Exports of Michigan Food, Farming, and Forest Products Jump 19% in 2021

Michigan’s food, agriculture, and forest products exports experienced 19 percent year-over-year growth in 2021 at a time when business owners and farmers across the nation continued to adapt to global challenges.
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Green corn maize field in early stage
Exports from Michigan’s food, farming, and forest industries jumped 19 percent in 2021. // Stock Photo

Michigan’s food, agriculture, and forest products exports experienced 19 percent year-over-year growth in 2021 at a time when business owners and farmers across the nation continued to adapt to global challenges.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan’s food and agriculture exports totaled $2.5 billion in 2021.

Overall, processed food products ($437 million) represented the highest total value of Michigan’s exported food and agriculture products last year, accounting for a $72 million increase over 2020 export totals.

Other top product categories included soybean, sugar beet, and wheat byproducts ($304 million); dairy products ($234 million), wood products ($230 million); and edible meat products ($215 million).

Michigan consistently ranks as one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation resulting in a wide array of exported products ranging from bulk soybeans to dried fruit, pickles, and baked goods. Demand for these high-quality, dependable products continues to grow in local markets, online retailers, and supercenters across the globe.

“These annual export figures are a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication Michigan food and agriculture business put into their export efforts on a daily basis,” says Jamie Zmitko-Somers, agriculture development division director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“These businesses have been faced with supply chain disruptions, weather challenges, labor shortages, and more over the last year, yet they came through it all in tremendous fashion. We are excited to continue collaborating with the food and agriculture industry to grow our global footprint for years to come.”

Despite supply chain issues which impacted nearly every industry, Michigan companies saw an increase in the value of export across multiple international markets. This indicates demand for Michigan food and agriculture remains strong despite delays in ingredient availability or shipping times.

In 2021, the top international markets for food and agriculture exports from Michigan were Canada ($1.19 billion), Mexico ($292 million), China ($168 million), South Korea ($163 million), and Japan ($146 million). The countries are often at or near the top as export destinations from Michigan.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/AgExport.

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