Thursday, June 10, 1999
Agricultural Industry is Important to Michigan's EconomyThe Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Michigan State University, announced plans to study global trends in the agriculture industry and their effect in Michigan."The agricultural industry in Michigan, and the nation, is undergoing significant changes," said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "It is important for the state to understand these changes to assist the industry and make sure it continues to be a significant part of our economic base, as one of our largest industries, generating $35 billion annually in Michigan." The study, which is expected to be completed by September 1, 1999, will:
- Identify social, economic and technical trends in the Michigan agricultural industry;
- Identify Michigan's strengths and weakness in this sector and our competitive advantage;
- Determine Michigan's ability to compete for future processing plants by evaluating the national, and to the extent feasible international, trends occurring in the food processing industry;
- Determine if there are new value-added components being developed that have applicability to agriculture;
- Recommend possible state and private initiatives that will strengthen the agricultural and the food processing industry in Michigan. This can include new financing programs and/or other business incentives programs that will ensure a competitive agricultural business climate.
"Michigan ranks as one of the top 10 states in the food processing industry, according to the latest issue of Business Facilities magazine," said Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), which promotes agriculture and food processing."We have a long history and strong reputation as a high-quality processor of fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy foodstuffs. But we know that 60 percent of our commodities are processed elsewhere," Wyant said. "We clearly have opportunities to do more in the food processing sector."This study will serve to both benchmark the U.S. and state industries and reveal new opportunities for food processing markets. The study will dovetail with a 1999 Michigan State University/Michigan Department of Agriculture survey of key Michigan food processors concerning the current business climate and its expansion potential. "Together these reports will provide a vast amount of data and information that will assist us in making the changes needed to help Michigan food processors and producers move forward successfully," Rothwell said.Michigan Department of Agriculture Contact: Denise Yockey (517) 373-1104.