the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) launched a ‘2024 Industry Input Survey’ asking for feedback for its upcoming grant programs next year. The results will help shape program priorities that better reflect the needs of Michigan’s food and agriculture industry. The survey closes on December 20, 2023.
“Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s bipartisan budget investments, MDARD will launch new grant programs in 2024 focusing on building resiliency, increasing market opportunities, and creating new jobs within the food and agriculture sector. We want these programs to reflect our industry’s needs,” said MDARD Director Tim Boring. “Collaboration is key within MDARD. We want to hear directly from those impacted by our programs and learn how we can best grow Michigan’s food and agriculture sector together.”
In addition to the online survey, Director Boring is hosting three industry stakeholder input meetings in December. Those meetings are:
The new grant programs launching next year includes over $10 million in funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program and $1.8 million in state dollars for supporting Michigan’s food and agriculture supply chains.
Additionally, MDARD received $2.9 million for a new program aimed at helping minority-owned food and agriculture ventures in the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The department is working to build out this new program to support and expand minority food and agriculture businesses throughout Michigan.
“MDARD and Governor Whitmer are committed to investing into minority businesses across the state,” added Boring. “I am excited to see how these new funds will supercharge growth in minority-owned agriculture businesses.”
The RFSI program is designed to build resilience in the middle of the food supply chain, provide more and better markets for Michigan’s small farms and food businesses, support the development of value-added products for consumers, fair prices, fair wages, and job creation. Funds will support expanded capacity for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of locally and regionally produced food products, including specialty crops, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products, excluding meat and poultry.Source : michigan.gov