Michigan is an extremely diverse agriculture system which truly grows from the ground up with 93% of our 51,600 farms being family owned. Michigan’s production of more than 300 commodities is second only to California in diversity. Michigan stands alone as the #1 producer of blueberries, pickling cucumbers, squash, tart cherries, four varieties of dry beans, and 12 different varieties of flowers. And those are just our #1 products. Rounding out the top three include: asparagus, fresh market carrots, celery, marigold flats, Niagara grapes, apples, alfalfa, potted geraniums, and vegetable-type bedding plants.
Where do most of these products end up? Some actually leave the country. Soybeans & soybean meal, dairy products, corn, and fresh and processed fruits account for just over $1.5 billion in agricultural exports. In 2014, agricultural exports topped $3.1billion. Obviously, Michigan is extremely supportive of its food and agriculture industry exporting efforts. Several programs offer up to a 50% reimbursement for expenses associated with exporting for a period of five years for each country explored. Canada, Japan, Mexico, China, and South Korea are Michigan’s top export markets.
Not only is Michigan growing nearly everything under the sun, but we’re processing more and more each year. While the state has landmarks such as Sander’s Chocolates, Faygo soft drinks, and Garden Fresh Salsa, new favorites are emerging. Names like McClure’s Pickles, Ethel’s Edibles, and Hacienda Mexican Foods will soon take the spotlight in food processing.
While these companies have grown on their own through many years of hard work, many new ideas will be nurtured through unprecedented support from various agencies and local entities. The state itself, incubator kitchens, and food hubs will lead the way in offering assistance and guidance to those with a recipe and a dream. These range from facilities in the Traverse City region all the way down to the south east corner. Regulatory compliance, food safety training, and learning how to scale up production will be areas of concentration. Several of these facilities are established entities while some new ‘game changers’ are in the works.
So while Michigan has always been known for a certain Big Three, Governor Snyder would like to promote his own Big Three: manufacturing, tourism, and food and agriculture. Enjoying the benefits of the ‘eat local’ movement has never been easier or more supported.
As a statewide agency assisting food processors from Lake Erie to Lake Michigan and the Ohio border through the U.P., MMTC has a program that can help. Our proven LEAN process improvement practices have helped create $740M in new sales, created or retained nearly 16,000 jobs, and saved Michigan manufacturers $252.9M in the last 10 years. If your business is seeking assistance in top-line or bottom-line growth the MMTC has a solution for you. Call us today at 888.414.6682 and learn how we can become YOUR trusted advisor.
Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.mmtc.org.