Dollars Do Grow On Trees!
What is our economic impact? What does the Michigan Department of Agriculture say? Michigan is a unique state from a plant industry perspective. We grow a wide variety of things well. We are a top 10 state in production of so many plants and plant products that we eat. These include apples, blueberries, maple syrup, asparagus, cherries, dry beans, cucumbers, plums, peaches, tomatoes, carrots, sweet corn, green beans, and more. We also grow a lot of wheat, soybeans, corn and alfalfa to feed our huge dairy herds as well as beef cattle, and the recreational horse industry.
We have about 10 million acres of farmland. The food and agriculture industry is worth over $104 billion annually, and employs over 923,000 people. We produce everything from honey to hops and llamas to lambs. We grow mint and melons, produce goats and goat cheese, grapes and wine…. . Few states are as agriculturally diverse.
Michigan is also a really important producer of floriculture crops. We produce a large portion of the nation’s bedding plants, like petunias and impatiens, as well as geraniums, marigolds and hundreds of other species. We also produce astounding quantities of potted poinsettias and Easter lilies. We rank behind only California and Florida in floriculture production!
Landscape ornamentals like shrubs and perennials are big crops here, as well as fruit trees and flowering trees, along with sod. Add in the mowing and landscaping industry to the landscape ornamentals, and that segment alone tops $5 billion in economic impact.
Michigan State University has wonderful programs in horticulture, soil science, botany and forestry. From animal agriculture to farm business management, Christmas trees to turf, field crops to fruit and nuts, and floriculture to organic agriculture, the offerings are diverse and timely. MSU offers two-year programs in cooperation with several Michigan community colleges in agricultural. Operations, applied horse science, fruit and vegetable crop management and viticulture.
Though our staff comes from diverse backgrounds, several of us are MSU horticulture or agriculture graduates, and we benefit from the proximity and accessibility of the resources and staff, including MSU’s plant diagnostics services.
Michigan is an agricultural economy powerhouse, and we love being a part of the dynamic growth in this industry.