Governor Rick Snyder recently proclaimed March ‘Food and Agriculture Month’ in Michigan, encouraging Michiganders to celebrate all of the great agricultural products Michigan produces. We also plan to celebrate Michigan agriculture this month by highlighting several agricultural programs and products throughout the state.
To kick off this month, Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development shares fun facts about agriculture in Michigan.
In Michigan, one of our greatest assets is the diversity in our food and agriculture sector. We grow everything from cranberries to hops to begonias to Christmas trees. We have a thriving animal agriculture farming community as well. In addition, Michigan produces all of the eggs on the east side of the Mississippi River that are used by McDonald’s, and Aunt Millie’s Bread Company also makes all the buns for Wendy’s sandwiches.
Not only does the state have a diverse agriculture base, but Michigan’s food and agriculture sector is brimming with opportunity for long-term careers in food science, microbiology, epidemiology, entomology, veterinary medicine, and more. There are also tremendous possibilities in research and development, food processing and exports.
As part of Food and Ag month, we have partnered with Michigan’s own Grand Traverse Pie Company and Michigan State University to celebrate Pi Day, a day noted by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14, to highlight the intrinsic role that math, education, and agriculture play in today’s economy. Grand Traverse Pie Company customers will be treated to a free slice of pie with any purchase at their stores across the state.
I’m thankful for this chance to honor the role Michigan’s food and agriculture industry plays in providing us with a safe and abundant food supply, thriving jobs for Michiganders, new career paths for college graduates entering the workforce, and providing a strong economic foundation for Michigan’s comeback.
Michigan food and agriculture facts:
• Michigan ranks fourth in the nation for farmers marketing and produces more than 300 different agricultural commodities. It is also home to more than 100 wineries and dozens of micro-breweries.
• Agriculture, food processors, and related businesses employ 923,000 Michiganders—22 percent of the state’s workforce.
• Michigan leads the nation in the production of 17 commodities, including tart cherries, blueberries, three kinds of dry beans (black, cranberry and small red), 11 floriculture products (including begonias, geraniums, petunias and impatiens), and pickling cucumbers. Michigan also ranks in the top 10 for 40 other commodities.
• Michigan has nearly 10 million acres of farmland, and is home to 52,194 farms.
• Michigan exports about one-third of its agricultural commodities each year, generating over $3.2 billion and employing more than 20,000. Over 60 percent of all Michigan’s agricultural exports go directly to Canada, our number one export market. Rounding out the top countries eager for Michigan-grown products are Mexico, Japan, Korea, and China.
• Michigan is home to approximately 2,000 licensed food processors, employing more than 130,000 residents and generating nearly $25 billion in economic activity, making the state 19th in the nation for food processing.
Jamie Clover Adams was appointed director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development by Governor Rick Snyder in July 2012. Prior to becoming MDARD director, Ms. Clover Adams worked in various governmental leadership roles for nearly 25 years in two state capitals as well as in our nation’s capital. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Looking to receive export assistance for your business? Visit http://www.michiganbusiness.org/grow/export-assistance/ for more information.