Michigan’s agricultural industry has plenty to crow about. According to a Michigan State University Product Center (MSU) study, the systems that raise our food and grow fuel products showed nearly a 12 percent increase in economic impact in 2007 over 2006. More recent figures are not yet available.
According to the study’s authors, Bill Knudson and H. Christopher Peterson, the total economic impact of Michigan’s agri-food and agri-energy system is estimated to be $71.2 billion, an increase of approximately $7.6 billion or 11.9 percent over 2006.
The authors attribute this increase to higher prices for farm products.
“Michigan’s agri-food system represents almost 20 percent of the state’s overall economic engine, making it the second largest industry in Michigan, and it employs a quarter of the state’s work force,” Don Koivisto, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, says. “This report further underscores the importance of this growing industry in rebuilding and diversifying Michigan’s economy."
The study shows the state’s agricultural economy expanding more than five times faster than the growth rate of the general economy (11.9 percent versus 2 percent) between 2006 and 2007.
Evidence also suggests that employment in the agri-food system has increased since the last economic census data was made available in 2004.
“We won’t have updated job figures until 2010, but signs point to job growth, putting Michigan jobs related to agri-food well over 1 million,” says Knudson.
Production of corn for ethanol yielded economic impact of nearly $600 million.
Those wanting to learn more about the agri-energy portion of the state’s economy may attend a conference in Kalamazoo March 30 and 31, hosted by the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Michigan Agri-Energy Conference will focus on bioenergy and renewable fuels.
Gretchen Cochran, Innovation & Jobs editor, may be reached here.