Senator Stabenow Applauds Support For Mid-Michigan Farm, Cooperative

Thursday, November 12, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the announcement of support for Swallowtail Farm and the Michigan Fiber Industry Coalition Cooperative in Mason. Swallowtail Farm will receive $50,215 and the Michigan Fiber Industry Coalition Cooperative will get $15,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Value-Added Producer Grant program, which helps farmers and growers develop marketing strategies for agricultural commodities. This grant program was reauthorized by Senator Stabenow's 2014 Farm Bill and is used to develop new agricultural products or create additional markets for existing ones.

"Michigan agriculture supports one out of every four jobs in the state," said Senator Stabenow. "With these types of new investments, we are helping Michigan farmers get more value from their products. That type of support can help increase sales for local farmers and boost our small town economies."

Swallowtail Farm, which is a family-owned u-pick raspberry and free range egg farm, will use the funding to increase production and expand sales of fruit, syrups and jams. Michigan Fiber Industry Coalition Cooperative, which helps Michigan producers process and market fibers like wool, will use their funding to increase production and expand the market for yarn made within the U.S. Today's announcement is part of a $34 million investment from USDA's Office of Rural Development for 258 businesses across the country.

Agricultural products like fruits and vegetables - also known as "specialty crops" - play a major role in Michigan agriculture. With the exception of California, Michigan leads the nation in crop diversity, growing and producing more than 200 unique commodities. Senator Stabenow's Farm Bill strengthens the value-added producer program and programs for specialty crop farmers, supports programs to stop pest and disease threats, and helps family farmers sell more goods locally.