Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed March as Michigan Food and Agriculture Month, to honor and celebrate Michigan’s farmers, the diversity of products grown and processed in our state, and the partnerships that keep our food and agriculture industry thriving. Michigan’s wide array of crops, fresh water supply, unique geographic location, rich and varied soil types, various microclimates created by the state’s proximity to the Great Lakes, and our dedicated producers and processors make Michigan the ideal location for food and agriculture businesses.
“When we talk about food and agriculture, most people still tend to envision rustic red barns, mom-and-pop pie-stands along the roadside, or maybe our favorite hometown diners and grocery stores,” said Gov. Whitmer. “The reality is that Michigan’s food and agriculture industry is a national powerhouse. It is responsible for 805,000 jobs, and it generates more than $104 billion to our state’s economy. Countries around the world buy our products for their quality and safety. Innovators and entrepreneurs continue to choose Michigan for their operations. In March, we recognize every person and every business that help make Michigan’s food and ag industry what it is today.”
Throughout Michigan Food and Agriculture Month, MDARD will partner with Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan State University Extension, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, McDonald’s of Michigan, Grand Traverse Pie Company, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, local schools, and others to highlight the various facets of the state’s food, forestry and agriculture sectors.
“I invite you to join the celebration by following MDARD on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook,” said Gary McDowell, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development director. “Throughout the entire month of March, you’ll see posts featuring Michigan crops, Michigan food and agriculture businesses, and MDARD employees who help support and grow our industry. We will also highlight nutrition tips during National Nutrition Month, and safety information for our farmers and businesses during Severe Weather Preparedness Week.”
Some of the highlights during the month:
February 29 – March 7: Agriculture and Natural Resources Week at Michigan State University, featuring learning opportunities for farmers and other people interested in agricultural and natural resources activities in Michigan. Events and activities available here: www.canr.msu.edu/anrweek/sessions/.
March 1 –7: Weights and Measures Week, commemorating President John Adams’ signing of the first U.S. weights and measures law on March 2, 1799; and celebrating the work MDARD Weights and Measures staff does year-round to protect consumers and ensure they get what they pay for when items are sold by weight or volume.
March 3: Official unveiling of the 2020 Michigan Agriculture magazine. The magazine highlights partnerships, innovations, and technologies used in the food and agriculture sector. This year’s edition will be available at Michigan Welcome Centers and ag-related events across the state, as well as Michigan State University Extension and Conservation District offices across the state, and online at www.MIagriculture.com. The unveiling will take place at Round Barn Winery, Distillery and Brewery in Baroda.
March 14: Pi Day (3.14) is a day noted by math enthusiasts around the world, and Grand Traverse Pie Company will help us celebrate all day by offering slices of its famous “ABC Crumb Pie,” which features fruits of Michigan—apples, blueberries and cherries—FREE with any purchase. The day will also celebrate math, education, and agriculture.
March 16: Food and Ag Month celebration at Appleview Elementary School in Sparta, featuring in-class agriculture-related lessons.
March 17: MDARD will partner with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect to offer the Michigan Food & Ag Summit at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. This premier event connects food producers and buyers through one-on-one meetings, a trade show, and educational programs. For more information or to register for the summit, visit http://miagsummit.com.
March 24: MDARD will celebrate National Agriculture Day commemorating the industry’s contributions to our nation with an event at Bath Elementary School in Bath, featuring hands-on learning activities that highlight Michigan’s food and agriculture sector.
March 25: MDARD will participate in the WeatherFest Young Meteorologist Program at the Bengel Wildlife Center in Bath to highlight food and agriculture careers and emergency preparedness efforts of the industry.
March 27: MDARD staff will celebrate March is Reading Month, food and ag-style, by reading food and agriculture-related books to students at schools in the Greater Lansing area.