A West Michigan egg producer has received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the federal government’s effort to strengthen rural communities across the country.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday announced the disbursement of $1.4 billion to local businesses across the U.S. that is meant to expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for residents in those rural areas.
The funds are to be used for investments such as job training, business expansion projects and technical assistance.
Konos Inc., which does business as Vande Bunte Eggs, received $5 million in grant money. Vande Bunte Eggs maintains a flagship location in Martin with additional facilities in Otsego and Grant Park, Ill.
Watervliet-based apple orchard Epple Family Farms LLC and Schilling Family Farms, which is located in Eau Claire and produces both fruit and vegetables, each received $250,000.
The USDA also issued a $900,000 grant to the Great Lakes Energy Cooperative, a member-owned power company that operates through a large swath of the state.
“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” Vilsack said in a statement. “That’s why USDA is committed to doing what we can to change that extraction economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas.”
“Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most,” he added.