IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An Analysis Of The Importance Of Agriculture And The Food Sector To The Michigan Economy


  • Ferris, John N.


The number of workers on farms and in food processing represents about 16 percent of total employment in basic industries in Michigan. Converting farm labor to full time equivalents, however, reduces the proportion to about 11 percent. The industries dependent upon agriculture and food processing enhance the importance of this sector. Adding backward linked industries increases the total employment from about 100 thousand to 200 thousand and output from $15 billion to $27 billion. If Michigan agriculture's share of the forward linked industries of wholesaling and retailing is added, total employment related directly or indirectly to farming and food processing is estimated to be 500 thousand and output to be $37 billion. In terms of employment, this represents a ratio of nearly 10 jobs for every full time equivalent in farming or about 5 jobs for every employee in the combination of agriculture and food processing. The total direct and related employment in agriculture and the food system is about 1 million, about a fourth of total employment in the state. Not only does agriculture and food processing have a major presence in the state, this sector contributes to the stability of an economy heavily dependent on the manufacture of durable goods which are vulnerable to business cycles. Food processing tends to be located near metropolitan areas, facilitating employment shifts. Similarly, the proximity of alternative employment opportunities provides stability for households involved in agriculture and food processing. While gross farm income and expenditures have increased in nominal terms, trends in the 1980s and 1990s have been stable or negative in real terms. Real net farm income declined in the 1990s. However, both nominal and real farmland prices increased in the same period, a paradox reflecting a robust non-farm economy and the close rural-urban interface. Value added by Michigan food processors increased over time in both nominal and real terms until a reversal in the 1990s. Employment in food processing continued a secular decline at the close of the decade.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferris, John N., 2000. "An Analysis Of The Importance Of Agriculture And The Food Sector To The Michigan Economy," Staff Papers 11793, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11793

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ferris, John N. & Joshi, Satish V., 2004. "Evaluating The Impacts Of An Increase In Fuel-Ethanol Demand On Agriculture And The Economy," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20089, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

    More about this item


    Community/Rural/Urban Development;


    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:11793. 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.