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Applications sought for Agricultural Safety grants

LANSING — The application process is now open for $15 million in grants for Michigan farms and agricultural processors to mitigate risks of the COVID-19 virus across the state’s food production industry, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Wednesday.

The application, along with more information and eligibility criteria, can be found at michiganbusiness.org/agsafety.

Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund on July 7, the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program will allocate federal CARES Act funding to agricultural processors and farms as follows:

— $10 million in grants will be provided to processors statewide, with a minimum grant of $10,000 and a maximum grant of $200,000.

— $5 million in grants will be available to farms statewide, with a minimum grant of $10,000 and a maximum grant of $50,000.

Applicants must apply either as a processor or a farm — but not both — and funds will provide grants of up to $1,000 per employee to fund COVID-19 mitigation costs, including but not limited to testing costs, personal protection equipment, facility needs, increased sanitation costs, employee training, and upgraded safety procedures for farm-provided housing.

Grants will be awarded on a first come, first served basis until all funds have been distributed.

Applications will be processed by East Lansing-based GreenStone Farm Credit Services, one of America’s largest rural lenders, including 31 branches in Michigan. GreenStone will host the application portal; complete an initial screening of all applications and supporting documentation; and recommend applications to the MEDC for final approval and disbursements of the grants awarded.

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