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Facts About Michigan Agriculture

The food and agriculture industry in Michigan contributes $101.2 billion annually to the state's economy, an increase of about 15 percent from 2010 to 2014.  The largest numbers can be attributed to the wholesale and retail distribution portion of the supply chain, but the largest percentage of growth is from farming.

  • Michigan's Food and Agriculture system is a large portion of the state's workforce.  Total employment in this sector (including direct, indirect, and induced) is 923,000.  The total employment impact accounts for about 22 percent of the state's employment; the farm sector employs nearly 73,000 and production and processing employs nearly 14,000.
  • Michigan produces over 300 commodities on a commercial basis including tart cherries, blueberries, dry beans, floriculture products (including flowering hang baskets, Begonias, Easter lilies, geraniums, petunias and impatiens), and cucumbers for pickles.  Michigan farms and the commodities they produce account for $13.6 billion of the overall total, making agriculture necessary for Michigan's economic recovery and reinvention.
  • The livestock and dairy sector has the greatest direct economic impact at $4.73 billion.  This sector is followed by the vegetable sector at $673.5 million, the nursery and landscape sector at $621.2 million, the  fruit sector at $337.9 million, and Field crops (wheat, dry beans, soybeans, and sugar beets, hay) account for more than $100 million in direct economic activity.  (Source: MSU The Economic impact of Michigan's Food and Agriculture System)
  • In 2013, Michigan exported more than $3.2 billion of agricultural products to Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and more. Soybean and soy products were Michigan's largest export commodity in 2010 and valued at $588.7 million.
  • There are about 10 million acres of farmland in Michigan, and the state is home to nearly 55,000 farms averaging 182 acres each. More than 32 percent of the state's total farmland is in some form of preservation agreement.
  • The majority of principal operators of Michigan farms are male; however, 7,409 Michigan farms have female principal operators. The average age of principal operators of Michigan farms is 57.6 years.
  • Nearly 48 percent of Michigan farmers name farming as their primary occupation. The remaining 52 percent lists non-farming occupations as their primary source of income.