MDARD Awards Rural Grants to Support Infrastructure, Sustainability of Land‐Based Industries

LANSING – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) awarded 16 Rural Development Fund Grants designed to promote the sustainability of land‐based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“What these grants demonstrate is the commitment of MDARD and the State of Michigan to help ignite impactful projects and efforts in rural communities,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Through targeted investments and matching funds from businesses, local municipalities and others, we can provide opportunities for thousands of businesses and employees in every corner of the state.”

The department received 66 proposals with requests totaling nearly $5.1 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 16 projects totaling $1,245,500, leveraging a match of more than $1.5 million:

  • County of Marquette ‐ $100,000 (Marquette). Replacement of 37‐year‐old influent pumps at the KI Sawyer Wastewater Treatment Facility.
  • Michigan Asparagus Industry Research Farm ‐ $100,000 (Hart). Purchase of an automated sorting machine to help asparagus growers with the selection of more suitable varieties for the current marketplace.
  • City of Negaunee ‐ $100,000. Replacement of the sewer main along Brown Avenue.
  • Powell Township ‐ $43,500 (Big Bay). Implementation of Phase 1 of a multi‐phased project plan to convert the nine miles of Big Bay Pathway to year‐round use.
  • Clare‐Gladwin RESD ‐ $99,100 (Clare). Secure equipment and technology to expand curriculum to grow the land‐based industries and workforce in Clare and Gladwin counties.
  • Central UP Planning and Development Regional ‐ $83,000 (Marquette). Coordinate, develop and implement a strategic plan for workforce loss mitigation within Marquette County.
  • Austin Brothers’ Beer Company LLC ‐ $34,300 (Alpena). Purchase equipment to increase efficiency and productivity with a long‐term goal of increasing tourism to the area.
  • Republic Township ‐ $100,000. Creation of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail Head building to serve tourism taking place in Marquette County.
  • Bee Well Meadery LLC – $89,800 (Bellaire). Purchase new equipment to increase hard cider production.
  • Village of Central Lake ‐ $14,750. Feasibility study of a wastewater treatment facility for the Village.
  • Coldwater Board of Public Utilities ‐ $100,000. Conduct a preliminary evaluation and needed improvements for the Water Resource Recovery Facility.
  • City of Hillsdale ‐ $100,000. Storm sewer and road improvements to Hallett Street.
  • Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG) ‐ $10,100 (Gaylord). Installation of video conferencing capacity for Northeast Michigan communities.
  • Paddle Antrim ‐ $70,500 (Bellaire). Promotion of tourism and marketing materials for the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.
  • Jones Farm Market ‐ $100,000 (Saranac). Expansion of the facility to increase processing capacity.
  • Michigamme River Basin Tax Increment Financing and Water Improvement Authority ‐ $100,000 (Republic). Support modifications of Republic Dam to a fixed spillway dam.

The grant funds, 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