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Gov. Snyder Challenges Mich. Ag Leaders
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Gov. Rick Snyder celebrated and challenged the agriculture industry while 250 farmers, agriculture industry leaders, educational professionals and legislators dined on Michigan-grown and Michigan-made eggs and sausage at the Ag Expo VIP Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

 

Source: Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Sean Corp, corpsean@anr.msu.edu

 

Gov. Snyder Challenges Mich. Ag Leaders to Take Leadership Role in World Food Safety, Food Production


Gov. Rick Snyder celebrated and challenged the agriculture industry while 250 farmers, agriculture industry leaders, educational professionals and legislators dined on Michigan-grown and Michigan-made eggs and sausage at the Ag Expo VIP Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

The breakfast, featuring remarks from Gov. Snyder and Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon, was the kickoff event for the 35th annual Ag Expo, Michigan’s premier farm show. And while those in attendance were enjoying the beautiful morning weather and delicious eggs and sausage, Gov. Snyder referred to agriculture as the state’s “shining star.”

While manufacturing and tourism have rebounded nicely in the past three years, agriculture has remained a steadying force, he said.

Instead of just being satisfied with where we are, Snyder said, leaders in Michigan should figure out how to keep growing into the future.

“It’s not about the next few years, but the next few decades and the next generations [of agriculture professionals],” the governor said.

Snyder identified the issues of a skills gap, food safety and exports as today’s main challenges, with collaboration between government, education and industry key to moving Michigan forward.

“I don’t just consider carpenters, plumbers and electricians to be skilled tradesmen,” Snyder said. “I consider everyone on a $100,000 tractor or a half-million dollar combine a skilled tradesperson.”

Figuring out how to develop and keep a young, growing skilled work force in the state of Michigan in agriculture and other trades is the governor’s top priority.

“We need to create a better government for young people to get career connected,” Snyder said.

Snyder also said the world is looking for a leader to step forward on food safety, and Michigan is well positioned to take that step.

“We can be a center for the rest of the world in agriculture and food products,” the governor said, highlighting the food safety innovation done at MSU and challenging the crowd to keep the momentum going that saw exports rise by double-digits last year.

“I see a bright 20 to 30-year horizon for agriculture in Michigan,” Snyder said. “But all of us have to keep pushing forward.”

Also speaking at the breakfast was Chris Peterson, director of the MSU Product Center, announcing the results from the latest Michigan Agriculture and Food Index, which gauges the business climate of the agriculture system by polling industry leaders.

Interim Director of MSU Extension Maggie Bethel also spoke at the event, announcing the hiring of Patrick Cudney as associate director of operations for MSU Extension.

More information about Ag Expo

The 35th annual Ag Expo features more than 200 commercial farm equipment and supply exhibits and dozens of educational exhibits from MSU departments and programs on the 35-acre main site, located on the corner of Farm Lane and Mount Hope Road in East Lansing.

Ag Expo hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.