Gov. Whitmer, MDARD Announce $1.4 Million USDA Grants To Help Small Agriculture Businesses

On Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell announced an approximate $1.4 million federal investment to help Michigan’s meat and poultry processors recover from the pandemic and expand their processing capacity.

Officials say the funding was made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.

“Strengthening our food supply chain and expanding homegrown processing can help reduce food costs while creating new jobs,” stated Governor Whitmer. “Our state is home to diverse and robust food and agriculture businesses that are a fundamental part of the MI New Economy plan to keep Michigan first. I appreciate USDA’s commitment to grow Michigan.”

The MPIRG program was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and is jointly administered by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service.

It was part of the USDA’s comprehensive funding package to help small processing facilities through the pandemic, compete in the markets, and get support they need to reach more customers.

Seven Michigan companies were awarded MPIRG grants. These include:

  • Cozat Packaging in Coleman: $199,618.74
  • Creswick Farms in Ravenna: $200,000
  • Sommers Sausage Shop in Crystal Falls: $197,000
  • Wilson’s Meats LLC in St. Johns: $200,000
  • Bosserd Brothers Meats LLC in Marshall: $199,887
  • Love Meats, Inc. in Rudyard: $200,000
  • Sarah Miles Cleveland J&S Meats in Newaygo: $186,670

Officials state that, with the grants, meat and poultry processing businesses can cover the costs for improvements.

This includes: expanding facilities, modernizing processing equipment and meeting packaging, labeling and food safety requirements needed to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

According to officials, the changes will allow facilities to serve more customers in more markets.

“Michigan’s food and ag sector is an economic powerhouse generating billions for the economy and supporting jobs across the state,” stated MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Our farmers and food-based businesses have been challenged on a number of fronts throughout the pandemic and these funds provide so much needed support.”

In June, the USDA announced $55.2 million available in MPIRG funding, and accepted applications for a competitive grant award process. This resulted in Wednesday’s awards, and remaining funds will be made available through a impending request for applications.

To learn more about the MPIRG program and see a full list of awards, click here.