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Surprising Michigan Farming and Agriculture Facts (+ Cute Cows!) How Does MI Rank in Soybeans, Dairy, Pork, Eggs, Sugar, Flowers, Fruit, Alcohol and More? | Farming Resources and Programs


Let's learn about Michigan farming and discover some fascinating Michigan agriculture facts! | By Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com

As a young child, I grew up on a cattle farm in the Mt. Pleasant region. I have fond memories of following my grandfather into the barn to "help" him pour the silage down the rows at dinnertime.  I loved to pet each cow's head as I walked along the raised food troughs and I still love hearing the story about when I tried to climb on top of a rather large cow as soon as my Grandpa turned his head!  

I have a deep admiration for Michigan farming and farmers as they care for their crops and livestock. Michigan farmers work tirelessly to feed their families, community and all of us. Their top priority is providing nutritious quality foods and products so you can feel confident about the fresh meals you create for your family.

Farmers are backbone of America so let's buy local and support our Michigan farming families and communities!

Keep Reading for Cool Fun Facts About:

  • Soybean Farms
  • Egg Farms
  • Sugar Industry
  • Horticulture (Flower Farms)
  • Fruit Farms 
  • Pork Industry
  • Dairy Industry
  • Michigan Asparagus
  • Alcohol Industry
  • Fertilizer (AgroLiquid)
  • Interested in Becoming a Farmer? Michigan Farming Resources, Support and Programs

Michigan Grown, Michigan Great!


Sherry crouching next to a brown cowSherry communing with a sweet cow at Ankley Family Farms, Michigan. Photo: Michigan Ag Council
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Michigan farmers produce over 300 different types of food and agricultural products?

Smiling Farmer at Ankley Farm with a cowIt's all smiles for this farmer at Ankley Farms with his cute happy and healthy cow. Photo: Michigan Ag Council


Our farmers focus on sustainable Michigan farming.  They care so much for their animals and crops because it's the right thing to do and their livelihood depends on it.

Farm fresh foods and products are grown by generations of farm families of whom take immense pride in perfecting the art and science of growing fresh, high-quality foods and products.  They work hard to perfect their skills each year. 


Michigan Soybeans Are a Wonder Crop in Michigan Farming (Keep Reading And You Will See Why!)


We learned so many fun facts about soybeans directly from the Michigan Soybean Committee and the Michigan Ag Council during our Down on MI Farm event.


Sherry pointing at soy beans in a fieldI'm concentrating super hard while learning about soybeans from the Michigan Soybean Committee! Photo: Michigan Ag Council


I was shocked to learn how beneficial soybeans are to the land!

  • Did you know soybeans capture nitrogen in their roots (in the form of little balls) that feed the plants as they grow?

And....

Since nitrogen is in the soil from growing soybeans, Michigan farmers will use the practice of crop rotation (crucial to Michigan farming). 

For example: Instead of planting soybeans in the same acreage, the following year farmers will plant corn so the nitrogen in the soil can feed the new corn crop.

Cool, huh?


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Did you know there are 12,000 soybean farmers in Michigan? Most farms are located in the lower 2/3 of Michigan.

Michigan Soybean Committee standing behind their table of soy products next to a soy fieldMichigan Soybean Committee teaching about soy products in a soybean field. Photo: Michigan Ag Council

How Are Soybeans Used?

It's shocking how many uses there are for soybeans!

How many did you know?



I learned soybeans are very sustainable and touches your life each and every day. 

  • Not only are soybeans used in drinks and food, soybean oil is used in the production of biodiesel. 
  • There are two parts of soybeans: The meal (protein) and soy oil. Meal is an excellent source of protein for both humans and livestock.


Did you know soybeans are used to produce lots of everyday products? Certain brands use soybeans to create:

  • Aveno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Interior and Exterior Paint and Primer
  • Toys
  • Lithium Grease
  • Crayons
  • Soy Sauce
  • Soy Milk
  • Protein Powders
  • Car seats



Harvesting soybeans: Farmers will wait until these gorgeous soybean leaves are brown. Then a combine will come and cut down the stalks. They will be shaken and sorted, leaving the leaves and stalks behind. Harvest occurs in September.

Local Michigan Soybean Farmers That I Have Met Include: JLJ Farms, Sunrise Farms, Wilson Brothers Farm and Ankley Family Farm


Soybeans Can Be Used in Running Shoes?


The Goodyear Tire Company has partnered with Sketchers shoes to make the soles of the shoes with soybeans! 


What About Using Soybean Oil in Tires?


You bet cha!! 

I was excited to learn from the Michigan Soybean Committee that The Goodyear Tire Company has developed an award-winning use for soybean oil in tires! 

They discovered renewable resources such as soybean oil helps create a much more sustainable tire for vehicles. 

By using soybean oil in the production of Goodyear tires, The Goodyear Tire Company supports both our farmers and environment. Win-win!


  • HOLY MOLY! 1 bushel of soybeans are used per set of tires!


Sustainability: Goodyear announced in October 2019 that they plan to fully replace their use of petroleum with soybean oil by the year 2040.

But how do these new soy tires perform?

