New funding could bring resiliency to Michigan’s specialty crop sector

The Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says he wants new projects to bring renewed optimism to the state’s specialty crop industry.

Tim Boring tells Brownfield there needs to be a path for growth and robust processing to support specialty crop growers struggling with labor and international competition.

“I think it’s, in general, about providing more certainty within the marketplace and agriculture and in carving out a path here that’s going to be in the best interest of not only Michigan agriculture but everybody that lives here in Michigan,” he says.

The department has been hosting roundtables with the ag sector to hear concerns and recently surveyed stakeholders on where future grant dollars should be focused moving forward.

“Do we have fewer projects that are higher dollar amounts that are going to be potentially more impactful, or do we try to get more grants out onto the landscape that do more for more companies?” he says the information will help determine.

Additional funding in 2024 includes more than $10 million from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program and $1.8 million in state money to support food and ag supply chains. 

The department has also been allocated $2.9 million by the state to create a new program for minority-owned food and ag ventures.

Hear more from Boring in Brownfield’s year-end interview with the Director.

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