2017-12-28 / Opinions

Guest VIEWpoint

Agriculture is the lifeblood of Huron County
By Bob Battel
Michigan State University Extension Field Crops Educator

Bob Battel Bob Battel I t’s no surprise to anyone that agriculture is important to Huron County, but do you know just how important? Let’s look at the numbers.

Huron County boasts more farmland than any other county in the state at 441,000 acres according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the most recent information available. That pays off when it comes to the value the farmland brings to our local economy. Each year, about $655 million in agricultural products are sold from the county, earning the distinction as Michigan’s No. 1 most productive agriculture county.

Huron County farmers’ productivity is fairly evenly split between crops and livestock. The 2012 census listed a $334 million market value for crop sales including nursery and greenhouse, ranking Huron No. 1 in crops statewide. It ranked No. 2 in sales of livestock, poultry and their products at $320 million.

In the crop category, Huron County grows more acres than any other county of corn, dry beans, sugar beets and winter wheat. We’re also No. 1 in a category called other crops and hay.

When it comes to livestock, some of Huron County’s rankings are predictable. It’s the No. 1 county for value of milk sold, as well as value of cattle and calves sold. One ranking may surprise you: Huron County has more colonies of bees than any other. Laying hens fall in line at No. 4 in the state.

Huron County residents can thank our fertile farmland for making this agricultural bounty possible. Experts say at least six continental glaciers scoured this area. The sediment the glaciers deposited to form the Thumb region left us with land that’s second to none.

Statewide, 22 percent of all jobs involve agriculture and food. It’s safe to say that percentage is even higher in the Thumb area. When considering how crucial agriculture is to the Huron County economy, I consider it the lifeblood of our community.

From corn to cows and in between, I look forward to sharing more about the commodities our Huron County farmers produce in future columns.

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