IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trends in Michigan Agriculture and Food Processing


  • Ferris, John N.


Agriculture, prominent in the early settlement of Michigan in the 1800s, was joined by food processing in the 1900s to become a major component of the economy even as the auto industry became predominant. Michigan farmers have adjusted to new opportunities and have taken advantage of the unique aspects of the soils and climate to generate a very diverse system of crops and livestock. The close rural-urban interface is mutually beneficial to the agricultural/food processing complex and the rest of the state. The interdependence of agriculture and food processing suggests that they be considered in combination in evaluating trends and prospects for both. The state being well suited for forage production and with an expanding urban population, dairying became the most important enterprise. New hybrids pushed corn production to far exceed the livestock requirement of the state, stimulating cattle feeding, hog and turkey production. Michigan farmers have competed more effectively in the national scene with crops than with livestock, particularly on soybeans, sugarbeets and ornamentals. Real value added by food processors in the state increased over time with the strongest performance relative to national totals in dairy processing. While some recent trends have been negative, agricultural production and processing remain as a key sector in the economy. Broadly defined, the output of this sector totaled $27 billion annually in the late 1990s if backward linked industries supplying agriculture and food processing are included; $37 billion if wholesaling and retailing are added. Agricultural production and processing employed nearly 100 thousand directly and an additional 100 thousand in backward linked industries; a total of over 500 thousand if direct and indirect effects of wholesaling and retailing are compiled. The expanded 500 thousand jobs represent nearly 13 percent of total employment in the state. Besides its strong presence in the state, the agricultural production and processing sector provides diversification to an economy heavily dependent on durable goods industries, principally motor vehicles and parts. Cycles in agriculture are not highly correlated with the business cycle which swings Michigan's economy more than other states. Efficiencies in agricultural production have resulted in lower real farm prices, contributing to reduced level of inflation in food prices. Also, farmers perform key roles as stewards of the Michigan landscape. A tradition in Michigan agriculture and the food business has been entrepreneurship and innovative leadership which will be essential for the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferris, John N., 2000. "Trends in Michigan Agriculture and Food Processing," Staff Papers 11499, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11499

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robison, Lindon J. & Hanson, Steven D., 1995. "Social Capital And Economic Cooperation," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 27(01), July.
    2. Feldstein, Martin S & Taylor, Amy, 1976. "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1201-1222, November.
    3. Blank, Rebecca M, 1991. "The Effects of Double-Blind versus Single-Blind Reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1041-1067, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item




    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11499. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.