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MDARD Awards Grants for Rural Communities

Congratulations to local community Village of Ellsworth on receiving grant funds from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. Their project was awarded $32,000 for infrastructure, to conduct a preliminary study to determine the cost and scope to construct a sanitary sewer system. The full press release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development is below.

LANSING, Mich. – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development awarded Rural Development Fund Grants aimed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“MDARD is proud to help support these important projects,” said Director Jamie Clover Adams. “This is a great opportunity for us to give Michigan businesses a boost, improve local infrastructure around the state, and ultimately open the door for the creation of more good-paying jobs.”

The department received 73 proposals with requests totaling more than $12.9 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 17 projects:

  • City of Munising – $150,000. Infrastructure – Resurface 2,700 feet of Highway H-58 serving as primary access to the Neenah Paper Mill.
  • Copper Peak Inc., of Ironwood – $125,000. Rural Capacity – Engineer the facility’s landing hill to install a permanent summer jumping surface to increase tourism opportunities year-round.
  • Grand Traverse Distillery, LLC, of Traverse City – $123,800. Business Development – Purchase equipment to double production of their craft whiskey.
  • Grand Traverse Pasta Co., LLC, of Traverse City – $75,250. Business Development – Improve processing equipment to increase efficiency and capacity for value-added wheat products.
  • Houghton County – $80,000. Infrastructure – Implement needed sewer repairs in the Houghton County Airpark, impacting more than 24 existing businesses.
  • Human Development Commission, of Caro – $61,600. Infrastructure – Improvements to their commodity food warehouse, strengthening their Commodity Distribution Program.
  • Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance, of Iron River – $22,140. Rural Capacity – Implement a four-part project: economic summit, website, tourism economic plan, and professional development, aimed to boost tourism and crucial resources for existing businesses.
  • Mason County Growth Alliance, of Ludington – $35,000. Rural Capacity – Plan and develop conceptual designs and an implementation strategy for non-motorized trails in Lake, Mason, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
  • Michigamme Township – $26,500. Infrastructure – Certifying of an operator for the Township’s wastewater treatment facility.
  • Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency, of Fremont – $176,753. Talent Development – Develop avenues of entrance into skilled trades, and create partnerships that allow for coordination, education/training, and communication with key stakeholders in advanced manufacturing/food processing, robotics, and drone technology in the context of agri-science.
  • Northern Economic Initiatives Corporation, of Marquette – $50,000. Rural Capacity – Access and create strategies for 20 Central UP small businesses, particularly manufacturing, to improve their processes and profitability.
  • Northern Michigan Geological Repository Association, of Marquette – $226,700. Rural Capacity – Purchase of a building to house a diamond drill core library and geological data for research.
  • Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Foundation, of Traverse City – $170,000. Rural Capacity – Secure 37 acres adjacent to the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center to improve tree fruit research, particularly for spotted wing drosophila.
  • Slagles Family Farm, of Felch – $84,110. Business Development – Creation of a commercial kitchen, including needed equipment, cooler and cold storage.
  • Superior Watershed Partnership, of Marquette – $75,200. Rural Capacity – Improved public access, hiking/biking trail systems, restoration of degraded natural areas and other related community-based tourism projects benefitting rural communities in Marquette, Alger and Delta counties.
  • Village of Ellsworth – $32,000. Infrastructure – Conduct a preliminary study to determine the cost and scope to construct a sanitary sewer system.
  • Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region Commission, of Houghton – $27,230. Rural Capacity – Conduct a feasibility study for a community photovoltaic solar generation system for the Village of L’Anse’s municipal electric utility.

The grant funds were available for projects that address expansion and sustainability of land-based industries; worker training; and energy, transportation, communications, water and wastewater infrastructure to benefit rural communities and Micropolitan statistical areas.

Land-based industries included food and agriculture; forestry; mining, oil and gas production; and tourism. Eligible counties include those with a population no greater than 60,000 residents or micropolitian statistical areas. Preference was given to projects in the following counties: Marquette; Alger; Delta; Menominee; Dickinson; Iron; and Baraga.

The proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. Those interested in additional information on this grant program or a complete list of eligible counties should visit


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