Michigan Agriculture Report Part 1

The Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have released their latest “Michigan Agriculture Facts & Figures” book, which includes information on 34 agricultural products that contribute more than $104 billion to the state’s economy each year.
“Michigan Agriculture Facts & Figures” book
The Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has released its latest “Michigan Agriculture Facts & Figures” book. // Image courtesy of the Michigan Farm Bureau

The Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have released their latest “Michigan Agriculture Facts & Figures” book, which includes information on 34 agricultural products that contribute more than $104 billion to the state’s economy each year.

DBusiness has created a two-part report that summarizes each entry in the book. Check Friday’s DBusiness Daily News for part 2. The full report is available here.


Apples are one of the largest and most valuable fruit crops grown in Michigan. In 2018, more than 1 billion pounds of apples were harvested in the state, ranking third in the nation. About 50 percent of the harvest was used for processing. There are more than 11.3 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 35,500 acres on 825 family-run farms. Orchards are trending to super high-density planting (approximately 1,000 or more trees per acre) which come into production and bring desirable varieties to market quickly. About 55 percent of all Michigan apples are processed into other products. Michigan uses more apples than any other state for pies and fresh-cut slices and processing into applesauce, fresh and shelf-stable apple cider, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar.

Seasonality: Michigan apples are harvested August through October, but with controlled-atmosphere storage technology, they are available through the following June. Processed apples are available throughout the year in juice, canned, fresh slices, and applesauce forms.

Nutrition: Apples are naturally free from fat, cholesterol, and sodium. They are an excellent source of fiber.

Contact: Michigan Apple Committee, 13750 S. Sedona Parkway, Suite 3 Lansing, MI 48906; 517-669-8353; Toll-Free: 800-456-2753; Fax: 517-669-9506; www.michiganapples.com


Michigan ranks first in the nation for asparagus production, producing up to 23 million pounds annually. In 2019, Michigan asparagus production was valued at more than $23.2 million. Michigan growers harvest approximately 9,500 acres annually. The long green stalks are one of Michigan’s first crops to appear in the spring. Much of Michigan’s asparagus is grown near the Lake Michigan shoreline, where the moderate temperatures and soils make for excellent production conditions. Michigan asparagus, unlike asparagus from other states, is hand-snapped above the ground. This method yields a more tender and flavorful product.

Seasonality: The season in Michigan for fresh asparagus is late April through June. Canned or frozen Michigan asparagus is available throughout the year, as 30 percent of the crop is processed.

Nutrition: Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid. A 5.3-ounce serving provides 60 percent of the recommended daily allowance for folacin, which helps blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease. Asparagus spears contain no fat or cholesterol and provide potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, and glutathione. It’s also the ideal vegetable for low-sodium diets, with only one milligram of sodium per 100 grams of cooked asparagus spears.

Contact: Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, 12800 Escanaba Drive, Suite A, PO Box 550 DeWitt, MI 48820; Phone: 517-669-4250; Fax: 517-669-4251; www.michiganasparagus.org


Cattle and beef production are the largest sectors of the United States’ agriculture industry. Michigan’s cattle herd totals 1.15 million, of which 108,000 are beef cows and 422,000 are dairy cows. Cattle are raised throughout Michigan on 12,000 farms and ranches. In 2018, Michigan cattle and calves cash receipts totaled $575 million. Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, one thing remains constant – the shared commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane, and environmentally sustainable way by using the latest technology and resources.

Seasonality: Year-round.

Nutrition: In one 3-ounce cooked serving, you’re getting 10 essential nutrients, including about half your daily value for protein. 

Contact: Michigan Beef Industry Commission, 2145 University Park Drive, Suite 300 Okemos, MI 48864; Phone: 517-347-0911; www.mibeef.org


Michigan is one of the top producing states in growing these sweet, juicy, and high-quality berries. In an average year, our state blueberry farmers produce more than 100 million pounds of more than 30 mouthwatering varieties of highbush blueberries. More than 50 percent of all Michigan blueberries are shipped to the fresh market; the rest are frozen, pureed, concentrated, or canned to be used in a myriad of value-added products. Modern-day blueberry farming began in Michigan in the early 1900s and today this perennial crop is harvested from more than 20,000 acres. Michigan blueberries are grown, harvested, packed, and processed by 575 family farms annually, contributing nearly $132 million to the state’s economy

Seasonality: Fresh Michigan blueberries are available from July through October. Frozen, dried, and juiced blueberries can be enjoyed throughout the year in a variety of forms and products.

Nutrition: A one-cup serving of blueberries contains only 80 calories and virtually no fat. Blueberries have consistently been recognized as the fruit with the highest antioxidant activity. They are full of dietary fiber and packed with vitamins C and K and manganese. One serving of blueberries delivers almost 25 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C. 

Contact: Michigan Blueberry Commission, PO Box 338 Grand Junction, MI 49056; Phone: 734-716-8960; www.michiganblueberrycommission.org


Michigan produces several varieties of cabbage in staggered harvests, producing a longer season in which consumers may find fresh cabbage. In 2016, Michigan farmers across the state produced 115.5 million pounds of cabbage worth $17 million.

