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Despite Pandemic Challenges, Michigan Food, Agriculture Exports Grew in 2020

Agriculture is the second-largest sector of Michigan’s economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly caused challenges and uncertain in supply chains over the last 16 months, but there is good news. According to officials at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, exports in Michigan’s agricultural field saw considerable growth in 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Michigan’s agriculture exports totaled $2.16 billion in 2020, an 18.7% increase from 2019.

Substantial increases in dairy products, soybeans, sugarbeet byproducts and wheat byproducts were seen in 2020, with Canada and Mexico remaining Michigan’s top export markets.

“I think this really speaks to the strength, resilience and global demand for Michigan’s high-quality foods,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Last Year was a difficult time for people, communities and businesses, so it’s reassuring when we receive positive news like this, especially for an industry that supports so many families and rural areas.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agreed, praising the sacrifices Michigan’s farmers made to keep forward momentum.

“Their hard work and grit feeds millions of families worldwide and supports thousands of jobs in rural communities across Michigan,” said Whitmer.

The boom is a welcome increase on the heels of a year and a half of uncertainty – but better than that, the numbers are at their best in years.

“Michigan’s food and agriculture export numbers haven’t been this high since 2014,” said Jamie Zmitko-Somers, director of MDARD’s agriculture development division. “Across the state, foods were harvested, processed and delivered right on time. This definitely played a role in the success of our exports.”

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