Grant Applications Open for Michigan Farms, Agriculture Processors to Offset Coronavirus Impact

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Applications are now open for $15 million in grants for Michigan farms and agricultural processors to offset damage done by the coronavirus pandemic, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced on Wednesday.

The Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program will allocate $15 million from funding from the federal CARES Act to farms and agricultural processors, with $10 million being provided to processors and $5 million provided to farms.

“The COVID-19 virus has especially impacted Michigan’s food and agriculture sector,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a statement. “This investment will provide critical resources to ensure the safety of Michigan’s food production industry and its workforce. “We can further our economic recovery in Michigan by putting federal dollars through the CARES Act to work for the people and business across our state through efforts like these to help with costs incurred by farms and food processors in the fight against COVID-19.”

Food and agriculture make up $104.7 billion annually to Michigan’s economy and represented 805,000 in the state, according to MDARD.

Grants going to agricultural processors have a minimum grant of $10,000 and a maximum grant of $200,000. Grants going to Michigan farms have a minimum grant of $10,000 with a maximum grant of $50,000. The funding was approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on July 7.

Applicants may apply as either a processor or a farm. Grants will provide up to $1,000 per employee to offset costs related to the pandemic, including testing, personal protection equipment, facility needs, increased sanitation costs, employee training and upgraded safety procedures for farm-provided housing.

To qualify, businesses must have a minimum of 10 employees in Michigan, be in good standing with the state, be current on all state and local taxes, and have completed registration in the State of Michigan Integrated Governmental Management Applications (SIGMA) Vendor Self-Service website before applying for funding.

The program covers costs incurred June 1 through September 15 and awards on a first, come, first served basis. Applications will be processed by East Lansing-based GreenStone Farm Credit Services.

“The next few months are absolutely critical for Michigan’s farming and food processing industries, so these resources couldn’t come at a better time,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell in a statement. “To help ensure the health and safety of essential workers in our food supply chain, they will need testing, PPE, and housing or facility updates. We are very thankful for the work of our partners at MEDC and GreenStone for getting this process up and running so quickly.”

Interested businesses can apply here.

Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]

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