Seasonality: Fresh and fresh-cut Michigan cabbage is available to consumers from June through December. 

Nutrition: Cabbage is low in saturated fat and cholesterol while being high in dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.

Contact: Michigan Vegetable Council, PO Box 367 Mason, MI 48854; Phone/Fax: 517-663-6725; www.michiganvegetablecouncil.org


In 2018, Michigan produced 152 million pounds of carrots worth $14.5 million. This made Michigan the fourth-highest fresh carrot producing state in the country. Michigan carrots are primarily found in the west central counties of Newaygo and Oceana.

Seasonality: Carrots are grown in Michigan for processing and fresh market use. Fresh market carrots are harvested from late July through November. Carrots for processing are harvested from early October through late November and are available throughout the year.

Nutrition: One 2.8-ounce carrot has 40 calories and provides more than twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for a healthy adult. High in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, this crisp-textured root breaks down into calcium and is easily absorbed by the body.

Contact: Michigan Carrot Commission, 12800 Escanaba Drive, Suite A, PO Box 550 DeWitt, MI 48820; Phone: 517-669-4250; Fax: 517-669-4251


Michigan’s celery production began in Kalamazoo County, and today, the majority of Michigan’s celery is still grown in the southwest counties of the state. In 2018, celery generated $19.5 million from 110 million pounds grown in Michigan, ranking the state second among the top celery producing states in the country.

Seasonality: Fresh celery is available from June through October, and available throughout the year in processed forms.

Nutrition: Celery is a great source for vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber while being very low in calories and cholesterol.

Contact: Michigan Celery Promotion Cooperative Inc., PO Box 306 Hudsonville, MI 49426; Phone: 616-669-1250; Fax: 616-669-2890; www.michigancelery.com


Michigan grows 70 percent of the supply of tart cherries in the United States. In 2018, Michigan produced 201 million pounds of tart cherries with a value of $280.1 million. The northwest counties of Michigan are so well known for cherries that Traverse City hosts the annual National Cherry Festival. Michigan is the largest producing region in the world for Montmorency tart cherries. This variety is known as “America’s Superfruit.”

Seasonality: Fresh sweet cherries are available from late June through August. However, processed tart and sweet cherries are available throughout the year in canned, frozen, dried, or juice form.

 Nutrition: Montmorency tart cherries grown in the United States have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, and fiber.

Contact: Cherry Marketing Institute, 12800 Escanaba Drive, Suite A, DeWitt, MI 48820; Phone: 517-669-4264; Fax: 517-669-3354; www.choosecherries.com


Michigan chestnuts are sold fresh, peeled, frozen, sliced, or as flour. Chestnut flour is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. The natural sweetness of chestnut flour enhances the delicate flavors of many baked goods. Chestnut slices are a great additive to breads or salads and have a shelf life of two years. Chestnuts can be used in a wide variety of dishes from soups, stews, and stuffing to fancy desserts. In 2017, chestnuts were grown on 143 farms, covering 675 acres. Michigan ranks first in the nation for production of chestnuts.

Seasonality: Michigan chestnuts are available in their fresh form from October through December, while peeled frozen and peeled dehydrated chestnuts are found throughout the year. 

Nutrition: Chestnuts are an excellent source of iron and, unlike other nuts, chestnuts are low in fat. They are also a good source of thiamin, potassium, riboflavin, and phosphorous.

Contact: CGI: Chestnut Growers Inc.; Phone: 800-667-6704; Fax: 810-797-3299; www.chestnutgrowersinc.com

Christmas Trees

Michigan ranks third in the nation in the number of Christmas trees harvested, supplying approximately 1.55 million fresh Christmas trees to the national market each year. Michigan also produces and sells more than nine major Christmas tree species on a wholesale level, which is more species than any other state. Our state has approximately 37,000 acres in commercial Christmas tree production, with an annual farm gate value of more than $27 million. The industry receives an additional $1.3 million in sales of wreaths, cut boughs, garland, and other cut greens. For every Christmas tree harvested, Michigan Christmas tree farmers plant three new trees for future harvests.

Contact: Michigan Christmas Tree Association, PO Box 252 Durand, MI 48429-0252; Phone: 517-545-9971; Toll-free: 800-589-TREE (8733); Fax: 517-545-4501; www.mcta.org


At 2.3 million acres, cornfields are tied with soybean fields for the most coverage in Michigan crops. The majority of Michigan corn is exported out of the state, while the corn that stays is used for animal feed and ethanol. Corn production is concentrated in the Lower Peninsula with Saginaw and Lenawee counties as Michigan’s largest producers. In 2018, Michigan produced 297 million bushels of corn grain, worth $1 billion.

Seasonality: Corn is planted in spring and harvested in the fall, starting in October and lasting until November. Processed corn may be consumed throughout the year.

