Home News Michigan Ag News $15M COVID Mitigation Loan to Help Michigan Farmers, Ag Processors

$15M COVID Mitigation Loan to Help Michigan Farmers, Ag Processors

Photo courtesy USDA
Photo courtesy USDA

Michigan farmers and processors will soon have the opportunity to apply for the $15 million Michigan Ag Safety Grant Program. Chuck Lippstreu, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA), said this financial assistance is welcomed news.

“Our members, agribusinesses, food processors and others in the supply chain across the state have made safety and well-being a top priority,” he said. “As we’ve learned more about the coronavirus, as we continue the essential work of agriculture, we have to keep people safe. This new Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program is one more way to bolster those ongoing safety efforts across the industry.”

It’s not the same as USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program will help two categories: farms and food processors. It will provide funding to help with COVID mitigation costs such as testing costs, PPE, facility needs, sanitation costs and employee training.

“The funds are available for expenses that are incurred from June 1 through Sept. 15, 2020,” said Lippstreu. “GreenStone Farm Credit Services in Michigan are going to work together to process those with some speed, given the urgent nature of the grant programs.”

By having this financial aid for agriculture, Lippstreu said the top priority is to keep people safe.

“That is central to continuing to function and getting the essential work of production done, so these grants are going to go a long way for many,” he said.

Lippstreu also is applauding the strong bipartisanship that went to crafting the grant program.

“It started in the legislature a few weeks ago,” he said. “Democrats and Republicans worked together to advance COVID-19 funding to make sure we sort out how we spend federal help. Then the governor reached an agreement with legislative leaders and that lead to this week’s announcement.”

The application window will open July 15 and grants will be awarded n a first come, first served basis until all the $15 million has been appropriated. Lippstreu is encouraging all who want to apply to be ready when the portal opens.

“They’ll only be available as long as there’s funding to go around,” said Lippstreu. “We encourage businesses to do everything they can to learn about the program now and apply as soon as possible once the program opens.”