MDARD opens application window for latest Rural Development Fund grant cycle

What’s happening: The application window for the 2023 grant cycle of the Rural Development Fund opened earlier this week, and prospective applicants have until Tuesday, Nov. 22, to apply. The Rural Development Fund grants are offered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

What they are: The Rural Development Fund grants are intended to support the sustainability of Michigan’s land-based industries, and infrastructure projects that benefit its rural communities. Eligible projects could include land-based industry expansion and sustainability efforts, and also worker training programs. Eligible proposals for rural communities include energy, transportation, housing, communications, water, and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Who can apply: Land-based industries are considered as those in the fields of food and agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas production, and tourism. Those eligible rural communities include counties with a population no greater than 70,000 residents, and micropolitan statistical areas, the latter of which, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, are those communities with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 residents.

Nuts and bolts: The current grant cycle for the Rural Development Fund has an approximate allotment of $1.8 million, and a maximum grant awarded of $100,000. The grants require a 30 percent cash match. An informational webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Visit MDARD online for information about the application process, timelines, webinar, and more.

What they’re saying: "Agriculture is a cornerstone of Michigan's economy, which is why at MDARD, we are focused on how best we can support our agricultural industry. Through these grants, MDARD will be able to support our land-based industries better while rebuilding and improving Michigan's infrastructure," says MDARD Director Gary McDowell. "These efforts further underscore Governor Whitmer's bold commitment to rural Michiganders."

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