MDARD tours west Michigan food and ag businesses

The director of Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is continuing to meet with food and agriculture businesses to identify ways to improve supply chains.

During stops in Grand Rapids Wednesday, Gray McDowell told Brownfield the tours are about building food security and finding ways to support local food systems.

“We’re an agricultural powerhouse here in this state and we’ve got so much diversity, but a lot of it is traditional farming and the pandemic showed us we’ve got to be more resilient,” he says.

McDowell says one of the greatest areas of need he’s hearing about is more resources for ag startups which this year’s proposed budget could support with $30 million dedicated to ag development.

“We’re really working and hoping our counterparts in the legislature will agree that this is something that we need to do right now because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, we have with these federal dollars to invest them back in our state, to invest them in entrepreneurs,” he says.

Brownfield interviewed McDowell while at Superbloom Farms in Grand Rapids, a hydroponic container farm that supplies fresh greens and herbs to the region year-round.

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