Contact: Corn Marketing Program of Michigan, 13750 S. Sedona Parkway, Suite 5, Lansing, MI 48906; Phone: 517-668-2676; Toll-Free: 888-323-2673; Fax: 517-668-2670; www.micorn.org


Michigan ranks first nationally in the production of cucumbers for pickling. In 2016, Michigan produced 236,700 tons of pickling cucumbers with a value of $47 million. In addition, the state produced 68 million pounds of cucumbers for the fresh market worth $15 million.

Seasonality: Fresh cucumbers are available in July, August, and September, while pickles are available throughout the year.

Nutrition: The fresh cucumber is a very good source of vitamins A and C and the mineral molybdenum. Cucumbers are also rich in potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, and magnesium.

Contact: Michigan Vegetable Council, PO Box 367, Mason, MI 48854; Phone/Fax: 517-663-6725; www.michiganvegetablecouncil.org


Michigan is home to 424,000 dairy cows on nearly 1,800 dairy farms located throughout the state. With each cow producing on average 26,340 pounds of milk per year, Michigan is first in the United States for production of milk per cow. Michigan also ranked fifth in the nation for total production. In 2018, 11.17 billion pounds of milk were produced at a value of $1.66 billion, which comes in at sixth in the United States. Dairy farms contribute $15.7 billion to the state’s economy

Seasonality: Milk and other Michigan dairy products can be enjoyed year-round.

Nutrition: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Contact: United Dairy Industry of Michigan, 2163 Jolly Road Okemos, MI 48864; Phone: 517-349-8923; Fax: 517-349-6218; www.milkmeansmore.org

Dry Edible Beans

Michigan producers grow several classes of dry edible beans, including adzuki beans; black beans; cranberry beans; great northern beans; dark red, light red, and white kidney beans; navy beans; pinto beans; small red beans; and yellow eye beans. Rich farmland in Michigan’s Thumb counties grow more beans than any other place in the state. In fact, Huron County is one of the top dry bean-producing counties in the country. In 2016, Michigan produced roughly 400 million pounds of dry edible beans with a value of $126 million.

Seasonality: Dry edible beans are ready for harvest in late August through October and are available throughout the year in canned and packaged form.

Nutrition: With the exception of meat products, dry beans are the highest source of protein available. Beans also have more fiber than any other unprocessed food. They are low in sodium and fat and high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and niacin. They help reduce blood cholesterol levels, and their low amounts of sodium and fat help protect against heart disease. 

Contact: Michigan Bean Commission, 516 S. Main Street, Suite D, Frankenmuth, MI 48734; Phone: 989-262-8550; www.michiganbean.org


The Michigan poultry industry raises chickens for their eggs and turkeys primarily for their meat. Michigan ranks seventh in production of eggs with more than 15.4 million laying hens that produce 4,548 million eggs per year. There are eight farmers with 17 farms spread throughout Michigan. Egg production contributes approximately $655 million to the Michigan economy annually.

Seasonality: Eggs can be enjoyed year-round.

Nutrition: One egg contains only 70 calories yet is home to all nine essential amino acids and six grams of high-quality protein. Eggs are helpful during pregnancy, contribute to the growth and development of children, assist in the function of aging adults, and aid in muscle building.

Contact: Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, PO Box 144, Hamilton, MI 49419; Phone: 517-372-5250; www.mipoultry.com


In 2018, the wholesale value of Michigan’s floriculture totaled $467 million, only behind California and Florida. Michigan’s floriculture industry is incredibly diverse. There were 569 floriculture producers in Michigan in 2018. Michigan leads the nation in six floriculture crops, including impatiens, begonias, Easter lilies, geraniums, hostas, and petunias.

Seasonality: Michigan produces a variety of floriculture products available seasonally through the year ranging from flats, annual and perennial pots, hanging baskets, and fall mums to poinsettias, and many more.

Contact: Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council, 120 N. Washington Square, Suite 1000, Lansing, MI 48933; Phone: 517-367-2033; Fax: 517-372-1501; www.mifgc.org


Michigan utilized 93,400 tons of grapes for production of wine and juice in 2016, with a total value of $30.2 million. Michigan has 13,100 acres of vines, making Michigan the eighth-largest grape producing state in the nation. About 3,050 of those acres are devoted to wine grapes, ranking Michigan the eighth-highest state for wine grape production in the nation. Michigan has more than 100 commercial wineries producing more than 1.4 million gallons of wine annually. Michigan wineries make many varieties of wine, including red, white, and specialty wines such as ice wine, sparkling, fortified, and brandies. Concord and Niagara grapes are grown primarily in the southwest part of the state and are used for juice production.

Seasonality: Harvest for early hybrid varieties of wine grapes begins at the end of August in the southwest and may extend into November for late-ripening vinifera varieties in the northwest. 

Nutrition: Grapes for juice are an excellent source of vitamin C and have antioxidants that help to protect against free radicals that can damage healthy cells and may weaken the immune system. 

Contact: Michigan Craft Beverage Council (wine grapes), PO Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909-7517; Phone: 517-284-5733; Fax: 517-355-0950; www.michiganwines.com

National Grape Cooperative (juice grapes), 400 Walker Street, Lawton, MI 49065; Phone: 269-624-2821; www.welchs.com