The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved grants for five food and agriculture projects in Michigan. One of those grants will go to a Comstock Park company to make "the world’s first natural, sugar-free lollipop."

The grants are designed to help grow companies focused on processed fruit, dairy, and soybean operations, and to support the expansion of other Michigan products.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says Sugar Free Specialties LLC (Dr. John’s Candies of Comstock Park) will receive a $75,000 performance-based grant toward the purchase and renovation of manufacturing and office space to launch the lollipops, which will be called Healthy Sweets™. They have a low glycemic index and no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or major allergens. Total capital investment for the project is $2,128,000 with 18 new jobs anticipated. The investment is contingent on the approval of additional state and local incentives.

It's easy to cheer a large grant when it brings jobs to your West Michigan backyard, but this is the same kind of project that raises big question marks when it happens somewhere else.

The other companies receiving grants:

  • S & F Foods of Romulus will receive a $75,000 performance-based grant to expand their production and freezer storage capacity.
  • Quality Roasting LLC of Caro will receive a $75,000 performance-based grant to support the construction and operation of a new 33,000 square-foot soybean processing facility.
  • Michigan Milk Producers Association of Novi will receive a $200,000 performance-based grant for a new 7,500 square-foot addition to their main processing area.
  • St. Julian Wine Company of Paw Paw will receive a $125,000 performance-based grant to increase tank capacity by installing a new chilling system.