MDARD Announces New Agriculture Development Division Director

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell announced the selection of Jamie Zmitko-Somers as the department’s new Agriculture Development Division Director effective Monday, January 25, 2021.

Jamie Zmitko-Somers will serve as the Agriculture Development Division Director for MDARD. Courtesy photo.

“Anybody who has had the pleasure of working with Jamie understands why she was an obvious choice for this role,” said McDowell. “In addition to the wealth of knowledge and experience she brings to the table, the relationships she has cultivated with leaders, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders is invaluable to the division and the department. During these challenging times, we are very fortunate to have somebody like Jamie, who can immediately take the reins, keep the division charging ahead, and offer her own unique vision for the future.”

Zmitko-Somers has been with the department for 23 years in various capacities.

In 2001, she began working in the International Marketing Program, and was a leader in that program for several years. Zmitko-Somers was named Deputy Director of MDARD’s Agriculture Development Division in March 2019 and has been Acting Deputy Director for the department since May of this year.

“MDARD’s Agriculture Development Division is well-known and highly respected statewide, nationally, and even in certain corners of the globe,” said Zmitko-Somers. “Having been a part of this team for several years, I have seen the impact it has on rural communities and businesses, as well as the workers they employ and the communities they support. I am honored to have this opportunity, and I’m excited to help lead this amazing team and keep Michigan’s food and agriculture industry one of the most diverse, innovative, and successful in the country.”

Zmitko-Somers graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Pre-Law. Jamie and her husband Don own and operate a farm in Henderson growing corn and soybeans, where they live with their three young children: Mason, Breann, and Hannah.

MDARD’s Agriculture Development Division helps businesses navigate the licensing process and offers exporting assistance, regional business development information, grant funding support and research, and educational materials. The team is personally invested in the success of food, agriculture, and forest product businesses and are committed to supporting the unique solutions that will help food and ag-based businesses grow and thrive.

For more information, visit

Recommended Posts