$1.25 million available to small Michigan farms to help fund COVID-19 mitigation costs

Michigan News

LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) — As a result of high demand for the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant program, and a clear need to help small farms mitigate risks of the COVID-19 virus in their operation, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced Monday it will begin accepting applications for the MEDC Small Farm Safety Grant program.

Modeled after the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant program launched on July 15 using federal CARES Act funding, the MEDC Small Farm Safety Grant program will award $1.25 million in grants to farms with less than 10 employees to fund COVID-19 mitigation costs.

These include but are not limited to testing costs, personal protection equipment, facility needs, increased sanitation costs, employee training, and upgraded safety procedures for farm-provided housing. 

“We saw an opportunity to respond to clear need for support from Michigan’s small farms to build on the tremendous response from farms and food processors across the state applying for Michigan Agricultural Safety Grants,” said Mark A. Burton, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“The MEDC Small Farm Safety Grant will allow us additional security in our food industry and provide much-needed relief to farmers across Michigan.” 

Grants will be limited to $1,000 per employee, and the program will cover costs incurred from June 1, 2020 through Sept. 15, 2020. Eligible applicants will be able to apply for funding starting Tuesday, July 21, at 9 a.m. EST at michiganbusiness.org/agsafety.

Grants will be awarded on a first come, first served basis until all funding has been awarded. 

To qualify for grant support, applicants must be a farm located in Michigan and meet the following requirements: 

  • Less than 10 employees in Michigan, with supporting documentation.
  • Provide proof of good standing with the state of Michigan, as applicable (Certificate of Good Standing).
  • Attest that the business is current on all state, local and real estate taxes, or is otherwise contesting them in good faith.
  • Have completed registration in the State of Michigan Integrated Governmental Management Applications (SIGMA) Vendor Self-Service website prior to applying for grant funding. 

“Just like other small businesses, small farms and food processors are the backbone of the food and agriculture industry and are fundamental to our entire food supply chain,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Michigan continues to be a leader in supporting the state’s farming community throughout COVID-19. MEDC’s quick response to help our small farmers meet their health and safety needs is a perfect example of that commitment.”

According to MDARD, food and agriculture contributes $104.7 billion annually to Michigan’s economy, and represents 805,000 jobs statewide. Additionally, Michigan exports approximately $1.8 billion of food and agriculture products each year. 

For farms and agricultural processors with 10 employees or more, applications are still being accepted for the $15 million Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant program using federal CARES Act funding.

The program will provide grants to small businesses around the state that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Farms and food processors with fewer than 10 employees and that meet all other eligibility requirements would be able to apply for a grant through the Michigan Small Business Restart Program.

To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19response.

Other resources for economic reopening efforts as well as businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19.

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