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Governor declares March Food & Ag Month in Michigan

LANSING, MI -- Michigan is home to a bountiful array of food and agriculture products for Michiganders and tourists to enjoy. The diversity of the state’s food and agriculture offerings rivals only to California.  Each year, states across the nation recognize March as a time to celebrate the importance of food and agriculture.

“Michigan’s food and agricultural businesses have always been a major part of our economy and they are continuing to play a large role in the state’s comeback,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “There is a tremendous opportunity for these companies to take a national leadership role in research and development, food processing, and exports from Michigan. We should all celebrate our farmers for what they do to help feed Michigan and the world.”

“Not only is March a great time to thank our farmers, it’s also a time to look at the abundant business and career opportunities. From skilled trades to technology-based careers to having your own food-based company, the possibilities are limitless,” said Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director. “The diversity of the food grown here, access to water, and the various microclimates make Michigan unique for all facets of the food and agriculture chain.”

Michiganders will have an opportunity to learn about how state’s farmers and processors are supporting businesses across the state thanks to a partnership with McDonald’s of Michigan.

“McDonald’s owners/operators throughout Michigan are passionate about supporting the state’s Ag business in communities where we do business. We believe it improves the quality of life for us all by keeping dollars and jobs in our state,” said Francisco “Pancho” Gonzalez, vice president and general manager of the McDonald’s Michigan Region. “In 2014, McDonald’s purchased more than $160 million of commodities from Michigan farmers, including almost 100 million dozen of fresh eggs. Today, McDonald’s continues to purchase local fresh agriculture products to help us bring a great variety of quality ingredients and menu items to our customers.”

Throughout Michigan Food and Ag Month, MDARD will be also be partnering with Grand Traverse Pie Company, Michigan State University AgBioResearch, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Farm Bureau, and the Michigan Ag Council to highlight the various facets of the state’s food, forest and agriculture sector.

Michigan food and agriculture facts:

• Michigan farmers produce more than 300 different agricultural commodities and ranks third in the nation for farmers markets. It is also home to 119 wineries and more than 200 micro-breweries.

• Agriculture, food processors, and related businesses employ 923,000 Michiganders—22 percent of the state’s workforce.

• Michigan has nearly 10 million acres of farmland, and is home to 51,600 farms.

• Michigan exports about one-third of its agricultural commodities each year, generating nearly $3.2 billion. Almost 60 percent of all Michigan’s agricultural exports go directly to Canada, our number one export market. Rounding out the top countries eager for Michigan-grown products are Mexico, Japan, China, and S. Korea.

• Michigan is home to approximately 2,000 licensed food processors, employing more than 130,000 residents and generating nearly $25 billion in economic activity, making the state 19th in the nation for food processing.