National Ag Day is “a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture.”

In Michigan, agriculture and food processing are vitally important to our state’s economy as well as to the livelihood of many Michigan families. And you only have to visit a farmers market to see the abundance of fresh food produced by Michigan farmers – from cherries to apples, from hops to grapes, from potatoes to leafy greens, to jams to maple syrup. This is what many locals love about living here and what attracts visitors to the state in the first place.

So celebrate agriculture and give thanks that we have such abundance and variety in our state – and men and women and families willing to do the job. Here are 10 fun facts about Michigan agriculture that you may not know, along with a few recipes to try out.

  1. The food and agriculture industry contributes $101.2 billion annually to the state’s economy. –Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development 
  2. There are about 10 million acres of farmland in Michigan and home to more than 50,000 farms. –Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development 
  3. Michigan ranks third in the nation for the number of farmers markets. There are more than 300!–Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development 
  4. Michigan is number one in the country in the production dry black beans, blueberries, tart cherries, picking cucumbers, and squash. Of the floral variety (“floraculture”), the state is number one in the production of begonias, Easter lilies, geraniums, impatiens, and petunias.—Michigan Farm Bureau
  5. Most Michigan asparagus is grown near the Lake Michigan shoreline. In fact, Oceana County has the greatest volume. Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus –Michigan Ag Council 
  6. What would a camping trip be without potato chips? Most likely you can thank a Michigan farmer for growing those spuds, as we’re the nation’s leading producer of potatoes for potato chip processing. Recipe: Skillet Sausage and Potatoes –Michigan Ag Council 
  7. More than 1 billion pounds of sugar is produced annually. Recipe: Apple Crisp –Michigan Ag Council
  8. Michigan egg farmers supply eggs to all McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River. Recipe: Classic Deviled Eggs –Michigan Ag Council 
  9. Michigan leads the nation in growing blueberries and produces more than 30 different varieties. The state yields an average of 5,000 pounds of blueberries per acre. Recipe: Blueberries with Maple Cream –Michigan Ag Council
  10. How many festivals celebrate food? We dare you to try to name them all – we sure can’t! There’s the Asparagus Festival, the National Cherry Festival, the National Blueberry Festival, the Munger Potato Festival…. the list goes on. (And you’re sure to find Michigan-grown and Michigan-made products at any other county fair, craft show, and festival you attend.)