LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) have announced that 22 Rural Development Fund Grants have been awarded around the state. The grants are designed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

12 of the 22 grants were awarded to local governments and organizations in the U.P. in Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Houghton, Marquette, Menominee, and Schoolcraft counties.

In total, MDARD received 78 proposals with requests totaling more than $6.3 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 22 projects totaling just over $1.8 million, leveraging a match of more than $1.6 million:

  • City of Negaunee- $100,000 (Marquette County) – Water main replacement in downtown Negaunee to allow various businesses to connect and install fire suppression systems where they are needed.
  • Delta County Road Commission- $100,000 (Delta County) – Upgrade the 1.0-mile segment of CR-434 from a gravel road to a paved all-season road to provide a vital link in the farm to market road network.
  • EPIC: Educational Partnership in the Community – $100,000 (Marquette County) –Promoting safe and affordable child care through the addition of supervised and trained care volunteers to assist with infant and toddler care to implement EPIC’s Child Care Compliance and Volunteer Sustainability Program.
  • Iron Ore Recreation Authority– $56,000 (Marquette County) – Project to improve trail maintenance equipment, add administration with volunteer support, and to maintain this asset for the physical, mental and economic fitness of the community.
  • Jack Pine Lodge UP, LLC – $85,500 (Schoolcraft County) – Expansion project to accommodate additional full RV and camper trailer rental sites to improve the economic impact for the community.
  • Kiwanis Ski Club– $100,000 (Dickinson County) – Project to continue generating income through the KSC events by renovating the complex by adding an elevator to the ski jump tower and expanding tourism/non-ski jumping events held throughout the year.
  • Marquette County Land Bank Authority– $50,000 (Marquette County) – This project is addressing the lack of affordable/attainable housing options for many county residents and municipalities by providing target market analysis and implementation.
  • River Trails LLC- $100,000 (Houghton County) – Enhance the existing trail system near MTU by planning for future protection of the Pilgrim River to create economic benefit for future homeowners and development community.
  • Skinny Pete’s LLC- $40,600 (Houghton County) – Project to address the critical need to meet the demand of customers and promote a more efficient workday for staff while providing capacity to service more businesses to the success of our local economy.
  • Superior Sawmill, INC– $100,000 (Alger County) – Infrastructure expansion and business development to provide southern Marquette County contractors and residents with a rural supply of lumber and employment opportunities.
  • Wilson Enterprises, Inc- $100,000 (Menominee County) –Project to provide a wide variety of crucial benefits to the local economy including: increases in purchases of raw forestry materials, order increase in containers, increase production of Michigan products, additional jobs, and packaging from an upper peninsula business.   
  • 906 Technologies, LLC– $70,000 (Marquette County)­ – Broadband Phase 1- Improving the City of Negaunee’s broadband infrastructure to support the accelerating need for technology access to unserved areas.

  • Binkley Deer Processing, LLC- $100,000 (Shiawassee County) – A current “custom exempt” deer processor to grow their existing business while expanding into processing livestock, primarily beef and swine.
  • Cass County- $100,000 (Cass County) – Cass County to develop a countywide, parcel-level, GIS-based map of broadband availability, which will be used to develop a specific, actionable plan to bring broadband infrastructure to all unserved and underserved parcels.
  • Cherry Bay Orchards- $100,000 (Leelanau County) – Expansion of housing infrastructure for employees, including those in the H2A program and full-time domestic employees with families.
  • Christian Youth Enterprises dba New Life Camp – $100,000 (Ogemaw County) – Expand tourism and recreational opportunities in Ogemaw County specifically in and around the communities of Rose City, Mio and Lupton.
  • Ethanology LLC- $100,000 (Antrim County) – Increasing barrel-aged spirit production annually via the renovation of the existing warehouse to ensure long-term viability of the business.
  • Fremont Regional Digester – $7,053 (Newaygo County) – New infrastructure to provide a drop off point that would collect food waste receptacles and informational signage to enable residents to divert waste from landfills.
  • GTA Children’s Garden – $20,000 (Grand Traverse County) – A transformative plan to sustain the garden campus with infrastructure upgrades, enhance existing programming and inclusivity measures, educate community members, and deepen the connectivity to the community through broader partnerships.
  • Lakeview Hill Farm– $100,000 (Leelanau County) – Convert a historical Leelanau County one-room schoolhouse into ‘The Schoolhouse Store at Lakeview Hill Farm’ that meets the requirements of a retail food establishment.
  • McCormick Farmz LLC- $67,844 (Cheboygan County) – Proposes to purchase and put into use equipment and infrastructure to facilitate the expedited expansion of budding lavender farm in Wolverine, Michigan.
  • TCA Management, LLC dba Michigan Gravel- $100,000 (Tuscola County) – Expand production with new mine screening plant to be fuel-efficient, create several new jobs, and provide consistent reliable product availability to the area.

The grant funds, Public Act 411 of 2012, are intended to promote sustainability of land-based industries, including food and agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas production, and tourism. They also support workforce training, rural capacity building, business development and infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

Eligible counties include those with a population no greater than 70,000 residents or micropolitan statistical areas. Preference was given to projects in Marquette County in accordance with Public Act 411.

The proposals were evaluated through a competitive process. For more information about this grant program or a complete list of eligible counties,visit