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Karl Guenther Column: Michigan Agriculture


Michigan Agriculture, second place contributor to our state’s economy, provider of one in four or five jobs in the state, is on the verge of growing, if not exponentially, (that would be a lot!) then at least significantly.  That’s according to  “Project 2025”, a report by the East Lansing based Michigan Agri-Business Association.  The report predicts crop yields will continue growing because of technological advances in seed and crop management.  Beyond that, overall production is forecast to increase because of increased acreage availability.That’s pretty interesting, considering the constant drumbeat of the doom-sayers, bemoaning “paving over of prime farmland”.

Ignoring that for the moment, we do need to look more closely at another concern, also in the “Project 2025” report.  That has to do with “infrastructure challenges” that could limit growth, threaten existing investments and restrict our ability to compete in the global economy.

Now - - if you’re looking for a challenge to which you can devote your unique talents, whatever they may be - - here’s a list:  Infrastructure, in this report, refers to: Rail Transportation, Roads and Bridges, Water Issues, including irrigation and transportation, Utility Access, Broadband Access,  and, one that may be a little more difficult to pinpoint, Talent and Workforce issues.

To follow up on these matters, check it out with the Michigan Agri-Business Association. The Association’s WEB address is: www.miagbiz.org.

To further support this concept of continual expansion of Michigan’s agriculture, contemplate an October 23d planned event.  It’s being billed as the first Export Promotion Event in Michigan to include agriculture in a full-service export forum. Reflecting its Southwest Michigan sphere of influence, the Export Promotion event is to be held in Allegan, at the Allegan County Facility, 3255 122nd Avenue.  It’s being put together by BC CAL KAL Inland Port Development Corporation.  That’s Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Kalamazoo County.  The whole thing is intended to assist small and medium-sized business get access to government funding, best utilize international freight forwarding and logistics, export industrial or agricultural products and consider Foreign-Trade Zones for global advantage.

The panel of experts includes George Erickcek, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; Maureen Lyon who heads the State Trade Export Promotion Program for Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Dr. Donna LaCourt, also MEDC, specialist in International Trade and Agriculture and Rural Development.

And this I predict:  No matter who wins the Presidential Election, Michigan Agriculture will survive, and thrive!!

Karl Guenther is a retired farm broadcaster at WKZO and can be reached at khguenther@charter.net. He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.