$3M program aims to boost Mich. food, agriculture


LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A $3 million grant program aims to boost Michigan's food and agriculture industry by supporting business development and expansion plans. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams this week announced the Strategic Growth Initiative Grant Program, which seeks to improve economic opportunities for food processors, agri-business and those in agricultural production.

"With increased investment in our state's food and agriculture industry, we are fostering opportunities for job growth in high-tech and innovative careers," she said in a statement.

The program is a joint venture between the state agriculture department and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. This grant program comes after a 2011 governor's summit on agriculture and recommendations from a state House subcommittee.

"Whatever barriers we can eliminate through these grants are steps in the right direction of improving our economic comeback," said MEDC President and CEO Michael Finney.

As part of the effort, the agriculture department and the MEDC plan to work with universities and research organizations on education efforts. Grant application materials are on MDARD's website. The deadline for applications is 3 p.m. on Oct. 2.

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