LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is now accepting applications for a one-time farm innovation grant program. The Farm Innovation Grant Program is designed to help develop and support innovative solutions to real, immediate, and future problems facing Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.

MDARD Director Tim Boring says about the grant opportunity, “Governor Whitmer made it clear in her budget the importance and value our food and agriculture businesses bring to Michigan and her commitment to investing in it continuing as a major economic driver. With the significant challenges we’re facing due to climate change and unpredictable weather patterns, we must adapt through innovative and creative practices to continue growing.”

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Boring went on to say, “Climate resiliency practices are a long-term version of what agriculture needs to look like in Michigan and how we respond to short and long-term challenges. These grant funds are an excellent step forward into the future of our state’s $104.7 billion food and agriculture industry.”

The maximum grant award eligible is $450,000 per proposal. The farm innovation proposals will be evaluated through a competitive selection process. Applications for grant funds must outline how the project will impact and produce measurable innovation outcomes for Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.

MDARD is accepting proposals intended to develop innovative solutions for farms, agriculture processing and supply chain problems facing Michigan’s food and agricultural industry in the following priority areas:

  • Climate Smart Practices – Practices and technologies that work to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, or by other various ways of combating climate change leading to climate resiliency for Michigan’s food and agriculture industry.
  • Supply Chain Resiliency – Equipment enhancements, new technologies, or novel research that strengthens Michigan’s food and agriculture supply chain.
  • Food Processing and Farm Production Automation – Research and development of technologies for automation of agricultural production and food processing.
  • Other – Consideration will be extended to applications that present compelling approaches to address other aspects of farm innovation, with particular focus on rural resiliency improvements.

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In an effort to combat climate change, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Directive in September of 2020 committing the state to economy-wide carbon neutrality no later than 2050. In her “Healthy Climate Plan” released in April of 2022, she outlines the path to get there with interim steps to take by 2030, including more clean energy, vehicle charging infrastructure, and land and water conservation.