and process maple sap for additional maple syrup production.
  • Noquemanon Trails Network Council – $100,000 (Marquette) – Expansion of parking spaces, a vault toilet facility, and develop a mountain bike skills area for all ages and abilities at Marquette South Trails.
  • Northern Michigan University – $100,000 (Marquette) – Implement a self-contained growing center proposal that aims to enhance and expand a new indoor agriculture degree program at the university.
  • Oceana County Economic Alliance – $100,000 (Hart) – Extension of the Village of Shelby’s municipal water service to workforce housing and remove barriers to talent attraction and retention.
  • Riveridge Land Company – $100,000 (Grant) – Construction of a housing unit for 30 additional H2A seasonal workers for the upcoming growing season.
  • TCWC LLC DBA Traverse City Whiskey – $100,000 (Traverse City) – Improve natural gas infrastructure and install new NG-compatible steam boiler to allow for increased fermentation capacity for production of distilled spirits.
  • The Cut Custom Processing LLC – $78,400 (Rosebush) – Expand pork processing capabilities at the USDA processing establishment.
  • Travel Marquette – $20,800 (Marquette) – Integration of online and print tools to assist citizens and visitors with hearing, vision, and mobility limitations navigate the county.
  • Tuscarora Township – $54,900 (Indian River) – Installation of additional public boat dockage at Marina Park.
  • Village of Breckenridge – $100,000 – Expansion of the Technology and Agribusiness Park to allow for additional lots.

The grant funds, made possible from 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