Stamas applauds grants for two area agriculture businesses

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas on Thursday applauded a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announcement that two area businesses have been awarded grants to improve and expand their operations.

“Michigan food and agriculture industry contributes more than $104 billion annually to the state’s economy and employs over 800,000 workers — about 17% of our workforce,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “I congratulate JNelson Farms and Next Phase Enterprises for earning these competitive grants to help them continue to grow and create new opportunities in their communities.”

JNelson Farms in Midland County’s Hope Township will receive a $40,390 grant to expand its permanent and mobile frozen storage. The business is owned and operated by Jon and Tammy Nelson and is a leading producer of grass-fed beef in the state.

Next Phase Enterprises in Montmorency County will get a $94,800 grant to establish a commercial dry bean and hemp flour production line to expand markets for Michigan crops. Brothers Shah and Haq Chaudary bought a product line of gluten-free products in Hillman last fall and launched Next Phase with plans to move it to Chicago. They decided to stay in Michigan with the goal of making Hillman the gluten-free manufacturing capital of the Midwest.

The family-owned businesses are two of 20 projects awarded $1.8 million in grants that will leverage more than $12 million in private investments for food and agriculture initiatives.

MDARD promotes and manages several competitive grant programs. For more information, visit