MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — The Montcalm County 4-H Fair Association will receive a $20,000 grant for a 4-H livestock barn.
The grant, which was announced by Rep. Rick Outman and Sen. Judy Emmons, is part of the County Fairs Capital Improvement Program that provides Michigan’s county fairs with funds for enhancements.
“It’s been a big help for us,” said Montcalm County 4-H Fair Board President Michael McGonigal. “It moved the project up by at least a year.”
The Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development awarded grants between $1,000 and $20,000 for 20 improvement projects. According to a press release, all grants require a matching commitment by the local fair.
“Agriculture is a very important aspect of life in Montcalm County, and our county fair is an important part of the summer culture here,” Outman said. “I think it’s great that Montcalm County took advantage of this new program so our youth who work so hard on their livestock programs will have a venue in which to house and display their animals.”
McGonigal said the fair association made it a priority to starting funding for a dairy barn, and by receiving this grant, it has helped them achieve that goal.
The plan is to build a barn similar to the existing small-animal barns, which, in total, will cost about $50,000, McGonigal said.
“The helps us kick start our priority to have every animal under a roof,” he said. “It gives equally to all animals and kids.”
Montcalm County 4-H Association First Vice President Pat Schuster said during the year the new barn can be used for horses, which will allow the fairgrounds to put on bigger shows.
“The dairy cows and lambs have been under tents for around 15 years,” Schuster said of the county fair.
This is the last building they will be putting up for a while, McGonigal said, as the association wants to take care and maintain the buildings they have at the fairgrounds.
The goal is to have the new building completed before the 2013 county fair; however, McGonigal and Schuster said money will still need to be raised before the project can start.