Jan 31, 2020
Potato sorter, farm crew housing get grants in Michigan

Several specialty crop projects were recently awarded grants in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Jan. 30 awarded a total of 20 Rural Development Fund Grants designed to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support infrastructure that benefits rural communities.

“Just look at that list,” MDARD Director Gary McDowell said in a press release. “Funds will be helping to develop or support everything from infrastructure and community gardens to craft beverages and beehives.” The department received 110 proposals with requests totaling more than $8.4 million. Of those, MDARD awarded the following 20 projects totaling $1.4 million, leveraging a match of more than $2.3 million,

Among the granted requests were a few different specialty crop projects:

  • West Central Michigan Horticulture Research Inc. – $100,000 (Hart). Development of a west central research facility.
  • Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC – $50,000 (Johannesburg). Expansion of potato sorting and sizing equipment.
  • Wunsch Farms – $100,000 (Traverse City). Construction of a 40-person workforce housing unit.
  • Keweenaw Bee Company LLC – $13,300 (Chassell). Expansion of beehive capacity and processing equipment.

Fruit Growers News has previously written of growers’ efforts to establish the West Central Michigan Horticulture Research Inc.

Isaiah Soule Wunsch, the CEO of Wunsch Farms, was previously named to the Fruit + Vegetable 40 under 40 list and was also accepted into a political leadership program.

Spudman magazine is no stranger to Sklarcyk, which was named Michigan’s 2019 Agricultural Exporter of the Year.

Above, Isaiah Wunsch at the 40 under 40 reception. Photo: Eric Hadden

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