Senator Stabenow Announces Over $600,000 to Support and Train Beginning Farmers in Northern Michigan

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award the Grand Traverse Conservation District $695,617 to create the Great Lakes Incubator Farm project. These funds come from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.


Grand Traverse Conservation District’s Great Lakes Incubator Farm project will help cultivate a new generation of farmers and support the succession of local farmland in a five-county region in Northwest Lower Michigan. This project is especially important given the growing number of farmers in Northern Michigan that are expected to retire over the next 10 years. The project will also preserve and restore the historic farms at Port Oneida within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, while teaching students modern farming methods.


“I am so excited to see this innovative project funded,” said Senator Stabenow. “It addresses a critical need to support a new generation of farmers in one of Michigan’s most important agricultural regions. The other thing that makes it so unique is the partnership with Port Oneida within Michigan’s own Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  I have been working closely with the Grand Traverse Conservation District to support them in their mission and can’t wait to see this project move forward.”


"We know that feeding our communities mindfully is important for both human and environmental health. It then stands to reason that working with new and beginning farmers, giving them the tools and resources to do the important work of regeneratively growing our food should be a priority. Programs like the Great Lakes Incubator Farm, with the support of this USDA grant, are a critical part of a sustainable path forward," said Koffi Kpachavi, Executive Director, Grand Traverse Conservation District.


For more information about the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program visit farmer and rancher development program.