Seeds of opportunity: Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit creating growth for state's agribusinesses

Friday, March 15, 2019

• Matchmaking gathering March 19 in Kalamazoo • March named Food and Agriculture Month in Michigan • Michigan agriculture and food processing industries poised for growth

LANSING, Mich. – As Michigan recognizes March as “Food and Agriculture Month,” it is evident that the state is well-positioned for dramatic growth in both the agriculture and food processing industries.

Many of the state’s major purchasers and suppliers will explore potential partnerships at this year’s Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit on Tuesday, March 19, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo. The event is being hosted by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The matchmaking gathering features an up-close look at the fast-changing agriculture industry, a pillar of the state’s economy. From the Upper Peninsula to the rural landscape of mid-Michigan to the acres of crops and livestock homesteads around the state, farms and food-processing companies generate products and create jobs vital to the state’s $104.7 billion food-and-agriculture industry.

“There are increasing opportunities for Michigan businesses in agriculture and food processing,” said PMBC Director Ryan Michael. “A critical ingredient in creating successful and sustainable enterprises is understanding industry trends and building a cost-efficient, profitable supply chain. The building blocks for that model are at the agriculture summit.”

In addition to the matchmaking meetings, next Tuesday’s agriculture summit features five speakers:

  • Eve Turow Paul, journalist, advisor and author
  • Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Trevor Pawl, group vice president of Mobility, Supply Chain and Trade for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
  • Kenneth McFarlane, chief deputy director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)
  • Josh Hundt, chief business development officer and executive vice president for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Since 2011, PMBC summits have brought together purchasers and suppliers in 25 distinct industries, including agriculture, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and energy. The matchmaking gatherings have facilitated more than $8 billion in revenue, while creating or retaining more than 40,000 jobs.

In the past few years, several projects have served as major catalysts to elevate the state’s agriculture and food processing industry, supporting Michigan farmers and positioning businesses for emerging opportunities in the subscription meal delivery service and global markets.

Breakthrough projects including Spartan Michigan, a new 142-acre dairy processing facility in St. Johns, and, most recently, the announcement of Quality Roasting’s new soybean processing plant in Tuscola County are diversifying the state’s food-processing industry.

“Michigan’s vast and efficient supply chain and logistics system provides a cost-effective distribution system,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, who will be on hand to address summit participants. “From Michigan, farmers and food processing businesses can connect with world markets and have a competitive edge in responding to customer trends.”

Michigan’s agriculture industry is the second most diverse in the nation (after California). There are approximately 52,194 total farms in Michigan; the state leads the nation in the production of 20 different commodities. The state’s top five agricultural exports are processed food products, soybeans and soybean meal, dairy products, feed and feed grains, and fresh and processed vegetables.

To view a video from last year’s ag summit, visit here:

Media are invited to attend from 9 to 11 a.m. Assistance is also available for media who are unable to attend but would like to arrange interviews with summit organizers, guest speakers or attendees.

To arrange an interview with Jeff Mason or other summit speakers please contact Otie McKinley at [email protected].

Michigan-based business interested in participating in future PMBC summits should contact Ryan Michael, [email protected]

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.