Food system grants boost meat, egg production in U.P.

Among a recent round of Michigan agriculture projects awarded expansion funds from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are two Upper Peninsula companies.

The grants, under MDARD's competitive Value Added and Regional Food System Grant Program, are aimed at adding growth, revenue and jobs within regional food systems and totaled nine awards for more than $1 million. That was out of 62 grant proposals.

Rainbow Packing, a meat processing company near Escanaba, was awarded $100,000 in order to expand their facility. The move is in answer to increased meat processing needs in the U.P., according to MDARD.

"An expanded facility and the additional equipment will allow us to serve more farmers in the region, as well as the space needed to expand into other marketing channels," says Sue Sicotte, owner of Rainbow Packing.

The other U.P. grant awardee was Kitz's Koop, an egg farm near Sault Ste. Marie. They got $19,400 to work on expanding their egg production in the eastern U.P.

"Kitz’s Koop Family Egg Farm supplies farm fresh eggs to the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan," says Ryan Kitzmiller, owner of Kitz's Koop. "The value-added grant is going to allow us to expand operations and provide a safe, wholesome, healthy product to a broader network of consumers."

The other grant funds went to Campbell Milarch Vines in Copemish, Chestnut Growers Inc. of Clarksville, Food Labs Detroit in Detroit, Growing Hope of Ypsilanti, Indian Brook Trout Farm of Jackson, Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City, and Sprout Urban Farms of Battle Creek.

Writer: Kim Eggleston
Source: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
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