Northwest Michigan has dynamic agriculture entrepreneur business team

Six organizations are leveraging resources resulting in a three-person team to assist agriculture-related entrepreneurs.

Farmers and other agriculture related businesses located in the 11 county lower northwest region of Michigan can access a variety of assistance programs through the new Northwest Michigan Regional Agriculture Business Services Partnership.

The partnership brings together the services of a Michigan State University Extension agriculture innovation counselor, a Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) agriculture business counselor, and the Northwest Michigan Agriculture and Food System Sector Alliance to enhance services to agriculture-related businesses such as product development, marketing, business plans, financing, education, training, and farm production and distribution.

Spearheaded by the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA), with support from District Director Patrick Cudney and MSU Extension Directors Rick Foster and Dave Ivan, this partnership brings together six different organizations together to leverage resources. Included in the effort are the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG), Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, MSU Product Center, and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC).

The NLEA provided leadership to form this partnership and identify funding sources. Funding for the partnership is being provided by the MEDC, MSU Extension and the NMCOG.  

"This partnership continuesMSU Extension's proud history of supporting Michigan's agriculture industry by helping entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value products in the agriculture, natural resources and bio-economy sectors," said Patrick Cudney,MSU Extension district coordinator and NLEA board member.

“We’re thrilled with this new effort,” said Andy Hayes, MSU Extension economic development educator and NLEA president. “In typical northwest Michigan fashion, several organizations combined resources to offer much better services with a far broader reach than any individual organization could have provided on their own.”

For more information about the agriculture team and services for your situation, contact any member of the team:

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique partnership relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

Northwest Michigan Regional Agriculture Business Services Partnership
Photo caption (from left to right): Tom Coon (MSU Extension), Susan Cocciarelli (NWMCOG), Elaine Wood (NWMCOG), Wendy Wieland (MSU Extension and Product Center), Annie Shetler (MI-SBTDC), Brenda Reau (MSU Product Center), Mary Rogers (MI-SBTDC).

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