GreenStone Farm Credit Services began processing grants last week for ag producers and processors to receive COVID-19 mitigation assistance.
The state of Michigan appropriated $15 million from the federal CARES Act to help provide funding for things such as testing costs, PPE, sanitation, and employee training. So far in the application process, Dave Armstrong, CEO of GreenStone, said it’s going smoothly.
“We’ve been a key partner with farmers and agribusinesses across the state for over 100 years,” said Armstrong. “When you look at this grant program we’re helping to facilitate, it’s been a great opportunity to be a part of the economic recovery by helping put CARES Act dollars to work for those same people. These funds were allocated over two weeks ago, and it’s taken a real team effort to get it off the ground.”
He said it’s been a remarkable collaborative effort between MDARD, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and GreenStone to serve ag. The applicants have also been great to work with.
“We really appreciate their patience, so is we review the applications and the state approves them and processes those payments,” said Armstrong.
Once GreenStone gets and approves the applications, Armstrong said they’re passing through their pipeline and getting them to the MEDC queue for their approval to fund the payment.
“The better the applicant can get their application filled out correctly, the sooner they get it in—because it is first come, first serve—the quicker we’re going to be able to turn these things around and get them into MEDC,” he said. “We’re not looking at weeks, at this point, a few days probably at most.”
Armstrong added that the technology system they have in place helps them have integrity in the process.
“It truly is a first come process, so we are watching that very closely,” he said. “We want it to be fair for everyone because there are limited funds. We’re being very methodical about managing our queue, but unfortunately there are limited funds. At some point it will be over, and there could be some folks that were in there, but due to their place in line we were unable to fulfill their request.”
The application process can be done online by going to michiganbusiness.org/agsafety.