U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the announcement that five Northern Michigan farms, small businesses and cooperatives will receive funding to develop marketing strategies for agricultural commodities. This support comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value-Added Producer Grant program. This grant program was reauthorized by Senator Stabenow’s 2014 Farm Bill and is used to develop new agricultural products or create additional markets for existing ones.
‘Michigan agriculture supports one out of every four jobs in the state,’ said Senator Stabenow. ‘With these types of new investments, we are helping Michigan farmers get more value from their products. That type of support can help increase sales for local farmers and boost our small town economies.’
Agricultural products like fruits, vegetables – also known as ‘specialty crops’ – play a major role in Michigan agriculture. With the exception of California, Michigan leads the nation in crop diversity, growing and producing more than 200 unique commodities. Senator Stabenow’s Farm Bill strengthens the value-added producer program and programs for specialty crop farmers, invests in the research and promotion of specialty crops, supports programs to stop pest and disease threats, and helps family farmers sell more goods locally.
Today’s announcement is part of a $34 million investment from USDA’s Office of Rural Development for 258 businesses across the country.
Below are the Northern Michigan awardees:
Brengman Brothers LLC. in Traverse City will receive $250,000 to expand the market by opening a second tasting room in Grand Rapids.
Campbell Milarch Vines, LLC. in Copemish will receive a $19,300 planning grant to develop a business and marketing plan and study the potential benefit of producing Michigan wine from vinifera grapevines.
Indian Summer Cooperative, Inc. in Ludington will receive $250,000 to increase production of applesauce cups and expand their market.
Leelanau Fruit Company in Suttons Bay will receive a $5,015 planning grant to study the benefits of expanding the local maraschino cherries market.
Gallagher’s Vineyard and Winery Corp in Cedar will receive $250,000 to turn 15 acres of grapes into wine and open a tasting room.
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