LANSING — An updated economic impact study released today by Michigan State University (MSU) shows one prominent industry continues to grow and expand, seemingly unfazed by the recent recession. Michigan's food and agriculture industry contributes $91.4 billion annually to the state's economy—$20 billion more than in 2007 and nearly a 50 percent increase since 2004.

Director Chris Peterson and economist William Knudson of the MSU Product Center presented the report this morning at the April meeting of the Michigan Agriculture Commission in Lansing. Praising Michigan agriculture as "among Michigan's most successful business sectors," the study shows the industry endured the recession not only intact, but prospering. Read the full report at

"This is such an encouraging report, and solid proof that Michigan's farmers are a vital component to the long-term stability of our state's economy. Always have been, always will be," commented Michigan Farm Bureau President Wayne H. Wood shortly after the announcement. "More than any specific line item, what strikes me most is the annual growth figure. For any of Michigan's core industries to average 7 percent growth every year—consistently—that's good news for all Michigan residents and the state as a whole."

In 13 concise pages, "The Economic Impact of Michigan's Food and Agriculture System" comprehensively updates research first published in 2004, summarizing steady growth in most sectors of the agriculture and food industry. Dairy continues to lead the way, generating approximately $1.3 billion annually in total economic activity. Combined with other livestock production, Michigan's animal agriculture sector accounts for nearly $5 billion annually.

Field crops like corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar beets, hay and dry edible beans together add another $3.2 billion every year. Dry edible beans, of which Michigan is the nation's no. 2 producer, alone account for almost a quarter of a billion dollars every year. The often overlooked nursery and landscape plant sector contributes $1.2 billion every year, and the state's wildly diverse fruits and vegetables together add another $1.4 billion.

The agricultural processing and manufacturing sector turns those raw commodities into consumer-friendly products and contributes nearly $25 billion annual to the Michigan economy.

"That processing sector is very significant, and a real area of growth for us to look forward to," Wood said. "Michigan now is a much more business-friendly environment than at any point in recent memory, with a more certain tax and regulatory environment that encourages economic development.

"With improvements to our infrastructure, better access to existing markets and a more conducive environment to expanding our own food processing capacity, Michigan is poised for even more robust expansion of its agricultural economy."