Per The Goodyear Tire Company, soy bean tires enhance traction in rain and snow with improved tire flexibility in low temperatures. Sounds good!


Michigan Egg Production


I was shocked to learn that Michigan egg farmers supply all the eggs to McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River.

So, eat happy as your Egg McMuffin is made from Michigan eggs and supporting Michigan farmers!


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There are more than 46,000 farms in Michigan!

There are over 805,000 people employed in Michigan Agriculture!

Michigan Sugar! (The Secret of Why Michiganders Are So Sweet!)

Did you know The Michigan Sugar Company has produced Pioneer Sugar since 1906?

Where is the Michigan Sugar Company? Bay City, Michigan!

Where are the sugar beet processing facilities? Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing, Michigan. There is also a Michigan Sugar warehouse in Carrollton, Michigan as well as a dozen sugar beet piling stations in Michigan and Ontario.

So, get this...

Michigan's 900 sugar beet farmers plant and harvest about 160,000 acres of sugar beets each year in 20 Michigan counties. The beets are then sliced at factories and turned into about 1.2 billion pounds of sugar annually.

You can buy Michigan Sugar under the brands of Pioneer and Big Chief.

Sugar beets Provide Jobs for Michiganders: Michigan Sugar Company employs about 980 year-round people plus 1,100 seasonal workers to help with the harvest. The company’s annual local economic impact is about $600 million. 

Thank you Michigan Sugar!!

  • Michigan Sugar Company is the third largest of nine sugar beet processing companies in the United States 
  • Michigan is one of 11 states where sugar beets are grown in the country.

Want to Learn More?  Take a Tour!! Chris and I LOVE learning more about Michigan businesses and processes.  Each year during sugar beet slicing time, Michigan Sugar Company offers public tours of their Bay City facility. Each tour is approximately one hour.  Check their website for more information and availability. 

As a personal note, I learned from my mom that my grandpa used to haul sugar beets to the processing plant!


Horticulture is HUGE Business in Michigan Farming!

Sherry smiling with flowersSherry grinning big after picking gorgeous fresh flowers at Ankley Family Farms


I had such fun at our Down on MI Farm event for Michigan Grown Michigan Great.  We met at Ankley Family Farms in Imlay City and I got to pick my own fresh bouquet of flowers!  WOW are they gorgeous and lasted about 3 weeks!

Did you know Michigan ranks 3rd in the nation in the production of floriculture products?

That's incredible!

I can see why it's true, Michiganders love beauty! I mean, have you seen our incredible lakes, farms, gardens and nature trails?


Aeriel view of Michigan Flower FarmsIncredible aerial view of Ankley Family Farms flower field. Photo: Michigan Ag Council


Did you know Michigan leads the nation in the production impatiens, begonias and geraniums?

There are dozens of Michigan farms where you can pick your own flowers.  It's amazing how much longer they last when you cut them fresh from the farm. 

Read More: Where to Find Jaw-Dropping Flower Farms for U Pick Michigan Sunflowers (Local Fresh Cut Flowers), Wildflowers, Lavender & Tulips and More!


Old car nestled in a sunflower fieldLovely old car used as a photo prop at Ankley Family Farms


Ankley Family Farms located in Imlay City (photo above) is one of many fantastic Michigan Flower Farms where you can pick your own bouquets.

I absolutely love old cars (and cool photo props) in sunflower fields.  Ankley Farms knocks it out of the park with creative props to deliver unforgettable photos. 

Sunflower fields are so stunning to visit in late summer.  Each year Chris and I love to wander the sunflower trails, take family photos and just relax amongst their cheery faces. 

Read More: Michigan Sunflowers and Where to Find Them! + Top Michigan Farms, Fields and Festivals!


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MI Agriculture Fact: Michigan leads the nation in 15 different products including tart cherries, asparagus, chestnuts and black beans. Surprising, right?


Michigan Fruit Industry is Enjoying Sweet Success Thanks To Our Incredible Climate

Peaches, blueberries and raspberriesSherry picking peaches, blueberries, and raspberries at Michigan Farms


  • Michigan Apples: Apples are one of the largest and most valuable fruit crops in Michigan. Michigan Apple Picking is a tradition each fall for my family!
  • Michigan Peaches are also a claim to fame.  Michigan ranks 8th in the nation for peach production. We have a thing for sweet juices peaches!  Oh, and here are the Best Farms for Peach Picking in Michigan!
  • Michigan Raspberries are sweet, delicate and decedent. Grab a container and go picking at these Michigan Raspberry Farms.

I pick about 70 pounds of fruit each spring, summer and fall to last the entire year.  I flash freeze the fruit and then use my vacuum sealer to preserve the fruit for the next several months. Doing my best to support Michigan farming!


Michigan Pork Is Important To Michigan Farming 

Delicious pork ribs at Pigs Eatin' Ribs in Charlevoix, Michigan


We learned from the Michigan Pork Producers Association that pork is a good source of zinc and potassium! 

  • Some of the healthiest cuts include tenderloin, loin roast and Canadian-style bacon.
  • Every single year year, more than 1.18 million hogs are raised on 2,000 farms in Michigan!  

