State awards $15M in grants to farms, food processors

Posted at 3:51 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 15:51:04-04

LANSING, Mich. — A total of 336 farms and food processors have been awarded $15 million in Michigan Agricultural Safety grants.

The purpose of the grants is to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus across the state’s food production industry, a news release said Wednesday.

Funds went to 177 farms and 159 food processors.

In addition, 124 small farms with less than 10 employees received $567,000 in grants through the MEDC Small Farm Safety Grants.

More than 26,000 jobs were retained across the state as a result.

“Michigan’s food and agriculture sector has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and through the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant program we were able to provide some relief to our farmers and food processors across the state while ensuring the safety of our agricultural workforce and food production,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “This program puts federal funding to work for Michigan’s farms and builds on additional COVID-19 relief efforts led by MEDC and MDARD to create a strong foundation for Michigan’s long-term economic recovery.”

Funding for the program comes from CARES Act allocations.

26 percent of grants were awarded in geographically disadvantaged areas.

“When Michigan was hit with one crisis after another, and where there were some troubling trends in food and agriculture nationally, we worked to ensure that Michigan’s food supply chain was safe and secure,” MDARD Director Gary McDowell said. “Ane we all understood this could not be done if our essential workers became ill or felt unsafe in the workplace.”