Getting a Boost

Upper Peninsula companies awarded MDARD grants

MARQUETTE — Two Upper Peninsula food and agriculture companies recently received state grants which owners said will allow them to improve their operations and expand services to other markets.

Rainbow Packing Inc., of Escanaba, and Kitz Koop, based in Sault Ste. Marie, were awarded funding through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Value Added and Regional Food System grant program.

Rainbow Packing, a harvesting and processing facility, received $100,000 through the grant program to expand its facility to keep pace with meat processing needs in the U.P., according to an MDARD press release.

“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,” owner Sue Sicotte said.

Poultry farm Kitz Koop was awarded $19,400 to expand egg farm production.

“Kitz Koop Family Egg Farm supplies farm fresh eggs to the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” owner Ryan Kitzmiller said in the release. “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.”

Nine projects in total were awarded about $750,000 under the recent grant cycle.

MDARD received 62 proposals with requests totaling more than $6.6 million, according to the release.

“Michigan continues to assert itself as a leader in food and agriculture both nationally and globally, and these grants clearly reflect that,” MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams said. “Not only do these projects offer opportunity for additional growth in revenue and jobs, but they also demonstrate the vision, ambition and leadership of our state’s incredible food and agriculture companies.”

Ryan Jarvi can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His email address is