Bayside Best Beans honored by State with "Agriculture Exporter of the Year" Award

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For immediate release: June 16, 2016
Media contact: Heather Throne, 517-284-5725 or
Program contact: Jamie Zmitko-Somers, 517-284-5738 or

SEBEWAING, MI – Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams presented Bayside Best Beans, of Sebewaing, with the 2016 “Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year” award. 

Group photograph of 2016 Ag Exporter of the Year Bayside Best Beans, of Sebewaing, MI

From left to right in photo: Bonnie Forman- Safety Director, Gary Hahn – Plant Supervisor, Jamie Clover Adams - MDARD Director, Brad Witek- General Manager, Carrie Hines- Marketing Assistant, Laura Brahmer – Office Manager  (Download a high resolution version of this photo here.)

“Bayside Best Beans epitomizes what every exporter should work toward. The company and its grower members work tirelessly to increase exports through their ongoing commitment to produce a high quality product and meet their customers’ needs,” said Clover Adams.  “Companies like Bayside Best Beans are critical to growing our food and agriculture exports while creating markets for products grown and produced by Michigan’s growers.” 
The original seven owners of Bayside Best Beans began the business in 1995 with their first harvest in 1996. Their two state of the art production lines specialize in producing four types of dry edible beans: black, pinto, navy, and small red. 

“Receiving this award is a reminder of how much Bayside Best Beans has grown -  and continues to grow. We are proud of all the member owners who had the dream to make Bayside what it is today and the hard work our employees have put forth to help us achieve this growth,” said Bayside Best Beans General Manager Brad Witek. “We are honored and excited to be selected as Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year.” 

Through strategic global partnerships, Bayside Best Beans has expanded their business worldwide and become a great example for other Michigan companies. For example, from 2014 to 2015 the company increased the volume of dry beans exported by 15 percent. 

Michigan is the second in the nation for agricultural diversity and exports one-third of its agricultural commodities every year. Michigan food and agriculture exports totaled $3.2 billion in 2014, according to USDA figures. Additionally, Michigan’s food and agriculture exports support more than 26,000 jobs - both on and off the farm - in food processing, storage, and transportation. 

The award review committee consisted of representatives from Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith P.C., Van Andel Global Trade Center, Comerica Bank, Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University’s International Business Center. The decision was based upon several factors including marketing plans, ability to expand into new markets, alliances with other organizations, and export sales growth over the last three years. To be eligible, the products must be more than 50 percent grown, processed or manufactured in Michigan.

For more information on MDARD’s International Marketing Program, contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at (517)284-5738 or or visit  


Follow us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter: @MichDeptofAg
Follow us on Instagram: @michiganagriculture
Subscribe to our Youtube Channel: