Top Ten Things You Didn't Know About Michigan Agriculture


July 18, 2012
By Mike Brownfield
Director of Social Media

Tart cherries, sweet corn, beans, wheat, flowers -- you name it, Michigan produces it. On Tuesday, Governor Rick Snyder stopped by AgExpo 2012 at Michigan State University to meet with the farmers who grow those great products and hear more about all the great work they do in our state. He also spoke about helping their industry expand and reach new markets all around the world - and that includes building the new bridge to Canada. Click here to watch the speech.If you didn't know it, agriculture in Michigan is a huge part of our economy. But there's more about agriculture you might not know. Here's a list of the Top Ten Things You Didn't Know About Michigan Agriculture:

1) It's a multi-billion-dollar business: The food and agriculture industry in Michigan contributes $91.4 billion annually to the state's economy, an increase of more than 50 percent from 2004 to 2010.

2) Agriculture helps employ hundreds of thousands of Michiganders: Michigan's food and agriculture system is a big part of the state's workforce. In fact, total employment resulting from agriculture (including direct, indirect, and induced) is 923,000 -- that impact accounts for about 22 percent of the state's employment.

3) Michigan's menu of home-grown products is huge: Our state produces more than 200 commodities on a commercial basis. Michigan farms and the commodities they produce account for $13 billion of the industry's overall total, making agriculture necessary for Michigan's economic recovery and reinvention.

4) We're not the only ones eating what we grow. Michigan exports almost one-third of the crops grown here, with the top five agricultural exports being soybeans, feed grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Exports will grow to over $2 billion in 2012 - a good first step as we aim to double our agricultural exports in five years.

5) Canada is our best customer. More than 60 percent of all Michigan's agricultural exports go directly to Canada, our number one export market. In 2011, Michigan food and agriculture exports into Canada were valued at nearly $909 million.

6) It takes a ton of trucks to transport our products. In 2009, more than 42 million tons of agricultural products valued $37 billion moved throughout Michigan, of which 90 percent were by truck and 9.6 percent by rail.

7) Our farmers sell products all around the world: In 2010, Michigan exported more than $1.75 billion of agricultural products to Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. Soybean and soy products were Michigan's largest export commodity in 2010 and valued at $588.7 million.

8) Drive across the state, you're bound to see a farm: There are about 10 million acres of farmland in Michigan, and the state is home to nearly 55,000 farms averaging 182 acres each.

9) You might be surprised who's running the farm. The majority of principal operators of Michigan farms are male; however, 8,275 Michigan farms have female principal operators. The average age of principal operators of Michigan farms is 56.3 years.

10) For most farmers, tending the farm is their number one job. Nearly 55 percent of Michigan farmers name farming as their primary occupation. The remaining 45 percent lists non-farming occupations as their primary source of income.



Related Images
Snyder with tractor