By Kevin Walker
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development announced last month it has awarded $630,000 to several agriculture and related businesses, mostly to increase production capacity.
According to the commission, the grants will go to five businesses to expand production space, expand services and create 39 jobs. The grants were awarded to Wine Chips, Great Lake Malting Company, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, King Milling Company and Townline Poultry Farm. “When we make investments in local businesses, we’re investing in the future of our agricultural industry in Michigan,” said Michigan state agriculture Director Gary McDowell. “These five businesses will now be able to increase production, provide good paying jobs for Michiganders and help to ensure that Made in Michigan is known and respected around the globe.”
The King Milling Company,located in Lowell on the state’s west side, received a $250,000 grant that will allow the miller to build a monolithic flour mill with the future capacity to mill 10,000 hundredweight of grain daily. Included in the expansion plans are wheat storage bins, tempering bins, wheat cleaning capacity, increased milling capacity and eight finished flour bins with 2,250 hundredweight capacity each. Additionally, King Milling Company will be able to hire six new employees. Company President Brian Doyle stated this is the largest single investment the company has ever made in its 132 year history.
“It’s a small part of the total cost of the expansion, but it’s still appreciated,” Doyle said. The new storage bin capacity will enable the company to store an additional 130,000 bushels of raw wheat, or about a week’s worth of capacity. The added tempering bins will provide an additional day’s worth of capacity.
Townline Poultry Farm received a $75,000 grant that will allow it to build a new 13,000 square foot addition for some of the most reliable, energy efficient, leading-edge technology incubation equipment on the market along with new packing and shipping areas and a loading dock. In addition to the expansion, this will create six new jobs in Zeeland. “We are excited for such an amazing opportunity to not only continue, but build upon, grow and advance the legacy our family began 108 years ago,” said John Geerling, president of Townline.
Other grant recipients include Wine Chips, founded in 2017 in California, but which relocated to the Midwest in 2019. It received a $65,000 grant, which will help it develop its Paw Paw, Mich. location; the Great Lakes Malting Company, located on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Mich., received a grant of $40,000 to allow the company to keep up with the growing demand for Michigan grown brewing and distilling malts. La Colombe, a specialty coffee roaster, received a grant of $200,000. The grant will help the company develop and expand its production and bottling capacity at its facility in Norton Shores, Mich., which it purchased in 2016.
More information about the state’s agriculture related grant programs is available at Michigan.gov/MDARDGrants.