Last week, 20 grants worth a total of $1.4 million were awarded to groups in rural areas around Michigan for "the sustainability of land-based industries and infrastructure."

Money was given to support beehive expansion, the production of frozen treats, potato sorting, to purchase a large sander and more.

Preference was given to projects in Marquette County.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development awarded the Rural Development Fund Grants through Michigan's Rural Development Fund Act which was passed in 2012.

The grant funds are designed to promote the sustainability of industries including food and agriculture; forestry; mining, oil and gas production; and tourism. It's also intended to support workforce training, rural capacity building, business development, and infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

Eligible counties include those with a population under 60,000 residents.

This list of grants awarded is a long one with 20 groups selected for awards ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. The 20 grants total $1,400,241.

The department turned down 90 proposals with requests totaling more than $7 million and left many others at a disadvantage. Some were placed further down the list because they are not in Marquette County while others are not eligible because their county's population is over 60,000.

The full list of grants awarded:

  • County of Marquette - $100,000 (Marquette). Expansion of the hangar at the KI Sawyer Airport.
  • Northern Great Lakes Initiative d/b/a Northern Initiatives - $50,000 (Marquette). Helping Central and Western Upper Peninsula Manufacturers Grow and Thrive Through the Continuous Solutions Group (CSG) Model.
  • Bois Blanc Township - $100,000 (Pointe Aux Pins). Development of the Westend Beach Park to increase marine access.
  • Corullo Forest Products Corporation - $100,000 (Bessemer). Pulpwood yard improvements for all season access.
  • Empire Business Association - $10,000 (Empire). Engineering feasibility study for cooperatively owned wastewater system.
  • Manthei Inc. - $100,000 (Petoskey). Purchase of equipment entailing a 5-foot wide sander.
  • Bay Mills Indian Community - $84,000 (Brimley). Expansion of a wastewater project.
  • West Central Michigan Horticulture Research Inc. - $100,000 (Hart). Development of a west central research facility.
  • Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region - $14,647 (Hancock). Development of shelter-based and school-based garden infrastructure.
  • Arbre Farms - $100,000 (Walkerville). Construction of a multiple-unit housing structure to support current and potential employees in housing transition.
  • J & DC Chocolates LLC - $80,794 (Empire). Installation of equipment for frozen specialty treats.
  • Copper Harbor Trails Society - $32,500 (Copper Harbor). Enhance and expand non-motorized easy trail from Keweenaw Mountain Lodge to Manganese Falls.
  • Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC - $50,000 (Johannesburg). Expansion of potato sorting and sizing equipment.
  • NutriFeed LLC - $100,000 (Powers). Expansion of a salt block press system.
  • Village of Colon - $50,000 (Colon). Upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • DeVooght’s General Store Inc.  - $95,000 (Skandia). Installing a maple syrup processing and commercial kitchen.
  • North Channel Brewing Company - $100,000 (Manistee). Installation of equipment for brewhouse expansion.
  • Wunsch Farms - $100,000 (Traverse City). Construction of a 40-person workforce housing unit.
  • Honor Area Restoration Projects - $20,000 (Honor). Develop Platte River Park restrooms and ADA improvements.
  • Keweenaw Bee Company LLC - $13,300 (Chassell). Expansion of beehive capacity and processing equipment.
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