That fun fact makes me want to roll in some mud! (well, almost!)

Chris and I can't get enough of delicious pork ribs! We smoke them on our Traeger grill about once a month!  The delicious dinner above was from Pigs Eatin' Ribs in Charlevoix, Michigan!

Want to Buy Local? Albright Swine Farms in Coldwater


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MI Agriculture Fact: 99% of Michigan farms are family owned and operated!  So, go pick some fruit this year!

Michigan Dairy Farms are Moovelous! Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Oh My! 

Small child feeding dairy cowsMy cute little nephew feeding dairy cows at Dairy Discovery


As a young child, I grew up on a cattle farm in the Mt. Pleasant region. I have fond memories of following my grandfather into the barn to "help" him pour the silage down the rows at dinnertime. That's why I love this photo of my nephew feeding the cows at Dairy Discovery.  So cute!

  • The United Dairy Industry of Michigan works hard to supply our communities and the United States with safe, delicious and nutritious milk so we can enjoy ice cream, baked goods, drinks and more!
  • Michigan ranks 6th in the nation for the production of milk!


Did you know the average dairy cow in Michigan produces 3,100 gallons of milk each year! 

That's a LOT of chocolate milk!

Speaking of....

  • Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink after exercise and activity. It’s nature’s sports drink!


 Michigan dairy farmers also contribute to products such as Hudsonville ice cream, Kraft cheese, Michigan Made cottage cheese, Yoplait yogurt, and Country Fresh sour cream.


  • Country Fresh began in Michigan in 1946 as a dairy cooperative of Grand Rapids area grocers!
  • The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) stated the General Mills' Yoplait factory in Reed City, Michigan receives nearly 1 million pounds of milk per day! This incredible Michigan factory is the largest Yoplait manufacturer in the world!
  • The Michigan Cottage Cheese Co. is located in Reed City, Michigan

Local Michigan Dairy Farmers That I Have Met Include:  Heritage Ridge Creamery, K and K Dairy, Schafer Farm, Horning Farms, Ankley Family Farm


Did you know graphic

Cows can consume 120,000 calories per day?

Cows can produce up to 80 pounds of milk per day!

Michigan Asparagus is #1!

Number one symbol

Did you know Michigan ranks #1 IN THE NATION in the production of asparagus?!  

This delicious vegetable is harvested early spring. 


Michigan Alcohol Industry is Toasting To Success Throughout The State!


Carla Schultz of Eight Plates Farm (pork, beef and crops) and I learned how to mix Michigan spirits with The Traveling Elixer Fixer while at the Down on MI Farm event at Ankley Family Farms in Imlay City!

Cheers to Michigan farming and agriculture, right?

Did you know you can make cocktails in an ordinary glass canning jar (with lid of course!) if you don't have a fancy cocktail mixing container? Just shake the jar for a full minute and you are good to go!

  • Oh, and don't forget to top your drink with dried oranges, strawberries (from Michigan strawberry farms) or peaches (from Michigan peach farms!)!



Speaking of drinks....

Did you know Michigan is home to more than 300 craft breweries, 200 wineries, 100 distillers and 90 hard cider producers?!

Impressive, isn't it!

Here's another fun Michigan agriculture fact: In Michigan, approximately 35 million bushels corn are processed into alcohol and spirits. Cheers to that!


AgroLiquid Fertilizer

AgroLiquid with tomatoes and flowersAgroLiquid fertilizer


Did you know ArgoLiquid is located in St. Johns, Michigan?

As a gardener, I mix 1 teaspoon FertiRain with water. Just spray your plants with enough mixed solution to provide thorough coverage of leaves (or you can use a watering can for potted plants).  Repeat weekly. 

Their fertilizers are made to produce the best possible yields, strengthen the health of plants, and bolster the nutritional value of crops while utilizing agricultural practices which support a sustainable future.

My Grandpa also used to haul nitrogen from the factory to the local farmers in Mt. Pleasant and Rosebush areas. 


Michigan Farming Support and Resources

  • Michigan Grown Michigan Great, Michigan Ag Council at MichiganGrown.org
  • Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Michigan Soybean Committee
  • United Dairy Industry of Michigan
  • Milk Means More
  • Michigan Beef Industry Commission
  • Michigan Pork Producers Association
  • AgroLiquid
  • Michigan Farm Bureau

Every August is the Agro Expo located at 56-5 N. Findlay Road, St. John, MI. It's a great way to meet other growers to learn new methods, advancements and technologies. Join fellow Michigan farmers while enjoying in-field demonstrations, educational programs and presentations. From tillage to crop protection, silage management to irrigation data management to nutrient applications, there is so much to learn at the Agro Expo! Get the current date on our August Event Calendar!


Interested in Michigan Farming? How Can YOU Get Started?

Greenstone Farm Credit Services is very dedicated to helping the next generation of Michigan farmers in a variety of ways:

  • Learn, grow and obtain continued education with CultivateGrowth Grants
  • Learn and network with experienced farmers through CultivateGrowth Mentorships.
  • Financing for young farmers just getting starting.  They are experienced in agricultural financing and Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs. 


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