Senators Stabenow, Peters Announce Over $38 Million to Support Michigan Rural Communities

Friday, November 03, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Gary Peters (D-MI), today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award $38,460,630 to support rural communities across Michigan. Senators Stabenow and Peters secured these funds in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Over the following weeks, the Biden Administration will announce over $5 billion in new investments in rural communities across the country.

“My hometown of Clare was a great place to grow up. I secured this funding for families in Clare and Michigan’s other small towns so they have the tools to run their businesses and farms,” said Senator Stabenow. “Additionally, when we invest in rural America, we aren’t just investing in the families who live there. This money will help our entire state succeed.

“Investing in our rural communities ensures that every Michigander has the opportunity to succeed,” said Senator Peters. “We worked hard to secure this funding, which will expand broadband service, support climate-smart agriculture and strengthen water infrastructure in rural communities across Michigan.”

“The potato industry is hungry for grants that help them install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements in their operations. The more energy savings we can accumulate is directly related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to the decrease in overall power consumption, and thus opens the door for agriculture to play a large role in climate smart practices,” said Dr. Kelly Turner, Ed.D., CAE, Executive Director of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission.

“Michigan Apple growers have always been innovative and forward-thinking, and oftentimes early adopters of new technology. It comes as no surprise that Laketop Orchards, LLC is a recipient of this grant to purchase and install a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system. MAC appreciates this grower family’s commitment to the future, not only saving dollars for their operation but also conserving energy. This effort positions them and Michigan’s Apple industry as leaders in agriculture technology and sustainability,” said Diane Smith, Executive Director of Michigan Apples.

“The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has been a great tool for farmers looking to add value, reduce costs and provide energy efficiencies on their farms. We’re glad to see Michigan farmers participating in the program and partnering with USDA on these opportunities for our farms and rural communities. We appreciate Senator Debbie Stabenow and her colleagues for prioritizing REAP and other important programs,” said John Kran, National Legislative Counsel, Michigan Farm Bureau.

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program will award 46 Michigan local businesses with $8,158,581 in grants. These funds will help farmers, producers, and rural business owners make energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy investments to lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resiliency of their operations. A list of all the recipients can be found here.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will receive $3,742,293 to expand high-speed, affordable internet access to Chippewa Country residents. These funds were made possible by the USDA’s Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program.

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians will receive $20,359,756 to preserve and protect fisheries and wildlife populations in northwest lower Michigan. Newtrient LLC will receive $6,200,000 to help dairy farmers reduce their methane production. These funds are made possible by USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program