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Popz Beez, Byron Center Meats expand with grants

Expanded honey extraction capability will benefit 10 honey producers, and a new cold-storage facility at Byron Center Meats allows more custom processing.

May 21, 2024

2 Min Read
Harvested honey flows into a colander and a bucket
GRANTS: Popz Beez has been awarded a $55,000 grant, and Byron Center Meats received $70,000 to enhance local supply chains, generate new economic opportunities for farmers and food-based businesses, and create new good-paying jobs. Jean-Luc Farges/Getty Images

An Oakland County honey extraction company and a custom meat processing plant in Byron Center will expand their businesses and help other growers in the area through recently awarded Food and Agriculture Investment Program grants approved by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Popz Beez has been awarded a $55,000 grant, and Byron Center Meats received $70,000 to enhance local supply chains, generate new economic opportunities for farmers and food-based businesses, and create new good-paying jobs locally. 

Popz Beez was founded in 2014 by Preston Zale and expanded in 2015 by offering extraction and mentoring services to other beekeepers in the area. Over the past eight years, it has added equipment and hives to the apiary business. 

The $55,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Program (FAIP) grant allows Popz Beez to construct a honey extraction and bottling facility. The new facility will allow local beekeepers and Popz Beez to increase their honey processing from 4,000 pounds of honey to 10,000 pounds in the first year.

The completion of this project will provide opportunities for not only Popz Beez, but also 10 honey producers from Oakland, Lapeer and Genesee counties, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The new facility will allow small beekeepers the ability to process in a licensed facility, giving them greater ability to sell their products and to profit from their small- to medium-sized beekeeping operations. The project will create five new jobs.

For 78 years, Byron Center Meats has provided processed meats. It specializes in partnering with local livestock producers to custom-process their meats to meet the growing demand for locally sourced proteins. They also expand markets for direct-to-consumer home freezers, farmers markets, on-farm stores, restaurants and online farm stores.

With the $70,000 in FAIP funding from MDARD, Byron Center Meats will construct a new cold-storage facility. The new facility will provide a central place for aging carcasses, increase hanging carcass capacity by 35 percent, and process capacity by 25 percent, creating four new jobs. Byron Center Meats’ increased capacity will provide more opportunities to livestock producers within Michigan.

For more information about MDARD grants, visit michigan.gov/mdardgrants.

Source: MDARD

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