The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development approved three Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grants totaling $293,500. These performance-based grants will leverage approximately $91.4 million in additional private investment in Michigan’s food and agriculture industry, as well as create dozens of new jobs and increase demand for Michigan-farmed products.
“We couldn’t be more proud of, or impressed by, the resilience and determination of Michigan’s food and agriculture industry during some very challenging times,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “These grants not only spark an incredible return on investment for the state, but they also send a message to burgeoning or expanding businesses across the country that the road to success runs through the Great Lakes State.”
The first project, boosted by a $150,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grant, is being developed by Hudsonville Creamery, which is planning a major expansion in Holland that will include a new cold storage building as well as a reconfiguration of its existing facility. This is a substantial project and a considerable investment in Michigan, as the company anticipates spending $83.3 million on the project and creating 45 new jobs. With this project, the company will also substantially increase its purchase of Michigan milk and cream, increasing its already-strong support of the state’s dairy farmers.
The second project is a new accelerator/incubator in Muskegon known as FARM (Food, Agriculture, Research, and Manufacturing Center). This project includes the construction of a three-bay facility for commercial food production testing and training, on the campus of Muskegon Community College. The project is a collaboration between many partners in the Muskegon area, including Muskegon Area First (a local economic development entity), the West Michigan Food Processing Association, Muskegon Community College, and other local partners. This $63,500 Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grant will leverage approximately $2.1 million in investment and will lead to an exciting new asset in the Muskegon area to accelerate early stage and developing food companies.
The third project will add a new flaking building and processing line at Star of the West Milling Co. Inc. in Frankenmuth. Flaked wheat is typically used in ready-to-eat food products. The $80,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Fund grant will help support the project, which will create 2.5 new jobs and lead to a $6.3 million investment. It will also lead to increased demand for Michigan wheat, as the flake customer that Star of the West Milling will begin producing for currently purchases the wheat/flakes from outside the state.