EAST LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan State University study says agriculture contributed $91.4 billion to Michigan’s economy in the last year measured.

The university released the study during this week’s meeting of the Michigan Agriculture and Rural Development Commission. The study says Michigan’s agribusiness has emerged healthy from the recession.

The study looks at the effect of the food and agriculture supply chain. It says the figure of $91.4 billion shows an increase of about 50 percent between 2004 and 2010.

Chris Peterson is director of Michigan State’s Product Center. He says the largest dollar growth came from the wholesale and retail distribution portion of the supply chain.

The report says Michigan has about 73,000 full-time farmers and farm workers, 12 percent of 618,000 direct jobs in Michigan’s food and agribusiness sector.

According to the study, field crops are the largest sector the Michigan farm economy. The three largest field crops in dollar terms are corn, soybeans and hay. Corn has become the largest single farm sector with sales in excess of $1.3 billion. Wheat, sugar beets, potatoes and dry beans also account for more than $100 million each a year in direct economic activity per year. The total economic impact generated by the field crops is $5.72 billion.

In dollar terms, the study shows that livestock and dairy ranks behind field crops in terms of economic activity. The total direct impact of the livestock and dairy sector was $2.77 billion. Of this amount dairy accounted for almost $1.32 billion or about 50 percent of the total. Dairy farming is the largest single livestock industry in the state. Other major livestock activities included cattle, hogs, eggs and turkeys. The total economic impact of the livestock and dairy sector is approximately $4.73 billion.

The study says Michigan ranks third in the nation after California and Florida in the production of nursery and landscape products. It is first in the nation in the production of Geraniums, Impatiens, and Petunias, and second in the nation in the production of Hostas, Marigolds and garden Chrysanthemums. The state is a major producer of Christmas trees as well. The total economic impact of nursery and landscape production is $1.20 billion.

Fruits and vegetables are also very profitable for the state, according to the study. In dollar terms, cucumbers and tomatoes are the largest category of vegetables produced in the state. In 2010, the state was the number one producer of cucumbers for pickles and squash and ranked second in celery production and fresh market carrot production. The total economic impact of the vegetable sector is $673.5 million.

The largest fruit categories in dollar terms are apples, blueberries, and tart cherries. The study says the state leads the nation in the production of tart cherries and blueberries. The state is the third largest producer of apples. The direct economic impact of fruit production in the state is $758.4 million.

The study also says several miscellaneous products produced on farms throughout the state generated a total economic impact of $8.8 million, and the total size of the food processing and manufacturing industries is approximately $24.6 billion in total economic activity.

The study estimates that direct impacts of the wholesaling, retailing and food service sectors of the agri-food system have a total economic impact of approximately $51.5 billion.

Find more information and read the full study results at www.productcenter.msu.edu.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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