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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Tim Boring Hosts a Commodity Roundtable Discussing Collaboration, Innovation and Sustainability

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Yesterday, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring held the first in a series of roundtables with Michigan commodity groups to discuss increased collaboration, innovation, and sustainability practices at the 2023 Great Lakes Expo, Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market conference.

"Michigan grows a wide variety of products and is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation. The organizations I met with today, from celery to sugar beets, represent Michigan's incredibly diverse and strong agricultural sectors," said Director Boring. "MDARD is committed to working along with our commodities to ensure that Michigan's food and agriculture industry continues to expand and thrive while using sustainable practices to positively impact and help future generations."   

In December 2001, the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Michigan Vegetable Council combined their annual conventions, initiating the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO. The new EXPO immediately became one of the largest annual gatherings of fruit and vegetable growers and farm marketers in North America.

"Michigan's asparagus and carrot farmers appreciate the focus Director Boring has placed on our specialty crop industry," said Jamie Clover Adams, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. "He understands the value our commodities bring to the packing and processing sector as well as our rural communities.  We look forward to continuing our partnership to address the many challenges and opportunities our segment of agriculture faces."

"2023 brings a focus on labor saving agricultural technology to the Great Lakes Expo," said Greg Bird, Executive Director of the Michigan Vegetable Council. "The specialty crop growers desperately need solutions to offset the cost of labor.  Hopefully expanding the agricultural technology programming and exhibitors will contribute to increased knowledge and connections for local growers."

Since 2009, the Michigan Greenhouse Growers EXPO has been held concurrently with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO. This expanded the overall program to include education sessions and trade show exhibitors for greenhouse growers.

Throughout 2023, MDARD will meet with Michigan's food and agricultural businesses to discuss how they can continue to succeed and how the department can best assist their continuous growth and expansion.