Michigan agricultural safety grants

Financial assistance now available to help mitigate COVID-19 costs for farmers and processors.

a man pointing out into a field

Last week, two programs were announced aimed at helping Michigan farmers and processors keep their employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Agriculture Safety Grant (ASG) program was made available on July 15, and supports farms and processors with at least 10 employees. Total funding for the ASG program is $15 million.
  • The Small Farm Safety Grant (SFSG) program was made available on July 21 and supports farms with less than 10 employees. Total funding for the SFSG program is $1.25 million.

Grants are limited to $1,000 per employee.

  • For the ASG program, agricultural processors are eligible for a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $200,000. Farms are eligible for a minimum of $10,000 and maximum of $50,000.
  • For the SFSG program, farms are eligible for a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $9,000.

Grants will be awarded to eligible applicants on a first come, first served basis. Once funds are exhausted, no further grants will be issued.

Funds received from the programs are intended to help keep workers safe, and can be used for the following purposes listed here as stated on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) site:

  • COVID-19 testing costs (i.e. on-site testing, with full plant or individual testing at certified sites, including costs for staffing/medical personnel to administer tests and personal protection equipment for testing sites)
  • Facility and/or farm needs to protect against the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to dividers between employees, temporary facilities to maintain social distancing, increased sanitation needs, and upgraded safety measures for farm-provided housing
  • Personal protection equipment and supplies for employees
  • Establishing and conducting screening procedures (i.e. medical staff, thermometers, and/or other supplies and equipment needed for effective, daily employee screening)

Covered expenses must be incurred by eligible applicants between June 1, 2020 and September 15, 2020.

Applications for both programs will be processed by GreenStone Farm Credit Services. GreenStone is hosting the application portal for both programs, completing an initial screening of all applications and supporting documentation, and recommending applications to MEDC for final approval and disbursements of the grants awarded.

To apply for either grant, farmers will need to go to the MEDC website listed below and fill out an electronic application. A clickable link on the website “Apply Now” will redirect applicants to the GreenStone application site.

A full list of qualifications that employers must meet can be found at the MEDC website listed below. Some of these requirements include:

  • Your latest business tax forms or state license
  • Internal payroll documents
  • A free DUNS Number, which you may obtain from Dun & Bradstreet by calling toll free at 888-814-1435 and indicating that you are doing business with a government entity. This number is needed because in order to apply for either one of these programs, applicants are required to have completed registration in the State of Michigan State Integrated Governmental Management Applications (SIGMA) Vendor Self-Service (VSS) website, gov/SIGMAVSS, and the DUNS number is something you need in order to complete this registration. Once you complete this registration process, you will be given a registration number to be entered in the grant application. Farmers applying for these grants will also be required to affirm that they have also entered all required banking information and are registered to receive Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payments. If you need assistance with this in order to complete your SIGMA Application, please contact the State of Michigan VSS (SOM VSS) Support Center at SIGMA-Vendor@michigan.govor 1-888-734-9749. All Program grant funds will only be issued via EFT.

For more information on these safety grants and to apply for one of the grants, visit the Michigan Economic Development Corporation website.

Michigan State University Extension has developed and recently released the COVID-19 Hazard Assessment and Mitigation Plan (CHAMP), an easy to use downloadable e-tool aimed at assisting the Michigan agricultural community in protecting themselves, their employees, and their customers from COVID-19 while maintaining business continuity. This e-tool guides users through a series of steps that follow an established and referenced framework for conducting a thorough hazard assessment by job/task and supports the development of appropriate, meaningful, and operation-specific mitigation strategies aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. This e-tool can be used to develop a site-specific pandemic preparedness plan as is required per state executive orders, supporting documents from which may be used in the application process for the Agriculture Safety Grant (ASG) and Small Farms Safety Grant (SFSG). For more information about the MSU Extension CHAMP tool or for assistance with conducting COVID-19 hazard assessments in your operation(s), please visit the MSU Extension Rapid Response for Agriculture website.

For additional information on federal programs to help farmers deal with the financial burdens related to COVID-19, visit the MSU Extension Farm Management website.

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