Senators Stabenow, Peters Announce over $300,000 to Support Rural Small Businesses in West and Southwest Michigan

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Gary Peters (D-MI) today announced $338,525 in federal funding to support rural small businesses in West and Southwest Michigan. This funding comes from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business Development Grant Program, which was included in the 2014 Farm Bill that Senator Stabenow authored. The Rural Business Development Grant Program provides technical assistance, training, and equipment to support development and expand small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.


The Muskegon Area First will receive $33,500 to purchase kitchen equipment for the Food, Agriculture, Research, Manufacturing Business Incubator Center. The Midwest Energy Cooperative will receive $76,000 to fund engineering costs associated with a new rail spur into the SMART Industrial Park. The Village of Paw Paw will receive $89,025 to fund engineering costs associated with a downtown streetscape project. The Southwestern Michigan Commission will receive $65,000 to fund the creation of a Southwest Michigan food brand to be used by local farmers and business owners to promote local food products. The Chikaming Township will receive $75,000 to fund the construction of a streetscape project in Union Pier, Michigan.


“Michigan families and business are facing unprecedented hardship during COVID-19 pandemic, especially in our small towns and rural communities,” said Senator Stabenow.” These investments will support our rural small businesses during these tough times.”


“Now more than ever, it is critical that our workers, small business owners and families receive the necessary resources to navigate this unprecedented crisis,” said Senator Peters, member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “I am pleased that this funding will help ensure that rural communities in West and Southwest Michigan have the funding needed to complete key projects, promote local businesses and support hardworking Michiganders.”


"Muskegon Area First and West Michigan Food Processing Association are very pleased to receive this grant award from USDA Rural Development to purchase additional equipment at the FARM Incubator/Accelerator, slated to open for operation in early 2021.  This grant further supports our small food entrepreneurs to scale up their operations with innovations and new technologies that will result in healthier offerings, and more sustainable practices being employed in the West Michigan region," said Marty Gerencer, Executive Director West Michigan Food Processing Association and FARM Incubator/Accelerator


To find out more information about USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant Program please visit the USDA’s website here.