Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

April 5, 2014

Ag Forum: Michigan agriculture is growing forward

TRAVERSE CITY — From apples to zucchini, Michigan produces more than 300 commodities on a commercial basis, second only to California in agricultural diversity.

Michigan agriculture leads the nation in the production of 18 commodities and ranks in the top 10 of 56 other commodities.

Why is Michigan’s agriculture industry so strong and diverse? Our abundance of fresh water, a moderate climate, and a wide variety of soils help. We are located within 500 miles of half of North America’s population and income, and with a well-established infrastructure, we can get our products to market. Partnerships among government agencies, universities, and the business sector foster an environment that supports agriculture production, research, and development. Our manufacturing infrastructure is poised to improve food and agricultural products and processes while using innovation to design new food and products. Michigan has a well trained workforce, backed by a strong commitment to education and personnel development.

Hundreds of big name companies produce a variety of food products in Michigan. From your Ball Park hotdog to your Welch’s Grape Juice, there’s a good chance that what you buy at the local grocery store was grown or processed in Michigan. Country Fresh Dairy, Gerber, Honeybaked Ham, Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, Post, Sara Lee and Yoplait make up just a small list of the companies that produce products in Michigan. From Christmas trees to Easter lilies and even your Thanksgiving turkey -- Michigan’s Agriculture is there for you.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is launching a 70-page full color publication, the Michigan Agriculture magazine, as a way to connect readers with our state’s food and agriculture community.

This privately funded publication is designed to showcase a diverse agricultural industry that annually contributes $96 billion to our state’s economy. The Michigan Agriculture magazine will be distributed, free of charge, to public places around the state. The goal is to educate rural and urban communities alike about the impact agriculture has on all our lives.

Look for the magazine near you or read the digital version of Michigan Agriculture by going to www.MIagriculture.com. Share the link and help tell the story of Michigan’s food and agriculture to the state, country and the world. The opportunities for Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are endless and will continue to be a vital leader in the continued reinvention of our state.

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