According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, farming contributes $71.3 billion annually to the state economy. The state’s wide range of crops makes it second in diversity only to California’s production. Much of the agriculture profit in the state comes from inedible products, such as corn grown for grain, Christmas trees and floral nursery products.
Michigan is the nation’s No. 1 cherry producer. More than 70 percent of the tart cherries and 20 percent of the sweet cherries grown in the United States come from Michigan. The combined tonnage of cherries produced in Michigan brings in an average of over $50 million per year. Traverse City, Michigan, holds an annual cherry festival.
In terms of revenue and production numbers, potatoes are Michigan’s top crop. Potatoes are grown throughout the state, from the southernmost counties of the Lower Peninsula all the way up into the cold climates of the Upper Peninsula. The state produces more than 700,000 tons of potatoes annually, worth more than $150 million. Michigan is the top producer of potatoes used for making potato chips.
Although Michigan is known for its cherries, apples are the real fruit cash crop for the state. There are 7.5 million apple trees covering more than 38,000 acres in the Lower Peninsula. The state produces, on average, more than 1 billion lb. of apples each year, worth more than $120 million. More than half of the apples grown in the state are turned into cider and other apple products.
Michigan produces more than a third of the blueberries consumed in the United States. At least 20 varieties of blueberries are grown on farms that are located primarily in five counties in the state’s southwestern region. Nearly 100 million lb. are produced in Michigan each year, valued at around $100 million.
Other Fruits and Vegetables
The rich and diverse soils of Michigan turn out a wide array of crops. Michigan ranks third in national production of asparagus, growing around 2 million lb. yearly. The state annually produces several other vegetables in great amounts, including 96 million lb. of cucumbers, more than 130 million lb. of onions and more than 100 million lb. of sweet corn.