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Gov. Whitmer Announce Michigan’s Food and Agriculture Exports Sets Record-Breaking Year Totaling $2.5 Billion in 2021

LANSING, MI - Governor Whitmer today announced that Michigan food, agriculture, and forest products exports experienced a 19 percent year-over-year growth in 2021. Though business owners and farmers across the nation continued to adapt to global challenges in 2021, Michigan’s food and agriculture sector experienced success despite these challenges. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan’s food and agriculture exports totaled $2.5 billion in 2021.

"Michigan's food and agriculture industry is thriving with 19% annual growth and $2.5 billion in exports. It continues to uplift Michigan’s economy and make a local, national and global impact," said Governor Whitmer. "Michigan’s agriculture industry is critical to expanding economic opportunities and creating more good-paying jobs for Michiganders. We will stay focused on investing in rural economic development, empowering farmers and agriculture businesses, and ensuring that the words ‘Made in Michigan’ are seen around the world."

"I'm proud that Michigan's food and agriculture production continues to thrive, and our reputation grows worldwide," said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell. "Michigan food and agriculture diverse, high-quality products are well-known known globally. I'm excited as this industry continues to show the world what makes Michigan food and agriculture so special."

Overall, processed food products ($437 million) represented the highest total value of Michigan’s exported food and agriculture products in 2021. This product category alone accounted for a $72 million increase over 2020 export totals. Other top product categories included soybean, sugar beet, and wheat byproducts ($304 million); dairy products ($234 million), wood products ($230 million); and edible meat products ($215 million).

Michigan consistently ranks as one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation resulting in a wide array of exported products ranging from bulk soybeans to dried fruit, pickles, and baked goods. Demand for these high-quality, dependable products continues to grow in local markets, online retailers, and supercenters across the globe.

“These annual export figures are a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication Michigan food and agriculture business put into their export efforts on a daily basis,” said Jamie Zmitko-Somers, MDARD’s Agriculture Development Division Director. “These businesses have been faced with supply chain disruptions, weather challenges, labor shortages, and more over the last year, yet they came through it all in tremendous fashion. We are excited to continue collaborating with the food and agriculture industry to grow our global footprint for years to come.”

Despite supply chain issues which impacted nearly every industry, Michigan companies saw an increase in the value of export across multiple international markets. This indicates demand for delicious, reliable Michigan food and agriculture remains strong despite delays in ingredient availability or shipping times.

In 2021, the top international markets for food and agriculture exports from Michigan were Canada ($1.19 billion), Mexico ($292 million), China ($168 million), South Korea ($163 million) and Japan ($146 million). These countries are often at or near the top as export destinations from Michigan.

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Editor’s note: The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)'s International Marketing Program assists Michigan food and agricultural businesses in expanding their marketing efforts both domestically and internationally. In collaboration with other partners and services providers, the International Marketing Program offers Michigan businesses a variety of programs and services, including one-on-one consultations, export education, export assistance, and market entry activities and programs. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/AgExport or email MDARD-AgD@michigan.gov.